Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2010

When Poems Happen

by Sean Joyce

Poems know more than the poet
knows or the reader learns. It's a
séance in library without lights

But it takes time to work the room
It takes time to strangle the cat, to
mask away the pervading noise of

radios and aeroplanes,
barking dogs and delivery vans
endlessly reversing

Then there are nice poems about
nice people saying nice things
on a Tuesday morning, while

on the Gaza the children dig tunnels
that come out in my living room and
that's not nice

Poems are snatched from no man's
land where failures are harmonised
and memories delude recollection
Stripped of vanity and guile our hearts
go out to meet the words now home
at last in uniform reverberating free

It's a Country Dance of simplicity
that recreates in our minds irrefutable
arguments for happiness and joy

In the end a poem is an act of love
An encouraging word from
one true heart to another.

A word that says, “Yes”.
A word that says. “You belong”.
Or a word that says simply

Look up and smile
For the Sun, in the sky
has just taken, your photograph.

Added: 29.04.2010

Judges' comments on this poem


Under-stated, satirical, but with defiant joy: I loved it! Gaza reference is powerful. Beware of lines ending on weak words e.g. "of", "a".


Much cause for thought here. The children digging tunnels is effective


Fresh, and well-constructed of its kind.


so sorry I couldnt put this one through