Prize Wining Poems 2017

Congratulations to the winners.




SECTION 1: Any Subject

1st Prize   Threads: Mrs Beryl Fleming (Worthing)



A gossamer thread, womb-spun –

spiralling, drifting, gently guiding

the path I tread:

binding, yet loving and free –

I am part of her – and she of me

Within the mysterious womb-warm dark

the thread,

twisting and turning,

played its invisible part;

and when she cried aloud to give me birth

the thread fell free

and wound itself about my heart.

I was part of her – and she of me.

Unbroken, the thread spins on –

I spin for my child and,

when my course is run,

she must the spinner be.

Thus each is joined and bound –

down, down,

down endless corridors of unrecorded time:

I am part of her and she of me.

When we are spirits,

formless, floating, free –

with each new birth the thread will spin

and every she

who holds a babe against her heart

lets fall the thread she cannot see.

And I for all eternity will be

a womb-spun part of her – and she of me.


SECTION 1: Any Subject

2nd Prize   Below the CCTV Mr Keith Livingstone (Royston)



I am not proud possessor of a slick thick

Raw hide bull neck, pumped up broad

Side shoulders, brawny muscled biceps

Or a horny, sexy six slick, steroid flat pack.


Nor does a wode skin stalk others in graffiti hues

Bluesed by some Slack Street blunted needle well-

Armed self-styled, ever so wicked exhibition artist.


Neither do embossed Celtic cross designers silvered

Bling rings, rough buffed chains, perforate my neat so

Discrete blue web veined Cyrano de B nasal passages.


My protective whispering hair lined naked lug holes

Oft straining resolutely remain extremely unclipped

By any crude but shrewd coinage spewed, anti-flesh

Crunching cavernous cavity ear lobe hole puncturist


Remaining split ends, disastrously dulled lank long locks lie

Splat flat.  Dear Yoric, yes…by a smile, I knew thee so well

My follically challenged skull gleams, unstuck by glue tin gel


Cord twill county trousers ride free from any bold

Chopping Celebrity Chef’s knife crease or denim patch

Nor hang out designer frayed end lagged and baggy

My fragile weak not strong dialectic blank voice speak,

Plays no rank Liverpudlian, lashing Manchurian tongue

Glaswegian Gorbals, gutted Jordie fishy, or chapel Welsh

Not does it blurt bold Brum broadly pancake flat dropped

R or circumspectly selected, clammily cultivated, cloned,

Sloan Square drone, or aggravated dropped Yay or Yoh


All together somehow I linger an awesomely unnoticeable,

A non-stick ego still breathing, a fading glimpse of meaning

Fraught bubble reputation in a rancid canon camera mouth.


SECTION 1: Any Subject

3rd Prize   Roche Court Sculpture Park Mrs Miranda Bentinck (Fordingbridge)



(For Sarah in Intensive Care)

Some days are given.

And of themselves

Are perfect, within

The sphere of memory.


A house.

A view.

Trees, placed here,

And here.

A noisy rookery in the topmost branches,

Barely kissed by Spring.


Some days come as a gift,

And are sewn, moment by moment, into

The landscape of memory.


The perfect house,

Unobtrusive as a curve in the wood;

Proportionate windows reflecting

The clouds,

The architectural trees,

The great bowl of the sky.


An English view,

Sweeping green towards the hedges,

The gentle hills, luminous in the afternoon haze,

Meander towards a far country.


What is it that makes us good?

Days like these.

Given freely,

Freely accepted,

There is nothing here

But ourselves, the Spring,

The sky, and love.



1st Prize   The Shoe Box:  Mrs Maureen Judson (Windermere)



There’s a box of photos

Upstairs in a drawer

A shoe box, tied up with string

A box tired of moving store

But in this box is home.

They never made the album

Gilt edged and leather bound

Now faded, creased, in disarray

Still capturing a life in a day

For in this box is home

Once on the shelf

In gilded frame

now surpassed by colour and gloss

a school blazer, a team a race just won

And in this box is home

A day on the beach

a youthful gaze

a summer of sunshine and dreams

a future that has long passed

and in this box is home

Now sorted, listed tidied up,

Interleaved with acid-free

But none removed and none replaced

For this box is home to me



2nd Prize   Home Ms Tamsin Cottis (E11 London)




home is so

much more than

brick, glass and wood. In

the attic my thoughts can spread

and spill. On full-house days this loft

Is a space in the head, like a lid off a bubbling

pan.      Today    it   is   only me  up  here     closer

to     the  air.    Go   down  eight  steep   stairs       past

bedrooms      with     their    windows    to    the   street,   hear

the   loud  shouts.  Schools-out   kids    on

  their               way back home.                Left

  hand                brushes the top                of a

  strip                bare  bed  as    I               bend

   and                  collect  an   odd                sock

  from the  floor.  There is no  girl  here.  It is

  A  hiatus.      A  landing.     I   go   on    down

to the warm  stripe  rug hall,  hold  the dark

wood  rail.   It  falls  smooth  under my palm

to   the drawbridge of the closed front door.

 It is   keeping                            the world away

See the bay of                          the front room

the lure of the                          sofa. The scent

of last  night’s                            candle   hangs

by  the   black                            TV   flickerless

and on to the                             kitchen    with

the cold steel                              cooker at rest.

Through   the   large   plate   glass   I   see  the

darkening  garden.   Tomorrow I  will  go   out

                                                                                  again  but  I  will

hold the smell

the look

the shape

inside me

knowing it

will  be here


until I







3rd Prize   A Kind of Homeless Mrs Pauline Harrowell (Addingham)


Last night’s pissheads have left their trademark trace

Where morning’s starlings squabble.  Now the city’s pace

Relaxes for the weekend.  But in your face

I see someone who’s lost their sense of home.


