I'm a big fan of poetry as an art form. I try to promote it at the book fairs held at Tonbridge School; however, if we are lucky, only maybe half a dozen people turn up for the open mike slot held at the fair in the afternoon. Like a fool I press on with it and will soon be holding a monthly open mike session in the back room of the Ivy House pub, on the High Street. For the past three years I have worked together with a publisher called John Dench, of Green Arrow Publishing, to produce a poetry competition, and an anthology of the best of them. It hasn't exactly made the two of us millionaires but it hasn't lost money either and, most importantly, it has promoted local poetry and given poetry enthusiasts a platform on which to be published. You can buy Fine Scribes 2 at all good book stores, and especially at MR. Books near the Castle in Tonbridge. Before you rush out and do just that here are the three prize winning poems so you can judge for yourself:
IST PLACE:Memory Jogging by Wally NewbyShe writes notes to herself. She always has done. A simple deviceTo avoid relying upon memory alone. Icons, Markers along the road of Life.These are not Shopping Lists. Those day by day, week by week, Lists of necessities that fuel the Fridge. Essentials that feed the body in life's continuumNo .....These are notes of things to be done. Jobs that mark the progress of an orderly life Jobs that keep our world under control. A priority order of Jobs, keeping chaos at bay.George wrote them as well, Though his were the more energetic tasks. Spray the roses, Trim the hedge, Service the Car.... M o T ...Her notes were more domestic, Little things as well as large....Write to Helen... Present for Jill Sew the cushions... Library books.Neither were these notesAppointments or anniversaries.They always recorded dates uponThe calendar mounted on the Kitchen wallThat sacrosanct chart.The when, the why, the where, the how,The plan that governed all their movementsDetermined their future and plotted the way aheadWhich, somehow now Seems a shade less certain. Not quite so extensive, Perhaps, somewhat less ambitious.So she bites her lip and trembles, Remembering George, and better days And writes a note now, Just for Herself........2nd PLACE:IDYLL by Len ScottThis bay reminds me of two outstretched arms the sea within them rarely turbulent. A settled calm most common day by day though frisky winds may briefly rise and rouse that placid surface into ecstasy.So when we two to this coast come alone far from family fret and city's roar the sea's calm is a mirror of our need for silence and the melding of like minds,our bodies imaged in its tender swell.We live within a cabin on a clifflike castaways upon a desert isle.Two happy children, we explore the beachfind smooth striated stones of many hues,to seaward skim or, wonder-struck, to save.We swim far out beyond the bay's embrace rough-towelling on return to love again. And in this world of time-suspense it seems the westering sun will beam and stretch our day by gently dawdling on horizon's edge.Watches we forget to wind but man has set a marker to remind us of the passing hours - tall and black a windmill stands, whose sweeping sails spell seconds with a 'hush-hush-hush'The fields stretch far beyond our cabin door wheat-ears nodding in the evening breeze. We hold each other close, begin to weep. Not for ourselves alone but for this beauty which, like us, must pass, must surely pass.THIRD PLACE:Quinces by Margaret BestonChopping quinces helps.Forcing my knife through the skin Attacking the hard, hard flesh I slice, I quarter, dice and decimate Cutting through to the core Relieving the tension Disseminating anger and hate.For a second I wish It was his flesh battered, bruised Mashed, pulped and boiling in the pan Instead of this golden fruitBut time moves onSetting point is reached. I pour the honeyed liquid Into the gleaming jars Seal tight their lidsClosure.