Poetry Competition 2020 – Notable Entries (Page 2)

We received so many wonderful poetry submissions, that we thought it would be a shame not to share some more with you. If you haven’t seen the winners yet, do take a look here.

Here’s a selection of other notable entries…

My Dearest Love

By Brian Sudgen (Leeds)

You’ve gone, you’ve left me, my dearest love
But I’ve not lost you to heaven above
For you’re here beside me, but you’re not you
Though your voice, your face are the same, it’s true.

No, my loss is not through death’s decree
But dementia has taken my love from me
The plans we made for our later life
Have disappeared in this confused strife.

I look at you, whom I love so dear
And it hurts that your no longer here
Where you’ve gone,I cannot know
I only know I still love you so.

One day, maybe, we’ll be as one
When our time on earth is done
In God’s sweet heaven we’ll then abide
Then once again you’ll be my bride.

Strange times

By Claire Willis (Rushden, Northamptonshire)

Time has stopped
Nature creeps on
breathing new life
whilst others take their last

The numbers creep up
eggs in the nest and spaces taken
in the morgue
New life and old death
treating us with the same indifference

Some say this is a new dawn
But misery and hunger go hand in hand and creeps on
The powerful will become empowered, to do what is in the best interests of the people; meaning them

Nature has shown us time and again
we are not the evolved species
We are just the same as the circling kite looking for its next newborn victim

It is survival of the fittest and luckiest – that is all

Claire Willis


By Lisa Hobbs (Swindon, Wiltshire)

When you’re tucked up in bed on a cold winter’s night just think of the homeless and their terrible plight.They’re not all on drugs or drink as some think. Just afraid and alone with no one to phone, no one they can call to take them home. They weren’t always like this you know, having to beg on the streets they feel there’s no hope. With life’s daily challenges how do they ever cope? They were babies once then children too, they grew up with hopes and dreams just like you do.What happened to them? To make them this way, for life is just pointless and filled with dismay. People walk by in their own wrapped up world their heads down or looking the other way, invisible to them the homeless are ,and we all have our struggles and crosses to bear and life goes on the same everywhere.

Lisa Hobbs

The Footsteps were Mine

By Claire Thomas (Harrietsham, Kent)

All my life
From the impatient speed of youth
To confident adulthood
They paced out my life
Traced the path of my years
Counting my movements
Regardless of weather, season or time.

On the beach
The waves drowned
Their sound
But I could see them
Before the wet sand
Stole them back.

In the grass
They moved invisibly
The only clue
They left behind
Were the flat, green strands
Indistinct and silent.

Through the mud
They left
Slippery marks
And half-prints
Merging with others
Who had gone before.

On pavements and floors
There was no trace
They refused
To show my passing
Unless I gave them the gift
Of puddles,
Freshly mown grass
Or mud.

Claire Thomas

The Hawks

By Charlie Beaumont (Maidstone, Kent; currently Rakaia, South Island, New Zealand)

The hawk is surprisingly plentiful
In this part of the world
Imperious looking on the roadside
The yellow of the eyes affecting searchlights
The brown of the plumage providing a military bearing
Yet in the air, riding the thermals
It appears at peace, graceful, with its
Large wingspan, for the most part
Merely twitching to enable stability
But then visible to all,
Except too late for its prey,
It adopts the aerodynamics of the dart,
Diving to earth, adrenaline filled
As the searchlights monitor the movement
Of its next meal.
The military characteristics enable
A quick but bloody kill.

Charlie Beaumont

I am

By Sue Todd (South Shields, Tyne and Wear)

I notice a small hand, dappled with warm golden light, patterns and
Sunbeams shimmer through a lace curtain, rippling gently in the calm
I consciously connect to the hand, its mine, it is a part of me!
I exist!
I am seven!

This is my first conscious memory of myself, my body, and my existence.
I was seven years old. To this day I recall the movement of light and
patterns on my hand and how delighted I was.


