nothing recognisable as human

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The top twenty poems from Poetry Space Competition 2013 chosen by Martyn Crucefix. Poems by Dorothy Baird, Ama Bolton, Pat Borthwick, David Clarke, Rachael Clyne, Margaret Eddershaw,Wendy French, Eileen Carney Hulme, David C. Johnson, Susan Latimer, Kaye Lee, Afric McGlinchey, Gwen Seabourne,Robin Muers, Anthony Watts and Janice Windle.



[i.m. Sgt John Lansdell, shot down in his Hurricane on 17th September 1940]



Somewhere, some distant relative

is nurturing her family tree

with ‘information’ (‘photos would be brilliant!’)

and so we get the box out of the loft

and I am volunteered to scan

the contents of this dusty envelope.


Here’s the Loughborough College Group (John Lansdell

second row, end, right) and here

College Sunday 1936:

a casual group of friends taking the air

in mortar boards and gowns (I wonder

if they’re worn with pride, or does he think

he looks a twerp?  The faint smile tells us nothing.)


Bunny, Self & Norman on the promenade…

and here’s another – three men in a boat,

oars stowed, swigging from the bottle: lads…

and these the chaps in ‘D’ Flight: Freddie Poulter,

Johnny White, Self, Sticky Glew…


I’m focussing on ‘Self’ (that’s my name too),

stroking the touchpad, dragging him centre stage

(exit Sticky Glew screen right) and now

the cursor has him in its sights and…Zoom!


Enlargement fails to show me who he was:

it only amplifies the blur of years

that steals away his image – shows instead

the pixelated abstract of a man – then

nothing recognisable as human.


© Anthony Watts

1st Prize


ISBN: 978-1-909404-10-6 £5 Stapled 32 page booklet.