Rosanne Dingli

Rosanne Dingli

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Forgotten feeling: Winning a poetry contest

I used to write poetry way back in the 80s and 90s. I rather fancied the starving in a garret notion then, and anyway, I was in a totally different place when I would sit with real pen and paper and scribble, sometimes at a cafe, sometimes in my own backyard.

It's easy to dismiss those early scribbling days, but if I hadn't written and published poetry, I would never have morphed into a novelist. Every skerrick of writing an author does is of some value - for a number of different reasons, of course. Writing an angry letter to the local newspaper works on a different level from a romantic sonnet. Drafting chapter nineteen of a new novel is vastly different from trying to formulate a synopsis for a finished one.

So it was with tongue placed firmly in the left cheek that I participated in UKA's recent challenge. UK Authors accepted me as an international member, and I found that early participation is a good way to get a warm welcome, so up took I my metaphorical pen, and wrote a very rapid poem there and then in the blog box. No paper, no real writing instrument, but this here keyboard. What I saw forming before my eyes was mature ... surprisingly nothing like the poems I wrote in the early days, but very much like the ones I wrote as an established writer of that kind of thing. Yes, the very same one who published all those poems decades ago. It was like the intervening years had just not existed, at that moment. Spooky, that.

This is what I wrote, and it took all of five minutes:


Beatific, soporific an expression
As light
As the day his puckered infant's body
Rose in matron's hands
Above the birthing bed.

Here, among
A million curious eyes
Of parishioners too exhausted
With daily toil and strife
To properly observe
This solemn occasion
He lies.

They follow the cavalcade,
The hearse dark:
Postmortem elegance and pomp
His last salute.

Where will they bury him?
A bishop in life;
In death a mere corpse
Too corpulent for aught
But this heavy procession
That leads him away
And down.

And the prize I received is in the top right-hand corner of this blog: a golden egg that is worth a lot more to me than I thought, because it made me realize - just like it would if I ever foolishly attempt to ride a bicycle again - that some skills and talents stay with you when you have mastered them properly.

I love my golden egg and am very proud of it. And I am very grateful to UK Authors for being a vehicle for this little event in my writing life, and unwittingly enabling a kind of return to this literary artform. Perhaps it's not such a vain and silly thing I did recently then, to resurrect my collection of successful poems and publish it once more. All the Wrong Places is available again, and can be seen here.

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  1. Oh Rosanne, you make it seem so easy! Talent and skill merging to flow effortlessly. How wonderful when it all comes together like that.

  2. Well done, Rosanne, for writing the poem and winning the award.

    And you're so right about every bit of writing improving one's skills.

  3. Congratulations Rosanne. Nothing like a boost to the spirits.
    In one of thos bizarre coincidences you like, just after I read your golden egg award post I found a golden book my daughter had asked about the other day from her childhood called the Golden Egg Book. I hadn't been able to find it previously.

  4. It's a great poem actually, however long it took.