2020 Winning Poem

The winning entry to the Eugene Lee-Hamilton Prize in 2020 was Upon James Sadler’s Ascent from Christ Church Meadow by Jane Cooper, New College, Oxford.

Upon James Sadler’s Ascent from Christ Church Meadow

Before the roof unfurled and bore him, cupped

In glory far above the field, he caught

His fevered breath. They warned the skies were fraught

With cryptic fowl whose lair he might disrupt;

Lest he nudge a dragon’s tail or irrupt

Into the very heavens! Sadler thought,

Instead, of mighty Scipio who sought

True sight beyond the blue – but how abrupt

Was that first gust of air! All thought dispersed

As he forsook the ground and cleft the sky,

Now deaf to birds euphonious, now blind

To all but whirling silver, now submersed

In pulsing blood, dry tongue, the brimming eye,

The world below, the future far behind.

by Jane Cooper, New College, Oxford