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2nd prize - 2016

Photograph of Alan Wickes

Alan Wickes' poetry has been published in over fifty print and on-line journals in the UK, America, and Australia. His work has appeared on both sides of the Atllantic, featuring in Aesthetica, Znine, Worm, Loch Raven Review, The Chimera, Envoi, The Raintown Review and Soundzine.

New York based Exot Books published Alan Wickes' chapbook, Prospero at Breakfast in 2007. A more substantial collection -voceti appeared in 2015 and is available in print through Amazon and as an ebook at Kindle store.

Headlands by Alan Wickes

Finistère means 'earth's end'.
Gulls cry,
sea, sky,
fractured rock,
all crave chaos.

Granite stacks,
obdurate, crumbling,
plunge dizzily into nothing

Sea fret
dank silence,
always the Atlantic surging close,
then distant.
Images of Ys
possess our dreams.
Awakening, we see traced in mist
cracked domes
broken colonnades.
Skulls of the drowned
glimpsed through seaweed.

Nothing exists beyond change.


The road becomes a stony track –
find solace in dilapidation,
wind-seared palms, a sun bleached shack.
The road becomes a stony track,
we reach a cove, then double back
through bleak garrigue and desolation.
The road becomes a stony track –
find solace in dilapidation.


Old transparencies: colours fade,
feeding false memory. Afraid,
beneath a dark promontory, a lone
boy plays among the staithes' splintered bones,
his red coat rusted, his blond hair greyed.

Everything decays. Clouds cascade
over whin-sill cliffs, spindrift's spray
mists the bay in sepia-tones.
Old transparencies

degrade. Our shabby masquerade
becomes a handy stock-in-trade;
opaque ceremonies condone
unquestioned myth, we crave the known;
though memory's musty scent pervades
old transparencies.

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