"Skirret"- The WINNER of the TORCH Poetry Competition!


I’m going to have it up, the farmer says,

A close-up of a person's hands. They are holding several potatoes that are covered in mud from the ground.

as we walk by; he holds out to us

a clump of thin, pale roots. A Tudor crop,

self-seeding through the centuries

and hard to shift, even with a

modern tractor plough. Food for

adulterers, they say - he gives Ed,

not me, a sly wink.

Tossing his example to the hedge,

he climbs back up and we walk on.



In bed that night, I think of the dogged crop:

whose hands had tended it there? Its persistence

near-sacrificial, that pepperiness

receding like an echo to the verges

while the potato’s crude, bland ball

dominates the field. I picture

where it rests, by the hedge, its

pale flowers closed again in moonlight,

those little roots steady in the warm earth

its patience purposeful, like an old love.