AVBOB invited poets to come out of their creative slumber ahead of the 2020 AVBOB Poetry Competition in August, and craft poems to provide comfort through the COVID-19 crisis.

The competition – one of several micro-competitions on AVBOB Poetry’s social pages – struck a chord and the poems poured in. The three winning poems were personal and nuanced, detailing a revival of faith and fruitfulness, a recovery of agency and levity, a dizzying sense of freedom to come, and a refusal to succumb to despair.

Freelance fine artist and graphic designer Ann Scarborough Moore penned the winning poem, Harvest and third prize went to 21-year-old final year science student, Arcolate Ubisi for her poem, Let your little light shine.

The second-prize winner, Linza de Jager, is a freelance journalist based in Sandbaai. Like Ann, she slips seamlessly between the visual and the verbal, using words and paint to give expression to her emotions and experiences. Her poem, Free, speaks to recovery of the real that lockdown has robbed us of. For Linza, lockdown has led to something of a revelation about what is important in life: “Forget about luxuries! They’re not really of any importance. My poem is about enjoying the little things.”

Free by Linza de Jager

When lockdown lifts
I’ll put on a hat 
a midnight blue Borsalino that could have come from Strombolino
or somewhere fanciful like that

I’ll wear it with a waistcoat 
that is the colour of cinnamon or a sweet pumpkin 

I’ll mow the lawn and break down the maize
the one that grew wild during the lockdown haze

I’ll take a walk to the sea 
where there will almost certainly be children 
setting a paper boat free 

I’ll sit outside until it is late
and should anyone comment
I’ll say, lockdown has been lifted, haven’t you heard it?

Who knows at what time I will get to bed

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