Mary MacRae’s second collection
published Aug 10 by Second Light Publications. See order form (pdf file) for discount offers
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Round 10, Month 7: Our judge this month, ‘from a very strong field’ is Katherine Gallagher. She has selected Mimi Khalvat’s poem The Valley as her winner. The four commended poems are by Alison Brackenbury, Gill Hortiz, Iris Anne Lewis and Daphne Milne.
Through a thin spray of flowers from the valley
(and frailer for the shyness you gave them with),
through sprigs of blue, their minute suns, many
and angled to many corners of the earth,
I saw, not the valley or even the hill
that rose in front of me, but half-imagined
plateaux that lay beyond these disused mills:
meadows waist-high, horizons mountain-rimmed.
Wildflowers grow there in abundance, so many
you could reap armfuls of them, cauldrons
of colour stoked with their dyes, cornflowers, teasels
snarling your hair and on your headscarf, apron,
shirt and shawl, the whole sky would spill a pinny
studded with seeds. But thank you, thank you for these.
this poem published in collecton The Meanest Flower, Carcanet, 2007
From a very strong field, I have chosen Mimi Khalvati’s beautiful sonnet, The Valley for its subtle development from the original image (the gift of a ‘thin spray of flowers from the valley’) to an expansiveness of ‘half-imagined / plateaux’ , ‘meadows waist-high, horizons mountain-rimmed’, vistas vibrant with wildflowers, ‘cauldrons / of colour stoked with their dyes’ ̵ ‘the whole sky’ evoked in the reach of an eye and the brevity of a sonnet.