Finals Night at The Old Mill on Tuesday 29th August
1 Old Mill Road SE18 1QG
The people have spoken and Plumstead's new Poet Laureate has been crowned and this year's winner is LUKE ADDISON with his poem "To Care".
Thank you to all of the poets, who took part, and to the team, Sara Dee, Erik Fuller, Alison Miller & Jenny Chapman, who helped with the short-listing process and read some of the poems on the night. Finally, to Dee Goodwin, last year's winner, for her help with the scoring and for presenting the prizes.
Below are the winning entries but please note that the copyright of these poems remains with the writer and to reproduce them in part or in their entirety will require them to grant their permission.
To Care by Luke Addison
“Good morning Mr Smith, it’s time to take your medicine,”
I lean in a little bit, and say the same thing again.
I’m not sure if he hears me, I’m not sure if he’s there.
It seems to me his mind is now far beyond repair.
I take some time to wipe his brow and comb back his hair.
His great green eyes have seen such sights but now all they do is stare.
I wonder if he’s there.
Can this be the end of life? It really isn’t fair.
He used to be a prison guard, now his prison is his chair.
So easy just to disregard and to look elsewhere.
Dreaming often of the past but pleased to have you there,
feeling softer in your heart, that’s how it feels to care.
But nothing could prepare; For the sight of a lady who’s lost all her hair,
vision impaired, hostile to share, what’s going on with her.
The covers are on but still she does shiver. Or the old man, who now has
a cancerous liver.
He’s just turned 82.
A family tree ripped at the roots, a hereditary disease – accepting the truth
is what he must do. It’s easy to say, but to do…
Well, what if it was you? It’s hard to consider, isn’t it?
“That’s the end of your dinner, Mr Smith.” He’s looking much thinner,
this could be it, unbutton his bib, he mutters a bit, a cough and a splutter-
A dribble of spit.
I tell him a fib – I cannot help it.
I say, “Mr Smith, you’re looking a bit… Better today, just mind how you sit.
Have you been drinking, plenty of fluids?”
Why do I do it?
No reply, every time, but still I pursue it.
I play his favourite music.
On his table I place a paper and pen but he cannot use it.
My shift is now done, I wait ‘til the end of the song.
I need to get moving.
I call “Goodbye Mr Smith.”
My head is so full of ‘why we exist’s. It excites ‘til it hits.
I cry just a bit.
Is this defined as ‘doing my bit?’ A gift in kind for the time that I sit,
Or could I do more?
I smile again, as I close the door"
"Oh my boy. If only you knew the comfort, the joy, you bring.
Every single time you come in.
I try with my eyes to smile or grin
but to be paralysed is a terrible thing. And I’m frightened of it.
I cry just a bit.
But every day, how I wait, for your visit.
You’re always on time, as you open the blinds you focus my mind
And Oh! How you smile.
You make me feel alive.
It’s true, there may not be much more time but I do not mind,
Inside my mind you will find, a brain that still works and quite a nice guy. I used to be shy,
Now there’s a pain in my side, a bent out of shape spine -
I’ve lost sight in one eye… but I am not blind.
For I can still see, all that you do for me.
I’m incredibly happy. Although it may not seem,
I still have hopes and dreams and you must know that coming here and by treating me,
with such dignity. That, although I’ve lost mobility I am fulfilling these.
Because simply just existing can be enough to please.
Peacefully drifting, between memories. Is how I wish to leave.
But briefly seeing you it sets my mind at ease.
Allows me to accept the truth and reminds me-
That I have lived a lengthy life and death will set me free.
But please don’t get me wrong, I’m in no rush to go. I’m just verbally, internally, wording pleas-
That you will never know.
I’m simply trying to tell you, to continue. You’re a star.
And I know you think you’re lying, and we both know that you are.
But when you say I’m looking good – it deeply hits my heart.
You remember I love guitar, you play that album from the start.
Playing all the parts.
No matter if it’s past the time that you must depart.
But my favourite part is when,
I see you put down my paper and pen, it is then.
I feel human again.
If you didn’t, I wouldn’t and that is the truth.
So I thank you my friend,
for all that you do.
Because by you being you,
You allow me, to be me."
My Gift to You by Alina Marie Herciu
I tried to wrap my gift for you,
But no paper could be nearly as nice.
I can see your eyes reproaching me
And with innocent voice
You, reminding me:
“Today it is not my birthday”.
And I would smile
With every inch of my body
And I would say:
“Neither is mine.
Yet, everyday you make it seem as if it were.”
I can see your happy eyes smiling again,
So I would say:
“I tried to wrap my gift for you,
But no paper could be nearly as nice.
So I thought I might just tell you
That I am giving you my Sundays.
I am giving you the prettiest day of the week.
And not just the day,
But what you could do with it, too.
I am giving you my Sunday dawns,
When the day is yet to be shaped
And we have the honour to make it as we wish.
When no touch or word has yet been consumed
And everything is pleasantly stuck in the
‘perhaps’ of existence.
I am giving you my Sunday mornings,
When for some unknown reason,
The smell of coffee is stronger
And warms you up more
Than any other morning of the week.
I am giving you my Sunday afternoons,
When hours slow down and,
Just for once a week,
Not doing anything
Doesn’t feel like an unforgivable sin.
I am giving you my Sunday nights,
When we try to shelter from the shadow of
The so underappreciated Monday,
Which is always to be conventionally hated,
For no specific reason at all”.
You would laugh while I’d tell you all this
And after handing you a cute little piece
Of a quite ugly wrapping paper,
I would tell you:
“May I make you coffee this Sunday
And all the other Sundays to come, too?”
Figuring out the Finance Guy by Samantha White
Since you appeared in the office,
handsome and mysterious,
I strut into work with a wiggle in my walk
but two months have gone by,
and all we’ve done is talk
Subtle hints haven’t worked,
my heels get higher,
my necklines get lower,
and still the siren spreadsheet
commands your concentration
In this place, all distractions are welcome,
I’m sure everyone knows how I feel, its obvious,
but when will the penny drop for you?
Would it earn your interest if I presented my business case,
or maybe wrote you an equation?
X plus three y
equals your mixed messages are making me sigh!
Casual questions about your life make you flinch,
Perhaps you’re a spy, or in witness protection
fleeing from love and any kind of affection
Do accountants have souls?
Emotions just don’t seem to compute
But I’d love to know what’s under that suit.
Should I search for a reset button
or install 'Romance version three point o?'
I’m convinced there’s a spark.
You’re always nearby,
with a new ploy to chat,
to share a joke … and that gorgeous smile.
I blush, get giggly and tongue-tied,
my heart starts to race,
hopes that this madness is mutual soar,
wish you'd just take the bait,
but then you swan off home and I deflate.
Surely it’s not that difficult.
We could start with a drink and take it from there?
To keep me dangling just isn’t fair!
It’s torture to spend eight hours in tense anticipation,
Hoping any moment you’ll seize the occasion.
Or else, do the kind thing
confess that you’re being recalled to the mothership
to regale them with tales
of how easy it is to beguile human females,
Tell me you’re saving yourself for Wilma Flintstone,
you like Coldplay or you only buy value teabags,
Tell me anything to break the spell and spare me the torment of hope.
(You reveal so little you could be a Tory,
would bring a swift end to our workplace love story!)
I just hope you catch on before your contract runs out,
Don’t leave me gazing wistfully at your empty chair,
Wishing we’d found the right formula to ignite an affair,
I’ve got a figure that requires your fullest attention,
so for pity’s sake,
forget the data and take me out on a date!