Winner of the Hamish Canham Prize 2017. A winner of the Members' Poems competition in the Winter 2016 issue of Poetry News. The competition, on the theme of 'Getting out', was judged by Anna Woodford.

‘My name is Legion: for we are many’

by Ramona Herdman

My favourite miracle – the casting out
of devils from the cut and howling man
who lived in tombs above the town.

It cast them into swine, a panicking that sped
the herd to drown themselves like lightning
in the sea. I feel for the townspeople,

the lawful, who thought the madman unbearable trouble
until they saw the miracle – and then
begged the saint (on their knees) to go, godspeed,

even gave him a boat.
                                   Then had to eat the pork,
fished out, boiled down to brawn, for lack.

Had to watch each other, in fear,
for symptoms of contagion.
I think of them when I visit your stink.

When I reach in bare-armed to pull you from your bed.
When I suggest sunlight. When clearing up.
When I talk in a voice even I hate, of hope.


(New Testament, Mark 5:1-20)

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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