The Sheffield Prize 2009

The Sheffield Poetry Prize 2009 (sponsored by The University of Sheffield) goes to Beverley Nadin for 'RSVP'. This poem will appear in the next issue of The North magazine and on this page, and the poet will receive £100 and be invited to read at our competition winners' reading.

Liz Cashdan's poem 'Hay for Horses' came in second place, and Jenny King's 'Signal' was third.

 

R.S.V.P.

Mrs Baker has squeezed a suitcase shut
and thrown some things into plastic bags

’passport, soap, the essentials.
She waits in the yard

where a dozen clothes pegs
criss-cross the line like finches.

Mr Baker's bicycle tyres, she notes,
have softened and spread

the way his swollen feet did,
pressure-sored at the heels

and the handlebars look stiff at the neck
with rigor mortis.

The Singhs are frying somosas.
The smell rolls in on the five o'clock tide.

A turd has staked its claim
on the empty vegetable patch, tight as a turban.

Or snug as a cat, thinks Mrs Baker.
Her husband never liked cats. She pats her skirt

for the stutter of paper where Rue la Bruyère,
some dutiful numbers

and we hate to think of you alone...
trill in freehand. A cab beeps, twice.

Mrs Baker thinks she can hear
the slate roof gritting its teeth.

’Beverley Nadin, winner of the 2009 Sheffield Poetry Prize

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