Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011


by Judy McDonald

War has long arms
And chilly fingers
That grasp at celebration,
Strangle joy
It delights in Christmas:
Childhood memories
Of a stoic father in tears
Remembering dead youth
And then the lesser wars
Between generations
Who could not understand
Or tolerate each other
All exposed
By celebration
With age,
Children diluted the misery
Their happy materialism
Slipped through the grasping claws of woe.
Peace entered in,
I still hid in the kitchen,
Clattering dishes like a coward
And fearing further skirmishes.
Now only one remains
Of the heartbroken
And the maimed.
I venture forth
When I am matriarch
We will have sausages on the beach
And welcome in tomorrow
With both hands.

Added: 31.01.2011

Judges' comments on this poem


I like the apt personification of war at the start. I can't imagine why sausages would be crucial, but that's part of why I like this.


This is interesting portrayal of a family, but I only got it a few lines up from the end.