10 March 2015
By Elaine Murphy
A Co Cork man was named winner of the Ennis-based Caring for Carers Ireland National Poetry Competition 2015 at a ceremony in County Clare at the weekend.
Patrick Holloway from Crosshaven beat off competition from all over Ireland to claim the top prize for his poem “A Little Like Life”, which he dedicated to his mother who has been a carer and nurse all her life.
Joint 2nd place were Alexandria Reynolds (Dublin) and Annie McGuinness (Leitrim), while Nora Seville (Mayo), Miriam Conlon (Dublin) and Siobhan White (Westmeath) received placed 4th, 5th and 6th respectively.
Caring for Carers Ireland (CFCI) organised the competition to highlight the significant contribution made by thousands of Family Carers to Irish society. The theme of this year’s competition was “The Caring Journey…Who Knows”, which was hosted in conjunction with the Ennis Book Club Festival at the weekend.
The competition was adjudicated by an independent panel of judges headed by Kate Dempsey, a well published poet and writer in journal in Ireland and abroad. Her first poetry collection The Space Between will be published by Doire Press this autumn. The other judges were Meath poet Michael Farry and Nollaig Rowan from Dublin.
“There were a total of 32 entries from family carers all over Ireland. All were heart-felt expressions of what it feels like to care for someone and watch their sufferings from day to day. There were a variety of poetic forms – free verse, strict rhyming verse and rap,” said Ms. Dempsey.
“The pain, sympathy and care were expressed very well so the panel of judges were tasked to judge how well the poet had converted this pain and sympathy and sometimes the humour into poetry.”
“In our adjudication process, we looked for poems that painted the picture with words, evoking emotions, using particulars to put the reader right there too. The winner and runners up used poetic techniques such as metaphors, as well as careful use of rhythm and rhyme. It was an enjoyable and educational journey we all went on to judge,” Ms. Dempsey added.
Commenting on the competition, Brigid Barron, Innovation and Programme Manager with CFCI said: “This competition is one of a number of initiatives undertaken by the organisation throughout the year to promote the crucial role played by Family Carers in the home. This form of care is the foundation of formal health and social care systems. Family Carers are a distinct group who provide care and also, very importantly, require care themselves.”
Among the services provided by the Clare-based CFCI is a national network of 107 carers groups, respite programme, a nurse-led Carers Clinic in Ennis, Caring in the Home and IT training for Family Carers and older people. Earlier this year, CFCI merged with The Carers Association to form one dedicated national organisation for Family Carers. In the interim, Caring for Carers Ireland is continuing to offer existing services both locally and nationally.
WINNING POEM BY PATRICK HOLLOWAY FROM CORK:
A Little Like Life
I feel the thickness of her veins
Beneath my fingers, the pains
Are back again
Sharp, like lightning, only
For a second and
Then they’re gone.
A little like life,
The photos crowd her fire place
Nic nacs fight for space
Upon a dining-room table
She lives alone
She has become part of my days,
Part of the ever-changing scenery
Of my life, and I am fond of her,
And I motion to her to look away
As the needle finds the vein.
She winces and cannot see
That I mirror her.
I’ll be back tomorrow, I say,
And flatten her hair
And slowly move away
To set off for my next visit