Entry - MAG Poetry Prize 2011

White Light

by Dane Hurst

Old man sitting there, stone cold sober
on the cold stone bridge, his life almost over.
Face bright as the sun, clouds dark as night
white knuckles, white breath, white light.
People passing by, not a penny in sight,
pressing on, trampling pride, poking holes
in his side, holes pierced in heaven, rain
sweeping down leaving the bridge now misty
but still he sits and waits, bolts all rusty,
he’s hat on the floor, the wind sweeps dust in
as he looks down, there’s nothing, its empty.
A traveller returns from a journey, frozen in time
at a sight amid the pedestrian maze
feeling a tug at his insides, a pull divine.
Their eyes meet, piercing through the haze,
bright blue eyes shining as though in a daze
assaulted by the blaze, his heart drilled by the gaze
caught in this moment for what seemed like days.
The man smiles at him, releasing the moment
but the traveller turns with tears so potent
down the stairs, humbled by what he saw
tears pressing down, inside feeling so raw
tears falling as the rain is down pouring,
scoring deep inside he now can’t be ignoring.
A rusted knife cuts through his reckless life
of vagrant leisure compared to one in strife.
Standing below the bridge, a load weighing down
a pressure on his conscience in weighted contention,
his travels have brought him vision
but he’s been travelling without real intention,
under this bridge is his real illumination.
He turns to return and decides to take the time
but the weight on his shoulders digs into his spine.
He looks up and sees the man, sun now shining bright
toward him he follows the warming light
descending the stairs close to him now quite
but he doesn’t see the truck, smashing into him with might
quiet now the air paused, his body poised without fright.
White knuckles, white breath, white light,
his soul passes, away and out of sight…

Added: 30.04.2011

Judges' comments on this poem


Really enjoyed 1st 2 stanzas, could cut last 2 imo. Also, don't labour your rhyme scheme, it's a little off-putting. Good images though.


A sad story gently told.