This is the second in a series of pages publishing the winning and highly commended poems in the People Need Nature/Young Poets Network “Ways to be Wilder” poetry competition, hosted by the Young Poets Network. We’re also publishing the Judge Jen Hadfield’s comments for each poem.
Ella Standage (16) (Winner)
held between forefinger and thumb: the stem
like a green vein, and balanced above—time
as an exploded diagram.
see the hours stellated, the minutes
anatomised as spokes of a wheel
that does not turn, struts to hold up
this whispered globe of wishes.
between fingernails you pluck one from its earth
the way you’d dissect a wristwatch, disassembling
chronology to examine like a gear beneath the light.
it’s 3:53 PM. time
flutters and pulses atop its vein and you
stop holding your breath and watch the seconds
carried off like a flood of stars, to lodge
in minds or throats or cracked pavements
like promises unspoken.
Judge Jen Hadfield says:
You’ve constructed this poem with a horologist’s delicacy and precision. You’ve felt your way to a flexible form and music for your poem intuitively. Each stanza is structured differently, with never a redundant or heavily-placed word, and each true to the stretchy nature of time. We all know how a minute can pass in a blink, or seem to drag on for hours. But you also stop time, and make your reader hold their breath, before you dismantle the fragile dandelion clock with a puff of your own. I love that your consideration of time, and the present tense demands that your reader cherish every second.