Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2010

Grasping Shadows

by Brian Roberts

Wand‘ring ‘bout roamed Father Kelly
in the large cavernous belly
holding altars where were carried
bones of ancient heroes, buried.
Alone this night, and warmed by flame
of candlelight alone, he came,
enduring watchful eyes of fame
captured by paint, to ponder shame.
So often prays, so seldom heals;
here in the quiet dark he feels
that morals may just be ideals;
doctrines, lies; and masses, meals.
‘Midst this tragedy a specter,
palm for crown, arrow for scepter,
Father Kelly’s still protector,
frozen, beckons to the rector.
Feeling chilled by ancient duties,
arcane texts, and ageless beauties,
the priest turns toward the corpus-perch;
sees now a Christ and now a Church.

Added: 23.03.2010

Judges' comments on this poem


Would have rated higher but for first line. Why not just say - 'Wandering roamed Father...' instead of the apostrophes.


Beautiful church images - I felt as if I were transported to a cold, fusty church.


Good rhyming scheme and clear narrative, strong imagery, captures feeling of being in a crypt and dilemma of Father Kelly very well.