Highly Commended Poem - Years 11-13


Autumn Poetry Competition 2019

Highly Commended Poem for Years 11-13

Sheridan Jamie Povedano for 'Boevatzia & Zaxvatat'

We were at war and you had to fight

with or without me

you would have to leave and go.


You had to settle peace in arms that were not mine, and fields of daffodils and

dictatorship, and you had to pick off each petal and rose which I lay for you.


Each day


they bloomed, whilst I carved you out of a bronze statue

which we placed in the centre of our battlefields, at the end of our touching cosmos.


The years of separation between us,

our countries like the touching of ice and fire

like borders and frontiers of parallel lines not destined, to touch.


With all those stories which we shared, with all these words which we shared


and the letters that flew to your doorstep

under your footstep you, whispered my words

whilst my heart, thudded, beneath my artillery.


You were destined to the West and I had to fight my left and right

and you there at censorship and me here


in silence. Waiting for you to come waiting for you to speak to me,

received no words from your lips.


And my heart simmers and soaks under your

dulling uniform and grenades, of stopping time.


2 months is not like two years, to know someone, to know you,


more than the gravels and stones that scraped your skin

at war where you lay

waiting, for me to pick you up and lay myself,


with or without you


to surrender

with my white flags out and with your mouth loaded


of excuses and lies, telling me you’d not come back whilst I’d stare

hanging, like your trophy and achievement.


You told me about the west and the south and where you were going,

but never told me when you returned, and I laughed you laughed,

we laughed, like I’d never see you again.


We shared words and months of silence for over days that to me,

they seemed like years where I waited and


we were at war

but this time,

you couldn’t fight without me.

Judge Charlie Durante's Comments:

"This long, meandering, enigmatic poem inhabits a war zone, a no man’s land, where two countries, presumably at war, prey on one another, ‘our countries like the  touching of ice and fire’, opposites that are mutually destructive.  The poem is spoken by someone in love so that the martial imagery (battlefield, white flags, uniform, grenade, artillery) is a way of conveying the vicissitudes of love-the turmoil and upheaval of emotion.  Attempts at communication are foiled: letters are trampled on, the beloved’s mouth ‘loaded of excuses and lies’; there are also images of exquisite pain ‘stones that scourge your skin’, abrasions which could stand for the pain of a tormented love.  These ideas are, of course, one possible interpretation of what is a multi-layered, intricate and baffling poem.  A fuller, more comprehensive account would require much more space."