“Owl-light” Ekphrastic Competition – Results

“Owl-light” Ekphrastic Competition – Results

We are delighted to announce the winners of the Stories from the eyes of an owl competition. The competition was so strong we had great difficulty choosing the winners. So much so we have decided on a first, second and third place poem as well as a runner up. Sarah-Jane is delighted to be sending her work to the all of these placed authors. Congratulations to all.

Sarah-Jane and Marcelle really enjoyed each of the poems, it was a privilege to read them, and discuss their intricacies. 

“Owl-light” Digital collage using found out of copyright images and scanned-in printed Ephemeras

All the longlist entries were breathtaking and it was a huge honour and privilege for me, as a collage artist/poet to see how fellow poets transformed the image into something extraordinary and magical. I can’t thank Rare Swan enough for providing this opportunity for creative dialogue.

Sarah-Jane Crowson

Winners and winner’s poems


Ankh Spice

The philtre was first made from flowers, they told me.
A seed to marry the head, the loft that strains to lift away
in night’s updraft, with the body, terrified to breathe
without direction from above. I was a small and shaky beast
when they laid the stamen on my tongue. The frisson of the wind
dropped within hours, this crown of feathers no longer yearned
for the promise of up, away. Do we ever know the echo we hear
is the hoot of the world, until it fades? They did not say: after we pluck
the flower the whole plant dies from the root – they did not say
in the shadow of this monstrous petal, the stars will cease to mewl.
They did not say the sea would freeze in mid-arpeggio.
They never said there’s a compass inside the head of a bird
that cradles the notion of flight, they did not say it was never
about the wings, the hoof, the claw. They said it wouldn’t hurt.
The sky is a spill of oil and no-one, nothing, comes clean.


Stars of Tabula Rasa
Louise Mather

From this owl-light,
stars – make me a spell,

take from me this stage
with the earth’s weight,

bring forth the rose
from silk lantern tides,

hold it out –
by night’s ethereal myth,

glimmered mountains
veil thorns to sun’s dust –

petals, gothic tassels,
this dress, once

a moth made from glass,
our faces, nothing more

than an offering
for creation.


The Enquiry of Owl-light
Roger Hare

If starlight was as easy to crush as petals
it would give up its fragrance to any
low-water heart, let loose its lick
upon whatever is frozen
to embolden a voyage that risks break-up.

The darkness left in the pestled sky
would serve to remind of the moment
the world was at your feet –
when all that mattered
was to forge a new star
fresh from the grey grains
of Earth’s grounded dust.


Mapping the secret chord
Ankh Spice

We slipped past each other, a kiss of orbits.
At touchpoint, our spheres float their motes,
brief with music. You, morning’s silver chime,
dusting arch-dark; me, a nightbird’s weird horn,
pinned mute at any tongue-tremble
of day. No talisman has ever been unburied
to ward either dark or dawn away. We are known
to seek when it’s futile. I dip my feet in the salt crush
of rosin, cleave new seas for you, frozen between tick
and trip. Like us, the terrain is neither one thing
nor another, and you follow me out deep, far, we are
the flip of falling coins, slid on well past any wish.
Light comes keening from the unnameable source.
At curtain, a bird’s clever eyes see what wraiths
from a quick-cut stem – how it haunts the whole show
even as colour flees a body. My steps leave arrows
across the boards: one moment red, the next clearing,
clear. The first one to follow them breathes
on the mirror, writes the note
no human audience can bear to hear.


For ‘Largactil’ Ankh will receive Sarah-Jane’s final limited print edition of the first 25 ‘Stories from the eyes of an owl’ booklet, including the original A5 print of the sell-out print run. For ‘Stars of Tabula Rasa’ Louise will be sent an artist’s proof of the booklet, plus a print of the Ekphrastic image. For ‘The Enquiry of Owl-light’ Roger, will receive a print of the Ekphrastic image as will and Ankh for ‘Mapping the secret chord’, as runner-up.

The shortlisted poems, as well as the winning poems, will be hosted online at Rare Swan Press, as part of the Stories from the eyes of an owl project.


There will be one first place prize of a concertina book with six 148mm x 148mm colour-printed reproductions of collages (originals made using a mixture of analogue and digital methods) and an A5 art print on Perlino Cotton 300 gsm paper, from the first print run which is now sold out. More information here.

Stories From The Eyes of an Owl

STORIES FROM THE EYES OF AN OWL is a special limited edition collaboration between Sarah-Jane Crowson and Rare Swan Press to celebrate Sarah signing with us for forthcoming publication in 2022. The original limited edition of 25/25 are currently SOLD OUT.

A second print run will be offered by Rare Swan Press and in total, only 100/100 copies of this limited edition will ever be published. Be sure you don’t miss out.

Rare Swan Press. All Rights Reserved 2011 – 2021

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