Winning Poem of Times Literary Supplement. Plus THE CRISIS – my poem submitted for the compeittion

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 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

Spiritual deaths

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?



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