Homeland: A Collection Of Poetry
I must first declare a personal interest: Homeland, published by United Press, is the first anthology that included a poem that I had written, and I was thrilled. The anthology, Homeland, was published following a UK national competition. The theme of the competition was to write a poem based on your local area. Entries were received from all over the UK and the best were chosen for inclusion in the book.
This competition has been repeated for many years and entrants from 10 to 100 from all the over the UK, many of them new to poetry, submit their work. Homeland is a celebration of poetry. A powerful poem about the past by Terence Stanford of Coalville, Leicestershire, England won the national Local Poem Prize. Terence has been writing poetry for over 40 years and has had several poems published in magazines and books. His poem Memento Homine is all about a carpenter’s shop that used to stand next to the leisure centre in Coalville. His winning poem is:
For years, most childhood winter evenings I
Would sidle past the yawning gable door
Of Reg Baxter’s gloom-laden workshop where
He bent, when the orders came, gimlet-eyed,
Planing curled feathers of weathered timber
Cascading slivers of mortality.
Carpenter, Joiner and Undertaker
His once-gilded sign flakily declared.
Laid on trestles, the oaken coffin shone
As the blade-edge sliced through the circular
Wrinkles of ageing, each ring of years gone
Knelling the imminence of life’s closure.
A sharp rebuke to Golden Youth’s trust
In its power to brush off gathering dust.
Another poet whose work was included in the Homeland anthology was Noreen McElowney. Her poem, The One In The Picture was dedicated to her father, John-Joe O’Hagan from Keenaught, Desertmartin in Northern Ireland. It is quoted below.
The picture hangs on the wall
In The Market Inn in Draperstown
The man smiles out from the picture
To one and all.
His hair is grey, his eyes are bright
And his cap is tilted to the right
At this bar he used to sit
A glass of whiskey, his cigarette lit
He’s seen the changes, good and bad
But in this bar good times were had
Now the years go on, the old legends all gone
And yet the one in the picture looks on.
My own poem,is a sonnet, Sleeping Warrior. It is dedicated to my husband. He is an RAF Regiment veteran. It is also reflective of the vision of the sleeping warrior that can be seen in the rock formations on the Isle of Arran from the shore in our part of Scotland. This is my poem:
I gaze across the stone grey sea
Across to the island where you now lie
The one adoring the sleeping big guy –
The fellow who guards Scotland’s West coast
Lying still on the ridge of Arrans high peak
Protesting the shores and the lands we boast
Are the fairest by far whenever we speak
We owe much to protection silently giv’n
And I watch you now fascinated, in awe
As you lie looking up high toward heaven
I walk on the beach and think of my beau
Who, like you guarded these coasts just for me
And for all those folk who live by the sea.
I was thrilled to have my poem included in Homeland. It is a varied and exciting collection of poems. I do recommend it and I very much hope you enjoy it.