Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2023: Colours of Summer

The summer’s heat is on
white, hazy, sweaty, confused
in this land, washed by an ocean,
blue, yet boiling
and fenced in by a central mountain
green, yet burning.
This life we know goes on
as do the festivities
on the streets,
tarred, yet steamingly and blindingly white.

These streets,
unforgiving as they are,
are filled with colours
blue, green, yellow, red, white and black ribbons
sewn delicately to the lapels and frills
of masquerades, clowns and moko jumbies
and the feathers of the mas players, too
as they jump in their respective bands
from work
from the stresses of life
from the legacies of pain
passed on through generations.

The rain falls
unpredictably in this wet-dry, confused climatic season
and the revellers are unfazed
as the steam of the vaporised raindrops
rise between them.
The pitch is hot
but above, the rain is good relief
a good lavage for their seasonal sins.

The festivities end the following Tuesday
and the summer’s heat remains.
The streets are being cleaned,
baptised and renewed with the hoses and brooms
of street cleaners.
Life goes on.
The Earth forgives
but does not forget
the heat and pain
of this summer.

Poetry Archive Now Wordview 2023 Winners

Poetry Archive Now! was established in 2020 to enable us to gather recordings from a much wider pool of talented poets from the UK and ...

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Rol-J Williams

Rol-J Williams is a Biochemist with a deep passion for poetry and Caribbean literature, in particular. He is a panellist on the TV book review programme Page Turners Plus which airs in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, a member of the Caribbean Book Club, and he is currently working on an autobiographical collection of poems.

A special thank you to our WordView 2023 poets.

Here's what our PAN Wordview 2023 judges have to say about this year's competition. Robert Seatter, says "ever a joy and a privilege to co-judge the Poetry Archive Now annual competition, tapping into a pulse of thought and feeling from around the globe, condensed into intensely crafted poems. The entries came from all continents, covered myriad themes, spoke in different voices, but all shared a fundamental belief in the power of poetry to speak from the soul."

Courtney Conrad says "the poets who participated in this competition reminded us that poetry is a tool for change, a medium for reflection, and a source of inspiration. These poets have left an indelible mark on me and the world, and I can't wait to see how their words continue to shape our collective consciousness in the future."

Merrie Joy Williams says "The Poetry Archive is such an indispensable resource - the idea that a poem read in a poet’s own voice can outlast those seemingly endless moments tinkering until a poem feels right, or at least robust enough to convey a memory or insight - so exploring these entries was a privilege and joy. Selecting a final twenty was tortuous. So many captured the spirit of these times, when so many things are at risk of erosion or at a critical juncture: the environment, the misuse of AI, truthfulness, the modus operandi of those who run our countries, and issues of social justice and humanity. Others captured personal moments of reckoning in bold and intimate and surprising ways. Somehow we’ve managed to narrow them down and here we have, I think, a wide range of voices and approaches, personal and political, national and international, witty and wise, often proving that these dialectic notions are one and the same."

See the collectionWatch the full Wordview 2023 playlist