GEOFF STEVENS MEMORIAL POETRY PRIZE 2018 IS NOW OPEN
A SLITHER OF AIR
Alison grew up in Devon and misses the sea, the beaches and the milder climate but she has grown to love the Yorkshire Pennines that have been home to her and her family over the last twenty years.
Her poetry has won prizes, commendations or honourable mentions in the Virginia Warbey Competition, the Nottingham Open Poetry Competition and in the collection and single poem categories of The New Writer 2010 Prose and Poetry Prize. Her poems have been published in several magazines and anthologies including Reach Poetry, Dawntreader, Indigo Dreams Crab Lines Off The Pier Summer Anthology, Visible Breath and the Soul Feathers Macmillan anthology.
Although her first love is poetry she also writes short stories and several have been chosen for publication. In 2010 she was Highly Commended for two stories in the Royal Hyde Theatre Competition and more recently has gained success in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly.
She has an MA in Literature Studies and specialized in Creative Writing.
A boy finds a fallen star
from a pocket of treasures
his hand reaches out
pulls the loop that is trip-wired
to a hurricane, it lifts him high
higher to a crescent of incandescence
then down he flitters in a shower
of pomegranate seeds seeping the ground
sweet red, dark red, black red.
Now there is light, swinging bright
he waves back with a bound stub
as if reaching for a moonbeam.
At The Mela
Bhaji, bhangra, bollywood, hip hop
segments of whole sugar cane.
I am pulled from stall to stall
by buds of colour and taste.
I look down at my cherub
my hand on the string
of his red balloon. But here
is a flat jellyfish the size of his fist.
The moment folds, crushing
seconds into micro seconds,
long enough to be seared,
cleaved from heart to bowel.
His curls flash and surf the crowd.
I hear the sound of a thrush
in the bush whose warbled tune
puts suspicion in my mind.
I scream but the rhythm
of the base beat mutes me.
I flick an index of faces
Have you, have you, have you seen?
Then he appears just there
with his toffee-like grin
that I want to smash
and squash and shake
I love him so much.
Alison Lock’s first collection of poetry is A Slither of Air. She was a winner of the 2010 Indigo Dreams Poetry Collection Competition.
'Like a gentle voice in your ear, these poems speak of love and life and pain and war with words so precisely-chosen they will make you tremble. A wonderful collection.' Laura Sheridan
‘I found myself holding my breath as the fresh, delicious images in this poetry caressed my senses. Everything one hopes for in poetry is delivered in memorable abundance.’ Joanne Klassen
A Slither Of Air
through a slither of air
bringing your ocean to me
filling the deep well of my living
room. I see the beach where
your breath is fearless and
over my shoulder
a memory of you running blind
like the sea birds now.
My heart beat then
and later to a rhythm that defined you.
Now your feet sink into the sand as
you press the text
of your life
into my uncoiled
under the Atlantic ruff
dog rose on the rocks
blowing beyond the watermark
soft peat, beach of shells
tiny as stitchwort
crisp underfoot, duneland
threaded with marram
pastureland daisies, campion
where the waders breed
a lapwing, a crackling corncrake
a pewit on the machair.
As butting sheep rip the land
a black char scours the bones
a redshank shims its call
and the sky answers
in blue vapour that falls
upon a stained glass sea, cut
by a single boat.
Where the Cinnabar Moth...
Pluvial mists seep and snake
into rivulets that conspire
and steep beyond dew point.
Sheep fleeced of their coats
graze and scour
the sponge acidic earth
where apprentices to beavers
weave sticks and shuttle stones
with an ancient instinct.
In the stream a swatch of wool
bleeds a streak of scarlet dye
as it puddles, it spins cumulus pink.
Skeins and scraps of shapeless vats
litter the hard set concrete
corrugations of asbestos
protrude green shoots
from a patchwork of pits
trapped beneath the brambles.
Sudden death slopes in a gully
of discarded cans and quick-love
condoms where the innocent
sorrel and primrose breed
quince and crabapple
flaunt their luminous wares.
A damselfly hovers a stream
blooming with chemicals
aniline and rosaniline mixed
with iodides turns sapphire
to indigo, as yet unmatched
by the blue jay’s plume.
Stone, Water, Air, Fire, Peace
I see a pebble at the bottom of a stream.
The water is unaware of a rock
in its buffeting brook, the stone
is an island, a meditation,
untroubled by each gurgle
and the water’s feathered touch
merely varnishes the stone’s resilience.
Here is peace in the heart of a stone.
The lake is deep and clear, stilled
until a bird dips briefly in
to power its upward flight.
A wing drips droplets across a mirror
sending spiralled waves, that wheel
and wheel in fading ripple ends.
Circles overlap until replete
the sheen returns. One tranquil surface.
In the trees the wind catches leaves
waving their green in semaphore
to no-one in particular
caressing each leaf until it dives
to snatch mist from the mouths of strangers
taking the clouds of living breath
to a place where waves are lulled
under a plateau of softly spoken air.
When the night is still I hear a crackle
magic wands in their first heat.
A show of palm hands to the flames
consuming within stone bounds.
Burn, cleanse, flame by flame,
fire into wood into charcoal
returned to carbon Earth.
By morning there is a strange black peace.
The cover of A Slither of Air is a da Vinci eye Award Finalist