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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Keats-Shelley Poetry Competition won by Order Member

MaitreyabandhuA year ago FWBO News celebrated Maiteyabandhu’s second place in the annual Manchester Cathedral poetry competition - and two years, his winning it.

We’re delighted to report he’s done it again; winning the prestigious Keats-Shelley Poetry Competition run by the Keats-Shelley Memorial Foundation. The competition was on the theme of 'Find', and last year’s competition (on the theme of ‘Lost’) attracted 400 entries.

Maitreyabandhu says “I won the amazing sum of £1,000. The money will cover my versification course to improve my iambic pentameter!” (we assume he means it!)

Here is the poem:

The Small Boy and the Mouse

When he closed his eyes and asked the question,
he saw an egg, a boiled egg, lodged
above his heart. The shell had been broken off,
with a teaspoon he supposed, it was pure curd white
and still warm. Inside – he could see inside –
there was a garden with rows of potatoes,
sweet peas in a tangle, and a few tomatoes, red
and green ones, along with that funny sulphur smell
coming from split sacks. There was an enamel bathtub
in the garden, with chipped edges, a brown puddle
staining around itself, and a few wet leaves.
He could see down the plughole, so the sun must have shone,
and he heard his father digging potatoes,
knocking off the soil, and his mother fetching the washing in
because the sky promised a shower. There was a hole
or rather a pipe under the tub, where the water went,
and down at the bottom was a mouse – its ribs were poking out,
its damp fur clung together. The mouse was holding
a black-and-white photograph of a boy
who might have been three or four years old;
the boy was playing with boxes, or were they saucepans
from the kitchen? – he was leaning forward and slightly blurred.
And what was strange about the picture,
apart from being held by a mouse who sat on his haunches
and gripped it in his forepaws, was that the space
around the boy, the paleness around him, expanded,
got very bright and engulfed the mouse, the bathtub, the garden,
and the egg with its shell cracked off.
After that there was nothing, apart from the dark
inside the boy’s head and a kind of quiet
he’d never had before. He opened his eyes. All the furniture
looked strange, as if someone had rearranged it.



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