Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011

Hampton Court, January 15th 1559

by Nicki Heinen

On the eve of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth 1st
Shoes junk rubies all over the dark
and stain the grass.
She’s dreamless.
Hands like doves.
Men swarm and fawn in her mind.
Seas curl in the corridors of her mind,
currents play in rooms.
Dead air rustles her name, whispers secrets in her ear.
She shrinks into the mossy seat,
the moon a sceptre behind her arm,
sweeps aside damp skirts,
leaving gold for grass.
Leaves are suet under foot.
Tree bark is brocade.
The air thickens with rain.
Water swells silks and pearls,
runs through cracked whale-bone.
Her sides are bruised.
The rain seeps into her skin like scent.
Her hands drown in her flooded lap,
droplets dress her head.  

Added: 27.04.2011

Judges' comments on this poem


Loved how the rich language brought the scene to life


I liked the strong images, and sense of time and place in this poem.


Starts well, but all seems description, with little of QEI's feelings. Also ends very abruptly.


I dig the personification in the last line!


Very atmospheric; some evocative imagery. I like "seas curl", "currents play..." and "rain seeps into her skin like scent" especially.