As you may be aware, I ran a modern poetry competition in December in celebration of my new anthology, Hearts & Minds. The winning entry was made by James Bicheno and is showcased below.
When the Snows Came
Clouds are frozen in the sky
While chimneys hover above the roofs
Tree branches are held down, white clumps replacing old leaves
That once swayed in their deep, green glory, now black and shrivelled on the ground
Decaying under the frosted shroud
Gleaming icicles hang like daggers above the windows and doors
Others hang out on the washing line, blown by the icy breeze
And routes are marked out by the grips of shoes
Crunching their way along roads reclaimed from cars buried tyre-deep
Surrounded by three small lines from the birds’ feet
All watched by the small light sun sitting in the far distance.
This is a good example of modern poetry – it focuses on images, using them to hint at deeper meanings while allowing the reader to determine what they will. Some of you will look at this poem and simply see the images he shows. I look at it and see the wintery state, and the stranded cars, as a symbol of death; and the routes marked out by shoes as a reflection of man’s dogged refusal to accept the inevitable, and his courage in striding out. It also shows the strength of nature, as a fragile person can move around in such conditions when the technology of the trapped cars cannot.
You can tell from reading this, that he did not just write it and submit it. He has taken the time to edit and hone this poem. Poetry doesn’t come out fully formed, it often has to be revised, many times, before it is ready.
Thank you to everyone that entered. All the poems were good and it was difficult to choose the winner. For those that weren’t chosen – do not get discouraged. Keep writing and good luck for the future!