Many congratulations go to Year 13 student Alice West who has won the prestigious T S Eliot Poetry Prize for her wonderful poem Deep Lane.
Deep Lane by Alice West
I wrote a letter this morning
to Chasm, Back Garden, and childishly dreamed
it rode into the core of Earth’s palpitations where I could see it no longer.
The hole, eight inches wide, still stands
among other newer vessels, the pulse of the heart in my chest.
I never knew where it led –
And once we brandished a twig
to probe, I suppose in curiosity
(I have always been determinedly curious,
popping questions like grapes swallowed whole).
There was always something and nothing in the hole
and when it stirred I would shriek and run into the house,
insides leaping to dizziness, cascading –
I remember making my own decrepit tunnels in sand dunes, running
my hands through the crumbling channels,
and later eating sandwiches with feet buried.
My mother said I was a nightmare
as she scrubbed my scalp bleeding brown, after I learnt
that chasing rabbits down rabbit holes
belongs only in stories.
I still remember the taste, wet grit beneath bitten fingernails,
wide eyes gazing into midnight earth, lost inside the grins without a face
who never knew why rabbit’s hollow was so impenetrably real,
and always dreamed of where it might lead.