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WOMEN'S POETRY COMPETITION: RUNNER-UP PENNY BOXALL

Posted on December 16 2019

Our next runner-up is Penny Boxall with Advent. Malika describes this as 'both prayer and homage. Where couplets capture the interaction between a passenger and a cab driver. The mixture of plain precise language, and dialogue is elevated in the imagistic language in the final three lines. I was struck by the unusual amplification of an ordinary everyday event.'

  

Advent

 

God is behind the wheel. I’ve a bus to meet. 

It all depends, he says, on Providence –

 

roadworks. ‘You pray, I drive.’ We squeal

across the lanes. It doesn’t look promising:

 

pavements overspilling Christmas

shoppers; a jostling litter of traffic cones.

 

He asks me where I’m from. It’s tricky

to negotiate – I’ve left my job, months since

 

boxed up my life. No fixed address.

I name a town for something to say.

 

‘You’re studying?’ Again, I find that I agree.

‘It all depends,’ he says again: ‘you pray.’

 

I don’t know what it is I’m doing, but each potential

hold-up melts. The cab slips through impossible

 

traffic. It seems we have a special dispensation.

We pull up tidily, the bus not yet on the horizon.

 

‘God is great,’ he says. ‘Now out you get.’

He’s off, already collecting his next fare –

 

ghosting to the kerb in answer to her prayers,

every light ahead of them fluently converted.

 

 

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