By Sarah Austin (Buckinghamshire)

When I know the answer to a quiz question that I don’t understand I will think of you
When I am kind to a stranger I will be you
When I look in the mirror I will see you
When my son smiles I will thank you
When my cooking experiments fail I shall remember you
When the fig tree blossoms I will praise you
As I think of you and feel you always

Cherry Season

By Wendy Collyer (The New Forest, Hampshire)

Bigger than the berries we’ve enjoyed since end of Spring
These are luscious glossy fruits providing lots of zing
Shinier than blueberries and smoother than raspberries,
A handy little stalk marks them out as dark, sweet cherries.

The cherry is a black sheep though, it carries a surprise,
Right at its very centre, you might say, ‘in disguise’,
The source of much new merriment, with stone upon your tongue
A puff of air sends it forth, now measure how far it’s flung.

The game is played among you, who has the biggest puff?
Where has that stone just landed? Is finding it so tough?
Go back for more dark sweet things. There’s laughter all around.
Cherry season is so good – fun in just a half a pound.

Wendy Collyer

Conflict of clashing thoughts

By Lesley Smith (Bexley, Kent)

The conflict of clashing thoughts,
Causing rising emotions.
Dilemmas to solve,
Treasure being revealed,
Still not fully understanding,
Yet continue hopeful and expectant,
Strife be gone, division disappear,
Our rescuer has come and He is near.
Jealousy, anger, resentment must go
When we wait on Him, His Presence is our overflow
He steadies us and gives a smile,
Giving us joy and peace all the while.
He takes us higher, giving us victory.
With each encounter He removes mystery.
The darkness fades we’ve beaten our enemy
By not trusting the lies, and choosing His way.

October Sunset

By Jill Webb (Hull, East Yorkshire)

Today the sun
with its halo like glow
disperses into
the shimmering sea.

Unturned stones,
statues on the beach,
unsaid words,
whispers in the breeze.

Cotton wool clouds
like outstretched arms
evaporate slowly,
eclipsed by the dark.

October shadows,
long touching fingers,
ethereal creatures,
memories that linger.

The tide sweeps away
what is left of the year,
golden leaves fall,
new horizons appear.

I never quite reached
the water’s edge
but I still hear the waves
crashing in my head.

A flock of gulls,
a waving hand,
I follow their path,
draw a line in the sand.

But should winds of change
ever call my name,
I am only ever
a heartbeat away.

Jill Webb

India Awakes at Dawn – Varanasi, 2002

By Jill Davis (Harrow, Middlesex)

India awakes at dawn
the hopeless howls of skinny dogs
ring around the ghats
the acrid smell of petrol and ripening garbage
assaulting our nostrils

We tiptoe gingerly to the slopping river edge
trying not to slime slip
the Ganges, dank and heavy
reeking of centuries of humanity
lapping greedily at hesitant toes

The beggars have spotted us and circle in
Thrusting skinny limbs from frayed clothes
Before hobbling away again
dusty vultures denied a tasty treat
The burning bodies along the ghats a distant cheery glow

We sit and push away, drifting silently as dawn begins to break
blinking red eyed against the pollution
no trailing fingers idly in the water here
who knows what bits might bob alongside us
what dangers lurk beneath the surface

The candles we light are carried away upstream
burning like crimson petals against the darkness
enfolding our memories of
the chaos, beauty, squalor, and faith
trying to make sense of it all

Look! a river dolphin breaks the surface, looping and leaping
and we gasp and clap in delight at such survival
once again, the Ganges enfolds men and women washing
The slap of sari against stone
The rebirth of a new day

Jill Davis

The River

By Barbara Lewthwaite (Eastleigh, Hampshire)

Cool smooth sliding sensually over my skin
I become Flow
Beyond experience
Belonging Home

As river I notice
Momentarily impeding my flow
Shy moorhens peeping out
Fro the dark space beneath
The branches
The branches part of the bridge
Between land and water
Free to blow in the gentle breeze
Or dip

A kingfisher
Flash of blue
Dipper on a rock

As Flow…breathless I race
Over and between the rocks

My body backwards now
Stretched and streamlined
To minimise the bumps
Make the rocks My friends
Beyond terror
Lift me to exhilaration!
” Ahhhhh!”
I am woman again as well as Flow
The trick to surviving
Let go
Re- enter Flow

And I am dropped
(Sometimes half a mile and 100 feet)
Till the current
And I float.

