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Fenland Poet Laureate 2017: The Winning Poems (part one)

We absolutely loved listening to all the winning poems at this year's Fenland Poet Laureate Awards, but we were really keen to give you all the opportunity to read them online too! With that in mind, here are some of the winning poems in the adult category. You can see the other winners here and here. Happy reading!

First Place - Kate Caoimhe Arthur


Running is never enough

I am listening for the sound

of the ground saying Here

or perhaps a bird flight

arching above it or light pool

from a shaft of sun

Home. Where can I plant us.

Follow the lockspit

To the elbow of the fen

Looking for a clearing

Or a piece of scrub

Where I can dig a hole,

a burrow, damp with dew

An oak tree, wrecked by wind

I found it, and a red fox

White tailed

Why must I be an animal

To hide in this place

In our bed, these nights

I dig into you with

Fingers, tongue, nails.

Second Place - Liz Davies

A wet summer on the Fens

The alien patches of bright yellow fade once more

Into English green, and the hedges, the wide trees

Heave up lush to a dark Wedgwood sky, heavy

With unfallen rain, swinging low, and white birds wade

Through the thickly wet air. Old lace elderflowers,

Hawthorn arching Hockney-deep in clotted cream,

And wild light parsley floats in misty drifts

Across the ridged green of the fields. Dark woods

Set sail over the brow of the hill, with bow waves

Of daisies before, willow leaves along the water

Ripple, turning to silver in the breeze, and look -

A whole ballet corps of chestnut flowers leaps up

In arabesques, tutus flecked with pink and yellow,

The River Great Ouse rises, imperceptibly slow,

Adorned with blooming swans a-cruise on silver,

Cataracts of pink roses pause in their plummet,

Thick vegetation leans into the country roads,

Almost obscuring our way, reminding us still

That England ever belongs to the green, the roots,

To the springs, the branch, the leaf and the flower.

Third Place - Jacqueline Ogden


Transported to school, angsty as a creel of elvers,

I stared out of bus windows longing for hills.

The teachers told us of marsh-thwarted Romans; the raising of a cathedral; Vermuyden,

but not of the commonplace coming and going of vessels;

the industrial clamour of adventurers, waterways and wharves.

Each cut, drain and navigation here was once loud with the clattering of sails,

buffetting of canvas; rattling of ropes and rigging;

Humber keels, bound for the ports and hythes of Cambridgeshire;

inland vessels, ploughing between fields.

There are lines of lucent water across the land:

water that shows the pale white sky of winter to itself.

Now I walk out into the space cut by the peaceful lode to the horizon,

and there is a stillness over the fen as

my soul is raised up into the cathedral of the sky.

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