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

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!

Highly Commended - Rosemary Jones

Fens, New Year’s Day, 2016

Another year, and winter not yet come.

The wind has dropped at last and in the pools

Pale reeds stand sentinel, while on the edge

Spring-yellow buds are bursting on the gorse.

On the wet fen, the night’s first film-ice-sheets

Cover the flooded, shallow water, sheltering.

The seasons are confused; the birds are singing,

Bulbs are flowering before their time.

And yet the light is low, the days are short;

Winter should come, then spring can follow on.

Winter’s a time for staying home, and grieving

The losses that attend advancing years,

For memories of treasured times and friendships,

For secret thoughts and very private tears.

Highly Commended - Dominic O'Sullivan

Cormorant and Fen

Over the soft marsh your wings are spread like prayer,

Your body invisible against the mud.

Airborne, a flying lizard turned to bird,

Older than the soil below.

From the skeleton of a winter tree

You gaze at earth that would be water

And in your silent prayers

You wait for its return.

Highly Commended - Sue Welfare

Walking at Welney Wash

On Sunday we go down to the wash, to bear witness to the sacrifice of the land, winter drowned, sparing us further downstream.

Her small hand is warm in mine; I show her to the water.

Wind and light ripple the surface.

For a moment it is as if it is breathing, this silvery creature idling in the afternoon light, drowsing but far from sleep.

We are both silenced by the vastness of the place.

Winter’s chill, bone cold hangs in the air.

I lean in to gaze at the sky reflected, the ceiling of a cathedral, in the water, grey on grey and gold, and understand again why the margins between wetland and dry were once the gateway to another world

The reeds whisper.

Grass below the surface of the great inland sea stirs and reaches up to us.

Beside me a tiny hand drops her precious leaf into the water, an offering.

As we head back to the car, she skips, while above us a skein of geese carry our supplications with them.

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