We are thrilled to share the winners of our poetry competition, judged by award-winning children’s author Sally Gardner
One word sums up our response to the entries to our first poetry competition: WOW! And not only because the pile of entries when printed out and gathered together was an astonishing 10cms high – the sheer quality and variety of the poems submitted was so exciting.
Editor, Maggie Alderson read them all and narrowed it down to a short list of 35, which she and Sally Gardner read together, agreeing on the winners with not a single moment of disagreement.
The original plan was to have a winner and two runners up in each age group, but so many of the entries didn’t have the age, or year group written on them that proved a little tricky.
Instead we decided to have a winner in each age group (who will each receive a £20 book token) and three non-age specific runners up. And in an exciting new development – Sally was so impressed by one of the poems she decided to create a special award just for it. So congratulations to Roshy Orr, who is the winner of the Sally Gardner Poetry Prize. Sally said: ‘This poem is well over the years of the writer, it’s quite astounding. This is clearly someone who reads, they love language and had a real feel for their brief. I’m sure I will run into Roshy on the literary circuit in the future.’
Please note we have left all the spellings and punctuations as they appeared in the original entries. We are also showing some of the lovely poems we received with illustrations, which were greatly appreciated.
Sally Gardner Award
Summer Poem by Roshy Orr
Year 7, The Lady Eleanor Holles School
We left the garden fat with summer’s growth
left behind the still, parched air thick with smoke
from next door’s pit
scorched flatbreads, garlicky baba ghanoush
and morsels of piping hot fatty lamb
and plunged towards the coast
seeking air that is heady with ozone and salt
rock pools glinting with spangled light
toes exploring crevices in the rock
where winkles may be hid.
Fringes of seaweed tickle my soft undersoles,
so I wade deeper wanting to sink into the silty sand,
splash my sun-charred flesh in the cool green water.
Swaying in the pool I hear the guttural yaw of the engine first,
peering up into the blue bowl of sky
I see a tiny plane carving the air,
pirouetting, streaming headlong
in spirals and arabesques,
leaving a looping, white contrail
in his wake;
I follow his every move in wonder
he skims the rim of the sky,
arches back impossibly and nosedives
pell-mell towards our placid sea
pulling up wildly just before the two
I see this matchbox plane of finespun metal,
a platinum gleam in the summer sun
spun by this pilot, across the skies
in a dangerous wonderful web,
for nothing more than our own momentary
revelling in a wonder that is a summers day.
Winner 10 to 13 age group
The Persistence of the Sea by Benjy Day
Age 10, Banstead Preparatory School
The persistence of the sea is when
the waves advance and dissolve your castle
it draws near and eats away your tent
it detains a life to keep it company.
The persistence of the wind is when
it whisks away your umbrella
it bites your nerves and makes you yield
it loosens the nails for your marquee.
The persistence of the children is when
they try in vain to net a fish
they try to raise a floundering crab
they desperately try to unbolt a clam.
Sally said: ‘There are no clichés, or “like a” in this poem, he uses “is”, which is so much stronger. The last line alone was enough to win. Benjy also has very nice writing.’
Winner 5 to 9 age group
Cobham International School
The sun shines bright
In the bright daylight.
If you lie in the sun
It will really be fun,
Then you swim in the pool
While you’re cool.
If you’re wet
You’ll probably want to sweat!
Sally said: ‘This poem has real oomph that I like. He’s a player with language, rare in one so young. I think he could be a really good rapper.’
Honor Goodman, Vinehall
Take my hand.
The sky is blue,
But it won’t be long,
Till summer’s through
Then it’s gone.
It’s getting cold,
We’re saying goodbye,
No longer dry.
Sally said: ‘This is very concise and deceptively simple. It’s much harder to write less and Honor has done that – and covered the whole arc of the summer season.’
age 10, Skippers Hill Manor Prep
I adore summer because……
Classes are over and there is no more school,
Holidays and BBQs are loads of cool fun,
Relaxing and playing under the hot baking sun,
I love summer because ……
We bring out the tent ready to camp,
Not forgetting the tables chairs and the lamp,
We dust off the stove ready to cook,
And I power my torch to read my new book,
I like summer because……
When the sun is hot we go down to the sea,
And my dad buys an ice cream just for me,
I like when it melts and drops onto my hands,
And slips around my fingers onto the sands,
I don’t like summer because……
I get hot and bothered lying in bed,
I keep turning my pillow to cool my head,
And the nights are so light they keep me awake.
Oh please, please let me sleep for goodness sake!
I hate summer because ……
The mosquito army come out to attack,
And they bite my legs, my feet and my back,
As I rub on the lotion to keep the bites cool,
I remember it will soon be over and it’s back to school.
Sally said: ‘Hollie-Mae has used a very interesting and original structure in her poem, with a classic rhyme scheme, which really makes it stand out.’
Amal, 2b Cobham International School
In summer, flowers bloom.
In summer, no one is gloom.
In summer, winds blow.
In summer, I glow.
Sally said: ‘Amal’s poem is a tiny little gem.
It’s very simple, but conveys a lot.’
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