Com­pe­ti­tion Tessa Castro

The Oldie - - NEWS -

IN COM­PE­TI­TION No 220 you were in­vited to write a poem called ‘In­doors, Out­doors’. The in­vi­ta­tion brought many a strong child­hood mem­ory, but among other bright spots were a pair of dar­ing rhymes in a stanza by Bill Green­well: ‘Even Christ when his ar­raigner / (Ju­das, in the priests’ hege­mony) / Stood and shiv­ered in Geth­se­mane / Wish­ing for the fug of Cana.’ Com­mis­er­a­tions to him and to Mary Hodges, Katie Mal­lett, D A Prince and David Shields, and well done to those printed below, each of whom wins £25 – with the bonus prize of an in­door es­sen­tial and per­haps out­door or­na­ment, a Cham­bers Bio­graph­i­cal Dic­tio­nary, go­ing to Phoebe Flood.

I am a heart, a beat­ing heart. This place is all the things I know, Per­fec­tion of ev­ery part. I have no other place to go.

What am I? I must be a fish, Float­ing in oceans of dark. To be a fish is what I wish For I am no here­siarch.

Here I am warm and safe and sound. There is no other life but this. Yet I am bound, a mummy wound And crave my meta­mor­pho­sis.

My soul is safe in­side a room, That should be danger­ous and free. This dark­ling womb is but a tomb. I long for what I ought to be Phoebe Flood

My queen of the Hoover and ace home­im­prover As­tounds me – what more can I say? Adeptly pro­lific, her tiling’s ter­rific And grout­ing like­wise, non­pareil.

No done-in-a-rush man, my lad­der-and­brush man Is blessed with re­mark­able skills: Af­ter shed-cre­osot­ing he’ll start un­der­coat­ing Or gloss­ing doors, win­dows and sills.

It wouldn’t be ly­ing to claim Diy-ing Is deeply en­trenched in the genes: We rel­ish our chores – I with mine, you with yours; We’re con­tent, that’s what hap­pi­ness means.

In a funny old way – please for­give the cliché – We en­joy ev­ery day of the year; Not­with­stand­ing we’ve grown into Darby and Joan – Me in­doors and you out­doors, my dear. Mike Mor­ri­son

I’ve wan­dered in the maze at Hamp­ton Court and very quickly longed to cut it short, for though I kept on bear­ing to the right, the damned thing’s end was slow to come in sight. Frost only got it half-right af­ter all: It’s Ev­ery­thing that doesn’t love a wall. From your first play-pen, walls are af­ter you – fear builds them up, and love can do it too. Cliffs and crevasses, rocks and wa­ter­falls, prisons, asy­lums, mar­riage – all have walls. At times you make-be­lieve you’re not alone, then you look up, and whether walls of stone or glass or si­lence com­pass you about, you’ll al­ways panic when you can’t get out. Gail White

My soul ex­ists be­hind my door, I keep it safe and close and keen. My soul I call my in­ner core, My soul re­mains to you un­seen.

I have this life I live in­doors, It seeks no friends, but lives alone In deep green dales, on sandy shores. My in­door life, my cor­ner­stone.

Out­doors I lead a dif­fer­ent life, A life which some­how finds its light From love and joy, from shit and strife, But that must end with a long dark night.

We all live with this dou­ble life. In­doors the soul, out­doors the man. In­doors we glimpse the af­ter­life. Out­doors we sim­ply live life’s span. Paul Elmhirst

Com­pe­ti­tion No 222 Bees have them, ba­bies bounce on them, and we fall upon them, be­fore they grow creaky. A poem called ‘Knees’, please. Max­i­mum 16 lines. En­tries, by post (The Oldie, Mo­ray House, 23/31 Great Titch­field Street, London W1W 7PA) or e-mail (comps@the­oldie.co.uk – don’t for­get to in­clude your postal ad­dress), to ‘Com­pe­ti­tion No 222’ by 9th Novem­ber.

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