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2nd prize - 2015

Photograph of Frances Corkey Thompson

Frances Corkey Thompson has a Poetry MA with Distinction from Exeter University. Her work has won prizes, and appears in many magazines and anthologies, including Oxford Poets 2007 (Carcanet) and Four in the Morning, (Soaring Penguin Press). Her chapbook, The Long Acre, was published by Happenstance Press in 2008.

Her latest collection, Wild Gooseberries of Hailung, from Indigo Dreams, 2015, deals with her recent visits to China in search of places where her father lived and worked as a missionary during the 1930s. Soon after its publication it was voted Book of the Month by The Poetry Kit. Indigo Dreams has entered it for the TS Eliot Prize.

Frances was born in Ireland and lives in Devon, England. She began to publish her poetry after many years as a teacher and lecturer, in Ireland, Tunisia, London and Devon. She speaks several languages, enjoys travel, and is a practising grandmother.

Freesia by Frances Corkey Thompson

We were a bunch, most of us tight-budded.
Her nose tickled our folded faces.

Daylight cycled and left us.
In the hot room we awoke and laboured

to cast our gentle breath over the sleepers.
At first light he rose and left.

She stayed though. Slowly she gathered
our splayed and shedding blooms

back into complicated cellophane, a package
which she laid to rest in the waste-bin

but she’d picked me out, laid me in tissue,
folded me between pages.

I am a flat white wand now,
almost transparent, slipping from her book.

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