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Image by Caroline Forbes

Five Years Trying to Win the Flower Show Vegetable Animal Class

Julia Bird


Five Years Trying to Win the Flower Show Vegetable Animal Class

Julia Bird


Poem introduction

As a child, I spent quite a lot of my time entering classes in the flower show that my town had every summer - I got quite competitive about it, about my placing.

Five Years Trying to Win the Flower Show Vegetable Animal Class

Five Years Trying to Win the Flower Show Vegetable Animal Class

Highly Commended : a large baking potato -
its shape already reminiscent of the humpback whale -
set on a plate, surrounded by cabbage
shredded from the centre of the head
where its waves are tightest.
Eyes for a blowhole, and also for eyes.

Highly Commended : a crocodile
in cucumber, sliced out wedge
for a gaping mouth, radish teeth and feet,
and winding down its curving spine,
a double crest of battlements, contrived
from cocktail sticks and arrowheads of swede.

Highly Commended : a glossy purple eggplant
as the body of a bird of paradise,
wings from tiers of rocket, mint and carrot tops,
comb from sprouting mustard seed and dill.
Beak a nutshell, tongue a nut,
side-dish of summer fruits, its song.

Third Place : the coconut gorilla.
A corn dolly armature whose stooky thighs
and sloping head are covered
in the cracked off shells of coconuts,
the pile of the coconut fibres
precisely matching the nap of gorilla pelt.

Highly Commended : an aquarium of fish.
Goldfish, guppies and angelfish whittled
from melons, peaches and artichokes.
Highly skilled engraving suggests drift and flurry,
fins and scales. A year's work wasted on the system
to blow bubbles fat as berries from their mouths.


from Hannah and the Monk (Salt, 2008), © Julia Bird 2008, used by permission of the author and the publisher.

Recordings

Julia Bird Reading from her poems

1Article of Faith

2Jim Fixed it For Me

3Time, Ladies, Please

4The World's Population Visits the Isle of Wight

5This Much is Almost Guaranteed

6Monoglutton

7White Horse

8Covent Garden

9Five Years Trying to Win the Flower Show Vegetable Animal Class

10As The Peacock

11Paper Stars

12From Crammond Beach

13Fire in a Crowded Theatre

14Your Grandfather Would Have Wanted You to Have This

15I Really Should Quit, But

16Opinion

17Magnetic Translation: poetry one one sex

18The Animals Went in Two by Two

19Next Door Girl

20Spiv

21Clip

22Hannah and the Monk

23Radio at Night

24What I Would Like is a Birdcage

25Dedication

26Souchong Sevenling

27Supersize Sevenling

28Orange Pips

29But They Wouldn't Want Us to Go Hungry

30Duet

31Pure Maths

32Breathing Pattern

33This Does Me for Snow

34The Preservation of Flowers

35To Be Shone on His Body

36Poppet

37Love Poem with Artemia Nyos

38Victoria Street Reel