Winners 2009

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Emma Jourdan (Commended)

St Paul’s Girls’ School, London


Clinicians must also acknowledge that the lack of definition or integrated identity, or
the inability to have authentic relationships, is negatively correlated to psychological

The problem is none of this adds up to much.

Figure one: black-and-blue dancing,
breathing like there’s nothing inside you,
limbs clinging, clutching the boy
who happens to be there and kissing,
or trying to, pulling back, lifting a hand
to stroke your own soft safety-net hair,
rolling it right down your tight, frightened neck.

Figure two: years and years of waking,
freezing, at two in the morning,
eyes very green but smeared with sleep,
and somebody being there next to you,
all running water and blown-back sails,
moving a hand side to side on your arm
and lips like lamplight, whispering.

Figure three: a girl in a rat-fur dress,
copper in sunlight, burning, pale,
not to be touched.
Who sets you off breaking,
and your skin blind, fumbling, muttering
and arching itself round your mouth and eyes
till you can’t even walk in a straight line.

Evaluation: you begin to suspect
that your tests are unscientific.
That you are asking the wrong questions.
You begin to hear, somewhere in the distance,
the moon, or a bird, repetitively moaning
a shifting half-familiar song.

Project Details

  • Date February 4, 2015
  • Tags 2009 Doubt - Winning Poems