Nan’s handbag – Devon poetry winner

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Have a read of Nan’s Handbag by Marcus Parnell from Paignton, which won the 2008 Devon Poetry competition organised by the Plough Arts Centre, Torrington


Nan’s handbag
Was an open house,
inviting little hands and little eyes.
Adjusting to the darkness and its source
a nose full of her Barley Sugars – atomised.
The hiding place of Crawfords and Peak Freans,
the studded Lincoln, sugar crusted Nice.
A leather barrel rolled in from a dream
A sack of joy where all were free to feast.

Handkerchiefs that fragranced us with safety.
the blunt, friendly ends of knitting needles.
A cotton reel, a British Rail diary.
The scent of warm milk before it curdles.

Far too heavy to carry in any weather,
Grandad was always threatening a trolley.
But somehow, Nan and that handbag
with their reassuring bulk,
held us all together.

Runners-up:
Downhill – David Birch from Tipton St John.
Midnight in the House of Clocks – Andrew Proudfoot from Plymouth.
Fallen angels – Tony Cloke from Sampford Courtenay.
Landscapes of the fall – Marion Glasscoe from Crediton.

Stay tuned for more winners from the competition.

• The People’s Republic of South Devon will soon be running a poem of the week, with a selection from the latest collection from the Moor Poets, Uncharted