tetelestai

by Michael Virga
The Writer's Block
Highly Commended, April 2010
Judged by Fiona Sampson


It has been
polished off
completely

by the greatest
of artists:

“Mother, see
how I make all things
new again.”

The last time
like the first

the first
not unlike the last.

Drifted in on wood
(infant imprint in the hay)
stayed with the wood
working it for sustenance
(the name “Jesus of Nazareth” & the date
carved in the lid of an oaken chest)
then sustained the wood
a larger-than-life easel displayed
the abstracted remains.

The unveiling
reveals it is
without a doubt
a commission
perfectedly
accomplished
in full.

See now how He renders
the tomb vacant as the manger.
His way with light
makes the definition of space

no longer an open & closed form
framed as drafted bookendings
to encompass the stories
bound from flesh into stone.

It is the tree
that is finished
from the root up.


Highly commended for its lineation which perfectly catches a certain speech-rhythm; and for the clean, contemporary diction with which it re-articulates, in a totally fresh way, Christian mysticism. --Fiona Sampson

  • December 2020 Winners

    • First Place

      Avaricious
      by Judy Kaber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      To James Bulger, aged 2, murdered February 1993
      by two boys aged 10 in Liverpool, England
      by Christopher T. George
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      Third Place

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  • November 2020 Winners

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      Second Place

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      by Bob Bradshaw
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      Third Place

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      by Ken Ashworth
      The Writer's Block