The Humber Mouth - Hull Literature Festival 2000 - Thursday 9th November - Sunday 19th November 2000
Open Poetry Competition

MAGPIE

When he thinks of that day ( - he does often),
he remembers the weather was fine;
the cars slowly turning the corner
passed two lovers who paid them no mind.

The weight on his chest at the graveside
he didn't know how he'd endure;
he recalled, for some reason, a picture
of a torture, la peine forte et dure.

A pain, keen as Jif in a knife cut,
filled his eyes and his heart and his head;
he pressed the sharp edges of milk teeth
in his pocket till his fingers bled.

He saw only the boy's fading brightness
and replayed every comforting lie;
as the sun blazed on the dazzling nameplate,
he caught sight of a single magpie.

Malcolm Watson, Hull

"For me, this piece has the quality of an old black and white film, until in the third verse the reader is standing beside the grave in full technicolour, experiencing the pain of "Jif in a knife cut/sharp edges of milk teeth….till his fingers bled." The title, echoed in the last line, comes as an aftershock and reminds the reader of our own folklore, "One for sorrow…"

C.A.Coiffait

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