Organised by

Guernsey Literary Festival

Sponsored by


Supported by

Guernsey Arts

Paul Stephenson, UK

3rd prize: Open Poetry
Poems on the Move & Poems on the Buses Exhibitions

I think I’ve lived a life before. Centuries ago.
Most likely a monk in south-west France,
given my appreciation of garlic and silence.

My monastery was near Albi, I’d hazard,
its bright red Gothic cathedral majestic
above the parched banks of the river Tarn.

Scrap that. It was by the sea. Yes, definitely
Atlantic not Mediterranean, where oysters
grew plump and the lagoon was brooding.

I pressed my own grapes with my own feet.
After the harvest, I’d sit by myself as the sun
clung to the cloister on a late October day

and I’d pray, for fat bulbs of garlic and silence,
dream of cellars and barrels and plentiful bottles.