A quick post to let you know that I’ve recently won the Ware Poetry Sonnet Prize, with the poem I wrote for my mother shortly before she died. The competition was judged by the splendid, and local-to-me, Kim Moor. It was interesting reading her judge’s report because…

she pointed out how the sonnet is usually a love poem which, in the 17th century, would often use the ‘blazon’ conceit—the enumeration of the beauty (usually physical) of the Beloved—and she felt that I’d twisted the form nicely in the way I’d used it. (See Shakespeare’s send up of the idealising nature of the conceit in ‘My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun‘.) I’d love to say that I’d planned all that (!) but perhaps I have to conclude that, unconsciously, I’m even more tactical and talented than I knew. Ahem…

Anyway, here’s the poem again:

canticle: on the beauty of my mother’s knees

On that age-soft skin, here and there broken
with filigree of spider-veins, dark bruise-
like patches at the knee tell how you used
your years: all those days when you would waken
and kneel to coax socks over feet swollen
with fluid, point them through leg-holes in pants
and trousers, tie laces, fit wheelchair flaps,
retrieve dropped things: do it all. Not stolen
by time, then, but transfigured, your beauty
sings of the love you gave, and what it cost:
how life became strange and hard; how you lost
sight of something, sometimes, under duty
fierce, unrelenting; and how love will insist
on asking everything; and will persist.

2 thoughts on “pleasing news”
  1. Dear Lucy
    Congratulations! A wonderful poem. I was transported to times with my own mother, holding and loving her beautiful hands. Thank you.

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