Poetry Competition Commended | ‘The Soul’s Veneer’ By Trish Bennett

For Poetry Day Ireland 2018, HeadStuff.org launched a brand new poetry competition to celebrate this fantastic day of poetic activity around the country. This year the theme of the day was ‘Surprises’. For our competition we chose the theme ‘Surprise Encounters’

Our esteemed panel of judges for this year’s poetry competition were Colm Keegan and Erin Fornoff. Erin noted that they were ‘looking for surprising poems, and poems that arrest and compel and leave an emotional legacy. National Poetry Day is a great way to show that poetry is a fibre in everyone’s life, and speaks to truth that everyone shares.’

We at HeadStuff were humbled by the response to the competition with the sheer numbers of those who submitted their work. The judges were deeply impressed by the high quality of submissions. it was an incredibly difficult decision to pick three winners and thirteen commended poems. 

Over the next few days we will publish the three placed poems and thirteen commended ones. We would like to congratulate all the poets on their achievement. 

We would also like to thank everyone who took the time to submit to the competition. We received a high number of submissions of really high quality so please do keep watching the HeadStuff poetry section for more details on future submission information. Finally we would like to thank University College Cork, Poetry Ireland and Anam Cara Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat for their support. 

Read All Winning and Commended Poems Here 

The Soul’s Veneer

By Trish Bennett

In Memory of Dermot Healy (1947-2014) 

The Mother and I went home that night                               Peter Fallon spoke, of how
filled with the glow of the fierce moon,                                 he polished and published your work
theres less of a grip — slow down —                                   it takes generations to domesticate the fox
by the wood,                                                                         but you, will always be safe, he said
the leaves have started to fall, Mam said,                            I saw
out of the trees, a fox leapt                                                  — your life, in a parade of snaps
onto my road                                                                         in a place where I worked in another time
I thought it a dream,                                                             when I wrote words of a different type. Now                   I know it true,                                                                        the workshop is clean
herself gave out                                                                    as if polished white — reborn
that’s not a ferret,                                                                  and me — standing there, in fear of rebirth
that’s a mad looking fox                                                         — you, framed at the spot
he’s meant to be red                                                             where the sander stood, a machine
— not white like a ghost                                                        that transformed the rough wood
last night on                                                                           to paper thin sheets of polished veneer;
a different road,                                                                     I smelt wood shavings, falling like leaves,
he jumped out again                                                             into a mound where your feet would be, if you
wore a moon coat dappled with oak,                                     leapt from sepia, into my path
those feral eyes                                                                     — daring me.

The first HeadStuff poetry competition was kindly judged anonymously by Colm Keegan and Erin Fornoff.

HeadStuff are extremely grateful to University College Cork, Poetry Ireland, and Anam Cara Writer’s and Artist’s Retreat for their generous support of the competition.

Photo by Vladislav Todorov on Unsplash