Bo-Peep Tunnel

by David Phillips
criticalpoet.org
Honorable Mention, March 2008
Judged by Fleda Brown


Coarse roughneck navigators built Bo-Peep
to run the railway through to Hastings, west,
with sculptured portals hewn from sheep-specked hills.

Men gave their lives to progress through the chalk
but who can trust the glistening steam-blacked bricks
to celebrate the Irish hands who clamped
the rails to sleepers, oil-light springing shadows
over tunnel walls like Disney thieves?

And who can name the pair of Wicklow men
who bricked the tunnel wall one afternoon
and died that evening in a pointless brawl,
the Railway paying for their pauper graves?

No man is marked in any book, no worker
is remembered, but the collective noun,
a gang of navvies, lives in common tongue–
and a hill in Sussex honours men
who made a tunnel with a pretty name.



  • March 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      Noisy Mornings
      by Bob Bradshaw
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Daunted
      by Ieuan ap Hywel
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      To the Woman with the Likely Smile
      by Midnight Moon
      Wild Poetry Forum

  • February 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      Not a Poem of Crows
      by Ken Ashworth
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Resolution to Laugh More
      by F.H. Lee
      The Write Idea

      Third Place

      The Nowhere
      by Erwin Fernandez
      Wild Poetry Forum