Week 9 entries and results

Friday, 7 February 2014

Photograph by George Stein

The winning poem for week 9 is Prelude to a Day by Maureen Weldon. Read them all below.


Photograph by George Stein.


Poem 1

Sat-Nav   Amiss

The road is eerie we’ve been driving all day
the town sprouts spires, clouded murky shapes
it sleeps. Above us the sky blooms pink clouds
reflection of the departing sun.

An ancient tree hoists figured sable spires
into the blue and pink horizon
guarding the sleepers who wait in innocence
we stop in wonder, pull up by the brown kerb.

There is no one to greet or guide us
to explain what has or will happen,
no way to drive into the shrouded town

What had happened here?  It was all arranged
we were coming to help, free them from
what had arisen, what will be their future.

Only a yellow sign black banded beneath
this aged sentry gives us a clue
it bears a command – ROAD CLOSED.

We drive on into the darkness looking
for another road, alternative way
into the town to find the answer.

Carolyn O’Connell


Poem 2

Road Closed & Other Anagrams


How many ways to read a tree, a closed road,

an urban sky, an open sign. Scar-doodle

love hearts, trace them silently by finger tip,

so we can sense the practice of the carver,

carving love scenes right across the bark.

And how the dusty sky line embraces

without fuss, spreading out its light-pink fringe

against the neon flags. The pylon flicks

its switch, leaving cataracts of cloud.

The strain of oracles-odd against an eye,

that fights to see how many ways to read a tree.

Scar-doodle, love hearts, buried under leaves.


Chaucer Cameron


Poem 3

Road Closed


A tall evergreen messenger

holds the sign. Behind him

a Spring army has mushroomed.


Silently roots were sent on recon

in the dark under the tarmac.


Advance parties of stems

weaved their way through

cracks in the road surface.


The infantry in their ghillie suits

took up their positions

with the patience of snipers


waited the signal for ambush.

Nature has made an in-road.


The creepers strengthen their reserves

and eye up the electricity pylons:

this won’t be just a hollow victory.


Emma Lee


Poem 4

Blue Road


A hard hat thinker, one well versed

in the philosophy of roads,

has dragged the closed sign to one side

beneath the silhouette of a tree

and ushered us through.

The road is clear, we’re free to go,

but the road to your door is the one I want to be on.


Evening is settling on the town as I pick up speed.

My thoughts are of blue skies, slow motion rain

brightening a meadow, and time enough with you

for a blazing log fire to settle to white ash.

We contrive to be together as often as we can,

to share the food of no earthly use.

I am driving on a blue road

through rolling green hills to see you again.


David Mark Williams


Poem 5

Prelude to a Day

What is there beyond the sleeping houses,

beyond that dark cypress tree?


Road Closed,

a sign says.


I have been told, sea

is not too far away,


I can taste

its salty freshness.


While light climbs the mountain,

climbs to rose-tipped clouds.


I must turn around

find another road,

find another way.


Maureen Weldon


Poem 6

Road Closed


The something that stands in the way

When the road ahead of us closes

May be cruel at night, beautiful by day

To our tired minds. It discloses,

Though, whichever form it may take,

Always, possibilities. Keeping awake


We drive towards it, glad of the bright

Bands of white and yellow. Sureties

Such fluorescence brings to our sight

Requires faith. Surely the authorities

Will have provided a way that frees

From the beautiful cruelty of trees.


Michael Docker


Poem 7

Not yet


Not yet,

perhaps in a little while the way will be open

for you to pass through to the light



The fingers of darkness pinch

and poke their way into you

Making you yearn to go through




The place you are

is despair, doom, destruction,

a hell on earth, a prison.

…I know



You can’t escape, we can’t escape,

the way is closed, for now,

but soon, soon, believe me

…I know


Angie Butler


Poem 8

Finding you gone

I walk a paper path

to your door

no bell to ring, no brass

or wood to knock


branches that tap

their breezy morse code of love

no longer bend

to interpret our words



strangers stare

my face a frozen waste

as a wrinkle of sky

blinks out a wilted tear


hunched, torn, I turn

from my departure point.


Eileen Carney Hulme


Poem 9

Closed Road


The closed sign buzzed against the woodland

where we would not play today.

Or tomorrow. Or for a generation.


We watched women huddle, gathered material

sewn together in shock. The air sticky thick tar,

but still the mothers wrapped their babies tight.


That night they sat us down, spoke soft of darkness,

tried to dull the edges of truth that sliced our childhood open

and laid it like a corpse on dirty ground.


Stephanie Aroska


Poem 10

Off Limits


The way ahead is blocked.

It’s out of bounds; and yet

it beckons still with pastel

shades that lead the eye

beyond the starkness

of a tree in silhouette.


The way ahead spells train,

when train means home

and warmth. But not tonight

when no one wants

to be confronted

by this tree in silhouette.


The way ahead grows dim

as fronds of shadow fall

and dazzling strips repel.

It’s time to turn around,

branch out and find

another tree in silhouette.


Caroline Gill