2019 Overall Winner & recipient of the Babies of Walloon bronze statuette
by Jena Woodhouse (Overall Winner)
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)
Down the ridge the brumbies gallop bayes and piebalds, greys and blacks
Manes and tail fly out in glory, sunshine gleams on satin backs
They can see their well loved windmill, shining silver in noon’s glare
When they rush to skidding standstill, trough is dry – no water there
Canter out and talk it over, underneath the spindly tree
They will stand and wait with patience, water will come back, you’ll see
Baby foals take to suckle, mares and bucks check trough again,
Now they’re worried, and they’re thirsty – drying throats begin to pain.
Heat waves dance the dance of death, drying, scorching every throat,
Draining every drop of moisture., from each shiny, satin coat.
Slowly old ones prop and falter, fall down flat and cannot rise,
Only man can come to alter, halt the dread of their demise.
NO ONE CAME and one by one, the deadly work of thirst was done,
Bayes and piebalds, greys and blacks, lying dead in du
by Westside Christian College (School Winner)
Picture Ipswich Awards – Open Age
The Extended Challenge by Donald Walker (1st)
The Extended Challenge
The “old” Raceview School in 1910
Stood under the clear blue sky
The only sounds in this rural bliss
Were mines working nearby.
Aberdare Extended was one of those
Its stack seen from the school
Adjacent to Bundamba Creek
With waters clear and cool.
The shaft was sunk to mine the coal
From the rich Aberdare Seam
And this it did for many years
For the trains to raise their steam
The workers at Extended Mine
Old and young alike
Took the track off Station Road
And walked or rode their bike.
Bill Patterson a push bike rode
Though he lived nearby indeed
Unlike the Indian Motorbike
Vic Costello rode at speed.
Some miners said that Vic was fast
Others said that Bill was slicker
So a contest was arranged
To see who was the quicker
Five hundred yards was the track
From mine to Station Road
From the office it began
To find the fastest mode
Vic was slow out of the blocks
Slow to get his Indian started
Much younger Bill had made a break
And had quickly departed.
Vic was a two war veteran
Thought “ I’ve seen things more dire
The track is long and Bill is young
And he will quickly tire”.
He didn’t know that Billy lived
Opposite Extended Gate
So when he got to Station Road
He thought that Bill would wait.
Bill hid his bike behind his fence
And he too was well concealed
Vicky looked hard with his one eye
But nothing was revealed.
It was at this point Vic agreed
That Bill had won the race
He said “Pattison can ride a bike
I can’t keep up the pace”.
And so it was from that day forth
Round Raceview’s pleasant fields
Bill Patterson was recognised as
The fastest man on wheels.
Ipswich City Council Awards Open Age – Local Poets
The Last Summer Rose by Leonie Parker (1st)
He walks down the street he knew well as a boy and all left unchanged is the name.
The bunting droop down like deflated balloons – a party where nobody came.
The wrecking balls all have been loaded away. The flyers are out in the mail.
The real estate agents are busy as bees spruiking apartments for sale.
Neglected old houses on half acre blocks are only a memory now
like the old dairy farm at the end of the road which for decades has not seen a cow.
The old picture show weer he once used to queue for the Saturday morn matinee
has been levelled as well, leaving just a façade. He’ll not go to ‘the pictures’ today.
He thinks of the gang that had once gathered here, how they fractured and scattered afar
like the carrot-topped boy with the razor-sharp wit, who became quite the radio star.
And what of the boy with the Hollywood looks and the girl with the voice of a lark?
Did they follow their dreams, that theatrical pair, or did life simply snuff out the spark?
The old railway tracks where he flattened a coin, overgrown, and in parts rusted through,
are now firmly it seems, in the bulldozer’s sights in the race to create something new.
He remembers a girl ‘neath the old railway bridge and the freckles that sun-kissed her nose,
and the scolding he took from his mother because he had pilfered her prize-winning rose.
He had picked the red rose for the freckled faced girl and he wonders where she is today.
Did she miss the old gang, and that red-headed boy, when her family moved far away?
But the roses are gone and the houses gone too. It’s unlikely they’ll even be missed,
except by a man who remembers a girl – the very first girl that he kissed.
But time marches on and it leaves us behind. Father Time is a memory thief
and the last summer rose always graciously cedes to the fall of the first autumn leaf.
So an old man moves on like he’s done many time but a memory, bitter an sweet,
lingers on in his wake like the scent of a rose crushed by carelessly hurrying feet.
In a town far away there’s a cute bungalow with a rose bush that blooms near the door.
On a table inside there’s a fully blown rose and a petal drifts to the floor.
An old lady sits in a comfortable chair, a newspaper always nearby.
The real estate ad on the TV guide page is small but it catches her eye.
A memory stirs from a lifetime ago, softly faded like freckles in shade.
An old railway bridge, and a red summer rose, and promises childishly made.
She’s watching a show titled ‘Where are they now?’ She’s forgotten who most of them are,
But remembers the sharp-witted white haired old man who was once quite the radio star.
Joy Chambers & Reg Grundy Awards Open Age – Other Poetry
Wanderers by Jena Woodhouse (1st)
A scientist has likened them to ‘flying weeds’,
such is the ease with which they colonise
new habitats; crossing from California
as stowaways in gold-rush days; fleeing New
Caledonia through funnels of cyclonic gusts.
None of this we knew, nor even guessed,
when we found their stripy caterpillars
clamped to milkweed plants, and carried
them as trophies to our shoebox cells.
Like silkworms, they would munch incessantly,
voraciously – tubiform, minute balloons
with embryonic horns. We watched them grow,
our pretty prisoners, but how did they escape?
Where did they vanish to, and what
became of them, without fresh leaves?
The answers dangled from mosquito nets,
solidified and glazed – live capsules of milky
jade, adorned with gilded dots where cone
morphed into dome and hook,
attached to canopies of mesh.
We kept watch for the final stage,
the metamorphosis from cloistered
nymphs to creatures of the air;
but once more they outwitted us,
sloughed their chrysalises
in secrecy and flew elsewhere.
As we siblings would, one day, leave
our nurturers bereft, gazing at the empty
farmhouse-box and white, abandoned nets.
*Wanderers: an alternative name for Monarch butterflies
Nocturne for a Vanished Farm by Jena Woodhouse (2nd)
The darkest nights were on the farm.
In the absence of the moon,
stars – a broken barbed-wire fence –
glittered in the sky’s soft weft.
Creatures in a tank of air –
night’s infinite aquarium –
floated free of gravity
in attitudes of weightlessness.
After spirit-lamps were doused
the house drew in upon itself;
its clutch of dreamers moaned and tossed
in stifling mosquito nets – each isolating
sac of mesh a Magellanic cloud.
On Saturdays the homing beams
of solitary farmers’ sons
returning from the picture show
sliced through louvres like a sword.
I’d hear their motors throbbing
in the void as fleeting, fickle hearts
and long for places where the lights
extinguished all the dark.
Now, where nights are drenched
in acid radiance that masks the stars,
incessantly the traffic cohorts hurtle blindly past.
