Poetry Competition 2020 – Notable Entries (Page 3)

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…

From Darkness to Light

By Lesley Smith (Bexley, Kent)

This poem, it starts with a radical beat,
About thoughts, feelings, darkness and trauma I would defeat.
It’s about my life of adversity and overcoming.
And how each experience brought new learning.
I thought “Can’t be defeated, mustn’t give up.
Live for my children, so they know they are loved.”
Suicidal thoughts, accusation, condemnation, all critical and blaming.
The many voices, controlling and shaming, causing panic, paranoia and irrational fear.
Dragging me down bringing many tears.
Didn’t recognise myself, felt lost and dead, as though my identity was stolen, with the
thoughts messing in my head.
Had no feelings of joy, peace or love,
Knew the solution was to get help from above.
It all seemed so much bigger than me.
Comments, “What has happened to you? You used to be so vibrant and lovely!”
I understood what they said and couldn’t disagree.
I now had no idea when I would again be me.
Was no longer doing the things that I loved,
Not meeting with people or dancing or reading.
Internal battles desperate and pleading.
Given label after label, depressed, schizophrenic and paranoid.
Didn’t accept them, medical terms they understood, creating a void.
I had an understanding of what I was going through,
No feelings or desire towards pleasure or life.
In all the helplessness, powerless and desperation.
I find a glimmer of Hope that suggests my destination
I hold on tight, keep going and sometimes fight.
Do it for my kids and hope to make things right.
Found a friend much bigger than me.
He led me, loved me, guided me and set me free.
No more medication that wasn’t working,
He removed the evil that had been lurking.
Jesus is the One who brought Light into the darkness.
His way is superior and I am no longer thankless.
No blame, no criticism, no judgement or shame.
Only forgiveness, love, acceptance and knowing my name.
If you don’t know Him, please invite Him in.
He’s amazing and patient, trustworthy and true,
He offers forgiveness, healing and new life for you!


By Lisa Hobbs (Swindon, Wiltshire)

Oh will these dark days ever be done, we need love and laughter, sunlight and fun. The lockdown seems just endless and really hard to believe, this virus has happened and it makes our hearts grieve. We can’t see our loved ones except on a screen. We’re longing to hug them and hold them so tight, we need to be together, we need to see the light. The world has just gone crazy and life is just insane and lives we took for granted, will it ever be the same?

Lisa Hobbs


By Aprille Phillips (Shirley, Croydon, Surrey)

Cheetah – the fastest animal on earth
Often hunt in pairs
Such elegant, graceful predators
They run faster than the hares
Proud and arrogant, heads held high
They sniff oblivious game
They’ve spotted Thompsons or Grants Gazelles
Who cares about a name –
With unique markings on their face
And a lengthy rope-like tail
They stalk their prey and make their kill for survival
They seldom fail
Such loveable, cuddly, playful cats
With dreamy, greeny, eyes
They’ve always been my favourite pals
I love those magnificent guys.

Photo of Aprille Phillips

I wanted a Johnny Seven Mom

By Mark S.Williams (Stourbridge, West Midlands)

I wanted an outfit for Christmas
A cowboy one, Sundance or Butch
Six guns a hat and a rifle
Well one gun would do at a push
If not a cowboy an Indian
With feathers a hatchet and paint
Bow and arrows and loads of old wampum
And a headdress, now that would be great
But what did I open that Yuletide?
Wrapping paper torn quickly, can’t wait
Not a six gun in sight nor a headdress
But a costume of Sir Francis Drake
Imagine my hopes all a flounder
My six-year old dreams were all rent
Francis Drake never carried a six gun
And he didn’t even live in a tent
So, when we all played Fort Apache
Or fought again Custer’s last stand
No one in the playground knew which side I was on
Though they all thought my cutlass was grand
This lasted for twelve very long months
Till Christmas returned once again, as it will
That year’s craze was Johnny Seven
I wanted one so much it made me feel ill
A Johnny Seven was more than a rifle
It had bomb, plastic bullets and lights
Sirens that roared, missiles that soared
Causing nervous kids some disturbed nights
So that Christmas morn, all of a tremble
I galloped down stairs at a pace
And throwing paper in every direction
Found I had just lost the arms race
‘Johnny’ was not to be found there
Just a green plastic tube with a kink
A gun that shot ping pong round corners
Enough to drive most kids to drink
So at playtime the issue was settled
I was posted to stand by the wall
And if no one came near my corner
My green tube was no use at all!
I couldn’t hit those stood behind me
I couldn’t hit those straight in front
But at ninety degrees it was lethal
A direct hit dropped kids with a grunt
Now that I’m older and wiser
I deal with life’s problems and smile
For I grew to love that green tube that shot ping pong
And I’d like it back now, for a while
It was given with love, joy and pleasure,
And that feeling of happiness stays
Bringing back all those fond memories
As I dream now of much simpler days

Mark Williams

We haven’t seen each other in a while

By Lesley Wilson (Derbyshire)

It’s time
It’s time to find, find what?
It’s time to find me

Feel, hear, move, see
Breathe, flow, create
Is it fun?

