It was an absolute privilege last year to be involved with the judging of Oxford International Women’s Festival Poetry Competition, and to host the Poetry Night.
I’m currently working with event organiser and mega talented poet Anna Hobson to produce an anthology of all the shortlisted poems, which will be available in March, and one of the things I’m really excited about is giving some blog space here to the three winning entries. So, for the next three weeks, we’ll be showcasing the winning poems, each one of them very very special.
We are beginning today with Emily Uecker’s third placed poem (copyright Emily Uecker – please do not paste stuff from this poem without Emily’s express permission)
Hands and Days
They could not be called shapely, or fine
Two fleshy white soles on wide wrists
Pointer fingers crooked at the tip –
A childhood, sifting beet sprouts from weeds
Under South Dakota skies.
Between them needles sang
Blankets for every baby,
Dishcloths for the daily work,
Afghans, safe in the cedar chest,
For weddings left unseen.
Deft feast for family supper
Triumphant pies, crepes of lace,
Cakes like benediction.
Sundays clasp the hymnal,
Fold contentedly in the lap.
Greet the faithful.
Shuffling cards they wait for a ring,
But make no calls themselves.
Grown, children run like sand
From a clutching fist.
At the funeral, silenced by grief,
More still the vast distance of years,
No one said the words to praise
The works of so many days.
But when the struggle against failing legs,
Lungs, eyes, insides had come to close,
Hands with strength undimmed still
Grasped for human grace.