Immured within my wooden ark
beside the curlew-haunted park,
my solitude is palpable, vaster than the farm.
its perfume through the room.
Violet, mauve and moth-white
effloresce in courtyard’s crepuscule.
I cannot differentiate the cloying
fragrance of today – the mauve – from violet
of yesterday, and virginal tomorrow.
Now, as then, the night is all
soft promises that can’t be kept.
The dark rings with the memory
of cattle bells, remote and hollow.
*Brunfelsia australis (‘yesterday-today-tomorrow’):
a toxic member of the nightshade family
Grey’s Anatomy by Damen O’Brien (3rd)
Bones granted worth.
Their donors didn’t know that
the cruel knife and
the impersonal eye of history
would recast them
with the simple honesty
and known wonder
of the body, that
their death in penury, their
involuntary theatre would be
maps that changed the world, schematics
that shaped art for ever, the recipes
for all that followed.
All that follows came from
the homeless dead gifted to morgues
surreptitious shovelling in graveyards,
unlawful experiments in cold labs
and the tender laying out
of bowing tendons, swooping branching muscles,
the gently reverence granted to corpses.
The ministrations of scalpels
gave us the Vitruvian Man
and all that followed,
beauty to burn the heart,
the girl with the pearl earing,
divinity oiled onto canvas
through vagrant humanity, dissected men.
Could they have opened the skin of these first sketches,
the blue and red wires
and produce geometry, banjos and cats,
the brush prints of pop art?
Surgery was guess work and barbarism once:
a hook keeling into a deep unknowable ocean,
but fathers fallen on hard times,
consumptive young men,
changed all that on the slabs of curious artistry.
The art done on a surgeon’s table:
the careful painting of the breath;
the neat brush strokes securing a pulse;
the that life is granted
through the narrow and lonely craft of death.
Ipswich Poetry Feast Awards Open Age – Bush Poetry
Kelly's Corner by Heather Knight (1st)
Churches dominate the hilltops
giving guidance to the meek,
in a town replete with shanty bars and inns.
Solid walls of brooding bluestone
stand defiant on the peak,
sternly warning of the consequence of sins.
Groaning wagons, creak and rumble,
lurching slowly down the road,
chased by dogs that bark incessantly at wheels.
Oaths are uttered, loud and gruffly;
bullocks fight against their load,
greenhide leather cracking loudly at their heels.
Pounding hooves and creaking leather;
cornet cutting frosty air;
cries of, “Whoa there! Whoa now! Steady as you go.”
Mothers shout and children scatter;
men and women turn to stare
at the celebrated “whip” of Cobb and Co.
Smeaton looks up from his anvil,
concentration in his frown;
tools are thrown aside as trotting hooves approach.
Johnny Butler hears the ruckus
at the other end of town
and he dashes off to meet the crimson coach.
There’s an air of expectation
outside Matthew Kelly’s inn
as the much awaited coach arrives in town.
Women search for friendly faces,
calling names above the din;
Hughie Mitchell throws the reins and clambers down.
Ostlers deftly change the horses;
Hughie Mitchell greets his mates,
while the passengers are plied with food and ale.
With a fresh team fully harnessed
Hughie yells – “The road awaits,”
and the silent crowd begin to read their mail.
There’s a rush to finish letters:
stragglers amble from the inn;
Matthew Kelly helps the ladies to their seat.
Mail and passengers are loaded,
(one a little worse for gin)
and the gathered crowd disperses from the street.
Hughie climbs aboard the box seat
and he rings the final bell,
then he turns the horses heads for Sydney town.
With a jolt the wheels are turning;
Matthew Kelly waves farewell;
Hughie cracks the whip and pulls his collar down.
Shadows darken on the hilltops;
horses shuffle outside Quinns;
Mrs Kelly seeks the comfort of her shawl.
Lazy smoke licks mossy rooftops;
lamps illuminate the inns
and the sinners serve their time behind the wall
Australis in Extremis by Catherine Lee (2nd)
We longed for just a drop of rain through unrelenting drought,
small glimmer of a merciful release,
but brutally it blistered on, invincible and fierce,
withholding any hint that it might cease,
with arid creeks and rivers gaping scars across the land
now dirt bowls lined with rocks and twisted trees –
their quest for liquid thwarted,
bleached roots exposed, contorted –
and not the slightest modicum of breeze.
Our starving cattle scraped the moss from boulders with their teeth
in desperation, seeking to survive,
while sheep were living skeletons, their fleeces grey and snarled –
we struggled just to keep them alive;
but finally, with grim reluctance, broke and forced to act,
we knew we had to end their misery –
the staggering and rasping,
bleak bellowing and gasping –
a harrowing mass grave their destiny
On sharp alert, with bushfire warnings hitting record highs
and moiusture sapped from dehydrated eart,
we ate through our reserves of fodder, cash and fortitude,
and wept to tally up the total worth.
the baking banks which once contained abundant flowing streams
now spread like fractured patchwork in the dust;
while ancient forests yielded,
from burning sun unshielded,
we pushed ourselves to cope and readjust.
Fatigue was overwhelming us as pastures dulled to brown,
with heat intensifying every day;
it dealt a mighty hammering, made worse by sweat and flies,
and much-loved horses falling by the way.
no grass to eat, we fed by hand and tried to make ends meet
as anxiously we peered towards the sky;
mirages shimmered, taunting,
reality was daunting
in this, the very driest of the dry.
Renewal would be slow in coming, this we knew for sure –
some showers came, but never quite enough;
we fought to shake the pessimism, prophecies of doom,
remind ourselves we’re made of sterner stuff.
But numbered by devastation, overtired and under strain,
decay and damage shocking and obscene,
discouragement was growing,
the tension clearly showing,
since nowhere showed the smallest sign of green.
Recalling now that blissful hope when first we scented rain
snd felt those early drops we’d ached to see,
our faith that this would hold and heal the desiccated soil
to end the shrivelled, scorching agony
we ponder how we couldn’t know the suffering to come
as daily it increased in strength and size –
relief the only feeling,
with trust in nature’s healing –
“At last, the welcome rains!” our happy cries.
But normal levels amplified – a deluge was unleashed –
proportions we had never dreamt to know;
for days on end the swollen clouds spewed wrath from angry skies,
cascading onto thirsting plains below.
Initial apprehension turned to disbelief and dread;
we understood such volume would prevail –
torrential downpour roaring,
unprecedented pouring –
then horrified, we realised the scale.
The carcasses of kangaroos were scattered all around,
while drifts of filthy silt drowned countless birds;
our livestock lay in ghastly piles where, gathering for warmth,
they’d perished in a way too sad for words.
They’d huddled for protection in their tragic little group
where terror must have marked their every breath.
We shudder at their panic
each patch of earth now blanketed in death.
So once again we load our rifles, mercy mission bound,
attempt to count the legions that have died;
in searching for survivors, hearts are breaking at the sights –
insurance cannot bridge this great divide.
They’re cutting fees, supplying hay, and crews are working hard
rebuilding where they can from dawn till night;
nut so much time is needed
til waters have receded,
and jobs are disappearing left and right.
