29 Jul

2014 Runner Up – John Gallas

Seamus Heaney, I heard that you were gone…
I heard that you were gone in Gedney Stores.
Two mushroom pies sunbathed on their
paper towels ; a sale of yellow cider cans ; and
that old transistor radio that reads the news.

I crossed the road and took my pie amongst
the graves. The ruddy time was at its evening
best and I had done a dogged day. Mortality
was not my exercise. I sat with Robert Smith,

whose chosen words are few : 88, and missed.
Three leaves and five small flowers are writ above.
Like a penny paid the church clock clanked
once for five fifteen, and no bird sang.

Under oaks, the dry-docked ivy, weed and nettles
leant unto themselves. One poppy agitated
of its own concern. I lapped my falling crust,
and thought two things, and they were all I thought :

that the elderberries were a fullstop-store
for some long haw-studded clerkish copy ;
and that I had biked fifty miles about the cutten
field and dykes of Lincolnshire, while you had died.

John Gallas Markfield,