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2022 Open Poetry Results

Congratulations to Carolyn Gillespie for her winning entry
Black Bird-Shaped Hole

Black Bird-Shaped Hole

Like the sleep-drunk teenager back home, in bed,
the dawn is pallid and reluctant.
Edges are still blurred,
and down the lane,
the skeleton beeches seem insubstantial.
I could wipe them away, like fog from my glasses,
if I wanted to.
I am waiting for the dog, who is old and slow,
and on the gatepost, I watch a bird-shaped hole
to see if it is moving.
I want to poke my finger in, to see how far it goes.
I want to feel the vantablack, where something unknown
is doing I don’t know what.
Headfirst, I push inside, gut thrusting like a caterpillar
until I’m all in.
The blackness fills my crevices –
the slither-moons behind my fingernails,
the commas of my nose. There is no breath.
My side-eyes seal shut, the nubs of my ears curl tight.
In the before and the hereafter I am held.
The dog is back, barking for breakfast.
Our breath-clouds blend in the startled air,
and on the gatepost
a blackbird opens his yellow beak, and sings.

2022 Winners

PositionTitleAuthorDownload Link (Subject to Availability)
1stBlack Bird-Shaped HoleCarolyn Gillespie Download PDF of Black Bird-Shaped Hole by Carolyn Gillespie
2ndCalais Pier Nicholas Hogg Download PDF of Calais Pier by Nicholas Hogg
3rdOne of these days I’ll do like David Hockney Paul Stephenson Download PDF of One of these days I’ll do like David Hockney by Paul Stephenson
Hilly Cansdale Local PrizeSiren CallEmilie Jelinek Download PDF of Siren Call by Emilie Jelinek
Highly CommendedLiving GriefKathryn Bevis Download PDF of Living Grief by Kathryn Bevis
Highly CommendedTwo Wood PigeonsLinda Saunders Download PDF of Two Wood Pigeons by Linda Saunders
Highly CommendedWoodpeckerKathy Miles Download PDF of Woodpecker by Kathy Miles
Highly CommendedYarrowLesley Saunders Download PDF of Yarrow by Lesley Saunders

Our thanks go to shortlist team, to Tristram Fane Saunders, our 2022 Open Poetry Judge and to all those entrants who made the competition so tough for the team. The winning entries can be downloaded and enjoyed from the above table.

Tristram Saunders

Competitions Archive

Winners of our previous Competitions