Inspiration where are you?
Come and join the fun
Enjoy being

Imperfection is perfect
Bright, gentle, calm
It pleases me
Being together…fun and I
We haven’t seen each other in a while.

Lesley Wilson

Blue is…

By Claire Thomas (Harrietsham, Kent)

The ocean
Breathing gently to the heartbeat of the sea

A vast expanse of sky
Hovering around the sun

A rare flower
Dancing to the tune of the wind

A soft coat
That wraps itself around me like a hug

The smooth ink in my pen
Which tells tall tales for all to read

The chair I curl up in
It’s gentle warmth surrounds me

Your eyes
Which utter a thousand words
With their silent smiling gaze

Claire Thomas

Rainy Dawn

By Felicia Jobs (Nottingham)

The tall Cedars standing to attention
In all their regalian splendour
The Lilac half fallen, erupting voluptuous bloom
Still thriving despite her tenuous connection to the dark nourishing earth.

A doppelganger rainbow
Not content with one, cast two arched temples in the dewy sky

The rain tumbles a vertical stream
People cower under the arbours
Some with accommodating canopies
Others gashing at the skulls bobbing beneath
Levelled limbs form hurdles to challenge aspiring athlete children

Blackberry and hawthorn chaos,
Masking gentle shivering hare from passers-by.
Cherry blossom carpet scattered by the tears of a sad sky
Magpies fan the grey hues with feathered monochrome wing
Wisteria caressing the gaze of two lovers,
entwined in fanciful dreams of futures not yet realised.
The sun awakens from its’ slumber cloud,
to bid farewell to the rainy dawn

Titus comes home

By Steve Welsh (Todmorden, South Pennines)

And the tethered blocks of millstone grit
Upon darkening horizon
Bent gnarled and fissured with time
Cling deep in their peat tomb
Against whipping wind
And lie stained across moor’s edge
Like teeth of an aged man
Crooked and bent
Cracked with time

And black clouds gather
Tumbling ever higher to anvil height
Awaiting Thor’s hammer
Pushed by crowding wind,
And black clouds in tumult break
And heavy drops of rain
Hit the black peat and knotted grit

And in an upland quarry
Men with capped heads, rolled sleeves and waistcoats bend low
And with heavy hardened pickaxe
Hammer hard rock with muscled arms and heaving chests
And they gaze high and see the rain a coming
But not for them a rest from rain
For no work means no pay
And they labour on and dig their quarry ever deeper

And there stands Titus
Head these many years of his own work gang
Barrel chested with shoulders of muscled rope
He gazes up through rain at quarry face
And spies next fissure into which his pickaxe will swing
Then steals a glance at valley bottom
For there lies hearth and home
And the embrace of his woman.

And there stands Lizbeth Jane
Toiling now with shuttle and weave
Her friends beside her toiling same
One ear cocked to windows hearing pouring rain.
And in time the sun shines
The whistle blows and she dons bowler hat
Tied with yellow ribbon under chin
And arm in arm with work mates
She hurries home through busy terraced streets
With cheerful greetings to butcher, grocer and friends

And she will be home before her man
And find time for supper of broth
House proud
There is no sluts wool beneath their bed
But upon the mantelpiece she,
Like her mother and mother’s mother
Will use not duster nor polish

And upon stepping into her home she always steals a glance
At the two inch circle next to the clock,
A space where no dust will lie as long as her man lives
Then, by warming range, she rests and cradles her living belly.

And there strides Titus
Down the cobbled street
Arm in arm with work mates
Clogs all a ringing
Street children shouting and singing
And Titus makes a joke and laughs aloud
His head thrown back
And his friends roar cheerily beside him
And the hardness of the day slothes away
And his friends,
With back slap and handshakes,
Peel off one by one
Their homes all a waiting

And Titus turns the corner
And there stands Lizbeth Jane
With smile upon the threshold
And he
Like his father and his father’s father
From his waistcoat pocket takes
The gold fob watch that marks each day
And places it
Like well worn key in aged lock

Upon the mantlepiece beside ticking clock
And with lifetimes hardened hands
Cradles softly his woman’s living belly

Steve Welsh


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

Potentially I was this passing smile on the bus
This unrepentant monster on the death row
This woman in love in a flower dress
This hungry child crying in the desert
This caring hand amidst the sick
I was this liar
This run-away abused son
This power-driven privileged politician
This angry feminist protester shouting outside the embassy
This proponent of the use of robotic surgery
This dehumanised mutilated body left to die
The infant full of wonder
Potentially I was…