The vegetation’s stripped and whipped, while icy winds drive on
to add to our dilemma and distress;
with flooded ground engulfed we’re standing helpless and appalled,
Distraught at crumbling futures we assess.
our paddocks now one boundless muddy ocean to confront,
we wonder how we’ll ever get ahead –
results of crushing torrent
destruction vast, abhorrent,
revealing almost everything is dead.
We’ll battle on regardless as we do in times like this,
though mental torture’s difficult to bear;
we’re facing years of hardship with no income to be found;
but won’t succumb to ill-advised despair.
The burdens of exhaustion and despondency combine
whenever nature launches such attacks,
but courage lies in knowing
the sympathy you’re showing –
assurance that the nation has our backs.
We cannot pay the banks, so call on government for aid,
and beg that you will also play a part
by buying local products and assisting where you can
to guarantee at least a place to start.
Though strong, we’re almost broken so we need a helping hand,
appeal for your compassion and support
through this, a new dimension
of punishing extension –
apocalyptic ruin it has brought.
In replicating circles as the climate changes come,
through drought and storms, we’ll resolutely stand;
we only ask you don’t forget us, try to comprehend
our passion and respect towards this land.
Please wait with us in thoughts unspoken, hold us in your prayers
till rains abate and this ordeal is done;
and then in celebration
of answered supplication,
once more we’ll dare to bless the rising sun.
A Simple Epitaph by Tom McIlveen (3rd)
In the book of Jeremiah and Leviticus they speak
of a terrible catastrophe to come.
It was meant to be a warning for the wicked and the weak,
and an omen of what lay in store for some.
In the following millennium, a million miles away
from the land where Jeremiah prophesied,
there is famine, drought and pestilence still happening today,
as those ancient scriptures rightfully implied.
But it’s different today somehow… the droughts are not the same,
and the seasons are becoming more obscure.
They are telling us that climate change is probably to blame,
but I guess we’ll never truly know for sure.
I’m the seventh generation now, to farm this barren soil,
and the first to throw the towel in, it seems.
I have seen my share of misery in blood and sweat and toil,
and a thousand wasted promises and dreams.
I remember what my father used to say when things were bad,
he would tell me …’Son , you’ve gotta think ahead!’
And although the banks had taken nearly everything he had,
he had somehow kept his sheep and cattle fed.
But if Dad was here today, I’m sure he’d sing another tune,
and admit that something weird is going on.
We have hardly had a drop of rain since sowing wheat in June,
and the stubble hay has very nearly gone.
They can take our land and flog it off to someone overseas,
and then keep the deeds upon their foreign shelves.
They can auction off my breeding stock to pay their bankers’ fees,
and then divvy up what’s left between themselves!
I could hang around and wait until the seasons settle down,
or could heed the words that Jeremiah said.
I could walk away and bludge on someone’s charity in town –
to be honest….I would just as soon be dead!
They will think it was an accident, and probably assume
that I slipped and fell, out shooting starving sheep.
They can write a simple epitaph to place upon my tomb…
‘as a man shall sow, then so too should he reap!’
When I get to meet Leviticus and Jeremiah’s mates
in the barroom of that heavenly hotel,
will they welcome me and open up those rusted pearly gates,
when I tell them that I’ve done my time in hell?”
Mallee Farmer by Max Merckenschlager (Highly Commended)
Another month of gripping drought and harvest hopes are dim
our shrinking dams are drowning stock that haven’t strength to swim
and cloudless skies are mocking-blue from Lameroo to Palmer;
the benchmark for an optimist must be a mallee farmer.
The paddocks wear a tinge of brown in place of waving ‘flags’
and reckoning is dropping fast to seed instead of bags.
Perhaps we should be swapping sheep for camels, goats or Ilamas?
more suited to this country of us battered mallee farmers.
Depression does its sordid rounds till saddened heads are hung
and comfort offers cold relief when country bells are rung
There’s days you wonder, “What’s the point of changing from pyjamas?”
the work’s become a grim charade for many mallee farmers.
Hot slaking winds are whipping soils that swirl in devil horns
to checkmate every move we make and rook our frantic pawns.
We’re sure to pay for bushland chained; the signs are in our karmas
of fences buried we’ll rebuild on dunes of mallee farmers.
Our stock are stripping gums of bark and epicormal shoots
the frontline for survival of their ancient calloused roots.
We’ve done the priests and forecasters, the rain-dancers and sharmas
if you’re another humorist, indulge us mallee farmers!
“The Bank” won’t look us in the eye when passing down the street
he has some bitter news at hand and wants us in to meet.
We’re living on the razor’s edge and hardly need this drama
it seems that God has given up his stoic mallee farmer.
And city folk – now there’s the joke; they cheer when told “It’s fine
for weekend country touring or for tossing out a line!”
The weatherman in good books is a suave and gushing charmer
perhaps he’d like the drier wit of any mallee marmer?
Ahhh, What The Hell – perhaps we’ll sell this lousy lump of dirt
and settle in the city where the welfare cheque’s a cert?
What’s that? I hear a-drumming on my corrugated armour!
YOU BLOODY BEAUT! I’m GLAD to be a dogged mallee farmer!
Memo: (1st line, second stanza):
‘flags’ refers to the early flag-stage of a cereal crop
From Gallipoli with Love by Tom McILveen (Highly Commended)
I am sending this and hoping Dad, that the girls don’t get to see
what is truly going on behind the scenes.
I would rather them believing God is here protecting me ̶
than to know that we were blown to smithereens.
We were confident of victory and were spoiling for a fight,
as the Ninth and Tenth Battalions paved the way…
the Eleventh copped a hiding though, in spite of all their might,
when they disembarked just north of Suvla Bay.
We were sure the Turks would turn and run from the mighty Third Brigade
and that we could take the Dardanelles with ease.
But apparently they’d seen behind our fearsome masquerade,
and refused to yield or bow on bended knees.
I was with the second wave of troops that had scrambled two abreast
from the rowing boats the tugs had towed ashore.
We had landed in the middle of a flamin’ hornets’ nest ̶
in a blazing hell of blood and guts and gore!
There were bodies strewn like bits of wood all along the stony beach,
where the withered kelp lay stranded, rank and dried.
There were others floating shoreward through the shallows out of reach,
as they drifted in like flotsam on the tide.
If we’d only taken Chanuk Bair, in that very first advance,
then the sacrifice may not have been in vain.
If the landing hadn’t gone amiss, we may have stood a chance
of achieving something from this whole campaign.
We have bitten off a little more than we’ll ever get to chew,
and have opened up a can of worms it seems.
For the Turks are worthy warriors, and jingoistic too…
but misguided by the Kaiser’s crazy dreams.
They’re persistent little buggers though, I have got to give them that…
for they like to do their fighting tete-a-tete.
They‘ve been culling us like rabbits, in a game of tit for tat ̶
and can give about as good as what they get!
We have names for every mountain top and for every cliff and ledge,
and for every gully, gorge and hidden trek.
There is Baby Seven Hundred, Walker’s Ridge and Razor’s Edge…
and of course you would have heard about the Nek!
It was where the Third Light Horse Brigade were deprived of half their men
in a suicidal bayonet attack.
