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2019 Overall Winner & recipient of the Babies of Walloon bronze statuette

Ipswich Poetry Feast Encouragement Awards

Softly Burning Silence by Portia Clair Hoole (5-17 Years)

I’m not sure when I fell – in fact I never really “fell” at all. Maybe slipped… eased… drifted. But at least I know how it began: with loud silence and warm eyes.

this is a different world, brimming with worlds of its own

and as fingertips trace the stained surfaces of old paper

it is so easy to slip away

to feel galaxies humming to life beyond the ink

this is a soft kind of silence. one that streams through the window panes,

plays on the skin of my shoulders,

swells around us; we are caressed with feather-soft touches

and swaddled in honeyed whispers

this is a moment that lasts forever, inside these four tall walls

and infinity crumbles to ash when I leave

but for now my heartbeat rages, fluttering as I dance

on the borders of a dozen eternities

and then there is you. while I crack spines and press dog-ears into conflicts, flitting along the edges of timelines

you are gentler

your hands (violinist’s hands, weaving daydreams out of rosin)

tracing the pages like they are sacred and coaxing the secrets out

and you are so innocently persuasive; for you

the colours of these stories seep out from the paper

and throw themselves across your skin like daylight

staining your fingertips and glistening on your freckled cheeks

I can see universes reflected in your eyes

watch as you drink in the laughter hidden in every story,

and as the sun rushes in through panes of glass

for an instant the bright light catches amber irises and shines liquid gold

and all is quiet. we carve out a tranquil moment

and clutch it to our chests like desperate creatures

but how can I concentrate when I am lost

in the incandescence burning brilliant behind dark lashes?

and, as I meet your eyes, I feel my heart stop beating.

“Are you okay?” you mumble, still half-lost in Fairyland.

“Yeah… Yes, I’m just… drifting off, I guess.” My fingers trace the edges of my book lightly; unconsciously I play with the corners of page 93, creasing the paper.

You laugh lightly and drag a hand through your messy hair. “I can relate to that.” And then you are gone again, beyond but not far away – drawn to the clashing of steel on steel. I follow suit and turn my eyes downwards.

And we continue, slipping into the





Death of the Brumbies by Pat Fennell (Open Age)

by Westside Christian College (School Winner)

Picture Ipswich Awards – Open Age

Ipswich City Council Awards Open Age – Local Poets

Joy Chambers & Reg Grundy Awards Open Age – Other Poetry

Ipswich Poetry Feast Awards Open Age – Bush Poetry

Ipswich City Council Award – 16-17 Years

Queensland Times Award- 14-15 Years

Broderick Family Awards 11-13 Years

Ipswich District Teacher Librarian Network Award – 8-10 Years

River 94.9 Award – 5-7 Years