Winter 2009 Poetry Competition Second Prize


Handle With Care

by Roger Elkin


Awaiting our doom in the cold and the half-light,

we tousle-headed ranks implore you to treat us with care:

for though we know we may have taken more than our share

of land, of money and even someone else's sun and light

we believe there's no need to take our heads.


So treat us gently, giving us food and drink, and even

a spare penny or two to make our days more pleasant

before death. And, more than anything, we beg you

do not hang us up to die.


Please treat us gently. For we think a severed head

serves no purpose, has no use except as in Salome's days

to adorn a table; and, in any case, the lime which you use

to destroy finally our executed glory has been put quietly away.


So treat us carefully. Gently handle and save our heads –

for till the long snows have gone, there will be no more

garden-blooms after we last few chrysanthemums.

 ©2009 Roger Elkin

Roger would love to hear what you think of his poem - email him now

Back to Poetry Competition