For months after the funeral they came
from all over and if we were not about
each left a simple offering at the house,
a bag of spuds set in the porch, no name,
a pheasant, plucked, from the road up the back,
a couple of mackerel, poteen, whiskey,
Madonna and child in a holy picture,
on the window sill, a tin with a big farm brack,
a whole cheese from away down the glen,
a pot of stew still warm on the doorstep.
Between these gifts there was no difference,
left foot or right we were all one in this,
ploughing our minds for hope in the face of death
we hurled prayers into the same sky, same earth.
“Offering is a graceful sonnet, beautifully wrought. Its tone is delicately drawn, resonating from the particularity of the doorstep offerings in the wake of a death in the house – spuds, mackerel, whiskey – towards larger questions of mortality and hope.”
Jo Shapcott and U.A. Fanthorpe judges comment, Academi Cardiff International Poetry Competition 2008 for ‘Offering’ which won Third Prize.