Mist and Mountain Residency & Gerard Rochford Poetry will be publishing a selection of poems from the competition entries that were Highly Commended by Dr Wayne Price.
We hope you enjoy them –
HIGHLY COMMENDED POEMS
𝗕𝗶𝗿𝗱𝘄𝗮𝘁𝗰𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗪𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗠𝘆 𝗙𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 – 𝗖𝗶𝗻𝗱𝘆 𝗩𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗻𝘁
T𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝗽𝗮𝗰𝗲𝘀 𝗪𝗲 𝗗𝗼𝗻’𝘁 𝗢𝗰𝗰𝘂𝗽𝘆 – 𝗡𝗶𝗸𝗶𝘁𝗮 𝗣𝗮𝗿𝗶𝗸
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗟𝗼𝗻𝗲𝘀𝗼𝗺𝗲 𝗖𝗼𝘄𝗯𝗼𝘆𝘀 – 𝗢𝘄𝗲𝗻 𝗚𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗮𝗴𝗵𝗲𝗿
𝗦𝗶𝘅𝘁𝗲𝗲𝗻 – 𝗔𝗻𝗶𝘁𝗮 𝗝𝗼𝗵𝗻
𝗪𝗮𝗶𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗴 – 𝗦𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗵 𝗟𝗲𝗮𝘃𝗲𝘀𝗹𝗲𝘆
𝗜𝗻𝗶𝘀𝗵𝗯𝗼𝗳𝗶𝗻 – 𝗠𝗶𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗲𝗹 𝗦𝗵𝗮𝗻𝗻
Doing 𝗙𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗹𝘆 – 𝗦𝗮𝗺𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗵𝗮 𝗦𝗮𝗺𝗮𝗸𝗮𝗻𝗱e
𝗦𝗹𝗶𝗽𝘀𝘁𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗺 – 𝗝𝗼𝗵𝗻 𝗣𝗮𝘂𝗹 𝗗𝗮𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘀
Ch𝗲𝘀𝘁 – 𝗠𝗶𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗲𝗹𝗮 𝗖𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲𝗻
BIRDWATCHING WITH MY FATHER Many days I would watch while you stood, binoculars pressed to your face, a full stop in our walk, rooting you in place. While you twitched, I fidgeted to move on. Birdsong was like hold music to my ears, an unnecessary pause in conversation. Waiting in the stillness of the wood, I marked messages in the dust, checked under logs for adders, found pill bugs. If there was nothing to be seen you would peel away, hands locked at your spine, alert for what might be in the next tree. If patience paid off you would bark out the find: Nuthatch, Redstart. Warbler, Siskin. You would hold me up to look and listen. I was always unfocused, in the dark. I never could catch a thing, but a flash of gold on a retreating wing. You read feathers like runes, tuned to the songs like a wireless dial. As we wandered you piped the slow ribbon whistle of the Curlew, the telephonic insistence of the Chaffinch. I hear them again across the distance, a familiar ring from a thicket, the click as it comes through, the line no longer busy. The world shrinks to one bird, finally. The years telescope to fit in my hands, and I raise them up to see. © Cindy Vincent * * * A̲b̲o̲u̲t̲ ̲C̲i̲n̲d̲y̲ Cindy Vincent has had poetry shortlisted for the Wells Festival of Literature Poetry Prize and is soon to be published in the upcoming Roger McGough Poetry Prize Anthology, “Identity”. She lives and writes in Norfolk.
The Spaces We Don't Occupy (For Hemant, 20-ish, who passed away too soon) One minute, you are a boy on the edge of quivering possibilities, the next a speck of white light, a tear on the face of your mother, and all mothers who have silently hovered around you, quiet maternal fortitude, warm cicadas, in moving spheres, you know, like mothers usually are. I think of you, and the sheer vastness you now embody, and would someone please tell me what becomes of spaces that were, that used to be, and now just aren't: trapped air between hands enveloping a brother in a hug, the chasm between a handshake, places that collect drops of sweat, and vacuums that are pushed away by moist, warm breath? What becomes of it all? © Nikita Parik Nikita Parik holds a Master's in Linguistics, a three-year diploma in French, and another Master’s in English. Diacritics of Desire (2019) is her debut book of poems, followed by Amour and Apocalypse (2020), a novel in translation. She is the recipient of the Nissim International Poetry Prize 2020 and was shortlisted for the Rama Mehta Writing Grant 2021.. She has been invited to read her poems at the Sahitya Akademi Multilingual Poets Meet and Sahitya Akademi Young Writer's Meet programmes. Her works have appeared in Rattle, U City Review, The Alipore Post, Vayavya, The Bombay Literary Magazine, Bengaluru Review, and others. She currently edits EKL Review.
The Lonesome Cowboys I’d arrived back home and without thinking I leapt onto my father’s back and was carted like a child, his arms my saddle. I was twenty. He galloped through the house. Digging my spurs in, I egged him out onto the prairie of the concrete court for neighbours to witness. I don’t know what prompted that sudden surge of intimacy. I seized the reins tight, clung like a rodeo rider. Nothing was said. In that moment, we were fused, father and son, neither of us aware of what we had done. A man can say I love you without speaking and you’re never the same again. I dismounted. He rode off into himself. © Owen Gallagher Owen Gallagher – Bio Owen Gallagher was born of Irish parents in the Gorbals area of Glasgow. His most recent collection is "Clydebuit', Smokestack Books. 'She swept the litter out of my head' is forthcoming from Drunk Muse Press.
