Highly Commended, Open Category 2006 - Margaret Eddershaw

This poem received a Highly Commended from judge Andy Brown. It appears (as when you come) in Margaret's chapbook Riding the Rainbow, a collection of 17 poems plus photographs sold in aid of Out of Africa, which is a charity that organises the sponsorship of children's education in Kenya, as well as funding clean water access, and other facilities. The charity is based in Dorset (www.outofafrika.org).

Riding the Rainbow is available from Margaret via e-mail or snail-mail at:  Fotomara 11, Nafplion, 21100, Greece.

My Sponsor's Visit

When you come
I say, Karibu from Mercy Wambui!
We sit spooning Mum’s groundnut soup.
Asante, I say, for good job you do
assisting me in school fees.
Mother’s happy you volunteer
so I can excel in life.

When you come
we walk by Thika’s river
climb together to Fourteen Falls.
You buy Maasai blanket to sleep in.
I ask why you help me,
you say, Service to mankind is
service to God.

When you come
I tell you my story
that father leave us
school is hard when I’m hungry.
You listen how rain don’t come
people we know die
because livestock become bone

When you come
Asante for ribbons and bookmark.
Not say Mum sell pens you send
no talk of goat you pay for die.
I fear if my school marks be bad
you no longer sponsor. But in photo
you have kind teacher look.

When you come
I appreciate golden opportunity
God gives me to speak in the face.
Tell you I think my mother afraid
you take me away from her
“to fulfil my ambitions”
and she have no help on farm.

But you never come, Mum say.
I think she right that I dream -
better that way. Dear sponsor,
may God enlarge borders for you.

Margaret Eddershaw

Judge's comments

A poem in an assumed persona, developing an unusual and poignant point of view, pulled off with style. An insightful and emotive poem without falling in to the trap of sentiment. Loved the playfulness of the language and the terrific ending. Throughout, the plaintive repetitions of ‘When you come’ becomes painfully hopeless, though rescued by the humour of the poems and, ultimately, its humanity.

Andy Brown