Hennessy New Irish Writing winning poems: February 2017

This month’s winner is Sinéad Griffin

Sinéad Griffin is winner of this month’s Hennessy New Irish Writing poetry competition.

Sinéad Griffin is winner of this month’s Hennessy New Irish Writing poetry competition.


A view of Vaucluse

From the cocoon of winter’s kitchen,

Wrap my hands around the Le Crueset pot,

Stealing heat. Dig for earth colours,

Goulash of carrot, beef, tomato

Turn ochre, umber, sienna. Summer

Opens reliable skies with wide

Possibilities of light. Sunshine fires

Stone, gilds the perched village of Gordes.

We stand on a balcony of gold,

Overlook the plains of Cavaillon,

Bunched olive groves, a braided scalp of vines,

Weave green to the bedrock of the Luberon.

I slow the wind

I am coastguard, dunemaker, hideout,

I stand stiff and sharp, look resilient.

A stalk of marram grass, I bear the seasons.

Desiccated, buried, I hold my resolve,

Watch my stock grow tall. Cast a blanket of roots,

Bind shifting sands to hold us together.

Eyes of the foredune, I scan every change,

Gilt of sun on water, spume of algal bloom,

I read the drift lines, the suck and pull of tides.

Face a sea that would swamp me to advance.

Listen to the Cheese

In Modena, they heed the aging process,

No short cuts, just the slow passing of time.

Carlo, 50 years a cheesemaker –

Parmigiano reggiano – hauls a wheel

Onto a wooden block, taps around the crust.

Hammers in specific places, ear cocked,

Carlo doesn’t speak: he listens to the cheese.

At the timbre of the density that sounds

Maturity, Carlo nods his peaked cap,

Only then can the art of cutting commence.

Parmesan crumbles the colour of wheat,

It tastes of memories and flowers,

Eight centuries with hints of grass.

Notes in Hopes Envelope

Each girl is a line

Her mark in time

Scripted in Biro

Red, green, black, blue

Classroom scribblers

Study Hall scribes

Each word curved

By a four button Bic

On torn off corners

From backs of journals

An origami of dreams

Sent fist to fist

In hopes envelope

These dawdling days

You own even chance

And haven’t yet

Disappointed yourself

Sinéad Griffin was runner-up in the Reclaim the Vision of 1916 Poetry competition. She lives in Dublin with her family.