Excuses, excuses.

Ok, I admit it. I tired of the First Annual Itchy Ankle Writing Contest (with entries welcome on and from Washington DC) before I had completely finished the judging process. I therefore managed to miss my own deadline for announcing winners and Doris has launched a full scale inquiry involving the Fraud Squad, Bernstein and Woodward, and the man who does Britain’s lottery balls. Doris, she’s not to be trifled with.

In my own defense, it is probably imprudent to judge anything when you are whirly with dehydration as I have been for the past week. The temperature currently is more than 100 degrees. At 5 o’clock this morning it was 84 degrees. At 11pm yesterday the news reported that it was still 92 degrees outside. There is no relief to be had.

I must confess too that I had hoped that, by offering a grace period, I might get a few more entries. Itchy  Ankle Underwear is a rare and precious thing and not to be offered lightly. I didn’t want to toss around my undies either precipitously or carelessly–a lifelong rule of mine.

Drumroll please. No, really–Drumroll please

The winner for the DC entry is a slamdunk. Ms Lynn (no relation to Ted) Hughes for

Sticky mud, horseshoe crabs, ferns and mosquitoes… twas DC in BC.

Lynn gets marks for being quick to respond, for understanding the rules, and for the accuracy of her entry, plus the very poetic rhyme at the end–let’s face it, you never really need to use “twas” except when being poetic. Lynn can pick if she wants Itchy Ankle undies or a drink in Agora.

The Itchy Ankle arm of the contest is a little more difficult, not least because Doris seems to have a litigious bent. In truth, I didn’t like anyone’s entry, top to bottom.

Rex, I thought, made a decent fist of it, although the penultimate line seems superfluous to me. I do like the snoring uncles.

Dogs yawn.
Crickets sleep.
Uncles snore.
Sunlight tests a tentative twinkle,
on the lapping shoreline lulls…
But oh, so slowly,
Itchy Ankle sighs.
What is this modern world coming to?
It’s all getting much too bloody hectic.

As with all the Itchy Ankle entries, it sounds like Itchy Ankle today,rather than 2000 years ago, but perhaps this is the fault of Itchy Ankle and not the poets themselves?

The Cackler deserves an honorable mention for her one-liner Mad dogs and women howling, fires burning out of control, ghouls roaming, a distant sound of cackling …Itchy Ankle BC ? although I am not sure about the ghouls. She seems to suggest that perhaps Itchy Ankle is an ancient burial ground whereas really its much to marshy to retain the bodies of the dead.

Doris, with apologies to Lennon and McCartney submitted the entry below just before the (first) deadline. She scores highly for knowledge of Itchy Ankle today with her clever introduction of the Itchy Ankle cast of characters across her multiple verses. I remain unconvinced about the alligators though, and so must disqualify.

I read the news today, oh boy.
An ancient time capsule had been found
In a backwater called Itchy Ankle
Buried deep in the fertile ground.

It’s two thousand years old,
A heavy casket made from bronze,
Lifted out by local residents,
To shouts of encouragement and “come-ons”.

Risking age-old curses
Peggoty broke the seal
And promptly keeled over
It had a curse that was real.

Captain Kirk took over
Bravery was not lacked
But he too hit the deck
The curse was still intact.

Up stepped Marilyn
All outdoor-y and plucky
She removed the lid
It was third time lucky

One by one she lifted out
All manner of stuff
Including a Papal bottle opener
Oddly enough.

Of the many artefacts
One caught the eye
A rolled up sheet of parchment
Which Marilyn now untied.

There must have been a curse
On the paper as well
For Marilyn bent double
And collapsed under its spell

Princess Di stepped forward
And picked up the scroll
She seemed unaffected
Finding the whole thing droll.

By now there weren’t many on-lookers
As Di read the scroll aloud
It’s addressed to Blabs she cried
“Oooohhh” cooed the crowd.

“What does it say?” asked Blabs who,
To all intents and purposes was the crowd;
“It’s hard to read, the letters are scratchy,
Something about an Itchy Ankle Shroud.”

“Anything else,” asked Blabs impatiently,
“Yes, yes. Don’t hurry me,” insisted Di.
“I wasn’t hurrying you,” snapped Blabs.
“Well it sounded as if you were?” Di cried.

“It says that Itchy Ankle was a swamp,
With alligators and worse;
Life back then was hard,
Although the birdlife was diverse.

For sheer volume of entries though, Doris deserves a shout-out. Doris, if you will send me your size, I’ll mail your Itchy Ankle Undies forthwith.

Which brings me to the winner. Ms Peggoty O’Rockwell, of Itchy Ankle MD whose stream of consciousness style and allusions to the natural world are reminiscent of the finest Irish writers, James Joyce and Seamus Heaney, with overtones of both stoner and Lionel Richie. Doubtless there will be feasting and drinking to mark her celebrity. I’ll try to stop her being photographed in her Itchies.

Tucked away in a circle in my little boat, I had a dream:
Somwhere in the times to come someone called my place
‘Itchy Ankle’.
What is an itch?  but a way of life.
I, for myself, am a fisherman’s wife.
My ankles cobbled in deep oyster shells, crab, rock, and such.
I watch blue heron, geese, geen duck and question this thing
that other’s call ‘luck’.
Gulls, clear water ebbs and tides that guide my way.
Berries, bogs, marshes and such

A swamp with hibiscus
so close to my touch.
I am dreaming and wondering, would I be me…or you be you..
If we each of us this dream could eschew?
I’m back to sleep as I ought to be. Are you you? Am I me?
Who is it you are buying to be?

About Liz Barron

US Peace Corps Volunteer in Armenia. Permanent address in Washington DC. Deep roots in Northern Ireland and persistent Belfast accent. Blogger,cook, mother, grandma, Scrabble-player and enthusiastic world traveler.
This entry was posted in Crone as Pen Pal, Crone in America, Crone in the Nation's capital, Crone Quiz, Culture with the Crone, itchy ankle and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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