Nothing to Discuss

by Guy Kettelhack
About Poetry Forum
Second Place (tie), July 2009
Judged by George Szirtes


Dying people
sleep a lot.
In a way
it’s a relief. Death
sneaks in like
an incremental
thief, idly filches –

here a tittle –
there a jot – until
the scaffolding
that holds
life up cannot.
Fundaments
erode. Slowly,

as you sit there
watching core
and carapace
implode, you find
you’re glad
you aren’t made
to talk about it.

Babies sleep
a lot as well,
and so does
every cat.
Perhaps there’s
an analogy
in that. But

thinking at
this bedside,
now, feels like
unnecessary fuss.
There’s really
nothing
to discuss.


"Nothing to Discuss" seems plain to the point of bluntness at first. It sets out that way, determined to reject the fancy, but under cover it is building up a hoard of internal rhymes that act cumulatively so that when you come to the "fuss / discuss" end rhyme it hits you hard. Returning to the beginning from there helps appreciate the use of the scaffolding metaphor that mounts through two verses, before switching to the analogies of babies and cats. Poetry competitions are not necessarily the best way of judging poets or poetics: the simple straight stand-up poem that holds space with a certain clarity tends to make a strong impression. I liked the way the poem moved into that space. --George Szirtes

  • May 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      A Brief History of Rain
      by Antonia Clark
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Oklahoma
      by Dale Patterson
      The Writer's Block

      Third Place

      Driving Home From Santa Rosa
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Honorable Mention

      Trans-figuration
      by Guy Kettelhack
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Honorable Mention

      The Photograph
      by Jim Doss
      Wild Poetry Forum

  • April 2018 Winners

    • First Place

      (how to lose at) Kimberly’s Game
      by John Wilks
      The Write Idea

      Second Place

      A Legacy of Sorts
      by Paul A. Freeman
      The Write Idea

      Third Place

      Waiting for a bus at Armarnath Temple
      by Ieuan ap Hywel
      The Wriiter's Block