We are delighted to be able to announce the results of our 2022 Poetry Competition, judged by Brian Clark.
FIRST PLACE: A June evening – Alex Barry
SECOND PLACE: Certain Things – Jonty Pennington-Twist
THIRD PLACE: Content – Simon Tindale
Highly Commended: The Finals – Tessa Foley
Commended: time is sticking to my skin – Lea Da Silva
Commended: The Home – Thomas Larner
All six poets will be invited to read their poems at a future Contextual virtual poetry reading event (probably at Contextual: 11 in September)
The winning poems
FIRST PLACE: Alex Barry
A June evening It's one of those evenings when the world implodes One of those evenings when crossing the footbridge, the dark shadows on the Avon are Whistler's, when the muddy silt swirls like smoke in the racing sunlit water below, when the mud on the banks glistens, smooth, where nobody goes. When St Mary's spire is higher than ever before, dwarfing the cranes And Cabot and Wills atop the hill cry out amidst the wind shaken trees, whose leaves are frantic, convulsing, wild things. I'm unsettled and harried for it's the summer of life passing by, like the swifts in the sky, burning comets high in the emptiness. In The Avon Packet the bar is a train, the red door open to the warm trafficked breeze, the street, feet away, where sirens and engines pass and it's Naples, mixing the urban with life and these beer bellied men on the banquette are wise Kings, plain speaking, talking the truth we should all know. It's one of those evenings When I realise I have nothing, absolutely nothing to say, that I'm floating, sipping my Courage Best which I've not had since sitting on a stool with Sash, leather jacketed, in the Rose and Crown already forty years ago. warehouses, radio, the men exchange words, fish which change sex to reproduce dependent on requirements, I'm impressed. The beer plays its part Of course, Pushing urgently through the blood like the tide in flood A pub I wouldn't normally find myself in, But this evening, alone, when there are no rules and sin, or perhaps just exploring, reminiscing, is mine for the taking, A Lithuanian landlady, the students arrive, Cricket on TV and the yellows are batting, the blues close in, and I'm falling, falling, Falling in love with this city, for its one of those evenings, when Love walks in.
SECOND PLACE: Jonty Pennington-Twist
Certain Things When you go, What will it be like? Who will pull The bee sting out And cut the doweling To a perfect length? Will I find the necessary papers And will I know what to do With your shoes, Your drill bits And your (unfinished) puzzle book? When you go, What will it be like? Will you depart, In the carriage Of a perfect English Summer afternoon, Or will the air Be cool and distant, Like you yourself Could sometimes be? Like I myself Can often be. What will it be like, When all the things you’ve ever said And could’ve said Are taken with you like tattoos? When I must let you go And turn to a reflection, That I doubt I’ve ever truly seen.
THIRD PLACE: Simon Tindale
Content We post pictures on social platforms to prove we’re living our best lives Engagement party...tick Wedding breakfast...tick Anniversary present...tick Baby shower...tick Each golden moment captured and shared assuring the world we’re not missing out Kitchen extension...tick Chin reduction...tock Discreet piercing...tick Sleeve tattoo...tock An enviable existence avoiding negative emotional responses like the exquisite pain of rejection like the eternal privilege of grief like the overwhelming urge to disappear
Congratulations to the winners!