We can now share with you our final two of five highly commended poems from the Charles Causley International Poetry Competition 2016. Our highly commended winners were selected by our head judge Sir Andrew Motion as having strong potential as poets. They will be offered a virtual mentoring session with a writer in residence as a chance to improve their work, and will also be offered a small cash prize in recognition of their talent. The fourth winner is ‘A Romp In Brompton Cemetery’ by Tony D’Arpino.
Tony’s latest book of poetry is Floating Harbour (Redcliffe Press, 2011). He has also had recent poetry in The North, The Clearing, RAUM (Glasgow), No Bindings, and Agenda. He has forthcoming work in Raceme and also recently had a poem shortlisted in the Oxford Brookes International Poetry Competition.
His most recent nonfiction book is a work of natural history, Trees of Bristol (Redcliffe Press, 2014). It explores the legacy of the ancient forests of the West Country, local tree lore, and the bio-diversity of the urban forest.
At poetry readings and festivals he is often introduced as a San Francisco poet, which is only partly true: he has spent many years in California, but ten years in Hawai’i, and more in Europe.
Tony has also worked as an extra on TV and move sets, including BBC one’s Poldark, in which he played a watch dealer in episode one.
for Henrietta Moraes
The double lodge
Of the old dissenter’s chapel
Is a flourish of margins
A large vowel
Or bright consonant
Of illuminated manuscript
The ivy obscures
The lively monuments
A palm engraved on a tomb
Singing women from old Kerala
Every morning in the cemetery
Muses in the crypt
The mirrors fade into their origins
The kissing molecules
The ions and the trees
The flowers of an English spring
Looking up and down
We pass colonnades and galleries
Along a white beach of little huts
Screens of birds and trees of paradise
Above the veil of nouns
Simple stones and weird inscriptions
Our fifth and final highly commended winner is Kerry Darbishire with her poem ‘The Earth of Cumberland Is My Earth’.
Kerry Darbishire lives on a Cumbrian hillside. Since a mentorship with poet in residence Judy Brown at the Wordsworth Trust, her poems have appeared in several magazines and anthologies. She has won and been shortlisted in recent poetry competitions. Her first collection A Lift of Wings was published in 2014 by Indigo Dreams and the story of her mother, Kay’s Ark was published in 2016 by Handstand Press. She is a member of the Brewery Poets, Dove Cottage Poets and Write on the Farm Poets. She is currently working on her second poetry collection.
(Winifred Nicholson – 1893-1981)
In the gallery vases spill windflowers, aconites,
cranesbill, lily of the valley. Colours of summer
autumn and fresh snowfall reunite
like old friends.
Dry-stone walls hold back Mallerstang Moors,
a sycamore cools the dip in a bold field as if
it’s the last graze on earth. And I’m breathing fell,
sky, sea, home – all this that lived in her
in her words, …my paint brush always
gives a tremor of pleasure when I let it paint a flower
especially wild Cumbrian flowers.
Winifred knew the rush of light and dark,
heartbeat of blue, Payne’s grey and violet –
violet she carried home from India to Bankshead –
kept it for sunlight to dress distance in mystery
until mountains and the River Eden swept her brush dry.
I think of her pine palette – pigment leaching
like water from flagged floors on the hottest days,
deep limed walls seeping pink,
her love of flowers in bud – promises to come
not yet arrived, altared in windows turning air into perfume
unaware of how years later
it fills this room.
We hope you have enjoyed reading all our winning poems over the last few weeks, particularly poignant in the centenary year for the Charles Causley Trust. Thank you again to everyone who entered and shared their work with us.