Manchester Cathedral Poetry Prize - Judged by Anthony Wilson
"As I read through the hundreds of entries, these were the ones whose language, direct and not at all abstract, their emotion displayed through concrete detail, which snagged me in unexpected ways."
The above photo features a detail from the beautiful stained glass window of Manchester Cathedral, where this event was held.
Poet in residence Andrew Rudd made these comments:
"George Herbert wrote about his own calling to be a 'window'- to communicate something of the 'glorious and transcendent grace'. I suppose that's also the task of writing poetry, to express something of the complexity and beauty of our human condition in words. Each one of the poets (chosen) is in the business of transforming their common human experience.
Each one lifts us out of the ordinary and the everyday and takes us into a new place."
Winners: 1st Ailsa Holland, 2nd John Maguire, 3rd Iora Dawes.
Highly Commended: Chloe Balcomb, Mary Lee, Michael Brown, Diane Mulholland, Noel King,
Paul Tomes, Robbie Burton.
"Chloe Balcomb's nuns live surrounded by a beauty which exists because of their attention."
Andrew Rudd, Poet-in -Residence
The Sisters of St Hilaire
Three French nuns, Marguerite,
Guerite and Isobel, are partial
to a glass of Côte de Beaune.
On mountain jaunts they
confess to lying supine
in clouds of Edelweiss.
Cradle to grave, in the shelter
of the old house, they sleep
in cots of cherry wood.
They know about struggle,
sigh as we describe our battles
Guerite raising a knobbly finger.
'Listen, there were dragons here.
They came for the virgins but
the convent walls were too high.'
In the courtyard, orange trees
in tubs, a little mâche
sprouting in wine crates.
Hens peck between cobbles,
lay eggs on windowsills,
wobble their pretty behinds.
Day ends when darkness falls,
the street echoes with the trill of bells,
the last children pedalling by.
Everything is as it should be,
a quiet read, embroidery,
a little radio before bed.