2nd, Short Category 2006 - Jane Williams

Kate's Socks

I remember the special way you used your baby feet
to wriggle free from those two-inch-long pink woolen socks.

You'd scrape your tiny wiry toes persistently against your heel
peeling the limp sock down past your ankle, over the arched instep,
that bridge to a tender sole not yet familiar with unyielding rock.

One foot released, the rest was easy.

Now older you retain the serpent art
of casting off a skin,
slipping from the past.
Moving on.

Jane Williams

Judge's comments

The differing line lengths are used beautifully by the poet here. The detail packed into the longer, flowing early lines perfectly enact the outpouring of love in the parent’s reminiscing, while the second half of the poem creates a poignancy and perhaps a certain amount of mystery simply by shortening the lines and changing the pace. The language throughout is plain, but never prosey, and if "serpent art of casting off a skin" is excellent, "bridge to a tender sole" line is even better. A very close second.

Matt Merritt