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Fourth Prize, Bridport Prize Competition, 1997

published in the Bridport Prize Anthology, 1997 


Time and Place


The map shows an old aerodrome a few

miles to the north—that must have been the one—

and the shoreline’s as he described it; so

is the village.   Is this quaint or what?   His claim


that it all looked a little like New England

is understandable: timber houses, small grey waves

tripping over themselves, and the grating sound

of shuffled shingle are all familiar.   It gives


her that craziest of ideas, the one of having been

here before—as if knowledge of a place

could be inherited—and, standing in the lane

outside the boarded-up pub, she can share space,


though not time, with a fresh-faced G.I. in his swank

new officer’s uniform and an adoring Suffolk girl,

sees a brief slice of light and hears the clink

of glasses and snatches of Glenn Miller that fall


out of the opening door.   She watches the young couple

leaving, arm in arm, and follows up the track

past that tall, weird house.   By the windmill

they light cigarettes, laugh as he tucks the pack


into her coat-front, then gently make each other dumb

with kisses.   From across the Meare half-a-dozen geese

give raucous calls, strain into the air and climb

ponderously, like overloaded bombers, heading east.


John Godfrey


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collection - "Replaying the Echo"
Rockingham Press

in anthology - "In the Company of Poets",
Hearing Eye

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