Poetry Competition

CISC Poetry Competition 2019: Seeds

Thanks to all who submitted entries for our poetry competition. I was very impressed by the thoughtful interpretations given to the theme of ‘Seeds’ and the rich variety of form and vocabulary used to explore it. In order to ensure a fresh and informed eye, I called upon the expertise of Nick Perry a drama writer who has recently written extensively for Radio 4. In judging the entries, Nick particularly enjoyed the immediacy of engagement that the writers had with their subject and the range of personal insights they brought to it.

Many congratulations to the winners and many thanks to all pupils and staff who through their hard work and creativity made this competition such a pleasure to judge.

And the winners are…

Senior Winner

one day, when the garden of my mind unravels its knots – it will
trace a path back to Eden. there, on the doorstep of dominion –
I will hold dark doubt up to the light. I will sweat out all the things

my bullet-riddled mind could not believe: why, when I drink from
His spring of moonbeam streams, all I’m left with are remnants of fear.
they cling, encrusted. forlorn at the bottom of a cup that curves like a palm.

why, when I hear the voices of men who crawl beyond the trodden path,
my heart leaps up into my mouth and beats out a rhythm of horror.
why wasps still sting small children, why our minds make sacrifices

on the altar of Sodom and Gomorrah, and store up their harvest of terror.
why, when His name is written on the palms of my hands – I am still up
to my elbows in doubt. why, when night’s jacket muffles the bitter-root

gossip of day, soil rots inside my head. unsprouted seeds form the
dots of a thousand thuribles of question marks. why, suddenly, one day,
Jehovah’s whisper comes like a breeze. his persistence a rush through

the lazy chatter of bees. why, when I squint in the distance and see
Him come forth, a thing like hope ties its noose around my neck.
He plucks weeds from their ordered rows of uncertainty.

He plants new seeds, like a prophet out of Eden.

Opefoluwa Sarah Adegbite, age 17, Woldingham School


Nick liked the nature of this poem as an extended metaphor, using the idea of seeds and natural growth in the garden to dramatise interior doubts about God’s presence in the world. The natural order of birth, death and re-birth reflects the poet’s journey from doubt into hope.

 

Junior Winner

The seed of the tree was grown in 1959 every year it would grow bigger,
The bigger it grew the more it was used,
Year 1990 it was used for a swing for children all shapes and sizes,
It made people come out side to play,
The smiles on people’s faces would make anyone’s day,
The next year it was used for a wedding,
How beautiful it was covered in shiny white ribbon,
Then august came the leaves began to fade,
The village decided to have an annual tree day,
Where they pained the leaves of the tree silver,
Each house in the village had one,
When the leaves grew back the village had a party,
The tree meant a lot to them,
2019 the tree still standing,
The lonely swing that is only pushed by the wind

Harriet Crofts, age 12, Leweston School

Nick was taken by the narrative of this poem, telling the story of a tree and through the life of the tree the community that’s around it, reminiscent of the book The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein.

 

Highly Commended

Little brown seed, so inconsequential,
But perfectly packaged, bursting with potential,
Containing with a set of instructions,
For some of nature’s most beautiful constructions.

Little brown seed, so undemanding,
But with an innate understanding,
Soil, water, and some sun,
A bit of time, and then it’s done.

Green shoots appear and grow up high,
Reaching upwards to the sky,
Then the flowers, full of colour,
We all look on, full of wonder

Charles Crossley, age 13, St George’s Weybridge

Nick liked this poem’s simplicity and innocence, culminating in a sense of awe in the last line.

 

Highly Commended

Today is the day my child goes to school
She gets ready on her own
Oh how I miss helping her
It is not that she needs me but that I need her

We have both been through some hard times
Her mum died in labour when she was born.
Her dad did not know what to do so he became an alcoholic
She is adopted and she does not even know I feel bad

One of the things that I love about her in the way she has
overcome these bad times Her laugh makes me smile her
giggle is so sweet how I love having her in my life she is the
reason I am alive I love her and she loves me

Amelia Austin, age 12, Leweston School

Nick felt Amelia’s poem had a welcome unusual slant and enjoyed the fact that the whole poem was a metaphor rather then the metaphor being contained within the verse itself.