Fingal Libraries Poetry Competition 2022
Judges: Enda Coyle-Greene & Máighréad Medbh
Winner adult category
Molly Bloom as Orlando by Orla Fay
i. Belvedere House, 30th August 2020
Vein of woodland the stream rushes
beneath bridges and in mini waterfalls
fairy storms under lily pads
to the gold bottomed lake
on the radio Edna O’Brien had said
Joyce’s writing of me showed
all great artists and James Joyce was
are androgynous, they are man and woman
this Sunday morning the world is genderless
though there are male and female joggers
and walkers in the park the autumn
sunlight offers a sort of blindness
and nature its immunity lapping water
trance inducing in this first flush of day
serotonin boosting exercise most welcome
and the unified healing of blue and green
ii. O’Connell Street, 25th May 2022
Under construction Luas tracks
spark glinting sunlight prospect-forged
in this present beneath millennium spire
gateways to travel unmapped miles
bladed chords of communication
that transmit the future perfect tense
more hi-tech vernacular thy will be done
and synonyms of expression
confused by the road works
I am taken to a standstill
rethink, rewrite, reroute –
I turn the app off and rely
on my own sense of direction
walking in black and w.hite
as Ulysses solely along tram lines
to where the sea lashes rock –
forthcoming I watch myself
right now through memories
as if I am a great novel being written
or a work in progress fragmented
We found this poem conceptually surprising. It uses an unpunctuated text to convey the dissolution of borders between genders, locations and periods of time. It has a literary frame, relating Joyce’s work to that of Virginia Woolf, whose 1928 novel, Orlando: A Biography, concerns a man who goes through a spontaneous gender change and lives 300 years. There are many interesting phrases in a web of contemporary commentary, all precariously balanced on a Heraclitean stream.
Letter to Miss Weaver by Ger Duffy
Forgive my handwriting my hand shakes as merrily as the mouse
crossing my bed. Here one is not permitted to be happy
too many jealousies. Here I mangle my words no one understands me.
Here Dr MacDonald says little I cannot remember the last time they used
camisole de force on me. Here the others knit I do not.
The open jaws of the lift hold unspeakable horrors!
I need to leave this place. I would like to cross the Irish Sea
to visit Galway again might you make the arrangements for me?
I am quite well most days. I am quite dazed most ways. I do not
have a telephone no visitors come. I would like to have a house
with a garden a chance to hear children playing.
I scuttle from one room to the next. I have no companions
no distractions. Yesterday I covered my face with black boot polish
I could not stand to look at it. I no longer throw chairs
make scenes I no longer speak much anymore.
I await your reply.
(Camisole de force = straitjacket)
This poem is instantly interesting. Avoiding a direct authorial voice, we are given, in imaginative arrangement, the text of a letter from Lucia Joyce to Harriet Weaver, Joyce’s publisher and friend. We loved how the poet used white space to show (and never tell) the fragmented mindset of the tragic protagonist.
Winner Child Category
Ulysses Journey 2022 by Alexander Brady
If Leo Bloom LEAPed forward 100 years
and travelled on the Dart,
All a Glamour!
While travelling on the Dart.
People commuting to their work,
Next Stop, Sandycove.
He climbs the Martello Tower
and Snot Green SEAS the Forty Foot….
A glance of time without a rhyme,
He thinks while on the Dart.
He walks along Sandy Strand
and gets the Dart to Pearse.
He looks for Sweny’s Pharmacy
and there it was, as it was before,
A century ago.
He bought some Sweet Smelling
and hoped he could afford a book.
He went to Dawson Street to HF
to buy a book called Ulysses,
to tell him where to go…
He walked out of HF and saw a
Purple tram and said:
“That’s funny they’ve turned from Green!”
He hopped on heading home to Eccles Street,
and by Surprise whom should he meet,
but Stephen Dedalus looking at a gadget in his hand.
They exchanged glances, waved, and carried on
When he got to Eccles Street,
He looked for number 7.
Where’s my Molly Bloom?
What’s happened in the last 100 Years?
His eyes filling with TEARS.
It’s obvious that this poet worked hard. The action throughout is nicely paced and humorous. We were impressed by this young poet’s knowledge of Joyce, and by the attention to detail. The poem maps a journey made twice: one hundred years ago and again in 2022.
Second Prize Child Category
Mount Olympus by Aimee Singleton
On Mount Olympus where can they be?
Could Poseidon be in the sea?
Is Apollo on a horse?
Could Demeter be growing gorse?
Is Ares planning war?
Could Hephaestus be toasting a smore?
Is Athena reading a book?
Why would Hermes be such a crook?
Why would Hades be so dark?
Zeus could make lightning spark?
Artemis might be under the moon?
Could Hera be weaving a loom?
Dionysus might be drinking wine?
Aphrodite can’t even think of a rhyme
Enda Coyle-Greene: This poem made me smile, especially that last line! I feel that the poet took their time over it and had great fun with the rhyme, often surprising, and the pattern throughout.
Máighréad Medbh: ‘Mount Olympus’ is eye-catching and carefully put together. It’s obvious that the writer did some research.