Many thanks to Mr Richard Bedwell, the old boy who generously sponsors this excellent competition. Thanks also to Mr Gould for shortlisting the entries.
This year’s theme was ‘Transformation’.
SENIOR 1st PLACE
Stone Woman – by Ella Finch
My body is made of stone;
My eyes are tiger’s eyes, intelligent and bright, set into the smooth pale quartz of my face.
My chest is granite: impenetrable, forged in the ferocity of volcanic explosions.
My arms are carved from jasper; when I fall they do not shatter, but catch me and help me endure.
My curves are marble – like Aphrodite’s statue unearthed in Petra.
My legs are pillars of cut diamond, with grooves in all the right places.
My feet are made from diorite, strong enough to support my frame without giving out beneath me.
But my hands in yours are limestone, and the faults and cracks are slowly letting you in.
My body is made of stone,
But my heart is a geode which you keep trying to break.
You want to take what’s inside for yourself, not caring that you are tearing me apart,
And my sandstone ribs offer no protection against your waves.
I am a stone woman in love with the sea, and, despite how you wear me down,
I can’t stop loving you.
My body may be made of stone,
But my soul is made of fire
And, be warned, whilst I have allowed myself to be eroded in the past,
I will never let that inferno be extinguished.
SENIOR 2nd PLACE
The Nation’s Corner Stone – by Izzy Durrant
‘In the temple, as in the hearts of the people for whom he saved the Union, the memory of Abraham Lincoln is enshrined forever.’ – Royal Cortissoz
I, president number sixteen,
Was crusading for a cause engulfing a nation.
Now I am set in ivory marble. Pristine.
Stared at by flocks in adoration.
My hands clenched, my eyes glazed,
Stuck in stone, watching my country
Led by mortals who seek power. Unfazed.
Yet alone, I attempt to stand tall.
Once monumental and striving for equality,
Now a monument, encompassed by boys in suits
Who are governed by frivolity.
To president number seventeen,
You witnessed my ruination, yet did not learn.
Too soon did we reconvene;
My views and legacy you chose to spurn.
I watched, in silence, as you took my place
And then watched as you were impeached,
Undoing my tenet with such quick pace.
Now from history’s face, you have been bleached.
Now I speak to president number forty-four,
A potent man after my own heart.
Your presidency stood for so much more.
Our country will mourn as you depart.
Representing a minority, clandestine history’s amended.
You were a defender of many. The keys to an empire you controlled:
Our states more united than ever. For that you are commended.
Now my alabaster heart is growing evermore cold.
I watch now from my unyielding throne,
As president number forty-five begins his despotism.
If I were free from these impenetrable bonds,
I would hang my face in shame.
All headway has been lost.
A wall you proclaim? I shudder at the thought.
Now carved upon your people’s hearts,
A new inscription endures:
‘Omne periit spes’.
JUNIOR 1st PLACE
‘Destruction of Time’ by Olivia Gowland
A crimson curtain enveloped the land,
The view all around was beautiful, quite grand.
A flock of birds rejoiced in that sky
And shared their song as the clouds passed by.
The sky was painted pomegranate pink,
A village plan sketched in ink.
The birds sung over the changing scene
And the clouds floated on; quiet, serene.
A fume-filled sky replaced the clear light,
As the village turned town spread out of sight.
The birdsong disappeared; scarcely heard
And the clouds grew dark, their innocence disturbed
Now the sky is grey, a deep dark colour
And buildings make each sunset duller and duller.
No birds sing as the clouds pass by,
And progress has stolen our bright blue sky.
JUNIOR RUNNERS UP
Goodbye – by Emily Jane King
It’s a thing we take for granted.
Everyday the same,
My routine never changed.
The alarms threw them selves at us,
Whacking are ears.
The streets chorusing
With deafening screams.
It was here!
The beginning of the end.
Men forced to sign,
Women taking over their jobs,
Children like me,
My father left
And before we knew it,
The sky was dying,
And so were we.
My mother only young
Was across the floor,
With a fountain spurting,
From her head.
Her last breath!
I was alone.
I waited for my father,
But all I got was a letter
Who am I? – by Jaz Skingle
Feelings. Such complicated things.
Lost. Wondering where my soul has wondered too.
It has been years since I’ve rode on happiness’s wings.
If only you knew…
Who am I?
I used to be normal. Straight you might call it,
But my emotions have changed: I love something different, something new.
I am falling. My laughter, my joy, my pride has been slit.
Life used to be crystal clear. I used to see right through,
Who am I?
People are understanding. They know the truth.
Calmly they hold me. Embracing me in their love.
The bullying, it never stops. Even when I was in my youth.
I’m saved by the bell, but not for long. I long to be free, free as a dove.
Who am I?
Therapy they say. That’s what I need,
But if I can’t control my own feelings neither can they.
Useless I’m called. Amongst the flowers I am the weed.
What can I say? I’m gay.
Who am I?
Although this is happening, my family’s by my side.
An opportunity approaches. Reaching out.
A transformation of gender. My old self has died.
He, the knower, says the procedure is painless. That, I doubt.
Who am I?
The pain swirls round me like a hurricane.
The thick leather boot of injustice has snuck up on me.
All hope and joy goes down the drain.
My laughter is begging on one knee.
Who am I?
One final stage. That’s all it takes.
But it must wait.
For I have found the one who makes,
My heart ache and is my fate.
I know, who I am!
For years we’ve been together.
But it is time to finish what was started.
He’s been with me through all the weather.
The old me has parted.
I know, who am I?
Death. Sharp, cold crystals fall from my eyes.
Death, the untamed wild fire.
Death. Every bright spark eventually dies.
Death. The thinnest wire.
At least I died, knowing who I am!