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Poem of the Month:
Jan 17

May Festival
now booking
19th/20th May

Holland House
now reserve places only

poetry latest Issue, 17

new Remote Workshop Perceptions of Time

Comp 2016: Results

poetry Guidelines

poetry Issue 14 & 15 extracts now online

Competition prior year Results


*** NOW BOOKING Spring Festival (& Holland House, reserve places only remaining) ***

*** Nov 16: New Remote Workshop now available… Perceptions of Time, by Myra Schneider
(Fanfare & Her Wings of Glass, both series still available) ***

Need help with travel to Second Light events? See Second Light Mary MacRae ‘Access to Poetry’ Fund


Poem of the Month

Round 10, Month 5: Myra Schneider judged this month’s competition and selected Anne Ryland’s poem, For a Daughter as her winner. Her four commended poems are by Maggie Butt, Angela Platt, Marg Roberts, and Merryn Williams.

For a Daughter

My name would not be your middle name.
You wouldn’t inherit my listomania, I promise:
I’d renounce list-making in honour of your birth.
The term Muscular Dystrophy would not be sewn within you.
I would not pass on my stony ova
or the euphemisms stuffed up the sleeve like handkerchiefs.
Thank You wouldn’t be your mantra; it trapped me at the amber light.
You wouldn’t stare at every dog and see only its bite.
You would never know that ‘worry’ derives from ‘wyrgan’, to strangle:
I’d lock the door to my mother’s worrymongery
but I would be your guide in the storehouse of the thesaurus,
assure you there’s no such curse as being too clever.
I’d even show you how to blow a trumpet in a long and steady tone.
My desk and my blue propelling pencil would be yours.
I’d hand you your great-grandmother’s last letter to her daughter
from the hospital – ‘bye bye, dear’
All my words would be yours, so you’d observe me on the page,
learn all that I am and was and should have been.
And, my daughter, each night I’d hum you a lullaby.
You would remember me as a song, not an apology.

Anne Ryland

Poem published: Mslexia, No. 34. Runner-up, Mslexia Women’s Poetry Competition, 2007.

Judge’s comment:
‘For a Daughter’ immediately caught my attention and it impressed me more each time I read it. Anne Ryland says so much in this list poem written in end-stopped couplets and single lines. The list is of promises made to a would-be daughter. She uses the list to characterize her mother’s ‘worrymongery’ and repressiveness by stating what she would not pass on to a daughter. At the same time she shows that her own submissive behaviour is due to her mother. The poem turns round in the middle when Ryland describes how she would offer ‘my words’, revealing a strong and exuberant side of herself. The poem is poignant – near the beginning of it we learn in she won’t pass on her ‘stony ova’. With its striking language and imagery and honesty it is also potent.

Myra Schneider

Lipstick, by Maggie Butt
Eye Examination, by Angela Platt
Question, by Marg Roberts
My Cousin, by Merryn Williams