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Roscommon Poets’ Prize
1st. Catherine Ryan, Trien, Castlerea. “Remnants”.
2nd. Laurence Henson, Strokestown. “One-Off”.
3rd. Louise Cole, Ballaghaderreen. “Yellow Brick Road”.
Remnants, Catherine Ryan,
I hear them at night
gossamer shades moving,
making tins ring unexpectedly
softly sighing on the lintels
scratching so gently on walls
as if too much noise would
scatter their wisps of ghosthood.
I see their handiwork crumbling
under nature’s tight embrace,
roots gripping through walls
waterfalling stones into debris
where once was warmth.
Now damp clings fungus
onto the gaping silent hearth.
I walk where they walked
ragged with the nails of briar fingers,
infested with the snarl of weeds
too intimately known for comfort.
I look at the same grey skies
hoping against hope for sun
whispering my wishes to them.
Are vicious gales their breath
scattering white blossom snow?
Do they steer the sun to cement my clay
so plants wilt and languish?
Is theirs the laughter in the wind
spewing out of ivy-cloaked ruins,
dissipating my dreams?
When I have joined them
misting in the morning air
over the garden once mine,
not even a fingerprint remaining
to daunt the hordes of invaders,
will my laughter envelop it
as the trees march in?
2nd Prize One-Off Laurence Henson,
3rd, Prize Yellow Brick Road Louise Cole, Roscommon, Ireland
The eye’s first snatch of colour is yellow,
egg yolk sticky, a strident Post-it note,
before the rainbow’s drop of sunshine
bares rotten teeth and bile, is urine-soaked,
with don’t park here lines,
be prepared to stop.
Gilded legal pads in office grey,
where submarines are lived in,
caged canaries sing sad songs
to saffron strands worth more
than all their weight in gold.
While Texas roses bloom and Cold Play’s
stars shine for you, a silvered moon
waits for dawn to light the land,
throw life’s first flames into sharp relief:
golden arches, oil seeds raped,
intense with vigour, homage to the sun,
sweet daffodils and sharp lemons,
ribbons tied to old oak trees.
Jaundiced and soured by the poisonous
slime of pus, bilious flecks of eggnog
and banana Nesquik vomit,
my eyes scan monochrome
until that first golden hue manifests,
knowing Judas wore a yellow coat
the day he collected 30 silver pieces.
STONE COLD Bernadette Tansey, Roscommon, Ireland
When city lights turn from orange to yellow
fluttering moths become monsters,
spiders blood thirsty vampires,
his failing vision creating illusions.
Pavements vibrate with footsteps,
leather shoes squeak, stilettos click
music blares, his cry unheard.
They cross then order Bewley’s coffee.
The night deepens, danger lurks.
A train speeds sword- like into dark tunnels
A muffled drum!
Cold stone seeps through skin and bone
a bottle of Sauvignon lies empty in a still hand.
A green–eyed feline stares.
Shadows of O’Connell, Pearse,
Collins haunts streets, Liffey Bridge.
Futile echoes of freedom fighters.
An angel of death sweeps over a bundle of souls,
“You” it whispers
A whirling wind clears the clutter.
A man’s soul is whipped from a doorway.
Softly, Softly Louise Cole
The quiet life’s mine, a being benign
as time collapses into blank assign
of pastel days draped smoothly calm,
intent waylaid by soothing balm.
For caution’s mantle settled keen on me
Sail serene, perdition’s pale decree,
not for me to crash and burn,
angers venting, twist and turn.
It’s others having need to cry
out loud scarred spirits, wry,
burst blood red, back from fire and hell
accusing stories, thrilled to tell
ribald rant and heartbreak wail
of deeds and pleads and cruel assail,
window-dressed in florid hues
explosive scenes to catch the news.
Life’s keelhauled me, unabused, sedate,
unassuming, staid – and tempting fate,
a glaucous veil upon me now,
wisdom’s prudence in judicious vow,
revealing so, a soft and yielding will
that whispers from pale shadows spill,
modesty reserved and shaped by fear
that someone, somewhere, should ever hear.
NOT ALONE Kieran Furey
‘Show us the money!’
they always said.
Writing was never understood.
Like alcoholism or gambling,
this diseased, compulsive
buying and reading and writing
Yes, I was always isolated.
No, I was never alone.
I had the scribes of ages
I felt the grave breath
of Bram Stoker on my neck.
John Donne was never finished
looking over my shoulder.
The doors of Dickens and Dickinson
were always open to me.
John Dos Passos was rarely more than
two steps ahead of me.
This, then, is only a part-whine:
none of that ‘Alas, poor bardic
scribe’ dramatic stuff.
I made my own poetic bed
and if the books I bought and read
and wrote made
it a lumpy place to lie in,
to tell the dreaming truth
I never regretted a single page
except the page not turned.
This, then, stands to reason.
There were worse fates, after all,
than this wilful promiscuity
of sharing pillows with
their jackets torn off,
their spines arched beside me,
their secrets opened wide,
waiting to be enjoyed
Open Return, Laurence Henson,