Sixteen There was that day in May during study leave when you asked if we’d like to go for a walk. We packed cheese and ham sandwiches, three oranges, some chocolate and flasks of water and juice. We’d walked these fields for more than sixteen years, even so, you showed us a new path from Kitleyknowe to Carlops. We skirted Mill House, climbed Patie’s Hill and watched the view steadily open – Lammermuirs and Moorfoots to the south-east, Pentlands firmly under our feet. You asked why the earth was spherical and whether there was an easy explanation for gravity then turned, like the wheeling gulls, to trace the line you’d taken winter sledging, the place you’d baled out – where hill plunged to burn and fence wire. You explained the qualities of snow, how jump skis differ from slalom skis, how, come winter, you’d travel to France, train as a ski instructor. We settled back in the wind-blown grasses, absorbed the rare and sun-soaked afternoon, listened to meadow pipits, crows, gulls, the whisper of water under the bridge. Your voice danced, light as the orange-tip butterfly, newly emerged, making us forget the journey’s doubt, uniting mother and father with their last-born child, their late-born boy. © Anita John Anita John - Bio Anita is a published poet and playwright and runs wildlife writing workshops for RSPB Scotland Loch Leven. Her books include Child’s Eye (short stories and poems); Unveiled Secrets (playscripts with Oliver Eade); and Plays 1 with Borders Pub Theatre. She writes about family and nature and more of her work can be found at https://anitajohn.co.uk/
Waiting Stag Mist tissue-wraps the fields and sky, as my father and I drift down the lane, his stick tapping out our pace. A herd of deer scissor across the golden stubble beside us, bare-bladed by late autumn sun. They reach a stone wall, leap over without breaking their shared stride, until only one hesitant fawn is left. On the other side of the boundary, the stag’s antlers fork the horizon, millennia of earthly instinct condensed into each bated breath, as he waits for his youngest to join the rest. I place my hand on Dad’s arm, as if to steady him. © Sarah Leavesley Sarah Leavesley - Bio Sarah Leavesley is a prize-winning poet, fiction writer, journalist and photographer, who thrives on creativity and loves being outdoors in nature, walking, cycling or simply observing. Website: www.sarah-james.co.uk.
Inishbofin And seeking that lost summer light I set out along the Low Road with my two daughters and my son, a cool breeze cleansing our faces. All ears for the corncrake, we passed by the slumbering inn, then rose through banks of fern, haze of fuchsia, and what I’d later read was wild thyme and hogweed and red clover. On a swell of the narrow lane we sailed over the bog then followed the dune grasses to a small bay. This is it, I said. No, this is definitely it! We stepped down onto the sand like moonwalkers and stared at the ocean’s glinting as if we’d always kept inland. There, I said, beyond where the waves are breaking, but not too far out, I asked your mum to marry me. I don’t know how I got her in, it was freezing, and afterwards by those bare rocks we dressed again. And that little café back there, we were the only customers. I remember we had big bowls of hot soup and dreamed our wedding and our travels and our children, and now you’re here on Inishbofin and I love it that you love Inishbofin too. Your mum gifted me an island, and this same island I give to you. © Michael Shann Michael Shann – Bio Originally from Yorkshire, Michael Shann has had three books of poems published by the Walthamstow based Paekakariki Press: Euphrasy, Walthamstow and To London. He is a member of Forest Poets and works for the charity Carers UK. His forthcoming book, To London Two, will be published in 2022. www.michaelshann.com
DOING FAMILY Sometimes doing family is in the learning to hurt and then move on without being destroyed, the way good cooking is in the negotiating with fire, manipulating the tenuous lines between the simmered and the seared, the raw and the burned. I accept the love that makes me small because blood is its own kind of containing and the injuries of intimacy are their own kind of branding. It is the necessary violence that is also discipline, eroding the self until less pours out each time. © Samantha Samakande Samantha Samakande - Bio Samantha Samakande is a Zimbabwean poet currently based out of Bloomfield, New Jersey. She is a graduate of Allegheny College in Pennsylvania and is a junior editor for F(r)iction. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, Sugarhouse Review, Pif Magazine, Hobart, Gordon Square Review, and South Florida Poetry Journal.
* While we are unable to publish John Paul Davies entry 'Slipstream' at this time, we are delighted to share these details so you can find out more about his work.* John Paul Davies – Bio Born in Birkenhead, UK, John’s poetry has appeared in journals including Banshee, Southword, Channel, Crannóg, The Manchester Review, Maine Review and The Pedestal. Runner-up in the 2017 Waterford Poetry Prize, and longlisted for the 2018 National Poetry Competition, he helps run a creative writing group based in Navan, Co. Meath, Ireland (Twitter: @Bulls_Arse).
*Whilst we are unable to publish Michaela Coplen's entry 'Chest' at this time, we are delighted to share these details so you can find out more about her work.* Michaela Coplen - Bio Michaela is a poet and doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford. She earned her BA from Vassar College, where she served as a poetry editor for the Vassar Review. Her poems have been published online with The Atlantic and Poets.org, as well as in the Bellevue Literary Review and Up the Staircase Quarterly. She won the 2019 Troubadour International Poetry Prize, the 2020 York Poetry Prize, and was included in the 2020 Best New Poets anthology.