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WINNERS POETRY PRIZE 2016, Judge Colette Bryce

Monday, October 10, 2016

WINNERS POETRY PRIZE 2016 Dromineer Literary Festival

Judge Colette Bryce

FIRST PRIZE: Yoga in the Heritage Council HQ

                           (formerly the Bishop’s Palace) By Nuala Roche

Yoga in the Heritage Council HQ
     (formerly the Bishop’s Palace)

I’ll wager I’m not the only woman 
in the last six hundred years to spend her 
lunch-hour in the bishop's bedroom, striking 
a Downward Dog. Feet planted square to hands, 
arse in air, face to tower-house wall, its
medieval window preserved in steel,
sealing echoes from the Middle Ages:
a bishop's cry of alarm — night terrors. 
His glistening noggin under the four-
poster, the furtive look through the fringes 
of his brat-cloak. From the hearth a cow face 
moons at him, her steam-breath warming the floor
but in her dolorous expression he 
soon detects a womanly sorcery.

WINNERS POETRY PRIZE 2016 Dromineer Literary Festival

Judge Colette Bryce



They were already dead when I took an axe to them, those true 
bone extensions of his skull. He was in hard horn — a full, broad 
palm on display, tines curved strongly upward, symmetrical as a 
six-pack. Immense, and somewhat fascinating, they had become 
cumbersome, superfluous structures that hindered his progress 
through the forest; over-burdened like a knight with too many 
accoutrements — layers of leather and chain mail, heavy helmet, 
steel plates, long-sword, scabbard and shield. My buck in velvet 
was sensitive and protective, delicately turning his head sideways 
between trees, and I was tired of picking up after him, snatches 
of fabric snagged on saplings or strewn on the forest floor, though 
one year I did fashion some into the most exquisite pair of shoes.

Destined to decorate a gatepost, to be a trophy, a museum piece or 
a bridge over a rivulet, they were useless to him even as a weapon, 
their sharp points unexposed even with his head bowed right down 
between his forelegs. To save him the gigantic effort of maturing 
a new pair, I soldered the wound shut. And they didn’t go to waste. 
I up-cycled them. Antlers make wonderful buttons and necklaces. 
It’s such fun to embellish and polish them, like you would ivory. 
My prize possession is a Baton de Commandement which fastens 
dresses, straightens arrows and smoothes leather thongs. I even 
sling spears with it. I really thought I was doing him a favour, until 
last night, when I dreamt an Irish Elk rise from a dawn-white mist 
and those spacious ornaments looked so singular, and so beautiful.

WINNERS POETRY PRIZE 2016 Dromineer Literary Festival

Judge Colette Bryce

THIRD PRIZE: Through the Looking Glass By Amanda Bell

Through the Looking Glass

The outcome would be different now – the dog destroyed, 
after she burst clear through the glazed porch-door
in her haste to see who'd rung the bell, piercing
the child who stood there with a shower of sharp projectiles,
though she herself escaped almost unscathed.

Unlike my father who, when his turn came 
to run through glass, ruined a brand new work suit
but continued to the counter, placed his order
for a burger, leaving in his wake a stardust trail 
of diamonds bathed in ruby blood.

But other breakthroughs, bloodless, leave no clues, 
more like pushing through clear membranes 
till they stretch to breaking point, let you pass 
straight through – not scarred, unwitnessed,
just less visible, for all that you're more you.