Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011

THE FIRST TIME

by TIM SANSOM

A notion gallops
Discarded logic smarts and howls!
 
Our fables unfold upon our butterfly bellies
The visceral triumphs
Reason is enslaved for as long as our jury of whispers vacillates.
 
A shrivelled old man shot dead a jogger alongside a grey low lit canal
He had no motive.
He had a story.
He had a beginning.
He dropped the gun into the water.
 
Three miles away a brass band played doleful familiar melodies outside a soup kitchen.
A passing nurse threw a two pound coin into their open tuba case.
She thought philanthropy was her motive but she wasn’t sure.
 
The next morning a homeless man found the jogger’s body
He felt guilty for feeling slightly less lonely
He thought that his deed of phoning the police would shift the guilt.
It did but only through distraction and not through higher self regard.
 
Last night the jogger had planned to confess a five year affair to his unsuspecting wife.
The shrivelled old man had both caused and spared her pain.
 
An angel who watched the murder reran time to see how event may vary.
The jogger came along full of life omitting steam and breathing heavily
Young vibrant and in his prime he shadow boxed exuberantly.
It was just as dark and poorly illuminated as the first time
He thought he may have seen a figure in the bushes
A loud piercing gun shot tore open the silence of the night sky.
 
The next morning the body of a shrivelled old man was fished out of the canal
He had no motive to have taken his own life.
As he and the angel now together in death peered in through the jogger’s window
The tears of his wife upon learning of his infidelity
Came into some peculiar unison with the rain snaking down the window
And the moment it afforded
Made him feel slightly less lonely.

Added: 05.03.2011

Judges' comments on this poem

04.05.2011

Great poem, very poignant, I like the motif of "he had no motive" - only critique, the structure is hesitant at point, otherwise gr8!

04.05.2011

A poem that tells a story.

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