You do not read, you do not check your phone

(the subterfuge of those who die alone)

On the table your keys, carelessly thrown,

Remind you that at some stage you should go home;

For there’s a time and tide that draws us home.


Your skirt with coral pleats, though stained, on trend,

You’re waiting for a non-existent friend

In the smart café where you so often spend

The dead time until someone takes you home.

A girl like you should have someone at home.


The second glass follows swiftly on the first,

The third and fourth bear witness to your thirst

To be no more alone. And what is worst

You simply don’t know how to be at home.

It’s as kind of homeless, a new way to be alone



1st Prize   After: Mrs Isobel Thrilling (Skipton)


Grief is not the enemy of sleep,

it wearies bone,

wrings out the nerves

and fibres,

whitens the heart.

It’s morning-sky that falls

with a crack of glass,

rips open eyes

and all the bandages

of the dark are stripped away,

fresh light spills blood,

and yet

after ghosts of time,

light will settle quiet flakes.




2nd Prize   Quiet Light           Mr Jan Zienkiewicz (Worthing)


Livestock grazing now barely breathing

Calm is all that fills my eyes

Soft breeze blowing leaves are all knowing

Alive I feel here inside

If I could take it with me

A glimpse of what I know of paradise

Then in this scene now here before me

Is the one I would choose to see

In my quiet light

In my quiet light


As I look I see the kestrel

Forever hopeful in her flight

And in the stillness of the moment

I’m her wing, her prey to die

But my heart beats my breath warms

My tidal dreams of summers past

For death is near I feel him waiting

The kestrel’s wings, the soldier’s lance

Through these hours that feel like days

The smiles that dance upon my face

Our wedding day, our children’s time

The Christmas days they still surprise me

In my quiet light

In my quiet light


But now those tears they start to well

And I feel you calm here beside me

For now I know my time has come

I don’t want to leave this life behind me

But my heart slows, my breath fails

I feel your touch your warmth beside me

And I am lost will I be found

I wish that you would hold and guide me

For as I lay here at my end

I feel your hand

As darkness shrouds

And I can taste your kiss

Feel your whispered breath

For my love once lost

Has this day found me

In my quiet light

In my quiet light

In my quiet light




2nd Prize   Parting Shots   Mrs Linda Manley ( Pulborough)



They stand in groups, couples and in isolation

Here to mark the passing of their relation

Timely rain brings the mood in keeping

Umbrellas shared bring us closer weeping

For some, for others that awkward wait

To share formal sorrow at the deceased’s fate

The ceremony now and ritual dictates

Personal reflections, songs, prayers then the wake

The curtains have closed in symbolic preparation

Knowing eyes are lowered, it is the cremation

‘Bring me sunshine’ lifts the spirits as people depart

‘Thanks for coming’ I say. ‘See you at the horse and cart.’

A few moments now reflecting whilst I wait in the car

I’m not even sure who half these people are

It’s a pantomime, a horror story, a tragedy, a farce

We are actors, performers, we know the script by heart

Ritual may replace the discord of reality

But isn’t this just another banality?

Haven’t we lost this thing called family?

Where we meet years apart in mere formality

Knowing, sharing and caring must be a regular event

Not just weddings, births and when a life is spent

If you didn’t really know me through the life I’ve lived

Please don’t mark my passing, just move along instead.



1st Prize   Perfect piece of paper: Miss Lily Marie Timns Aged 10 (Waterlooville)



O majestic, marvellous piece of paper

How your smooth skin is as smooth as butter

How gently you cascade across my desk

How you let my pencil run upon you

How your skin is as white as a blanket of snow.

O majestic, marvellous piece of paper

How your knife-like edges slit open my skin, leaving a track of rosy red blood

It’s as painful as cutting yourself with a piercing knife

You leave me in despair as I rush to get a plaster

It’s critical, it may well be torture

At least its’ not as bad as being demolished by towering giant.

O majestic, marvellous piece of paper

You’re a dance floor for my pencil as he traces my thoughts

It’s as graceful as a ballerina who’s been dancing all her life

It’s as fascinating as pouring flour to make a cake.

O majestic, marvellous piece of paper

How you let me cut shapes out of your slender body

How you give me the gift of freedom to do what I would like to do with you.



2nd Prize   Shipwreck: ..Miss Cecily Taylor Aged 9 (SW1 London)



The wind, the wind, throwing back my hair,

The foam, the foam, spraying everywhere,

The sky, the sky, darkening as we speak,

The boat, the boat, springing a leak,

The water the water cold and cruel,

The cat, the cat, starting to mewl.


The waves, the waves, screaming and crashing,

The fish, the fish, frightening and thrashing,

The sea, the sea, swallowing the boat,

The sailors, the sailors, few staying afloat,

The screams, the screams, all you can hear,

The end, the end, is drawing near.








3 thoughts on “Prize Wining Poems 2017”

    1. Thank you for your comment. It is good to know that the poems are being read. Permission is being obtained from writers of the Shortlisted poems and some that entertained the judges to post them on this web page. It will be interesting to see if you enjoy these. When they are posted let us know if they are your idea of poems.. If you think of a music competition, some judges may prefer classical, others folk or pop. A judge will choose a winner according to their preference. It is the same when judging poetry. Or even when judging the supreme champion at Crufts. My choice never wins!
      A poetry reading day is planned. The poems chosen will be read to an audience. Obviously each person in that audience will have their preferences. The judges only had the poems to judge. Absolutely no information about the competitors. They were surprised when results and names were published how many of the winners were already established poets.
      Which was your favourite?


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