Recently, David Attwooll’s poem Greengrocer’s Apostrophe was awarded first prize in the Havant Poetry Festival Poetry Competition 2015. The competition adjudicator, Joan McGavin, had this to say about the winning poem:
I liked the play on words in the title of this poem, but it was the poem itself which then caught and retained my attention. It’s a ‘voice’ poem – where part of the interest lies in working out just who is speaking to us, and in what situation. The clue, of course, is in the title. It seemed to me to be a credible voice, that draws you in as a reader, with colloquialisms that work well. It’s also a voice that conjures up a strong and memorable picture of the person being addressed in absentia and the incident being described. The topicality of the subject-matter interested me, also, as did the poem’s ability to prompt complex emotions as much by what is not said as by what is said – always a sign of an excellent poem.
More poems by this award winning poet can be found in the collection, The Sound Ladder. Get yourself a copy.
And now, the winning poem, Greengrocer’s Apostrophe….
(apostrophe: mark of omission, possession, or speech to absent person; from apostrephein, ‘turn away’)
It was a morning like this
they came for you, those Border
Force creeps. You’d slipped out the back –
just saw a blur of your blue
sleeve, a flick of pony tail.
Know what I think?
If those bastards hadn’t come
you’d have been a keeper.
From the moment you pulled on
the overall, arm in a dancer’s curve:
reminded me of wrapping Christmas
satsumas in blue tissue paper.
The way your accent skipped
syllables, like hiccups or giggles,
when you turned from the till –
those delicate gestures.
Not being funny, but you
left me standing in a scatter
of onion skins, cold catch of draught
on the back of my neck, wondering.