They were slaughtered there like cattle in a butcher’s holding pen,
till the Brass had intervened and called them back.
We have called it Godley’s abattoir, as it’s tainted with the blood
of the hundreds who have died to no avail ̶
for a lousy bit of wilderness and acreage of crud,
with a spattering of broken rock and shale.
When I look around, I wonder now… why I volunteered for this,
when I could have been at home in Inverell.
I would just as soon be playing cards with Mum and Little Sis,
as be playing devil’s advocate in hell.
It’s the Sydney blokes who do it tough, in the scorching midday heat…
as they’ve never had to rough it in the scrub.
They would rather be at Bondi, chasin’ sheilas down the street,
or be sipping grog in some suburban pub.
But they’re eager in a donnybrook, when the chips are really down,
and are partial to a bit of fuss and strife.
They have learnt the art of fighting on the streets of Sydney Town,
and are handy with a bayonet and knife.
They are generous with cigarettes, and have taught us how to smoke,
and are full of wit and clever repartee.
They are always stirring mischief and they love to share a joke,
and have been a calming influence on me.
We’ve been fighting here since April Dad, with our backs against the wall,
and our senses numbed by nauseating stink.
I suppose I should be grateful that I’m even here at all ̶̶
I’m alive and breathing oxygen…(I think!)
What a God forsaken, bloody mess! It is hard to verbalise
and explain the dreadful things we’ve seen and done…
for the trenches here are swarming with mosquitoes, rats and flies
from the corpses that lie rotting in the sun.
If you think the flies at home are bad, you should see them over here!
They’re as thick as ours, but not as purely bred.
They will hang around till evening and then seem to disappear,
when the mozzies come and hassle us instead.
It’s the smell that’s driving me insane, and the thirst I cannot slake…
from the putrid taste of ruin and decay.
It’s the overwhelming pungency in every breath I take,
and the thought of you and Mum so far away.
I am signing off and hoping Dad, that the girls don’t make a fuss,
when they get to hear there’s nothing much to tell.
I would rather have them thinking God is here protecting us ̶̶
than to know that we’ve been damned and sent to hell.”
Song of the Water-Lilies by Max Merckenschlager (Highly Commended)
Come Bridget, we’re charged by our doting Papa to dash on an errand as swift as the breeze
day shadows are stretching, our destiny’s far we’ll skirt round the valley of trees
and pond with its water-lilies
… those beckoning water-lilies.
Dear Mary, may I take my cane hoop and stick? I’m sure I can manage their actions with ease! No sister, they’d slow us. But if we are quick we’ll rest for a
spell `neath the trees
admire our water-lilies
and drink from the pond, if we please.
Let’s gather fresh lilies, a gift for Mama
see how they’re attracting the birds and the bees? We’ll pick some and give her new blooms in a jar a memory of home overseas
a snow-drift of water-lilies.
She’ll dream with her water-lilies.
Be careful sweet Bridget, you’re wading too deep! Reach here for my hand — now in panic you seize together we’re tumbling, soon we may sleep
for none hear our desperate pleas
they’re muffled by buffeting breeze
and song of the water lilies.
Our dresses and pinafores carry us down
our boots are laced tightly on stockings to knees we thresh and we flounder — I fear we may drown both clutching our water-lilies.
As bubbles rise softly and tease
we sink with our water-lilies.
The pallid white staring of infantile ghosts and voices of children in tragedy’s frieze shall spirit away;
joining Heavenly hosts drift off through the shadowy trees.
Two sisters at peace, no-one sees
sleep on with their water-lilies.
Walk a Mile in Our Shoes! by David Campbell (Highly Commended)
With a hole in my pocket where money should be,
and some ragged old trousers worn down at the knee,
I’ll be first in the line when there’s work to be done,
for when fate brings you down there’s a fight to be won.
It is not much I want, just an ongoing job,
and the chance to succeed as I make a few bob
so the wife and the kids can have something to eat
as we try to find ways to get back on our feet.
Now the bank is foreclosing on all that we had
there are tough times ahead as the good turns to bad,
for there’s not much in town and the city’s too far,
and besides, we’re all happy right here where we are!
When you’ve spent all your days working hard on the land
it gets into your blood, and you can’t understand
when some shiny-suit office-type tries to allay
all your fears with some waffle, then waves you away.
In the skin of my hands there are decades of toil,
for the blisters and dirt tell the stories of soil
that was worked by my father, and his before that,
and I’m damned if I’ll grovel to some bureaucrat!
This is all that we know, it’s our lifeblood, our heart,
yet decisions by others will tear it apart
if we can’t find a window that offers some light
as a beacon to follow through threatening night.
As I stand at the top of the hill and look down
at the homestead below me, I can’t help but frown
at the forces that gather and bring you so low
that you struggle to see any clear way to go.
When the weather’s extremes, be they flood, fire, or drought,
cut a swathe through your land then you’re left full of doubt —
were we ever intended to live way out here
where the forces of nature can be so severe?
Yet that thought is dismissed just as soon as it’s born
as a sign of defeat and the object of scorn,
for this land is the life we have known until now,
and the reason I’m standing here making this vow.
In the dark days ahead we’ll do all that we can
to survive through this setback and work out a plan,
for no matter the bridges that have to be crossed
we’ll return to the home that for now we have lost.
In an area shattered by anguish and pain
there are many who’ve gone that we’ll not see again,
and the streets of our town see some pitiful scenes
as a few who’ve remained learn what poverty means.
Where’s the justice, the fairness, the government aid,
the belief in the sacrifice that we have made|
to ensure that our nation is properly fed
and our kids don’t go hungry each night to their bed?
Our community’s dying, the young ones have gone,
for they can’t see a future worth building upon
as the farmland reverts to the gidgee and dust,
with the dams cracked and dry while the tanks turn to rust.
Mother Nature is fickle/obeying no rules,
and if some don’t respect her she’ll treat them as fools,
but out here there are lessons we learned long ago —
in the turn of the seasons it’s always been so.
What we need is compassion, goodwill, and some time,
and not feeling that we have committed a crime
as the suits brandish papers and preach on the law
while they’re mouthing excuses and shutting the door.
For you can’t kill a lifestyle with strokes of a pen
in a skyscraper office where ignorant men
wash their hands of all guilt and suggestions of blame
while dismissing your hopes and your dreams and your name.
There are families broken by what’s happened here,
and the suicide toll has been growing each year,
so it’s time to hit back, standing firm side by side,
while defending our heritage, honour, and pride.
Let the battle commence, we will never give in,
we will fight this together, determined to win,
for we don’t have a choice, there is too much to lose,
and if you can’t see why — walk a mile in our shoes!
Ipswich City Council Award – 16-17 Years
Cross Words by Penelope Duran (1st)
A five letter word expressing regret Sorry
Rhymes with “more” for
The whole of something all
A definite article the
Synonymous with “hurt” pain
Not your, but… my
Building blocks of speech words
To possess have
Made something happen caused
Not me, but… you
Wash, Rinse, Repeat by Penelope Duran (2nd)
Shampoo bottle labels and stained hands,
Branded by the blood and the sands,
Wash, rinse, repeat to make it all disappear,
But never again will the water be clear.
