Co. Down

Ross Thompson, Bangor

Great energy to this poem, eerie and interesting with a use of unusual language. The judges loved the line, “the moon appeared to ripple as if reflected/ in a bucket…”, they felt like this exploded in the middle of the poem.


Arcing through a silent ocean

of infinite stars refracted upon infinite stars,

hundreds of miles above the earth,

you gazed through a feathered window,


past the lens blinking back at you.

With one eye closed, you rolled the moon

like a gleaming dime, back and forth

between your finger and thumb.


Slowly, breath by breath, it grew in size

until it filled your encircled fingers

like the bulb of a torch, then burned as brightly

as the magnesium ribbon you once lit


during that fateful Chemistry lesson last period,

Wednesday afternoon, twenty years before.

The moon appeared to ripple, as if reflected

in a bucket, then pulsed with the surge


of a million kettles, match point,

Wimbledon final, height of summer.

There were record temperatures that year.

Now your face graces a neat set

of commemorative stamps

while your darling wife tosses and turns

in half a bed, her pillow wet. In her dreams

a tiny silver speck

still pirouettes

through the black.