Cosmo Davenport-Hines Poetry Prize 2022 – joint runners-up

 
 
Jit Mun
MSc Early Intervention in Psychosis, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience
 
 
    New Year Moon
 

The luminous New Year moon
Ascends in empty moorlands instead of the red
and gold splendour of Banquet halls eight hours forward
or in the ice-white lights of my grandparents’ home,

their table cramped with bewitching dishes, stuffed chairs,
Neen Gou, Lo Baak Gou, wizened smiles springing with pride
but too blurry to gaze upon and they at last rip out
an intolerable Wail I cannot
suppress, as this stay was meant to be brief.

therefore this is a
                                   Liminal
                                                    place I’m not meant to be in -
I Declare, and my hoarse cry stomps against my sternum
then chains any chance to weave myself
into your geography where grey air is scarcely humid,
where sunbeams scarcely drizzle down

but Here dense swathes of sky clouded with
pepper spray no longer seize my flesh,
yet the knotted veins of my heart shoot &
sink into coastal wetlands, a branching organ of

Mangrove trees - swept across a city
fragrant with the ghostly sting of tear
gas clinging to the saltwater of the Harbour we’ve
fled moved from, and we flock
- We flock to white planes, each

Flight the 3rd exodus wave of a stifling force wedged between the
Snap-quick shift from crown, to party, both imperial, but one
Let go and watched the other dismantle

bit     by    damn     bit,

so we leave just to
Breathe.

and in the clear air of the moorlands I topple onto my back, fingers
stretched towards a crawling moon bereft of joy, waxing
shut once again. yet its saccharine glow lingers as I fail
to grip its damp cheeks, and I confess at last:

“I can never return.”

 

Neen Gou – New Year Cake (年糕)
Lo Baak Gou – Radish cake(蘿白糕)

 


 
Fintan Calpin
PhD in English, Arts & Humanities
 
 

    Brut Book

 

i.


After seeds
the squirrel
develops

a taste
for plastic
a Book

you carry
but don’t read
a freehold

sky blue
metres squared
it’s tempting

to make
a comparison
to hemispheres

Sussex coast
a sleeping giant
growing numbers

settled state
there never was
any space


it leads there
the Green Chapel
stroke

of New Year
leaf fall
presaged

the wounded
                       keel
in the direction
of their wounds

“I love football.”

 

Author’s note: the above is an extract from a work-in-progress, a long poem that haunts pastoral and narrative epic in a meditation on intertwined crises of fascism, climate disaster and social reproduction in the UK today. ‘Brut’ refers to medieval chronicles that recount the founding myths of Britain.

 

Cosmo Davenport-Hines Poetry Prize

About Cosmo Davenport-Hines Poetry Prize

The prize - open to all students at King’s College London - honours Cosmo, who died in June 2008 while still a student in the English Department at KCL. It seeks to remember his creativity and his love of words. The judges for the 2022 prize were Dr Luke Roberts, Professor Ruth Padel, and Dr Sarah Howe.