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Due to staff annual leave we are down one pair of hands until 29th July. Thank you for your patience!


Our next runner-up is Sarah Wimbush, who previously won the 2016 competition. Malika writes that The Ring is 'an evocative playful portrait of a person, culture and lifestyle. Each line of the verse paragraphs bursts with robust imagery and vocabulary, and it was delightful sounding out the words luxuriating in the onomatopoeia.'


The Ring


Imagine. Her hands snatching necks.

Shushi skins pinned into borrowed earth.

How she scrubs the gubbins from her garnet setting,

flogs the pelts to furriers for a bob or two.

That lift of soft fruit between her finger and thumb,

Peas. Beans. How she buffs the harnesses in readiness

for Thorne Horse Fair – the Romani and Irish on the flash,      

the open-lots and Burtons in a horseshoe around a yog -      

fiddlers, jigs on boards, the clack-clack of spoons,

Jowi Grey on the wind, then spudding at Serlby.


Watch her travel through fields, lanes, cobbled brooks:

posting rag-bills, hawking daffodils,

how she grips her lad’s hand as they do a runner

to wed at Tinsley Church. And always that sense

of moving as one. The sky a hard master –

drums snug as an owd pair o chokkas,

carting castings at Steel Peech and Tozer     

to Tickhill encampment hawking pots           

to the hubbub of Black Patch mid-winter      

to those wide flat hayfields around Misson Springs. 


How sometimes she only knows slack and air

and her wits - the atchin tans: Foundry Lane,

Great North Road, Gibbet Hill, Attercliffe.

No half-dead frills only her histories

and the seasons: the earlies, the hoe, wheat stooks,

mother’s calling basket, wintering-over,

rabbit skins parched to stiff tambours.

Imagine this ring - my grandmother’s ring.

Its Gypsy setting. Its golden eye burnished

with all the jib and ancients it has worn thin.

See, here on my finger. How it fits.



shushi rabbit;    ‘Gypsy setting’ similar to a bevel ring setting;    yog fire;   

Jowi Grey bacon and potato stew;   chokkas boots/shoes;  atchin tans stopping places



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