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'.
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.