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.



  • October 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      The Day of a Girl
      by John Riley
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Night Thoughts of a Mottled Songbird
      by Kenny A. Chaffin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      The Art of Not Being Descartes
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum

  • September 2017 Winners

    • First Place

      Rodent Ulcer
      by Jude Goodwin
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Wild Beasts
      by Bernard Henrie
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      The Two Windows of My Room
      by Sivakami Velliangiri
      The Waters

      Honorable Mention

      Giving Thanks
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum