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Jack Clemo poetry competition winners honoured at London event

The winner of the Jack Clemo Poetry Competition run by the Arts Centre Group was announced last week at a lunch event in London …

The winner of the Jack Clemo Poetry Competition run by the Arts Centre Group was announced last week at a lunch event in London …

Special guest Ruth Gledhill, Religious Correspondent for The Times, presented the Cornish stone sculpture by Iain Cotton to Dallin Chapman, for her poem Will It Be Done. The awards were hosted by competition administrator Tony Jasper.

Entrants were invited to send in a poem of up to 40 lines based on one or two lines of The Lord's Prayer.

Runner-up was Ryan Service (unable to attend) with his poem Matthew Six, and third place went to Lynne Chitty for her poem Morning Eucharist.

The winner also received a cheque for £100, with £75 and £50 for the second and third placed poems.

The competition was launched in 1994 following the death of Jack Clemo, 'Poet of the Clay' and one of Britain's foremost poets. Called 'one of the most original writers of our time' by The Sunday Times, his work combined an uncompromising Christian mysticism with stark images of the working class Cornwall he loved so much.

He was regarded as a visionary poet, all the more remarkable since he had been blind for 25 years and deaf for 40.

by Dallin Chapman

On days that grate and grind,
Blood-letting days when earth
Tilts towards delinquency,
It seems absurd to find some pew
Hunched with its fellows in a country church
Or creep into cathedral calm and search for solace.
Your kingdom come.

Your kingdom come.
Has God not noticed what’s happening here?
His kingdom come when death leers
Amongst rubble and lost bones,
Where even stones blink when temples fall
Calling old anthems in the choking air:
Jerusalem. Hiroshima.
Thy will be done
Will it be done when we seem undone
By serpent smiles and harvest of ripe fruit.
That tree is bare now, searching for
Shed leaves. No kingdom there or
Consoling breeze to wipe and dry our tears.

Yet there is a kingdom country to discover
Cupped in a handclasp, masked in melting eyes,
Spun in children’s laughter, dropped in a pool of words,
Weaving amidst ballyhoo and clamour,
Commotion, fear,
Quiet footsteps
In riven landscapes,
Fallen paradise.

And thy kingdom comes bursting through sunrise         
In eastern skies, riding white stallions over sparkled seas,
Stirring warm cornfields, striding mountainsides,
Spreading night’s awning of perpetual stars.

Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done
Not in patches and pockets, no pilot schemes but
A mighty laying down and lifting high,
Roar of repentance and assent.

Could free will echo your will if we relent?  

Copyright 2013 Dallin Chapman

by Ryan Service

She first learned the words of Matthew Six
In the dark of her room: a womb full of prayer-making.
She treasured them, laboured them and dipped them

Into her discrete bag, catching the words between her
Fingers throughout the day. It was enough to know
They were there, present.

No one knew the words she could speak or how she
Held four verses hard against her other essentials,
In that prayer-sagged bag.

Thy will be done pressed against a would-be white
iPhone and these four words are illumined occasionally
By an unknown caller.

On earth as it is in heaven sat next to that lipstick,
Which cherried those lips, allowing heaven to follow
Earth so delicately it hurt.

Unpacking that bag, she unmade her prayer at the eve
Of the day, somehow satisfied that she would put the
Words together again and sing through the dawn.

Copyright 2013 Ryan Service


by Lynne Chitty  

A blackbird berrying
a robin at a fat ball,
another looking on,
wondering whether to squabble or wait,
he waits!

Sparrows on the ground
gleaning rich pickings
feasting on crumbs from under the table which
previous messy eaters have
flung out

Water trapped beneath the ice in an old bowl,
waiting to be released
plenty of early morning drinkers
but no bathers
not yet!

Such are the congregation on this raw march
swelled by families of tits
great and blue
that zip in
and out.

And so as I pray
thy kingdom come
on earth as it is in heaven
just for a moment
I think it already has.

Copyright 2013 Lynne Chitty

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