Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A winning poem....

Great structure! wonderful imagery! Are these among the components of a winning poem? Well the judges of the West Kent Book Fairs annual poetry competition certainly thought so. John Dench, who some of you may know from his days of being a creative writing tutor at the Adult Ed Centre in Avebury Avenue, Tonbridge, as Chairman of the judging panel was particularly impressed with Margaret Beston's poem, Darning, which satisfied all the requirements to win this year's competition and a prize of £100. In fact Margaret has also won third place in the previous two year's competition so she must be doing something right. I suspect that it's because, like all powerful writers, yes she writes with good use of structure and imagery, but mainly because she writes unashamedly from the heart, she lays her soul bare. If you want to buy a copy of an anthology, Fine Scribes 4, of all the winning poems, you'll be able to very soon, priced £4.95 from one good bookshop at least. Here's her poem:

On those winter afternoons
with her chores all done,
the pinny hanging neatly by the door,
she would change into a frock,
release her hair from its turbaned scarf
and put some lipstick on.
Then we would settle by the fire,
re-darning darns in my father’s socks.

Practised fingers worked the needle
drawing wool through wool,
weaving a mesh of warp and weft,
granting a short reprieve to worn-out heels
before relegation to the cleaning box
and pairing with the Johnson’s wax.

As chilling mist like dank grey cobwebs
descended on the grainy world beyond
the glowing focus of our room,
we watched for fairies dancing in the flames
as she talked to me of ‘home’ –
of waking to the riddling of the range,
the turf fire heating for the breakfast soda bread;
the smell of wood in her father’s workshop,
catching handfuls of shavings as they fell;
of the Ceilidhs in the kitchen,
chairs pushed back and all the neighbours in.

On those winter afternoons
she caught me up like a loose strand
drew me into this world I’d never known
and she could never leave behind.

Margaret Beston

1 comment:

angela said...

I really love this poem Margaret - it captures such a warm and homely image and it is a pleasure to read again and again. Angela