POETRY COMPETITION 2003

The Results Evening of the Second Poetry Competition was held at the Institution on 28 May under the title `Through a Window': An Evening of Music & Metaphor.

Over 270 entries for the `Seniors' (11-18 yrs) section had been received, mostly from three schools _ Bath Royal High; King Edwards; and Prior Park College. Twenty of these were read and four awarded prizes of engraved wine glasses.

The prize-winners in this class were:

First: Ruari Burgham (KES) for `The Architypal Teenager'.

Second: Nick Stuart (PPC) for `Gullibility'

Third: Alexander Shaw (PPC) for `Credo'

Fourth: Susie Powell (PPC) for `Rehabilitation'

After a musical interlude by Helen Garrett and Rob Eyley, and refreshments, four poems in French and Occitan (an endangered language of Southern France), and two translations of poems by Baudelaire, were read (with translations provided). All received engraved wine glass awards.

The `Veterans' (18-90+ yrs) class then presented thirteen poems for which prizes were awarded:

First: Geraldine Linley for `Back in Minutes'

Second: Judith Young for `Street Scene through a Window'

Third equal: Patricia Adelman for `The Window'

Third equal: Mary Taylor for `Chrysalis'

The Chairman of Judges, Leo Aylen, presented the prizes and congratulated Martin Sturge on the organisation and the judges on their success in a difficult task.

A selected few of the winning poems, the copyright of which belongs to the individual author, follow.

 

BACK IN MINUTES

Geraldine Rainford.©

The notice in the window speaks of his return,
but suits to sew, trousers to alter,
lie long in slumberous, mouldering heaps.

No stock-take, turning-out not turning-in,
no turning-up will blow away
the touch of ancient bodies.
So many dead, never to reclaim
what once they wore or lived in,
loved or died in.

 

From time to time a bundle went to Madame Vertue.
She took the best, the things with gilded crests,
good wool and worsted, fine and yellowed linen,
aged dress coats for white tie.
She sold them on, newly cleaned and pressed,
not now malodorous. Young men filled them out,
wore them for May balls

 

And he, back in minutes,
will forever fail to finish his repairs
for customers never to reclaim.

*****

BEYOND THE GLASS

Patricia Healey©

The view through open windows reveals less
Than what is seen through windows firmly shut.
Nothing is more mysterious, more fertile,
Darker and yet more dazzling to the eye
than windows shining in a candle's light.
Events beheld in sunlight scare compare
With what goes on behind a window-pane.

 

Beyond the rippling roofs I catch a glimpse _
a woman of a certain age, housebound,
and poor, already wrinkled, at some task.
Something about her face, her garb, something
enables me to reconstruct her life;
or so it seems in my imaginings.
But sometimes, later, musing thereupon,
a strange compassion fills my eyes with tears.
Were she a man I still could do the same.
And I retire to bed proudly aware
of having shared another's weal and woe.

 

"Ah! But," you say to me, "can you be sure
that what you sense is true?" "It matters not.
Another's world in which I have no part
has helped me live and understand my life."

*****

CHRYSALIS

Pump Rooms, Bath

Mary Taylor©

The lake of bone-white tables floats
an undertaker calm. Parched, you drink
in the oils: Lady Fry in stainless corset,
the grave-muslined Mrs Bly.
Sedans stand coffin-shiney, on guard to porter the sick.

A desert tent of long peachy blinds and cut-glass
freesias. Renoir waiters, back
from the dead, flick napkins, silence fled.

 

Only the King's fountain sings
otherwise, spills triplet strands of light -
from the basin leap three copper carp,
frosted maws agape. Greedy for life

 

for Aquae Sulis, you slug a tepid cup
drum plum nails on marble. Deep
down, the pressure mounts…

 

until mirage windows melt and you
step through; by steaming waters kneel
to write

 

hesitate

then dive in, imago gown spreading
to crimson wings.

*****