2nd, Short Category 2010 - Ama Bolton


Adagio for Honda and Cattle

Meeting them head-on in a narrow lane
we stop the bike to let them pass.
Switch off the engine. Lark-song. A bumble-bee.
Soft patter of hooves. The world moves at their pace.
They lurch and lumber lugging heavy bags,
swish flies and snatch at mouthfuls of grass.
Behind them the white-face bull,
all maleness and muscular grace,
sleek-suited, light on his feet,
swings his brown purse.



Judge's comment:

A wonderfully witty poem where the richness of sounds, the dense rhythms and the tightness of the shape perfectly enforces the observations. The opening line is tactfully knowing as the bike meets the bull ‘head-on’ and pauses in admiration. The ritual of man and machine allowing passage to the cattle and bull shows a richly creative world is in turn being created by the poet and the poem. The ending is funny and yet respectful.

Daljit Nagra