Beyond Repair

by Gerry Callaghan
The Write Idea
Second Place, November 2014
Judged by Philip Belcher


It could be fixed if it were just a crack,
but there’s a crack in the crack.
It’s through to the laths,
into the brickwork, I’d venture.
Have you had any bees?

It’s quite dire; maybe a year
before it’s into the framing.
And look at the oriel; that’s a sign,
a hairline in the corbel.
Given time it’ll be gaping.

I’d do my best; I’m a dab hand
at papier-mâché, though
I’ve seen how these things go.
You pay and you pay and the whole place
comes down the next thing you know.

If it were me, I’d set to packing,
try life in a tree,
though prone to cracks cracking,
or a pond–fishes in packs,
no fissures in cracks.


The most obvious and fun element of this poem is the word play. Rhyme and repetition and other musical elements combine to add humor to what should be a sad architectural diagnosis. The element I want to focus on, however, is the use of the specific architectural terms “oriel” and “corbel.” The fact that I had to use a dictionary to understand the words did not diminish my enjoyment of their use in the second stanza. Using technical terms or “terms of art” in a poem, when done unobtrusively, adds a sense of confidence in the speaker’s voice, and that is what this poet has done. --Philip Belcher

  • July 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      The First Time I Drank With My Father
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Waters

      Second Place

      My Bicycle
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      J. Alfred Prufrock Searches for Mrs. Right
      by Laurie Byro
      Babilu

  • June 2018 Winners

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      Poem in Exile in the Style of Neruda
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block

      Second Place

      Either February or March
      by Brenda Morisse
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      Accidental Writer
      by Bernard Hamel
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Honorable Mention

      Mouse in April’s Winter
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      Sister Valeria
      by Siva Ramanathan
      The Writer's Block

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      My Trip: The Last Siona Dream
      by Don Schaeffer
      Babilu