The Yorkshire Poetry Prize 2014

In the Yorkshire Poetry Prize category (sponsored by the University of Sheffield and awarded to the best single poem in a manuscript submitted by a Yorkshire-based entrant), the winner was Hannah Stone with her poem 'Buzz Off'

This poem will appear in The North 54 and on this page, and the poet will receive £100 and be invited to read at our Yorkshire Prize competition winners' reading.

2nd prize goes to John Foggin for 'A Proper Job'; and 3rd to Keith Hutson for 'Civic Theatre'.

Buzz Off


For some days now bees have shared

the airbrick in my study. Tomorrow

a field biologist arrives to identity,

pacify, and remove them from my life.


I envisage him calming them to sleep

with puffs of smoke, then carefully

taking a soft brush and sweeping

the dozing creatures

into a large canvas sheet, like the one

the apostle Peter saw in a vision,

lowered from heaven, containing an arkful

of all God’s four footed beasts.


I wonder if while he is about it

the biologist (or maybe some cosmic exterminator)

could brush my room clean of God,

collecting each vituperative doctrine

(the sting of original sin and

foul stench of misogyny)

and drop them into the hanging cloth,

prodded where necessary by tiny demons

who have stolen their pitchforks from Hieronymous Bosch.


But in the evening having cleaned

the smears of honey off the wall

I find the Almighty

curled on my sofa between the cats

like the old friend who forgets to leave after dinner

sending me yawning into the kitchen

for a second pot of coffee, wishing I could

extinguish the candle and pad upstairs

accompanied by purring companions

and no sense of guilt.     

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