Back at the lake

The frozen water’s

perfect skin is flawed. An arm’s

length from the jetty


a jagged scar has

knitted up the wound I made

when I pushed you in.


© Helen Lewis 2010


Here’s a bit of background to this poem:

I wrote it for a poetry competition at The Write Idea. It was a multi-round competition. Each round we were given a different challenge, and we had one week to write and submit a poem. The challenge this particular week was to write a poem containing the word ‘jagged’. Straight away I saw an image of a frozen lake with a huge, jagged crack in the ice. I was travelling on business and I knew I wouldn’t have much time to write, so I decided to restrict myself to a short form.

I’d recently been experimenting with haiku, so I decided to see if I could shoehorn something worthwhile into seventeen syllables. I wanted the poem to tell a story, I wanted it to have at least one poetic feature other than just the syllable count (I plumped for personification), and I also wanted it to end with a bang. After a while I realised there was no way I was going to be able to achieve all of this in a single haiku, so I cheated and wrote two instead! I had to cheat a second time by using the title to add  information essential to the story.

I can’t remember how the poem fared in the competition, which probably means it didn’t win the round! I was pleased enough with it to submit it to Eclectic Flash (an online poetry magazine that was new at the time), and it was accepted for publication.

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