Thursday 22 June 2017

'Hope in Verse' inspires many

Delighted by the quality of readers' entries in our Soul Burger competition, Madeleine Keane picks a winner

Madeleine Keane

Madeleine Keane

Plenty of poetry popped up in the competition we announced a couple of weeks ago. To celebrate the naissance of the first poetry pop-up shop in the world, we launched a search for "Hope in Verse".

Christina Reihill's Soul Burgers shop attracted many admirers during its brief but provocative tenure on Blackrock's main street. Children, teenagers and adults dropped in to write words of hope or despair, or both, on its walls.

Soul Burgers started life as a book in which Christina told her recovery story through an odyssey of verse, inspired by Dante. She got such a positive response to her work, which tells the difficult but ultimately worthwhile journey of the human experience, that she then brought it to the high street. To mark the pop-up shop popping its clogs, we launched a competition for a Soul Burger -- a verse offering hope -- in a maximum of 40 words with the word "can" included in the text (as a tribute to Soul Burgers' generous landlady Deryn Mackay, from Khan boutique) to be judged by me.

I was surprised and inspired by the quantity -- who knew there were so many aspiring poets out there -- but especially delighted by the quality. So many entrants understood the spirit of the competition and in a week when there wasn't a whole lot of joy in being a journalist , the lyric quality of the poetry, coupled with the spirit of hope implicit, lifted my heart -- these were, indeed, nourishing burgers for the soul.

It was a tough choice. But the best wine was kept until the end. The verse I finally settled on came in two minutes before the final deadline. Colm Ward's deceptively simple verse appealed to me on a number of levels. I loved it for the delicacy and loveliness of its imagery and the powerful echoes of Yeats' great late poem The Winding Stair. Above all, it stood out though as a winner for the way it encapsulates the potential joy and hope and beauty that life holds for all of us.

Congratulations to Colm, who wins €50 and five copies of Soul Burgers by Christina Reihill, and, as promised, publication on this page.

We dance,

like children,

like the wind,

like fairies of dust

in a shaft of sunlight;

we dance

because we can,

and because we must.

www.soul-burgers.com

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