A Network of Writing and Community Publishers

Poetry Competition
'Living in 21st Century Yorkshire'

03 May 2012

The poetry competition was on the theme of


'Living in 21st Century Yorkshire.'


The winning poem was from Steve Ely (Wakefield) entitled 'Objective One.'

Objective One           

( First Prize)


Through the mists of an April dawn

a crowd flowed along Manvers Way, so many,

I had not thought the dole had undone so many,

sending them herded from the fuming valleys

of Dearne and Dove and Don and Rother

into the bus bays and car parks of Ventura,

Tesco and Next PLC, where they pour

from coaches, minicabs and cabriolets,

lighting cigarettes, adjusting iPODs,

pressing mobiles to their ears, striding out

in polished patent, pinstripes breaking

on the buckled instep, tailored skirts

and long coats flaring on the breeze.


Sixty thousand work here, in distribution,

call-centres, light industry and retail,

along the roundabouted blacktop

ribboning from Birdwell to Barnsdale,

the EU funded M1 to A1 link road,

Objective One, bringing light to parochial darkness,

access, investment, enterprise, jobs;

until sterling collapses, Kolkata undercuts

and the market-zeitgeist lurches,

retrenching capital in gold and gilts

and the provincia flips once more

to wrecking-ball brownfield-bombsite,

the full monty of dole and dereliction,

where brassed-off, hand-to-mouth yokels

are abandoned to dearth and absurdity,

their eh-bah-gum tutu dreams.


Once there were woods and open fields,

fens in the flatland, villages on the hill.

Bullheads in the millstream, polecats

in the warren; red kite, raven, white-tailed eagle,

over the wolf-prowled heath.  Danelaw sokeland,

assarted from the wildwood, torp in the langthwaite clays; 

the angelcynn muster at Ringstone Hill,

where three wapentakes meet; Oswald's manor

by the holy well - belltower, gatehouse,

carucates for geld. Here, beyond Whitwell

and the five boroughs, beyond Mercia's

clement mid-lands, we beat the bounds

at rogationtide from Bamburgh, Durham

and York; the dragon-prowed river, the waycross

on the roman road, hoar apple tree,

whit's Gospel Thorn, the tumulus on Askern Hill;

these are the roots that clutch, these the sprouting corpses,

these are the fragments, we shore up against our ruins.


by Steve Ely


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