Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2010

The Little Girl Dressed in Pink

by Eoin McElroy

The sun dismounts
Its clouded peak.
Against the tavern wall,
A woman stands,        
Cigarette in hand,
Her gaze blind
To cascading ash.
The pub door is forced open
And into the street she skips; 
The little girl dressed in pink.
She trots to her mother
Like foal to mare,
Half empty Coke can in hand.
As I bear witness
To present and future,
I understand;
She never had a chance.
Raised behind bars.
Sentenced to life at birth.
This is her world.
And when her mother is gone,
Alone against the wall
She will stand,
And wait, cigarette in hand,
For the little girl dressed in pink.

Added: 28.04.2010

Judges' comments on this poem


Interesting central idea. Worthy of further development? Perhaps find alternative verb for "cascading"?


evocative and representative of British social climate- apt reading for all generations.