I’m torn between three poems this month: Alyss Dye’s ‘Scarves on the Stairs’, Wisty’s ‘Pool’, and Margaret Beston’s ‘Journey’. They’re all very different with regard to subject matter and form, and I like them all for different reasons.
In Alyss’s poem a mother talks about her daughter’s departure from the house. The words earthquake, debris and muddle effectively describe the mess the daughter leaves in her wake, but apply equally as well to the mother’s emotional muddle about a young woman who once needed her guidance so much. In ‘Pool’, Wisty trusts the imagery to show nature’s ability to restore itself after humankind’s destructive interventions. The pool becomes symbolic of peace, reinforced by the image of the ‘flag’ growing at its edge, and the last line – like wings – lifts us as readers, with joy, with hope perhaps. Margaret Beston’s ‘Journey’ is relentless and sinister. The use of the command form, the repetition of familiar phrases, and the objectification of the ‘bodies’ shake me as a reader and I can’t help but think about the London Underground bombings of a few years ago.
In the end, after poems satisfy at the level of craft, then personal preference comes into play, and for this reason, I’ve chosen Wisty’s ‘Pool’. I love the economy of this poem, its rhythm and internal rhymes. The precise description draws me into the scene and atmosphere, but this isn’t just a pretty picture, it makes me think too. And the ideas of redemption and restoration are ones that touch me.
Congratulations, Wisty. I don’t have any contact details for you so if you’d like to send me your postal address (email@example.com) I’ll send you your prize. Allow a week or so for it to arrive as it’ll be coming from France.
where once a bomb
pitted this marsh
now green blades
pierce its rim
of yellow flag