Swanwick Poetry Competition 2023 - Winner

Brenda Hutchings

Oh I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside
Swanwick Poetry Competition 2023


Brenda's poem is the winning entry in the poetry category of the Swanwick Writers' Summer School Win Your Way to Swanwick Creative Writing Competition 2023, run in conjunction with Writing Magazine.

Oh I Do Like to be Beside the Seaside By Brenda Hutchings

Wrap me inside a golden sweet paper, the one that drools

with the taste of summer, or the bite of a juicy ripe plum

as it dribbles down my chin like brecciated marble

through the valleys and wrinkles of an overcooked suntan.

Let me crunch on a sherbet lemon or blackcurrant bonbon,

and let me lick the sticky, granules and sugar crystals

from lips kissed with passion fruit or smooched in coconut balm.

Twist me along the promenade in a babble of rag-time music,  

midst the menacing hawking from petulant, chip-stealing seagulls,

and fishy-warm air, rich with the tang of cockles and vinegar.  

Sit me on the top of a castle with sea bubbles tickling

between my toes, and salty-red sand sticking to shimmering pearls,

or diamonds, dripping through the layers of my sea-flushed ripples.  

Hold me in your outstretched hands until I melt,  

escaping through ice-cream fingers, or swimming

in a rock-pool of candy scented memories, drenched

in the skinny-dip of a silky, drunken midnight.  

Spin me in the whispering floss of succulent strawberries,

dipped in Jamaican-rum chocolate, or blood-orange liqueur,  

and I want to drown in the fragrant, lingering holiday of olive oil  

and sun-blushed tomatoes, vine leaves and blackberry wine,

relishing that Mackintosh moment when you tell me you love me.

I want to roll around your mouth like a vintage bingo ball,  

skittling over your garlic infused tongue, rampaging

through the mercurial, cavernous holes, peppered in the silver  

of your amalgam fillings until,

you startle me awake, damp with sweat from my frivolous stupor,  

rubbing crisp crustaceans from my eyes as you reach the crescendo

of your gargantuan snores, or the rumbling, tumbling vibrations

rising and falling in a Richter Scale snort, or a squealing

high-pitched fluffer-doodle, like the ones erupting

from the pinched end of a half-deflated balloon.

You are mummified. Tangled in a swathe of seaweed and samphire,

wrapped in the arcadian cloak of a postcard town.

And I turn my head and look at you and all I can say is -

‘Did you put the bins out?’



Judges Comments

The next-placed entries in the poetry category of the Win Your Way to Swanwick 2023 competition were:

• Second: Threadbare City by Martin Brown

• Third: Bill by Catrin Mascall