The shower’s waterfall flows over me,
Already washed by myself repeatedly,
Still ruined, stained with hope out of reach,
Cannot forget what happened at the beach.
Waves brushed the shore again and again,
He gripped my hand tightly without end,
Loved him and hated him — bond dysfunctional,
Swept away by waves, men and now untouchable.
I wash once, twice, relentless countless times,
His cries, playing again and again in my mind,
His luminous green eyes ever taunting me,
If it didn’t happen, how would things be?
Wish him back, for better or worse — impossible,
At least for now my stained soul is incurable,
I’m Lady Macbeth forever scrubbing my hands,
Persistent blood stains greeting my every glance.
I remember the winds howling across the sand,
And relive again the loss on the strand,
For a moment I see him outside the shower door,
With his eyes as luminous as ever before.
Cerulean by Penelope Duran (3rd)
The cerulean plane,
Mirror of blue sky and sea,
Posing the question:
Which is real — teal or navy,
And which is the reflection?
Soft Morning by Maja Vasic (Highly Commended)
Softly through the curtains
the light of the harsh sun spills.
Morning, come again:
subtle as a whisper, soft as a dream,
languorous and chaste
and yearning to be real.
Here in the shallows
you rise from sleep, undeliberate.
Heavy limbs stirring, dark eyelashes
parting slowly, you wade
to the banks of the day.
These slow, hazy moments
wash away, slide soundless
from your skin and then
movement, motion, round
the house and out the door
And in the jolting
wakened world, you board
the bustling bus, clutch coffee,
answer calls and hurtle
into another routine day.
But left behind, like sheets pulled back
the morning’s softness lies
on your bedroom floor,
to be slipped back on, slid back into,
in another soft moment, another
Father Time by Allegra Pestell (Highly Commended)
I won’t have a clock in my house now.
The rhythmic tick tock,
infuriating, irritating, incessant.
A reminder of who I couldn’t be.
My life, just a minute.
My success, just a captured second.
My failure, just a meaningless moment.
But not meaningless to me.
Cruel time is fleeting,
my time is passing,
this time could be different.
So they say.
He is a thief.
Stealing my laughter,
I blame him for my misery.
He could be a wise man.
Spreading his wisdom,
teaching lessons for all,
but instead he refuses.
He does not answer my calls.
He should be a healer.
A salve for my grazes,
a crutch for my ailments,
a bandage for my scrapes,
but he refuses to heal my wounds.
I feel he moves too slowly,
or too swiftly.
I feed his insatiable hunger,
or idly sit,
letting him silently slide by.
I waste him.
Thinking he will last forever,
I let him run past me,
but he stumbles on,
long after I’m gone.
Coughing up Wildflowers by Hunter Smith (Highly Commended)
a wattle seed was planted in my brain
mustard. it blossomed so
I began coughing up wildflowers.
puffy from the allergy
honey bled from my ears. bees migrated
just to start a hive in my mind
as if it wasn’t already loud enough.
the nurses came. black jelly beans for weeks
the bitter ones. aniseed
and lots of cigarettes. breathing
down the cinnamon
until that hive was charcoal, and lonely
wasting away the wattle works best
they told me.
but I still woke up every night. prescribe nightmares
said the doctor. long ones, like death.
yet sprout they still did, pink
in my throat until I spoke
a new tongue. wildflower
feed her soap
until her cheeks strawberries and her
skin cream, They said.
the blossoms blossomed
This System by Sophie van der Helder (Highly Commended)
They say you better get an A plus this time round,
Make up for your last exam,
When your effort was sound,
I thought that you had in you,
And that you would do us proud,
But it turns out your results were just a real let down.
Words can’t harm me? That’s a lie.
People around me, their words bite.
Teachers, family, friends and loved ones,
Say that I don’t even even try.
If they knew what it was like,
And took a trip inside my mind,
They might be able to realise,
That I feel trapped and alone inside.
They don’t know my situation,
Only see my outer layer,
And don’t know how much it hurts me,
Every time they call me a failure,
Refuse to listen to excuses,
Everything that I say is useless,
It’s impossible to prove it,
And if I talk back they will lose it!
I wish that you could see, where I’m coming from,
And there is so much wrong, with this system.
The pressure that kids feel,pretend that it ain’t real,
Well if that’s the case, then please explain my mental state.
I wish you’d understand the struggle that’s at hand,
And empathise with those who’s lives are not going to plan.
But instead you demand.
You just expect straight A’s,
But have you ever considered
That that is pretty hard to achieve with a Mental condition,
Effects one in five,
So does that make a difference?
You blame it on the fact they’re lazy,
When you don’t know their position.
Well her dad just passed away,
And she hasn’t slept in days,
So do you think she can concentrate?
When she’s stuck feeling desolate?
What about her friend?
Who can barely afford to spend,
A single cent,
Because his family’s in debt.
He lives at home with his mother,
Who has to care for all his brothers,
Because the man she called her lover,
Happened to be with another.
There is just no way to fathom,
The depth of someones mental chasm,
Don’t say you’ve been there, you haven’t
Yeah you can’t even imagine.
The stress of studying,
Might just be a bit too much,
For the kids who aren’t aware,
That without A’s they’re still enough.
Her Own Knight by Penelope Duran (Highly Commended)
She’s been trapped in the twisted tower far too long,
Accompanied by a bevy of birds’ light-hearted songs,
Having encountered evil fairies and ghastly dragons,
She knows that a knight is coming — brave and strong.
Sitting there awaiting the arrival of her suave savior,
She braids her hair to look perfect when he finds her,
Singing to ensure that her velvety voice doesn’t waver,
She finds herself longing for a dashing hero and rescuer.
Damsel knows not the identity of the knight in armor,
But to the hope that he’s coming, the maiden clamors,
For in fairy tales this is the way that events transpire,
Maiden trapped in a tower, the gallant warrior saves her.
After countless long, lingering days and moonlit nights,
She lets slip the hope to which she’s been holding tight,
This is no fairy tale — no, such is not the story of her life,
So she decides to save herself and to be her own knight.
Hermann Göring by Oscar Townsend (Highly Commended)
His waning days were spent,
With much vain remiss,
A man of intercession,
Yet one not judged falsely.
What voice more full with yarn,
A ‘peacemaker’ in war,
For one but of the third reich,
A ‘peacemaker’ in war.
Now and as time shall pass,
Needless death stays needless,
Of faith and colour alas,
His guilt ‘unique in its enormity’.
At daybreak it is to be?
No, no in night a man shall rest,
‘I am the peacemaker,
Humiliation mustn’t follow me’.
For all that has been said and done,
A poison pill kept within his keep,
Golden watches, pens and cases,
Treasures traded for a deathly sleep.
Queensland Times Award- 14-15 Years
War Lion by Tessa Quinlan (1st)
I once felt like a lion,
Bellicose and ready for adventure.
Loyal and strong,
I answered the call of a territorial battle,
That would ‘end all wars’ in a fight for ‘King and country’,
And kill more than sixty-thousand of my kind.