On my back
The clouds drift
The sun finds passage between
And smiles
The River and I
Smile back….

A red kite soars
As the day fades
And to my right…
I catch my breath

My being lifted in awe
Caught in the soft lilac
Powdering to almost grey
Bluebells carpeting
The feet of the towering beech
Not quite yet in leaf

And days go by
Dramas unfold
For my amusement

A lamb eager to play
The Canada geese chicks
Not sure what the game is
Try to hide behind their mum

A mallard duckling
Pitiful “quack,quack”
Following me as I swim and call
“I will save you”
A seagull
Swoops and grabs
And the quacks fade into the sky…

Seven days
10 hours a day
Time has ceased to exist
There is only this moment
I am river
140 miles from source to end
At night…even in rest…
I am , in my dreams
In Flow

At the end I know
I am nothing
Than a speck
A tiny part of nature
Not important
Not separate
No “I” in Flow

I walk from the river

The Cast Iron Ray Gun

By Mark S. Williams (Stourbridge, West Midlands)

Christmas in nineteen hundred and sixty-three
My brother had a ray gun which he pointed straight at me
It was cast iron, had a flashing light and was painted ray gun green
Although he was only three years old it made him look steely and mean

“Now listen to this warning” said Mother “Don’t wave that thing about!”
But he waved it just the same and fetched my ear a right good clout

I knew then it was a good ray gun,
‘cos I saw the stars come out

My parents both were livid
My ear a bright purple hue
A great lump on the side of my temple
It flaming well hurt I’m telling you!

The sparks fairly flew I remember
My poor Bro was sent straight to bed
While I lay on the couch in the front room
A bread poultice slapped on my head

That ray gun has long disappeared now
Lost in the fullness of time
But I still have the dent to remind me
How I wished that great ray gun was mine

Mark Williams

The Unexpected Guest

By Mylene Honore-L'Hortalle (Edinburgh, Scotland)

Out in our garden
One overcast day
The earth was slowly breathing
Up and down
Up and down

What could that be under
Our flower bed
Lifting rhythmically
the primulas and the daffodils?
We all stared in awe
At the undulating ground

As we dug and dug deeper
Into the brown earth
Uprooting our orderly planted flowers
Out sprung forth, unearthed
A breathing mass of branches
A tight ball of wilderness curled on itself

Unmoved by our helpless presence
expertly camouflaged in its spiky brown coat
now revealed, exposed to light
robbed of its darkness
a still fluffy pack of life

Not a sign of recognition
As we earnestly remove the earth and branches from
this unwarranted spiny ball of quills
When suddenly a stir,

Peeping from underneath
came slowly pointing out a shiny black snout
as some sun rays lightly brushed away
a long buried drowsy hedgehog

Here was the thorny unsolicited guest
who had disrupted our Sunday gardening plans
Now that we had dug it out of its hibernating den and cleaned it
It laid, unshielded in the open air
amidst our uprooted flowers and earth

We retreated to the house
leaving our gardening undertakings
and the hedgehog to its fate
to come back later
and discover that the creature had wrapped
itself up with branches again

Clearly, we had interrupted its unknown scheme
Interposed our meaningful operations
and here it was,
plainly reinstating its reality
with nightfall, we retreated further into the house
into our inadequacy

Gone was our hedgehog when we woke up
Gone was our spiky uninvited nocturnal guest
Gone was the disruption
Gone was the unburied unfamiliar occurrence
The garden would be tidied soon enough
It was gone
But yet lingered the feeling of uneasiness…

Mylene Honore-L'Hortalle

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