Poetry Competition 2016

Our thanks once again to all who submitted poetry to the competition for a place in Leanne O'Sullivan's workshop retreat, "Lining Our Thoughts." According to all the judges, the standard was extremely high therefore the final choice difficult.

The winning poet this year is Lisa de Jong (Dublin, Ireland) for her poem, "Lighthouse," about which Leanne says:

"I very much admire the atmosphere this poem creates through its technical achievement, it's use of rhyme and repetition and a wonderful rhythmic sway the writer brings to every line. But what impressed me very much is how the writer is able to marry that musicality with maturity and wisdom. She brings together past and present, myth and experience in a way that is immediate and intimate and incredibly moving. I look forward to meeting this writer in our workshop!"

Lighthouse by Lisa de Jong (Dublin, Ireland)
(Inspired by the Celtic myth of the Tower of Hercules Lighthouse, A Coruña, Galicia, Spain)
Men who build lighthouses know a lot about darkness.
Men who build lighthouses know the depths of the sea.
I once knew a man who built lighthouses and love
on rocks and waves around the coast of my country.
He knew the dark and the light and the strength of the sea.

I’ve been swimming through the dirt of the dark swampy waters
Immersed one day by the hand of Hercules.
From the Irish coast to north western Spain
He made me battle the whirlpools of the Celtic Sea.
I learned about the light and the dark and the holding of rocks
And about love and land and how to set myself free.

I now see a lighthouse and I’m close to the surface
Above murky greens and browns – once a home for me
And I’m swimming and swimming – up and up
For I know it is good and I know it is strong.
But the closer I get, the less I can see
Blinded by light that finds darkness within me.


Men who build lighthouses learn the meaning of darkness.
Men who build lighthouses read the waves of the sea.
Their work becomes a stillness in the midst of the ocean
Sacrificing safety for solitude at sea.
In the dark they build a light to guide boats home,
But each man needs a light to survive at sea.

Anam Cara Poetry Competition Short List: 2016

After the Flood

Adriadne's Sutra

The Battler

The Blathering Geese

But the Ark is More of a Covenant and Less of a Boat

The Boat

Cailleach

Changeling

Father Rising

I Am the Memory of All Things

Irish Myth

Landing Site

Lighthouse

Old Flames

Penelope

Red Alert

Selkie

Siren

Sisyphus Decides

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