Dept of English and Humanities | News | Liane Strauss wins poetry competition prize
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Liane Strauss wins poetry competition prize

Liane Strauss, Head of Poetry in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, has received second prize in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition.

Liane Strauss, Head of Poetry in Creative Writing at Birkbeck, has received second prize in the Cardiff International Poetry Competition for her poem 'It'.

It

was the middle of winter it was the middle of the night there were
three of us it was just us two I was on my own it all began
at the end of a long it was spring again high summer high noon
unwontedly cold dawn dark midnight we were listening to Mahler’s 10th
at a performance of the St Matthews Passion The Rite of Spring it was
snowing boiling blinding the sun had finally come out wouldn’t come out
for another three days after longer than we could remember
it has stopped snowing a nor’easter was heading up the coast
on Good Friday it was the night before it was just after the baby the river
flooded the waters receded the week we moved in we had been there a year
there were still boxes in the second bedroom we couldn’t find the Riverside
edition the Cuisinart the bandaids I had cut my finger myself
off from my the baby was cutting a tooth we hadn’t slept
cleaned the house watched the news you were I was reading
Ulysses Proust The Canterbury Tales it was the year the Civil War
the Great War the War of the Worlds the Six-Day War the War in Iraq
was on the TV the telly Radio 4 WPLJ was always playing that band we couldn’t
stand we loved we went to see at the Garden in Brixton what was their name
we were dropping had just dropped were about to drop kiss collect
the children at school that’s when everything
the phone the doorbell the air rang the earth slipped the sky darkened
the walls rocked the telegram the package the police
arrived the fire started in the neighbour’s flat backyard kitchen
we were making dinner we were eating soup we were baking bread
drinking Ovaltine Horlicks hot chocolate Jameson’s for a change
every night at the dining room table we were still
already wearing our pyjamas I was doing the laundry the dishes
the taxes something I can’t remember it was unlike anything we had ever
and we hung back on were swept up ran afraid to move
it shook the books the lamp the figurines in my grandmother’s cabinet
the foundations the water swayed and swallowed itself in the glass
do you remember as if something had jumped in and almost we were almost
a sound like the earth rending the sky splitting the waters turning over
we were afraid to turn around to look out the window open the door
it almost reached it nearly missed we nearly didn’t by a fraction had we only
if we had waited not waited it could have it finally it almost it happened to us

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