Edward Thomas Fellowship’s annual Poetry Competition was initiated and endowed by the poet’s grandson Edward Cawston Thomas.
Now in its fourth year there has been an excellent response with over three hundred poems entered, most of them being of a high standard. Judged by the prize-winning poet and reviewer Jane Draycott the competition is now, we’re told, seen as a serious and prestigious one.
The 1st prize was won by Maggie Davison of Hexham, Northumberland for her poem, ‘Jacket’.
The two joint prize-winners are Richard Meier and Oliver Comins for ‘Faculties’ and ‘Winter Search’.
The six Highly Commended poets are Alyss Dye, Lindsay Rossdale, Helen Boyles, James Driver, Mark Fiddes and Tista Austin.
The three winning poems
When he put his jacket on,
the daughter’s soul in her wanted
to follow him through the slammed door:
to pour the lightning from face to jam jar
or press it between the locked pages of
her diary in the bedroom drawer;
to match his strides with hurried steps
upstream to the castle, watch the sun
play hide and seek with paternal stone;
to come home with the river’s rush,
two pebbles washed smooth in symmetry;
but the child in her knew she had to stay,
frozen by her mother’s tears.
Together they’d watch the ticking hands,
share the catch of breath
at the flick of the latch on the backyard gate.
And no-one would speak of that lost hour
after he took his jacket off.
The clouds were too high and snow
was not one of the services being provided.
On the year’s shortest day, you’d think
there’d be a chance of getting some,
but the hours raced through with nothing
more than two sheets of packaging,
wind-blown, disappearing into the river.
We discovered a rug of cyclamen
growing in half-shade below alder trees
somewhere beyond the tennis courts.
Wrought and pale, neither white nor pink,
the flowers appeared to be glowing
as they lay there like new-fallen snow,
defying the sky and its low hanging sun.
Woods, a wild garlic carpet –
a walk before calling in on
my mother, who has good days, and my father –
then up, out into a long-haired common
to stand beneath, beside the somewhere
skylarks, and down to where the grass
stops for the forest (with a working sawmill,
so the sign says) which thins
to farmland torn off by the first
or last road in the village, Timber Close
(the name makes sense now) with the oblong
bungalow “grandma’s parents used to live in”,
though what yet do our children care
about such things as when or where, who even.