The Writers Bureau Short Story Competition 2019
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3rd Prize – J Rochford with:


For all of this monochromatic day
rain has cantered along roads
fuelled by mean, unfettered gusts.

Rubbish caught in hedges flutters,
leaf-clogged runnels
moat astonished gutters;

The sky is dark as sloes
as evening settles.
Damp has seeped inside my clothes,

soaked my dog’s thin coat,
but we keep on walking,
dodging the purge of worms

flushed from the verge,
the viscous slime of bird-droppings.
This wind is incontestable –

it will have its way with me,
tugs at the peak of my sodden cap,
tweaks my collar spitefully

against my rain-pricked cheeks.
The landscape weeps,
colluding with my own depression;

a distant figure marks the limit
of my vision, as if defining
the saturated edge of living.

Critique by Competition Adjudicator, Alison Chisholm

gains third place for its clever conjuring of atmosphere to demonstrate the dreariness of wind and rain on a dull evening, and match it with the narrator’s mood. The tightly controlled tercets reinforce the idea that the character is keeping a tight grip on life, a determination to hold things together.

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