Competition Tessa Castro
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org – don’t forget to include your postal address), to ‘Competition No 222’ by 9th November.