MAG Poetry Competition 2011 – Shortlisted Poem

Tahrir Square

by Karen McGonnell - Burrows

I am making in a quiet way
No podium, no public speech,
No bone to pick, no profile pic.
I am making very quietly
A path, a way for you, for me
No soapbox at the crossroads,
No camping out, no oppressed shout
No heading out to Tahrir Square
But not because I do not care.
I am making, in a quiet way,
A day of rage, but not today.
And tomorrow, I will make a call,
But quietly, with dignity,
No status update to announce
Bare knuckles white, bare flesh, next bout,
No yellow ribbons round the trees
Stripped back, bare, brought to their knees.
And quietly, I’ll offer you my hand to help you up again,
Lest propaganda change the truth of thirty seven years,
You fell.
They’re sweeping up the evidence of protest,
Shrapnel in Pearl Square,
But just because I am not there,
It does not mean I do not care.
I am building us a boat to float, quietly
I name her ‘Hope’.
I’ll steer her safe through stormy seas
And fear no rage from man nor thieves
Who sweep away their shady sin
So quietly, they think they’ll win.
And because I don’t join with the fans of
Looters tearing at the Shroud
And publicise my daily grief, and touch
The litmus in the crowd,

Quietly I build my boat.

I’ll nail my colours to the mast,
The jasmine scents the air so sweet
Whilst bells toll over snowy streets
And dolphins ride the bow at last.

Added: 29.04.2011

Judges' comments on this poem


Quietly keeping things going. Excellent.


Just a bit concerened about the use of 'pic'.. an incomplete word, though used frequently in coloquial speech.


I would have rated this higher than fourth, but for the cliches.


Interesting twist to the "Day of Rage". Strong ideas and new images.


Great poem on a difficult (and current) subject. Like the references to social media and various other connotation-heavy images and terms.


beautiful poetry!! lovely sense of waiting and watching and wanting.


Loved this but not one of my top four. The ending is worthy of any poetry collection - just beautiful.


A beautiful journey to hope. Thank you.


Enjoyed the delicate language, phrasing and beautiful images here.


I like the image of the boat - and the way that the form loosens up a bit in the second half.


"Boat" as "Hope" is old as rope. But the emotional ocean-hole you fill for this metaphor to float in, holds water.


liked the unexpected rhymes. more I read this poem, the more I liked it - making its quiet statements.