free counters

Monday, September 03, 2007

Manchester Cathedral Poet of the Year 2007

Maitreyabandhu, Director of ‘Breathing Space’ at the London Buddhist Centre, has won first prize in the Manchester Cathedral Poetry Competition, making him Manchester’s Poet of the Year 2007. He is the first Buddhist to win and came first in a field of over 300 entrants and over 700 poems.

The poem is called 'Visitation' and part of the judges’ comments read as follows –

“'Visitation' engages with that sense of the sacramental from its title through to its very last line. The 'you' the poem addresses is addressed with a contemporary negativity: it is 'without any form' and 'carrying no symbolic implement'. But for all that indeterminacy, it fills this poem with deft and concrete imagery, not only in the actualities of the scene - 'The ocean-wedge/with its new, precise horizon' - but also with an adroit use of simile, 'as if you had been there all the time,/like a pair of gloves left in a pocket'. In the second half of the poem, the writer manages with piercing imagination to use the idea of grey to suggest so very much, and yet leave the reader open to fill that grey - neither a bonding of all colours, nor an absence of any - with a profound sense of the infinite. This was a wonderful poem by any measure and I have given it the first prize.”


Strange that you should come
like that, without any form at all,
carrying no symbolic implements,
without smile or frown
or any commotion,
as if you had been there all the time,
like a pair of gloves left in a pocket.

As if I had been looking that way,
into the wide blue yonder, and you were
beside me, enduring my hard luck stories
with infinite patience. Not even waiting –
the tree outside my window
doesn’t wait, nor the ocean-wedge
with its new, precise horizon – just there
like the shadow of a church

or a quiet brother.
And how I saw you, in the mess of things,
was as a slant of grey,
the perfect grey of house dust,
an absolute neutral, with no weaving,
no shimmer of cobalt
and light-years away from Byzantium.

Grey. And I want to add, like light,
as if a skylight opened in my skull,
and into the darkness fall
a diagonal of pure Bodmin Moor.
But even that’s too bright,
too world-we’re-busy-in.
Call it ‘dust’ then, or the bloom
of leaf-smoke from an autumn fire.

Sadhu, Maitreyabandhu.

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home