Alice wins T S Eliot Poetry Prize

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.


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