Majestic and grand,
I learnt to hunt with the Australian battalions,
That would later be commemorated for their mateship,
And unique spirit on the battlefields.
Silent and nervous,
I entered a barren landscape of bloodstained soil,
That was scarred with mangled barbed wire, strewn with bodies
And punctured with deep craters.
Hungry and disheartened,
I devoured my bully beef and the hard biscuits,
That could be compared to the texture of shrapnel which rained down,
And would obliterate a life in seconds.
Nauseous and sickened,
I glanced downwards into eyes filled with hungry maggots,
That belonged to a rotting carcass covered by a bloody khaki uniform,
And vomited as I realised ‘that could have been me’.
Suffering and horrified,
I witnessed others overcome by mustard gas,
That would, without any kind of warning, maliciously attack bare skin,
And mercilessly rob a lion of his sight.
Fearful and weakened,
I watched the approach of the hyenas,
That would work as a pack to take anyone from my pride,
And unnecessarily torture and kill them.
Surrendering and wounded,
I was captured by the enemy,
That would transport their ensnared prey far from the front,
And take us out of action for the remainder of the war.
Starving and parched,
I was unmercifully provided with one slice of bread and soup,
That would contain the slightest hint of rice, vegetables or meat,
And fuel the labour of two of the twelve hours expected.
Naked and in pain,
I was brutally beaten with a whip,
That would incrementally destroy hope with every lash,
And cruelly strip a lion of its’ mane.
Depressed and suicidal,
I was further harassed by the beasts,
That would use their power to ignore the Hague Conventions,
And observe the suffering of their prey.
I was once a lion,
But am now a prisoner of war.
A Good Morning by Holly Wallman-Craddock (2nd)
City skylines at twilight,
starry eyes at midnight,
classic 5am sights,
morning is on its way…
Earth is opening its eyes.
The world is waking up:
houses are whispering good morning,
alarm clocks are yelling,
children are running,
mattresses are shaking people off.
To-do lists are being checked
with resounding cries of ‘I almost forgot’
as dogs race down halls
knocking over cereal bowls –
paper towels sing hearty songs.
Phones buzz with impatient cries,
slippers waltz off feet with a sigh,
shoelaces are being tied,
while echoes of ‘have you seen my…’
are met with ‘no’ as a reply.
Pyjamas are being swapped
for t-shirts put on backwards in the dark,
kettles are boiling in anticipation
for their routine embrace with coffee
poured into travel mugs.
Cars in driveways are warming up,
gas is turning into spirals of frost,
the moon is lazily shifting for the sun,
feet are welcoming odd socks
(their partners disappeared in the wash).
Hair is being tamed with a brush,
bags are being packed in a rush,
shoes are clicking down halls,
keys are turning in locks,
doors are slamming shut.
Music is crackling to life
as teenagers open Spotify –
songs stifle yawns as they play,
CDs glare in jealousy,
birds sing their own symphonies.
Cars sleepwalk to workplaces and schools,
as their engines impatiently snore
parents cry out ‘see you after school’
before briefcases dance excitedly
into neat office stalls.
Paperwork lands on coffee-stained desks,
everyone has ten thousand emails to check,
the day flies by with the flurried steps
of people longingly awaiting five pm-
keys finally turn in locks again.
Work clothes are gratefully shed
for comfortable pyjamas
and familiar, welcoming beds.
Then the cycle repeats again
and the next good morning beckons.
To Split A Pomegranate by Helen Lovegrove (3rd)
Pomegranate. Often seen as the fruit
of passion. The fruit of tantalisation —
Persephone was trapped in the underworld
just by eating three of these seeds. It comes
from the Middle East. Remarkably hard
to open up without destroying,
it is like a treasure. Unlike a locked chest,
one needs to be very careful when handling.
Jackhammers or swords will not do.
No, this needs a small knife, water, a careful touch.
The seeds, arils, are surrounded by a small part of fruit.
In a sense, the pomegranate is a form
of an aggregated drupe, being composed
of many drupelets. The juice is very staining,
which is why water is handy, to place the arils
once taken out of their treasure chest.
When cutting one needs to be very careful
of piercing the arils. One cannot cut in too deep.
Once one cut is made, another needs to be made,
going from a tangent, creating in effect
the top of a triangle. Then, one can use
the tip of the knife to flick up the angle of skin,
so that one can grab it with the fingers
and peel it back. From here one can get rid of the knife.
Use the fingers to take off the first section of skin.
Using just the fingerpads, wobble and agitate
the arils so that one falls out. From there,
bend the arils so that they break at the connection
to the inner membranes. Make sure that they go
into water. The inner membranes need to be taken out,
so that one can get to the next layer of arils.
At some point, after some layers of arils
have been taken out, one can grab the sides
of the pomegranate and split it in half.
He Stole Excalibur from a Pawn Shop by Kirra Watkins (Highly Commended)
arthur was never a king.
arthur grew up on the streets of hackney,
scabs on his knees, dirt under his nails
and a couple of bullets tucked in the pocket of his jeans.
arthur was never a king.
arthur led a gang of boys who fancied themselves knights,
all huddled around a round table fashioned from tin scraps and tyres,
wondering how they’d get their next fix.
arthur was never a king.
arthur was a boy who couldn’t help his stare as she tilted her head and laughed in the sunlight,
who couldn’t help the way her name slipped from his lips like a prayer:
arthur was never a king.
arthur was a boy with a knack for leadership
and a taste for the way a gun fit in his hand.
his friends told him that whole armies were gonna follow him into war one day. (‘we’ll do it soon,’ they promised later that night, minds warm and foggy from the alcohol.)
arthur was never a king.
arthur was a heartbroken teenager who’d learned that love slips away in the cruelest of ways —
with your best friend,
while you’re busy running your cheap, cherished kingdom.
arthur was never a king.
arthur was a scrappy fighter who’d risk it all for his friends,
a battle-scarred kid who’d given outcasts more of a home than they would’ve dreamed of,
and who’d do it all again in a heartbeat, no matter the betrayal.
arthur was never a king.
but he would always be a leader.
JUST S(T)AY by Sally Bailey (Highly Commended)
Just put on your coat.
Just stay out of the cold.
Just turn off the TV.
Just deal with it.
Just don’t play with them.
Just do the dishes.
Just go to your room.
Just obey us.
Just do your homework.
Just don’t be a victim.
Just say ‘I don’t like it’.
Just ignore it.
Just let down your hem.
Just hang out with better people.
Just don’t give them the wrong idea.
Just cover up, slut.
Just do some exercise.
Just don’t eat that.
Just eat healthier.
Just be perfect.
Just don’t date.
Just don’t do drugs.
Just don’t have sex.
Just listen to us.
Just stop counting calories…
Just eat more…
Just eat something…
Just… you’re skin and bone.
Just see a therapist.
Just talk to someone.
Just stop letting your thoughts control you.
Just get over it.
Just let me in, baby.
Just… you get me so hot.
Just let me…
Just one sip.
Just one gulp, one shot, one chug.
Just turned 2 AM.
Just counting pills…
Just one word.
Just live, for tomorrow.
