I’ll want my navy frock that sweeps the knee,
vermilion lipstick, brogues; today, you wait
in dishwater civvies, whistle, scuff gravel
at a corner baked with salt and rubble
where, underfoot, streets are thin gravy:
blood, energy, khaki have streaked into the sea.
When I read your telegram, I remembered
how caramel bubbles, then hardens.
Bittersoft edges burn my fingers.
Now I plunge through daylight’s
sifted sugars, towards you: rinse out
the unwound clock, cobwebs,
chicken bones that boil too soon.
Read the other prizewinning poems and the winning short story here:
And on the York Press website:
This is what the judge, Andy Humphrey, had to say about my poem in his Judge's Report:
'Homecoming, the First Prize winner in the Adults’ competition, is a particularly clever poem because it never actually tells the reader what it is really about. It relies entirely on imagery to tell the story behind the poem. The poet paints a domestic scene: cobwebs, caramel, a lady putting on lipstick. An unwound clock, thin gravy and chicken bones suggest a time of austerity, perhaps wartime; references to telegrams, blood, khaki and “civvies” lead the reader to the realisation that the lady in the poem is waiting for her husband or lover to come back from military service. Every image in the poem hints at the emotions that the narrator is keeping bottled up; but at the end, the reader is left guessing, just like the narrator is.'
I am delighted to have won a poetry competition, and especially one that is linked to a festival that is so involved with local writers and the local community.