I joined the thousands worldwide who submitted poems for a major poetry prize competition in the UK.
The Times Literary Supplement announced last week (late December 2019) the winner of the Mick Imlah Poetry Prize competition.
First prize (£3,000) went to “This is the Crow with the Broken Caw”, by Chris Andrews,
Below the winning poem, I have added my poem THE CRISIS. The poem addresses a crisis whether personal, social or ecological.
THIS IS THE CROW WITH THE BROKEN CAW
This is the crane that little cranes built
until it could start to build itself.
At seven sharp, the slewing unit
swivels the jib, and a crow flaps off.
The shadow of a chain sweeps over
bungalows labelled in flaking gilt:
Sunny Corner and Corfu Palace
with its giant shining burrawang
and a fruit offering by the door.
Yawning and joshing, the hi-vis bros
buckle on their toolbelts and converge
to fill out the artist’s impression
where people are empty white spaces
treading the ruins of futures past.
Where’s Matiu? At the training centre
doing the course he was teased about
last week: Dogging, Theory and Practice.
By five, he’s smiling, ticket in hand.
From the bus he spies the resting crane.
Homeward, over the Tasman, creamy
jumping castles of vapour inflate.
The Ides of March are come, and autumn.
It’s the empire of development
but currawongs alight on the slabs
of the counterweight and sling the shots
of their cadastral song to steeple
to stinkpole to Norfolk Island pine.
We find ourselves lost
Embittered long days
Long exposed tirades
Torments public face.
Demons of our angst
Failed efforts of will
Words, words rise and fall
Fears and hopes crumple
A shackled wisdom.
We see burning ghats
Leaves swirl in dark mist
Loss of upright trees
Minds fill pyramids
No way, no answer.
Folly befalls all
Weighed down with hard views
Our cold cleverness
Voices of ghosts speak
We wipe spilt coffee.
Trauma blights tired souls
Power blocks the ears
Blame darkens the sun
Our words fall apart
Dust pollutes the streets.
Habits fixes minds
No way out torments
Riptide goes afar
Tides then press on us
Gong rings out to sea.
What can we offer?