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Poetry Competitions UK
09 Mar 2012

Top 5 Poems for March 2012

The Changing Of The Year

The snow was falling

Laying a blanket of white over the streets and houses

Landing with the lightest of touches

Turning gardens into a winter wonderland

A magic white carpet

Awaiting the first footprints of the day

The milkman, the postman and the paperboy

Will all awake to this day

Yet no familiar rattle of milk bottles

Or letter box will disturb the dawn

These will not be the first feet

To wind their way through the streets

For today is the first day of the New Year

And the nation rests in bed

Reluctant to stir from its slumbers

To awake from the celebrations

Head in hands as if to hold back

The half dreamt memories of the night before

What will it bring to those who wait

Like expectant mothers

For the birth of this new dawn

This Brand New Year.

© Mike Green

 


The Flu

The rain nibbles the tin roof,

A newspaper fumbles the letter box,

A teabag sticks to the cup

The blanket curls in sleep.

At 10 the frozen faucet gurgles,

A delivery van idles below,

The sun eats up the almond oil bottle,

The staircase creaks the present.

Medication foils crepitate,

The cat balances a ledge,

The mobile battery is down,

The cheese is mouldy.

© Mukesh Williams

 

Bath Before Bed

Faces drawn on mirrors,

in glossy shimmers,

always seem to cry,

sullen tear from loaded eye.


Steam streaming rises,

holds all surprises,

immersed in heat,

hold your heartbeat.


With bulging lungs,

when waning sun's,

emerge all clean,

in thick, thick steam.

© Phoebe Luckham

 


The Cat Lady

Hermione Handcart, sixty-three, had horrid breath and one bad knee,

of seven husbands two were dead, the other five had up and fled;

But each left homes and pots of cash, and H possessed of quite a stash,

so now Hermione rented flats, and lived alone - with thirteen cats.


Three tabby toms and one black she, a Russian Blue she got for free,

an Abyssinian with big ears, a racing cat with eighteen gears;

The fattest ginger tom you've seen, a Siamese pair called 'King' and 'Queen',

a tortoiseshell with wonky knees and two grey strays with shocking fleas.


Her visitors were far and few, for fur and fleas and trays of poo,

abounded each and every room, within the claw scratched curtained gloom;

Where every cushion had a cat, and tabby toms wee'd in your hat,

or used your legs to sharpen claws, and yowled and screeched with bare a pause.


The 'racing' cat, she christened 'Fizz', around each room in turn would whizz,

at just head high across the walls, the loo, the kitchen, and the halls;

In search of heads left just so near; to passing, rake, about the ear,

just pausing once, on each third lap, to give the ginger tom a slap.


The tortoiseshell, three left, two right, would wobble, more or less upright,

'fore bumping into legs of chairs, or pitching headlong down the stairs;

And catapulting from his bed, old big ears on the seventh tread,

as claws outstretched and knees awry, the tortoiseshell went bouncing by.


The Russian Blue, a bolshy mog, who’d come off worse with fourteen's dog,

sits glaring now beneath your seat, just darting out to bite your feet;

Or in the shadows lurks, all sly, with half a tail, one ear, one eye,

while 'King' and 'Queen' strut smug about; or give the ginger tom, a clout.


The world's best mouser, coal-black she, would hide them under the settee,

along with squirrels, frogs and rats, and hedgehogs, slow worms, toads and bats;

With some deceased and others not, which out from 'neath the settee shot,

the feral greys named 'Pitch' and 'Patch', did nothing much but sit and scratch!


The postman left the mail next door, and swore she'd not make sixty-four,

for when he'd popped the mail slot flap, a bunch of claws shot out the gap;

And there Hermione lived and died, with thirteen cats still by her side,

behind the purple painted door, upon the very topmost floor.

© Sullivan the Poet

 

Reading About Any War

It sounds like a long, dark night, lit up erratic by Satellite

States and their racket of firelights. Who knows around what

they were orbiting in the middle of the night; if they were United,

intent Red Arrows or, like so many splinters, threading away.


Even the Soviets sounded like some solar eclipse

or a constellation best distinguished by an ocular lens or sight.

Could it have been a supernova? It is difficult to differentiate

stars from satellites; especially when they seem to tantalise

each other with the promise of very big missiles

that could penetrate Venus; that could bite off Mars for breakfast.


There is very little mercy in the celebrations of war:

the confetti falling from skies is shards of anklebone,

flickers of Phantom, the fragile metal feathers of an Albatross.


II

Reading about any war, I find myself lingering neither on the motives

of bloodshed, the motifs of muscle throbbing red with the makings of man,

reliable as steel, nor on the silver thread that is said to hang

from the soiled sheets of war like the silver, wiry hair of the leaden King.

(Though silver lining is more fun to unravel than to sew meaning with).


Instead, I stall on the word that ties it all together: the word

featuring as consistently as the word of God on a sunny Irish Sunday.

(Imagine sets of knees aching over the long Rosary, praying

for the conversion of Russia with glassy beads. My aunt cried

‘Up the Reds!’ between Hail Marys and was sent to bed.)


The recurring word is soft and stays on the tongue like the taste

and taint of raspberries; come again; like the velvety drip of honey gum.

The word supports itself with tall stilts, with its annexed, level edge: Kill.


Kill is a nice word, sparing the sin implied. Kill knell keel feel fell fill kill.

Such and such was killed and so the blood of a million soldiers spilled

and whole nations were mortified to discover their veins

were not filled with liquid steel after all. Their urine was more copper than gold.

Their blood had the pitiful consistency of ink, as if swords were pens

dipping in and out of men for their semi-precious liquid, to write the word again.


It is the one word in books on wars that draws you in

like the inevitable torso to the gleaming sword.

© Caoilinn Hughes


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