Here is the fifth and final instalment of the Cafe judges’ views on the listed poems which were performed in the Elwin Room on Saturday 26th September 2015.
John Richardson : Swimming with the Bo Tree
The judges agreed that Swimming with the Bo Tree was a poem of ‘delicious acceptance’ and loved the sense of complete harmony between the sensual beauty of its language and the lived experience.
Robin Thomas : And These, Gentlemen
Poems of ideas are notoriously difficult to achieve. It’s very easy for such poems to seem to want to tell their audience what to think. What I tried to do in my poem was to distance its action from what its poet might think through distancing of various kinds, including a lot of space. The judges liked the ingenious use of traditional language in the futuristic scenario. They also liked the way And These, Gentlemen puts forward a bold challenge which the reader is obliged to look inwards to complete.
Anthony Watts : Preserve Me….
This poem speaks for itself really. The third line refers to a story about the philosopher Diogenes who lived in a barrel and is said to have admonished Alexander the Great for ‘standing in his light’. The judges liked this poem for all kinds of reasons. We liked the subject, the skilful use of natural, unobtrusive rhyme We liked the humour and the poet’s evident affection for the ordinary. We liked its bravery and we liked its cleverness.
Shirley Wright : Luskentyre Overheard
Luskentyre is a seven-mile stretch of pure white sand on the west coast of Harris, in the Outer Hebrides. The judges liked the imaginative sweep and the broad canvas of both Shirley’s poems and the bold contrasts between the distant and the intimate. These were rich tapestries of the right words in the right places, orchestrated by a real mastery of form.
Shirley Wright : On the Fells