Winners 2005: First prize

Eleanor Williams (Winner)

The Lady Eleanor Holles School, Hampton, Middlesex


Tuesday is a grey day. A mathematician’s day
with my tea a brown circle and sugar a hundred quick squares.
I was thinking, “Tuesdays are heavier on the eyes,” and
“I fully expect the paperclip was invented on a Tuesday”.
I looked up to find you looking in, smudged double in coffee shop glass.
I looked up to find you
and gravity


Which, frankly, caused a whole lot of bother.
Spaniels’ eartips started to rise, suburban kerbside peeled to the skies
I now realise. Across the river,
twelve lords a-leapt up from woolsacks and smacked Westminster ceilings,
flapping manifestos in pidgin pigeon and
a banker from Scarborough hangs on a gilt candelabra
newly lodged on the top of
the world; lovers zoom up hotel chimneys, besotted besooted, their
blankets twirled
about a pate-bald vicar hugging his pulpit in a village north of Slough
who is thinking now of angels bouncing from temple tops into chalkpits.
A cat in a viola case hovers over Canary Wharf;
In bemused bovine elation, a cow whooshes over Vauxhall Station
mooing en route, mid jump to the moon
(and the satellite dish ran off with my greasy teaspoon).
Landmasses slip, continents drip off horizons and pinwheel to the stars
while Atlantic and Pacific
(specific) stand up in crab-bristled fingers to graze the sun and the birds

and blobs of tea run up my face and play cointricks across my eyelashes
and coins thread out of parking meters in blinking oooooooooooo asteroids
and suddenly I know that the Universe hums on an oiled B ♭ minor
and that when clouds wash out and curdle in weirs
the sky tastes of cinnamon and tonic water.

Improvising on Relativity
tenses sprung out of kilter and out of use.
Tongueless, Newton sings a lullaby and elegy to the tune of a twisted gingham

Gravity was stopped.

Or rather: diverted.
It was quickly asserted when you didn’t turn round.

I’ll fall back to ground.