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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Park (10/25/12)

TITLE: A Place to Rest
By Melanie Kerr


This is the council housing estate
where Edgeware Road meets
Southwall Close,
built in 1959,
just west of the A27 trunk road,
north of Whiteparish

These are the trees
the builders left standing
with strong limbs, deep roots
and thick, twisted trunks
climbed by four generations
of scruffy children

These were the carrier bags
of used disposable nappies,
and half empty beer cans
plundered by seagulls,
left like gutted bodies
spilling entrails

These are the flowers
Frank bought and planted
Too many for his garden,
he dug a border beside the path
A riot of red and a blaze of blue
And the fragrance of summer

These are the paving stones,
scraped of moss and
scoured of weeds
by Frank’s grandson, George
who was made redundant last month
and needed something to do

This is the rose bush
offered by Elsie
whose husband died last year
Creamy white flowers with pale pink hearts
and a sweet and spicy aroma,
resistant to blackspot and midlew

This is the bench
that had always been there,
now sanded down and re-painted forest green
by Gavin, who smokes too much.
He was watched by a ginger cat
scrupulously licking its paws

These are the spring bulbs
planted by the pupils
from Miss Garrick’s junior class
after a careful survey
of the insect life and
catching spiders in clear plastic cups

This is the tyre
strung from the branch of a tree,
spinning and swaying
Skinny arms and scrawny legs swinging
until the man from the council took it down
because of health and safety concerns

These are the cup cakes
baked by Amanda, aged six
with a little help from her mum
Eggs and flour,
butter and sugar carefully weighed.
Pink frosting generously shared with everyone

These are the Kendal sisters
who were the first to move in,
witnesses of the ebb and flow
of a nomadic community,
Hands together and eyes closed,
they pray for their neighbours

This is the community
laying claim to a few acres of wasteland
and creating a place to rest
They smile at the camera
as the man from the Whiteparish Gazette
takes a picture for the paper.

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This article has been read 661 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laura Hawbaker11/03/12
Excellent writing! I could just "see" the different phases and people you described. Good job!
Beth LaBuff 11/07/12
This is a beautiful tribute to a community coming together to benefit those who could never repay them. You took me to that "Place to Rest" and I am richer for visiting there.
Bea Edwards 11/07/12
Inventive use of the topic. I was a bit lost initially but as I read on my interest was piqued and the second read through illustrated the brilliance of your piece. Masterful poem!
Loren T. Lowery11/07/12
A peaceful refuge of a place made better by those who see beyond what it appears; and a tribute to those individuals who make it so.
Leola Ogle 11/08/12
Good job Melanie! Congrats!
Karen Pourbabaee 11/08/12
Congratulations on the win for your lovely poem about this "nomadic community" and their place of rest!!
Loren T. Lowery11/08/12
Congratulations, Melanie. I really liked this and glad to see its win!
Margaret Kearley 11/08/12
This is wonderful writing. I love its rhythm - almost like 'This is the house that Jack built'! Beautiful to read. Congratulations on your win.
Myrna Noyes11/08/12
I really like your style of writing here! Your wonderful mosaic of word pictures charmed me completely! CONGRATULATIONS on your E.C.! :)
Noel Mitaxa 11/08/12
This is a springboard for so many different emotions, and a well-deserved 3rd placing. Great work.
Charla Diehl 11/08/12
I was a bit thrown off at first because I thought that this was about a cemetery (because of the title). But after a second read it made perfect sense. Congrats on taking 5th place with this interesting poem.
Frankie Kemp 11/09/12
This feels like I am taking a stroll down the sidewalk and seeing through the eyes of the speaker of the poem. Nice imagery. Your words are the mind pictures--your words are the photos of the photographer. Nice.
Ellen Carr 11/09/12
I really like your poem. It's a really creative way of dealing with the topic. I felt as though I was being led around and shown the people and things. You painted the pictures very well with your words. Congratulations on your placing.