Poetry Rivals 2016

Taking poetry from the page to the stage!

The Optimist

All he wanted was a little square.
3,000 feet of fertile air
And the whole of the cut – glass, Fenland sky -
Just for a bit, until he died.
The moon sang on
Those full-bodied nights they shared and
Reeling him to hedgerows cut with swords
She said how he could change the world.
For if this land was a woman, she said,
You two could bear the sweetest fruits upon the Earth, and knows the words
This land is yours, this land is ours
All rag and bone they lay, unswept;
A stinging salt dipped itch between
The land and sea; depressed by the tsunami sky that
Sucks you up, you shingle left – for they have
Pulled The Plug on life, compressed our bones with fishing nets.
But the world is ripping out of its seams, the trees are coming back to us, splitting
Pavements over town and showing girls
With couch-lock frowns
Their hunchbacked roots.
Like zombies rising from the grave they break their concrete chains and say,
This land is ours, this land is ours.
All wage and war they cried, bereft, a
Herd within its grid between
Their land and death – but somehow less -
For they have signed Progression’s lines,
Compressed our bones for cattle flesh.
Tired of living in a long dark corridor, he said
He longed to be outside, to feel the beating heart behind
The pillared gates, – reclaim the sand
That give the city spires reach -
A fickle beach is this old town
When money sings it’s pretty round.
For if this city was a woman, he said,
She would be mean and she’d be vain and we would
Sweat and long to say,
This land is ours, this land is yours.

Poppy Kleiser