Poem of the Week: ‘Black Bodies’ by Debbie Obak

3rd Place
‘Grandpa Pie’ by Sally Roberts

A grandpa lay upon his bed,
He longed to rest his weary head.
His shoulders ached, his feet were tired,
His back showed a hunch it had acquired.
So when he slipped into the night,
He went with peace and not with fright.

A mother stepped into the room,
She sensed it had a certain gloom.
She saw that he had gone to rest,
And told her son what she thought best:

“Grandpa’s gone into the sky,
It took him weeks to learn to fly.
I know you’ll miss him, I will too,
It’s just something he had to do.”

The boy sat down and began to think,
His forehead wrinkled and his ears grew pink.
When had Grandpa gone and why?
He hadn’t even said goodbye.

“He can’t have gone here is his hat!
I’m sure he would have thought of that.
I bet it’s awfully cold up there,
And Grandpa hasn’t any hair.

He must be here these are his shoes!
They’re not something he would lose.
Where has Grandpa gone and why?
I don’t believe he’s in the sky.”

The mother sighed and shook her head,
She rather wished he’d go to bed.
For how on earth could she explain
That he would not return again?

So she did what mothers like her do,
And made an apple pie for two.
Cutting little crosses round the edge,
She placed the pie upon the ledge.

When the boy came down for tea,
He looked at the pudding quizzically.
“Why do you cross it in this way?”
The mother smiled and began to say:
“That’s what Grandpa used to do,
And what he did I do too.
He made the way I run and walk,
The way I sing, the way I talk.”

“I knew I was right, and you were wrong!
Grandpa isn’t really gone.
You said that he was in the sky,
But Grandpa’s here – he’s in this pie!”

BIO: I am in my third year of studying English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. My favourite poets are Alfred Lord Tennyson and Edward Lear.

2nd Place
‘Black Butterflies’ by E.J. Simeon

Black butterfly swings in the meadow,
Harpies screech loud for their lost ones, and blooded tears are shed.
Specs of diamond dust drop onto Neptune’s sea,
And Dionysus laughs with ecstasy.
Black butterflies flutter in the meadow,
The mothers cry with blooded hands for their lost ones.
The earth opens and is fed deeply.
The petrified faces freeze in the presence of the Nephilim.
Black butterfly dance in the wind in the meadow,
Faces becomes clearer and the stench of death is nigh.
Life drained only from those with no blood stained hands and passes over.
Black butterfly flutters on the skin in the meadow,
The white moths eat away the land and claims it their own.
The clear diamond eyes and gold plated necks are ripped from the owners and are replaced with copper nailed chains, and poison to the veins.
Black butterfly erupts in the lonely dark meadow.
The once filled room of the Olympians becomes a grey shade of hades.
Skins spread across the lands, and withers from the gas to their lungs.
A seed is left alone, ripped from its oak lake throne. Despair fills their heart and is wrapped in chains like the shackles around their ankles. Growth is bound to be tainted like poison ivy.
The land cries for its sinners as Silvanus hides away from the view of Demeter.
It has fed on the blood of the owners by force, but liked it. The soil grows no more, and wonders the earth for seven times seven.
Black butterfly sings in the meadow.
Black butterflies dies in the meadow.
The wings grow no more.
The sirens cry as they see them walk on the barren land, with crimson hands and a Cheshire smile; across the blood stained doors.

BIO: I am a recent computing graduate from London who has been writing poetry since I was around 15 years old.

1st Place
‘Black Bodies’ by Debbie Obak

in cells. face down
on concrete floors
not one phone call, not one visit
hoods up
6 shots. 9 shots. choked
“I can’t breathe”
or
“please don’t shoot”

Our skin should not be a burden.

on boats. ships
thrown overboard. drowned
to the bottom of the ocean
in front of white eyes
that look the other way

Our skin is not a burden

empty stomachs.
ropes engulfing throats
watch them hang
washed up on shores

“If I die in police custody I did not commit suicide”.

BIO: I am an 18 year old female and I am currently in Sixth Form (in my final year) and writing is what I enjoy doing. Writing in the form of poetry is currently the easiest way for me to express what I or the character that I have created is feeling. At Sixth Form I study Creative writing, media studies and English literature and hope to go on to study journalism at university.

Cultured Vultures Poem of the Week

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