A runner up poem in the 2021 Stanza Poetry Competition on the theme of Choice, judged by Katrina Naomi

Outsider

by Liz McPherson

After Adam Zagajewski

Between meetings, spreadsheet and phonecalls,
her day passes. And half a life spent in the same village.
Soon it will be more than half. She walks in woodland
where peace breathes through shafts of sunshine.
Sometimes the dog brings squirrels as a blessing
or an apology – once it was a faun he laid at her feet.

As she walks, scraps of the past catch at her sleeve,
fragments of time slowly rubbed away till it loses its shape,
folds into itself. But sometimes it speaks in the
chink of chisel on rock, the drill of the woodpecker,
the beat of horses’ hooves on the track, the jingle
of a harness, stone-laughter in the stream after a storm.

Ravens fluster on pylons, caught like rags till the wind
lifts them over the drystone wall into another field.
In the valley the old roads tangle with new
and not all those ways belong to her. She is a child
of words, ideas and dreams but still she hears
the city’s dull drone over the tops of the trees.

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 5,000 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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Really pleased to announce the line up for the November Poets Directory Live! @PoetrySociety Virtual Stanza event with readings from @KDonnelly79 @nikkidudley20 @InuaEllams @EllaFrears & @AMcMillanPoet - info about tickets etc coming soon! Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Poetry Ireland is deeply saddened by the deaths of two of Ireland's great poets, Máire Mhac an tSaoi and Brendan Kennelly. Their beautiful words and works have touched so many people's lives. Our thoughts and sympathies are with their families and friends. Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Our friends @NineArchesPress @WritingWestMids are running The Poetry Toolkit Conference to discuss, debate & celebrate poetry and publishing in the Midlands on Sat 30 Oct. It will be a great opportunity to meet, share & network. Grab your free ticket here eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-poetry-t…

test Twitter Media - Our friends @NineArchesPress @WritingWestMids are running The Poetry Toolkit Conference to discuss, debate & celebrate poetry and publishing in the Midlands on Sat 30 Oct. It will be a great opportunity to meet, share & network. Grab your free ticket here https://t.co/C4Zui9t8EN https://t.co/gAQVTQSXB2

Ends this Wednesday! Get 20% off a digital 1-year sub to #PoetryReview with @exacteditions using the code AUTUMNSPECIAL20 and receive the latest Autumn issue plus modern archive of 31 issues bit.ly/digipoetryrevi…

test Twitter Media - Ends this Wednesday! Get 20% off a digital 1-year sub to #PoetryReview with @exacteditions using the code AUTUMNSPECIAL20 and receive the latest Autumn issue plus modern archive of 31 issues https://t.co/jo7UMwzrqj https://t.co/Dip4aMHlAm

Brendan Kennelly published dozens of celebrated poetry collections over the course of several decades, which captured the many shades and moods of his homeland as well as his adopted Dublin home (via @IrishTimesCultr) irishtimes.com/news/education… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

In a new article, go 'In Front of the Poem' with @seanehewitt who responds to Romeo Oriogun’s @SonOfOlokun poem 'From Darkness Into Light’ which featured in the #PoetryReview Summer issue bit.ly/FrontPoemHewit….

test Twitter Media - In a new article, go 'In Front of the Poem' with @seanehewitt who responds to Romeo Oriogun’s @SonOfOlokun poem 'From Darkness Into Light’ which featured in the #PoetryReview Summer issue https://t.co/VS0hkFZKYm. https://t.co/3P1twL5UFV
test Twitter Media - In a new article, go 'In Front of the Poem' with @seanehewitt who responds to Romeo Oriogun’s @SonOfOlokun poem 'From Darkness Into Light’ which featured in the #PoetryReview Summer issue https://t.co/VS0hkFZKYm. https://t.co/3P1twL5UFV

Join our team! We're looking for a new Sales & Marketing Coordinator, Trainee Café Manager, and Visitor Experience Assistant. Deadline 25 October. For more information and to apply, visit our website: wordsworth.org.uk/job-opportunit… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

We are back next week folks - Tuesday 26th - with more spoken word! Two fab guests - @EstelleHPrice and @OakAyling There is still room in the Zoom room, go here to book your seat and spread the words... eventbrite.co.uk/e/flight-of-th… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

🎉Book your tickets for Chris Beckett’s online workshop •The Poetry of Truth• Sun 7th Nov Explore the poet's dedication to Truth,using examples of Ethiopian poems about fakery&injustice to spark your own poems. 📣tickets are selling fast! Book now- poetryinaldeburgh.org/copy-of-worksh… Retweeted by The Poetry Society

Deeply saddened by the loss of two towering poets, Máire Mhac an tSaoi and Brendsn Kennelly. I see Brendan's poems widely shared so here is one of Máire's beautiful works as Gaeilge, with a translation. May both poets rest lightly. Retweeted by The Poetry Society