National Poetry Competition
Joint Second Prize

Josephine Haslam

I give you my wish; my half of the bird’s
fused clavicle picked clean of flesh. I give
you its winged thinness and its seed head curve
to stand for everything I own and love.
And though I want it most to be the one
that brings you back as surely as the bird
that turns for home, it isn’t that.
Nor is it the unearthed bone from Grimm
that speaks the truth and knows its provenance;
but only what we’ve taken from the supermarket hen
we cooked for lunch. Still, it’s this
they say will bring you all you long for.
But if that doesn’t happen, know that every bone I have
is for you a wishing bone and every wish,
for you, the best there is. And if
when it comes down to it and we’re all done
the bone is all that’s left, I’ll give you my tibia
and fibula, the femur, knuckle, pelvic girdle, skull,
this finger with its ring on, spine that holds me up,
every part in fact of the empty cage that’s held
the inner workings of the heart, the breathing lungs.

Josephine Haslam has been writing and publishing poetry since the ‘80s. In that time she has worked as a librarian, freelance artist and bibliotherapist. She studied fine art in Manchester and has published collections, pamphlets and poems in many leading poetry magazines, including The Rialto, The North, Stand, Ambit, Dreamcatcher, Envoi, Mslexia, Pennine Platform and New Writer. She has been successful in a number of poetry competitions, including The Plough, Yorkshire Open and the National Poetry Competition (commended, 2005). Her latest collection, Snow on the Kiso Road, is awaiting publication.

Read the other poems...

First Prize: ‘Robin In Flight’ by Paul Adrian
Joint Second Prize: ‘A History of Glassblowing’ by Matthew Sweeney

Commended Poems:
‘Visiting The Country of My Birth’ by Carmen Bugan
‘juju baby’ by Caroline Carver
‘Boy With A Knife’ by Vicki Feaver
‘The Sleep of Wasps’ by Giles Goodland
‘Joy’ by Ann Gray
‘Tonguesplay’ by David Thorley
'Stubble' by John Wedgwood Clarke

Email: Robyn Donaldson
Telephone: 020 7420 9880

Josephine HaslamJosephine Haslam