2023 Flash Poetry Contest Runners-Up

The three runners-up in the 2023 Creatives Flash Poetry Contest, kindly supported by Fort William Mountain Festival and the Highland Bookshop.


Swimming from Balmerino
by Beth McDonough

Still the engine. The boatman garottes
throttling diesel. Life jacketed in the craft,
now he spins craft-less, slow

in the whirl of the Tay.
Tide and current decide.
Over invisible sandbanks, he learns

this Firth, in olive dapple patterns, in riffling shapes
not misunderstood by crossed motors.
Still the engine. Wait.
Find what the water does.

Then he can lead my swim home.


Three Rivers
by Sharon Black

a band of light around my toe hooking every minnow
a skater’s print, five-pronged carillon, ringing on the riverbed
dead leaf drifting, your white noise at my feet all afternoon


Hutton’s Origami
by Finola Scott

While seals watch, waves suck.
I ignore this sea’s heartbeat, instead
consider those currents in mantle rock.

Through Deep Time plates collide and
slide. Crusts push down, float up, swirl
dancing in hot convection. 

As sun gilds Goatfell’s warrior peaks,
ragged ridges cry upheaval.
So much displaced. 

I love this display – the faults, folds,
volcanoes that surround us along Stacach‘s tors.
Like eagles we are sky-reaching. 


Lead image by Ankit Sinha via Unsplash