Literary Festival 2017 Poetry Competition Winners

Literary Festival 2017 Poetry Competition

Poetry Competition 2017

There were some great entries for this year’s Literary Festival 2017 Poetry Competition.

Professor Iggy McGovern was adjudicator and picked out three excellent examples as prizse winners. Below are the three winners

Ist Prize of Literary Festival 2017 Poetry Competition

Paul Nash   ‘The Night Train Steward’

With fading bruises of LOVE and HATE, hands

Out of one Purgatory woke me in mine

With a breakfast tray, dawn’s jolting demands

Clanking into place down the Euston line.

So the first lone night on the wrong track ended,

Childhood commons now another place,

Our Eden lost, divided, undefended,

Strange labelled fingers spelling out disgrace.

The steel future snaked on to infinity,

A mocking theorem of parallels

Proving indelibly our routes were one,

His sentence in the past and mine begun –

To watch the heavens sweep by our chosen cells,

And get off with a small case of dignity.

2nd Prize of Literary Festival 2017 Poetry Competition

Doireann Ní Ghriofa    ‘Maude Enthralled’

Maude, Enthralled

(i) Morning    in 1877, little Maude Delap, seventh of ten,

is running on the damp-dark strand of Valentia

island again, laughing backwards at a brother,

braids flying in the wind, until she skids. Sudden

in the sand, a jelly-bell, a lump of glue-gunk spiked

with ink, tentacles trailing from a fleshy pink.

She is reaching for its plump ripples, but her siblings

tug her back, screeching No, Maude, no, it stings!

(ii) Afternoon   Grown, Maude rows a boat out on the ocean alone.

Alone. When she peers through glass it is into a deeper

dark, telescoped. She sees through waves to a world of

hover and float, of swim and flit and gilled throats.

. Oars float where Maudetits over the boat’s lip, peering

past conger and pollack, ling and dogfish, until she glimpses

her beloved bell and tentacle. A jigsaw, this riddle, adrift.

A cloud tumbled down, a blown shroud, an umbrella,

Cinderella’s ballgown. It sucks up handfuls of itself,

then releases, alone float. Alone, afloat, Maude watches

its lesson in the art of clasp and let go.

(iii) Evening   All afternoon, Maude is dredging, fixing nets, scribbling

notes to herself on experiments. Then home again, fizzing

air into aquaria, frothing drops through jars of jellyfish.

Her shelves heave with this exhibition of spin and dip, all her

specimens hovering in Saline fizz. Clotted blooms, globules

streaked with Crimsons and blues, they cannot hurt her

as words do. Father said “No daughter of mine will leave

home, except as a married woman.” Maude knows the

etymology of captivate, how it holds both charm and a cage.

(iv) Night   Even after nightfall, they gnaw at Maude, they call and call,

until she rises, rubbing her eyes. Through the gloom, she moves

in her frayed nightdress, her bare feet pale. She grips a candlestick,

arthritic fingers sheltering the flame. Maude finds herself at her

treasures, in awe again: how strange, that a life may come and go

until one night you find yourself alone, with only a wall of jellyfish

and boxfuls of notes. Her face is mirrored in the bell jars now, aged,

changed. Maud is alone, afloat again. Are they there, still, her jellyfish?

Or have they perished too, into Copperplate curlicues? The liquid

evaporates to silt, the jarstilt, and the jellyfish leave Maude in the dark,

lifting her fingers to imagined glass, the glass that always separated her

from the dance. Maude, Maude, barefoot, enthralled.


3rd  Prize    Evan Costigan  ”Simplex No.15,604′

– removed at the request of the author


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