Just stay, for me.
Just waiting to be heard.
Just “stay” never comes.
Just “live”, a foolish hope.
Just… nothing left.
Just gone 3 AM.
Just two last pills.
Just one swallow.
Just… “it’s over.”
Broderick Family Awards 11-13 Years
The Journey of the Wind by Callan Rhys Peterson (1st)
That playful, roaring, whistling wind!
The things it must have seen
To go off speeding through the sky
It must be like a dream
To pass through all the woods and glades
Seeing hares and birds so small
Against squat shrubs
And bears with cubs
And oaks and elms so tall
To scale a mountain, climb a cliff
Observe the world below
Upon peaks to stand
Across the land
With everywhere to go
Howl past boats and dancing skiffs,
Driven by the gale
Past sailing boats
Crew clad in coats
Holes tearing through their sails
To wail through caves and canyons too
Through darkness like the night
With eerie sounds
To give all there a fright
To be as glorious, as the wind
With all the world to see
And it would be nice
Just once or twice
If one day it would take me
Happy Thoughts by Pharell Nepe (2nd)
I am happy, as you can see
I am happy, as I’ve always been
I am happy, my friends know it too
I am happy when I’m with you
I am happy, my joy I’ll share
Until there’s happy faces everywhere
I am happy, although your gone
I am happy, although I’m wrong
I am happy, It’s no lie
I am happy, although I cry
I am happy, with happy scars
on my happy wrists and arms.
I am happy, smile, smile, smile
I’ll stay happy all the while
I am happy, my head, my toes
My shoulders and heart and eyes and nose
I’ll be happy, although I cry
I’ll be happy until I die
Happy thoughts as I walk down stairs
Happy thoughts as I face my fears
Happy thoughts as I search for the box
Happy thoughts as the cap goes pop
Down goes the tears, happy as can be
Down go the little pills, one, two three
Down goes another, then some more
Down I go, happy on the floor
Happy thoughts, Happy thoughts, Happy as can be
Happy, Happy, Happy, I smile with glee
This is my happy life, happy thoughts all round
Happy thoughts, Happy sights, Happy sounds
Happy thoughts, Happy thoughts, Happy thoughts,
Happy thoughts, Happy thoughts, Happy thoughts,
Happy thoughts, Happy thoughts, Happy thoughts…
Black Saturday by Amaeh Reed (3rd)
It was high summer in Australia, in February 2009
When the bushfires struck Victoria, the worst fires of all time
When smoke and flames devoured the gentle bushland green
And history now records, the worst fires ever seen.
The weeks before the firestorms, an extreme heatwave began
The sun beat down mercilessly upon a parched and blistering land
And eyes, both in city and country, turned wistfully in vain
Their faces towards the withering skies, but alas, there was no rain
At last, at last, a storm did come, but no rain did it bring
Insead it bought dry thunderstorms – thrashing thunder, flashing lighting
The Lightning God Zeus lit up the sky, in a crazy, diabolical plan
The wild winds roared- lightning struck – the bushfire began!
Small fires joined together to become raging fire fronts
That roared towards homesteads ,seemingly all at once
Darkness fell throughout the day, choking smoke filled the night
Desperate firefighters did their best to put up a valiant fight
But it was too late, the fire had taken a vicious life of its own
It torn down power lines and fences, and ravaged peoples homes
And all throughout the firestorm, the northeasterly winds did shriek
As town and farm fell before the flames, the outlook was terribly bleak
People fled small country towns – there was no time to waste
As families frantically packed treasured belongings, in a terrible, desperate haste
As embers rained down from the heavens, from the fire filled, orange sky
Gentle bushland creatures in the smoking flames did die
And on, throughout the terrible time, people rallied to each other’s side
As fire raged around them, their courage they did not hide.
Communities banded together, fighting desperately to save
Their friends and neighbours properties – a mighty effort they gave
And when at last, the fires waned, a stony silence did descend
And the people of those ravaged towns finally saw the end
Of those terrible, destructive fires that tore their world apart
But the fires did not beat them – no, they did not take their heart
But still today, we remember, all those beautiful souls we lost
So much death and destruction – such an awful, appalling cost
We pause each year to remember, that terrible, fateful day
The bushfires that ravaged our nation on that bitter Black Saturday
Forget Me Not by Levi Vereyken (Highly Commended)
They told me I would find you
The day my sky turned grey,
I wish you could have felt my pain
Perhaps you may have stayed.
The sky cried tears of sorrow
As you turned your back to leave,
Disappearing without a trace
Your time will come to grieve.
It must have been hard to leave me
How did you say goodbye,
Did you kiss my cheek or stoke my feet,
The bleak night in July.
Time heals the pain they told me
Don’t wallow in the past,
But I know we will be as one,
Though the years go by so fast.
I know that you would wipe my tears
Each day that I felt sad,
I know you feel my love for you,
Was knowing me truly that bad?
With a heavy heart I wait
Each day passes so very slow,
I know you must think of me
But why did you have to go?
In the still of the night I think
Just as you must have been,
I think of you in my sleepless nights
Then find you my dreams.
The Poppy Tree by Amaeh Reed (Highly Commended)
For a thousand years it seems, I have stood in this very place
And witnessed generations pass, yet I remember every face
A boy so young, so long, long ago, too young to go to war
Would find respite beneath my leaves, far from the raging shore
He was a lad from outback Australia, born in Ballarat
A shearer’s son, hardworking, distinctive in his slouch hat
But underneath his cheeky smile, his eyes were dark with terror
The booming of artillery shells, shattered his peace forever
He would rest under my sheltering branches, during the summer day
But when his battalion stormed the trenches, he was swept away
But I remember that lads eyes, softly, as the warm wind blows
His death, a terrible tragedy, one of so many, God knows
And when the war was over, finally the guns to rest,
And the world stood in stillness, the sun sinking in the West
The rivers and the lakes wept silently, in grief and sadness
Hearts breaking as they remembered the destruction and the madness
Now the grassy field below me, is no longer gentle, rolling green
But red with a sea of poppies that silently remember the scene
But one poppy I remember, in the distance, where the soft fields end
Stands the poppy of my boy, stands the poppy of my friend.
The Broken Among Us by Pharell Nepe (Highly Commended)
“No one will ever love you,”
The painful thoughts persist
Because although she’s broken, but beautiful
those scars still litter her wrists
Her mother’s long lost smile,
her father’s raging fist,
She might be broken and beautiful
But the scars still litter her wrists
No one understands her
they call her “Narcissist!”
They judge her when they see those scars
still littering her wrist
The beauty of a girl so quiet,
a sight to behold indeed
yet a broken helpless heart
lies just beneath the seams
She’s standing on the rooftop now,
Deeper the scars have grown,
With nothing left, she takes one step,
No one needs to know…
Fire by David Moala (Highly Commended)
Fire is a furious tiger
Ferocious and dangerous.
He sneaks through the forest as he must
With his blazing red coat and his enormous jaws,
Hour after hour he roars.
Snapping and snarling against the trees
Leaving behind nothing but skeletons
The ferocious fire-tiger growls.
