The Tuesday Poem: Canterbury Poet of the Year 2016 awards

This year I was lucky enough to be shortlisted for the Canterbury Poet of the Year award and even more lucky to be one of the prizewinners (a bottle of bubbly!).  The line up was very impressive and the 14 poet shortlist included Pat Borthwick, Jane Lovell, US poet Catherine Higgins-Moore (who read by video link), David Attwooll (who sadly died just before the award), Brian Clark and Martin Cordrey.  I didn't imagine for a moment that I'd be one of the runners up.  The Poet of the Year 2016 is Jen Syrkiewicz for a magnificent poem called 'Love (Through Lidded Eyes)'.
This was my contribution, a tribute to my father.  It's a poem about loss and the feeling of abandonment that comes when someone you love dies. I wrote it at Ponden Hall on the Compass Magazine retreat.  It's a small, very simple poem, but the judges seemed to like it.


There’s redshank growing through the handle
of the spade he gave me, propped
against the garden wall because it proved
too heavy; a man’s weight – the grip carved
for the width of a man’s fingers, the shaft
measured for the length of a man’s leg.

The wood has bleached to grey after
a year’s abandonment to rain and sun,
the ash grain coarsened and split, the
metal rusted, and the linseed odour
of his garden shed, long gone.

Now it’s become a retro image
on a card for Father’s Day. My careless
weed sprouting where his hand should be,
some of his well-dug earth clinging to the blade.

© Kathleen Jones

There were some wonderful titles on the shortlist, my favourites being 'Last Seen At Blos Cafe While Waiting For My Bobotie Burger' (Brian Clark), 'I Had A Ticket To See Billy Collins . . .'(Martin Cordrey), and one of my favourite poems 'The Gap Year trek of Tracey Short' by Nancy Charley.  The Anthology is well worth getting hold of  which you can get by contacting the Festival organisers.


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