Potentially I am this quiet traveller
This sex hungered beast
I am their toy
I am yours
I am like you
I am this doctor working on vaccines
The self-righteous preacher standing among the crowd
This prodigy musician tirelessly creating the ultimate masterpiece
I am full of hate
This forgotten prostitute in the insalubrious slum
This carefree adolescent dancing under the neon lights
This envied celebrity on the daily newspaper
This cancer struck patient waiting anxiously second- line therapy
The writer in front of a blank sheet
Potentially I am…

Potentially I may stab and kill you
I may caress and cover you with kisses
I may invade and destroy cities and people
I may commercialise solar vehicles, and 3D IPods
I may die in an absurd car accident on my way to work
I may open ways to millions of galaxies
I may live a life of misunderstandings
An old dog may be my only companion
I may be this desperate young man you jilted after the party
This woman raped and flogged by law
I will mass produce arms and deadly weapons
I will inspire and write unforgettable verses
I will hurt and never heal
I may be born one summer day
Potentially I may…

Mylene Honore-L'Hortalle


By Claire Thomas (Harrietsham, Kent)

There’s a sadness in all of us
Some more than others
As we sit around the table
The space between our breaths
Is filled with thoughts of you
Like a heavy cloak
But filled with light.

Claire Thomas

Reds Against Blues

By Wendy Collyer (The New Forest, Hampshire)

Plane forms and vapour trails are dots and lines,
Vast blue heavens blur all but these signs.
Distance belies the size and grandeur
Of nine Hawk T1’s flying with valour.

Stunningly moving in straight lines & curved,
They blast ever forward to where they’re observed.
Hearts in our mouths, eyes fixed on the sky;
The rushing begins, Reds blistering by.

Equidistant arriving, equidistant they fall,
Equidistant climbing never fails to enthral
Perfection in powerful pattern-making
Switch on the dye for a trail that’s breath-taking

Jack on the tail, they’re British these Reds –
Blues right behind them, they can stand on their heads;
White streams behind in a final farewell
And we’re left to marvel at how they excel.

Wendy Collyer


By Simon Cake (Dorchester, Dorset)

When I kiss you I experience beautiful things in life,
the moment your lips touch mine,
vivid pictures & motions flash through my mind.

Our lips collide, my eyes closed,
a budding flower, unfolding petals of a rose.

Melting chocolate on my tongue,
strawberries splashed in cream that runs,
the bright red fruit merges with setting sun.

The chill of the ocean breeze,
chattering teeth, quivering knees &
gently rippling waves of the seas.

A treasure chest brimming with love I find,
a pulsing heart on the sands of time
but no key, not a sign of any kind.

Just then as the sun dips into the sea,
in its shimmering light I spy a crystal key,
dangling blindingly from a lonely palm tree.

splitting swords of invisible light
from the suns diminishing angle & height,
forming vibrant colours of a rainbow,
projected & dancing on the sands below.

A rusty lock on the chest I see,
the key turns with some difficulty,
with open lid & surprise,
Intense brightness flood my eyes,
Into the chest I dive,
when I emerge I am in your bed & at your side.

Your naked body soft & warm,
I embrace you through the break of dawn,
as I wake from waning twilight,
to these rays of colour so bright,
sunrise floods in an orangey hue from windows that it shines through.

I cannot believe what I’ve seen,
too real this journey to be a dream,
in stillness, silence & vanished night,
particles hover in peering shards of morning light.

I watch in wonder your radiant glow,
wisps of wild hair splayed upon your pillow,
I hark the quietness of your breath that flows.

Then I come to realise this,
you planted seeds of life into your kiss
to grow a memory of love in my mind,
for when I’m old, faded & blind,
this a vision I will always see,
through time & space, for eternity.

Simon Cake


By Julian Hughes

The evening cools.
The drums roll.
The audience stir.
As trumpets and clarinets warm
the auditorium with melody.
light is dim.
The cognisant listeners are entertained.
The soprano hits the note
and a song thrush outside is flying
and bows on violins sweeping like waves,
the notes played together pleasantly, are harmonising.
Any dissenting sound would be called a discord.
The unharmonious sound is called a dissonance.
The sound increasing is called a crescendo
and presto, animals are running to burrows.
Our bird tables are gone. The hedges are down.
Gutters are broken. Tiles glide in the sky.
Wind is howling like warring platoons of despairing dogs.
Old trees in green parks are being uprooted. Streetwise,
the held-up traffic is tossed about like babies’ rattles.
The storm, a Frankenstien of air, moans
at a venerable building then rips out its roof.
The lucky ones are lying, clinging to their fixed seats…

Julian Hughes

Wow, what a fantastic collection of entries!

We’ve said it before – but Rest Less members really are a talented bunch. Thank you to everybody who submitted an entry . We’re only sorry we couldn’t feature all of the poems we received. However, we plan to run more of these competitions… so keep your eyes peeled for the next one.

If there’s something you’d really like us to focus on for the next creative competition, we’d be delighted to hear your ideas – do get in touch at [email protected].

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