A Runner-Up of the 2010 Stanza Poetry Competition on the theme of 'Elsewhere', judged by Sheenagh Pugh. D A Prince on her poem: "Many of my recent poems have been exploring 'here' and 'there' so I was drawn immediately to the theme of 'elsewhere'. I'd been thinking about people who disappear, not for any sinister reason, but who just lose touch - and the effects on those who love them: unanswered questions, and how haunting they are. Here was my starting point. As the poem emerged through its various drafts I realised how this pattern runs deep in most families, and how long the questions last." Sheenagh Pugh on the poem: "I hesitated about my liking for 'Jack' because I am conscious that it has personal resonance for me; my family has more than its fair share of people who disappeared, one way or another, from the ken of their relatives. But this wry, rueful, sometimes tender account of the world's lost boys is acutely observed and realised in lively, well-chosen language, while its end, speaking (as if it were a reality) of the constant hope of those they leave behind that 'they will swagger back one day', is movingly effective; it deserves its place."

Jack

by D A Prince

Every family has one somewhere on the tree,
slipping out late with a cardboard suitcase,
enough to pay his passage. Or slamming out,
cracking the plaster, waking neighbours
who keep silence, knowing their own.
Or one-day-doesn’t-come-in, and his girl
eyeing the calendar. Not great writers
the raw-skinned terraced lads. They know enough
not to look back: at the one photograph,
a musty wardrobe, the narrow bed.
Never buying a stamp for a postcard –
Statue of Liberty, or the Chicago skyline,
they leave all points of the compass possible.
Good with horses is how they’re remembered,
handy with a hammer. Their names come up
at Christmas, or as birthdays mount,
or in dreams where they never age.
The elsewhere of them is the one constant
among deaths and births; with no date to mourn
they will swagger back one day, bigger than life,
a knock on the door to complete the circle.

The Poetry Society was founded in 1909 to promote “a more general recognition and appreciation of poetry”.  Since then, it has grown into one of Britain’s most dynamic arts organisations, representing British poetry both nationally and internationally.  Today it has more than 4000 members worldwide and publishes The Poetry Review.

With innovative education and commissioning programmes and a packed calendar of performances, readings and competitions, The Poetry Society champions poetry for all ages.

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