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TITLE
'Cuttings' 1st prize, Neil Gunn Writing Competition 2009
EXTERNAL ID
NG_2009_ADULT_POETRY_01
DATE OF RECORDING
2009
PERIOD
2000s
CREATOR
James Knox Whittet,
SOURCE
Highland Libraries
ASSET ID
90
KEYWORDS
poem
poems
literature
competition
competitions
writing competition
writing competitions
story
stories
audio

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'Cuttings' won first prize in the adult poetry section of the Neil Gunn Writing Competition, 2009. It was written by James Knox Whittet, from Norfolk.

To celebrate Homecoming Scotland 2009 the theme was 'Living with one another' part of a longer quote taken from Neil Gunn's novel 'The Serpent'.

Judges for the adult poetry section were Jon Miller, poet and principal teacher of English at Ullapool High School and James Robertson who writes both poetry and prose.

The Neil Gunn Writing Competition is organised by library staff from The Highland Council Education, Culture & Sport Service with support from the Neil Gunn Trust. It was first established in 1988.

CUTTINGS

A sort of cutting taken from one person and grafted on to the heart of another continues to carry on its existence even when the person from whom it had been detached has died. Marcel Proust

In the visible breath of early spring,
you'd sieve leaf mould
onto the potting shed bench:
sifting darkness and sunbeams

beneath the cracked skylight
where sycamores swayed
broken shadows of their limbs
in risen sea winds.

On the paraffin stove,
a pan of loam would steam
to sterilization: all impurities
transmuted into clouds

to darken the rafters and hang
globes of moisture in the embroidery
of the spider's loom.
Across the stone floor,

you'd leave records of your steps
in the crushed orange
of clay pots, making intricate
markings that would remain.

In the white dust of hormone
rooting powder, you'd dip the angled
cuttings of carnations and ring
each filled pot with grey leafed stems.

lowered into fingered hollows.
In tiny polythene tents, they'd sweat
until translucent tendrils of root took
hold as you took hold of my hand

in that tented ward where all footprints
were swabbed before they settled:
all traces of grief removed:
above you, panelled roof panes sealed.

Days later, I helped lower you
into frosted loam that steamed in
misted sunlight: the dressed cord leaving
angled markings on my soiled fingers.

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'Cuttings' 1st prize, Neil Gunn Writing Competition 2009

2000s

poem; poems; literature; competition; competitions; writing competition; writing competitions; story; stories; audio

Highland Libraries

Neil Gunn Writing Competition (audios)

'Cuttings' won first prize in the adult poetry section of the Neil Gunn Writing Competition, 2009. It was written by James Knox Whittet, from Norfolk.<br /> <br /> To celebrate Homecoming Scotland 2009 the theme was 'Living with one another' part of a longer quote taken from Neil Gunn's novel 'The Serpent'. <br /> <br /> Judges for the adult poetry section were Jon Miller, poet and principal teacher of English at Ullapool High School and James Robertson who writes both poetry and prose.<br /> <br /> The Neil Gunn Writing Competition is organised by library staff from The Highland Council Education, Culture & Sport Service with support from the Neil Gunn Trust. It was first established in 1988.<br /> <br /> CUTTINGS<br /> <br /> A sort of cutting taken from one person and grafted on to the heart of another continues to carry on its existence even when the person from whom it had been detached has died. Marcel Proust<br /> <br /> In the visible breath of early spring,<br /> you'd sieve leaf mould<br /> onto the potting shed bench:<br /> sifting darkness and sunbeams<br /> <br /> beneath the cracked skylight<br /> where sycamores swayed<br /> broken shadows of their limbs<br /> in risen sea winds.<br /> <br /> On the paraffin stove,<br /> a pan of loam would steam<br /> to sterilization: all impurities<br /> transmuted into clouds<br /> <br /> to darken the rafters and hang<br /> globes of moisture in the embroidery<br /> of the spider's loom.<br /> Across the stone floor,<br /> <br /> you'd leave records of your steps<br /> in the crushed orange<br /> of clay pots, making intricate<br /> markings that would remain.<br /> <br /> In the white dust of hormone<br /> rooting powder, you'd dip the angled<br /> cuttings of carnations and ring<br /> each filled pot with grey leafed stems.<br /> <br /> lowered into fingered hollows.<br /> In tiny polythene tents, they'd sweat<br /> until translucent tendrils of root took<br /> hold as you took hold of my hand<br /> <br /> in that tented ward where all footprints<br /> were swabbed before they settled:<br /> all traces of grief removed:<br /> above you, panelled roof panes sealed.<br /> <br /> Days later, I helped lower you<br /> into frosted loam that steamed in<br /> misted sunlight: the dressed cord leaving<br /> angled markings on my soiled fingers.