Judging by the entries coming in over the last few days, there seems to be a general feeling of ‘leaving it till the last minute…’ Keep them coming.
Ferryloupers- 2nd place, English Poetry 2011 – Andy Jackson
Broch and cairn are stalks of stone
clawing out of wind-bleached soil,
occasionals below the coaxing sun;
none have flowered in my lifetime.
ii Maes Howe
The lonely hoardless barrow
clenches like an empty fist,
to stop the sky from running through its fingers,
to hold on to what can’t be stolen.
A man rakes the soil with a flensing hook.
A pianist plays to keep the tide at bay.
A girl holds a Geiger probe into the wind.
A bloody poet sighs that it’s bloody come to this.
Kids make camp in cafes, draw their plans
for getting out. They own the brands
to maintain cover with the crowds
in Wick, or even Inverness, if it’s allowed,
and move like pilgrims in the promised land
What no-one here believes can be creations
of the wind and tide must be the work of trolls,
whose axes ring through seven years of fight,
for reasons long forgotten. Every night
their corpses summon back their souls.
I sat two nights there, learning patience.
The ferry limps its way across the strait,
as early autumn skolder plucks a serenade
for hawsers, sharp harmonics that sustain
above the diesel rumble. Mainland has a claim
on me, the right to call me by my name.
It is home, and yet an island just the same.