Competition Results!!


I think it can quite safely be said that Ifor Thomas was, if not destined to be the winner of this little site’s little competition, then certainly determined. Unlike other entrants, Ifor went out of his way to ensure his victory in various ways.


1.    Coming bounding up to me at Chris Brooke’s book launch announcing he had entered the competition before I’d checked my PO Box for recent entries.

2.    Kindly inviting me to his own reading at another event.

3.    Mentioning how he’d recently met a mutual friend of ours recently in his letter accompanying his poem.

4.    Sticking to the suggested format of 5 verses of 4 lines in his poem.


Now, I must admit I was a bit disappointed by the low number of entries to the competition, but even with this small number, never having had to judge a poetry competition before, I did find doing so quite difficult. There were only one or two that I instantly discarded, and one of those only because it was above the allotted number of lines. Ifor’s omnipresence in the weeks leading up to the closing date did therefore make choosing a winner that much easier. If only other entrants had thought of this.


Hoho. He jests of course. The trifling matter that I know the winning entrant is of course mere coincidence! There is nothing underhand in my decision whatsoever. In my view, Ifor’s was the best poem, simple as. It did stick to the suggested format, but more than this, had a nice rhyming pattern, humour, had a cosy sort of feel to it, and…well, I shouldn’t have to justify my decision!


Here below is the winning poem:


Freezer log


I chart the freezer’s contents

In a list blue tacked to the door:

the what, the when, the

how long it can be stored.


This mausoleum

of stars and ice and frost

the drawers cracked on their runners

keeping cold the logged and lost.


The small nuggets of inspiration

packed in freezer bags

hopes and minor ambitions

bereft of naming tags.


Here the big ideas,

the brilliant schemes,

the world wide tours,

the wild eyed dreams,


coated in white indifference

unsentimental as rocks.

It breathes, it sighs,

it shudders, it mocks.


Ifor Thomas, Cardiff


And some of the other more creditable entries, in no particular order, beginning with another culinary creation. This one  also stuck to the “suggested format” and rhymed quite nicely, but overall didn’t work quite as well as Ifor’s, I thought:


Computer Coloured Pie


Would love to serve you apple tart

laced with sweetest music

would add slices of passion fruit

and swamp with fruits sweet juices


would cut rhubarb to chunky sticks

soft and pink and gooey

sit it in a pastry case

and sing you something cooey


but efforts in the kitchen

resemble chaos stew

squawking refrains o’er charred remains

when trying something new.


So now I cook with colour

and pour on lots of words

swirl around a syllable

crush the odd fresh hern


and it may sound fantastic

or strike your taste as strange

but somehow coloured lettered pie

seems more to suit my range.


Judith Toms, Aberdare


Next one from our most distant entrant, hailing all the way from Norwich:


A Room of One’s Own


When God looked on Chaos,

did his heart sink

like the stone of my heart

when I view my room?

Holiday suitcases wait

for lofty winter quarters.

Unanswered letters, books to read,

old pens, old programmes, new addresses,


the detritus of summer piled high

in my room – for now.

Give me your patience, God,

sorting, filing, setting in order,


like cleaving to like,

each object and each scrap,

like the sparrow’s fall

accounted for, not overlooked.


And on the seventh day, when all is harmony and order,

shall I sit back and rest,

or start work, creating gloriously

until the serpent of muddle coils back into this Eden?


Diane Jackman, Norwich



And finally one I like purely because it mentions Kevin Nugent (I assume it is Kevin Nugent rather than one of these other new breed of Nugents anyway). I seem to remember Kevin Nugent’s specialities being 2 yard tap-ins, so to see a “Nugent screamer” must have been a rare treat indeed:


The goal a Nugent screamer,

from half way it seemed,

A smile for work, a spring in step,

everything is better.


My opium, cruel city,

coursing through my veins,

A win, the high

A loss, I try – to hide the disappointment.


Another half way screamer,

the low comes rushing back,

a different Jordan breaks our hearts.

Now work’s a little harder.


Dewi Jones


A final word on a couple of other aspects of the competition. Firstly, I did mention about the possibility of their being 2nd or 3rd prizes. I hope entrants other than Ifor will accept the excuse that due to the extraordinarily low number of entries, and the fact that I’ve actually made a fairly substantial loss out of the whole shebang, there are no other prizes. Along with this, there were also insufficient entries for the “possible book” to be created. And finally, while I had promised that half of all the entry fees would be forwarded to the Zimbabwean political party, the MDC, again as I received so little in terms of entry fees, so little that it’s hardly worth me cashing the cheques for myself, I don’t think it is really worth me forwarding anything on to them. I would suggest however that anyone who’s reading this with a sympathetic viewpoint themselves donates money to the party. I’m sure they’d welcome it – anyone considering donating any money to a form of charity should definitely consider the MDC as their cause.


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