He travels through the distance
Continuing what he started
Slowly and slowly his anger vanishes
Forcing him to drift into a deep sleep,
Leaving the forest
But leaving behind the lurking danger of the fire-tiger.
Undertaker by Hudson Tille (Highly Commended)
Dark, Dull grey
Coughing, new undertaker.
Death, grieving, inevitability, inconceivable vastness of space
Such is the life of an undertaker
He is a master coffin maker,
He understands life and death
He knows the sound of final breath
He knows the clod clammy feel of the dead man’s hand
He knows soon they will be dust and sand.
He knows the grey blue tone of skin now Dead
The stench of maggots crawling in someone’s head.
And when he knows his time has come
He will not hide, he will not run
He will embrace his good friend death
As he takes his final breath.
Lightning by Luke Frappell (Highly Commended)
Lightning is an angry jaguar
Quick and energetic.
It strikes unexpectedly
With its blinding teeth and frightening stare
And its flash of a glare.
Sharp and electric
Leaving no consciousness to anything
The electric cat meows
Roaring up a giant storm.
Trees by Madelynne Craig (Highly Commended)
Listen to the wind blowing
through the trees. SSSHHH!!!
If your really Quiet you can
hear the talking leaves
Listen to the wind blowing
through the trees. Can you
see the busy bugs humming
happily – it’s the busy buzzy
Listen to the wind blowing
through the trees. Breath in
deep, smell the air floating
through the trees – it’s the
beautiful ocean breeze.
Listen to the wind blowing
through the trees, I can only
imagine what you have seen
when the world was all
Decorated Cups by Leira Camille Caniones (Highly Commended)
Us humans are like cups
Each one a different size,
It’s easy to see how they feel.
completely full when happy,
completely empty when sad.
But why is he happy?
Why is she sad?
I notice the people with special talents have a decorated cup.
“I wish I was like you,
Although mine is plain old, white.
It’s nothing special really.
mine spilled again…
I can’t contain myself,
my cup has overflown
and I have nothing to wipe the spilled liquid with.
My cup is always empty.
How do I fix it?
No matter how hard I try it won’t fill
And when it does it spills again.
Although, it’s useless calling out for help … at least that’s what I thought.
With a splat my cup hits the cold, hard surface of the ground.
It’s broken into a billion pieces!
Be careful now, you might get hurt.
My hatred for this cup has shattered in the dirt.
It was always so plain, so boring! I wish it was something more.
As I stared at the fragments I had already forgotten,
no one is perfect, that’s almost impossible!
We all have our scars and sorrows, I’m not the only one suffering!
They may seem okay on the outside but you never know what they feel,
so help them will you, if they are going through tough times.
If I had remembered that, I wouldn’t have smashed it.
That useless, old cup that’s now no more.
I could’ve done so much more,
but I can’t now.
It’s too late.
Ipswich District Teacher Librarian Network Award – 8-10 Years
Forevermore by Isabella Holiday (1st)
The unnamed ship
With billowing sails
accidentally sailed into
At the Cape Of Good Hope in 1641
All Hope was abandoned.
Amidst the groaning of the ship
As she faced the fury of the sea
Fearful sailors shook as they heard
Horrendous, heavy wind
rising in the east, Poseidon’s rage
and trembled with shock as the
forked, flashing lightning
struck the heavy waters about them.
The calamitous, crashing waves
swamped their wooden boat
They felt the pelting, torrential rain,
crashing on their backs, like hail.
And then – a snap
In the darkness of the night
As the mast crashes through the deck
And the crew pleads into the wind
To make for port
But Captain Vand Der Decken
Shrieks his curses to the wind
And the ship sinks
With all hands.
And still today, it is said.
The ghostly ship sails the seven seas
Sails on, forevermore,
Into the distant sunset
Where it remains
A ghostly reminder
Of bygone days
Tricked by Samuel Hollier (2nd)
One day, when I had my lunch
I came across a little bunch
of what looked like some tiny sweets
so I took a bite of these red treats.
Something caused my tongue to tickle
and I found myself, in a REAL pickle.
For that tickle, grew to a strong burn
and so I was, about to learn…
These were no lollies, that I ate.
Instead, were chillies on Dad’s plate.
Now, I was about to meet my doom.
The pain became unbearable, and then kaboom!
I spat it out, but the heat did stay.
I tried to water it, but it didn’t go away.
I ran to the fridge and began to glug
the whole entire milk jug.
Aaaaaaaah, that’s better.
Sodium, Acid and Lotion (or the Reaction at Perth College) by Elizaveta Fedotova (3rd)
On the banks of the Indian Ocean,
In a room, with continuous motion,
Mr Ussi, the King of Commotion (with a lot of pathetic emotion),
Taught the class Mendeleev Tablotion.
Also known as the Elements Table.
Contemplating the greatest of notions,
After speech, we began to make potions,
Mixing sodium, acid and lotion (in a funky continuous motion),
Smelling like Ms Karalis’ emotion,
On the day of her latest promotion.
We decided to open the door.
Breathing heavily, oxigenotion,
Mr Ussi kept adding more lotion,
To the splendour of sodium potion.
Leaving floor in a state of erosion,
And the eyes wet and red with emotion,
We were happy to hear the bell.
With the look full of dire devotion,
Mrs Sanders began to pore potion,
Down the sink, full of rusty corrosion.
But, respecting the third law of Motion,
Up the pipe, with a little precaution,
Bubbled glasses of Mrs J Dou.
Mrs London was giggling when lotion,
That was used in the making of potion,
Blasted off, shaking school to commotion!
And forgetting her pledge of devotion,
And the hope of any promotion,
Mrs London escaped to the beach.
On the banks of the Indian Ocean,
Mr Ussi, the King of Commotion,
Is improving the sequence of potion.
Ms Karalis is full of emotion.
Mrs Sanders is missing her lotion.
Mrs London renewed her devotion (after riding some waves in the ocean),
To the talented Class of 5U.
PS: Mum suggested to treat this with caution,
Indicating that people’s emotions,
Can put the author in a troublesome mood (which is not necessarily good).
Therefore … contemplating a lot
I decided to give it a shot
My Memories by Charlotte Parkin (Highly Commended)
The smell of the theatre room
Is getting too familiar
The hour seems like a whole year
Mum and dad in the waiting room.
Sore, black, blistering lips
I cried no-stop,
They would bleed and sting whenever touched
I couldn’t even talk.
This all happened at a very young age
I was diagnosed when I was three
I don’t remember much but,
Most of the good times.
Sneaky nurse would leave little treasures under my pillow
I played betting games of my temperature
Friendly doctors always there,
Always making me laugh.
All of this was quite a challenge
And I fought hard and fought long,
But I only managed because of support
From my sister, my parents and my grand-parents.
The War Under the Sea by Charlotte Brown (Highly Commended)
His cold, blue eyes burned like dragons in the night.
Steam formed over his icy hand, waiting to be let go.
Greek fire burns as bright as Apollo’s sun chariot.
Coral withers and dies, poisoned by Poseidon’s wrath.
Sharks swim up and down, hunting through the palace walls,
Sniffing out the scent of fear.
Dead carcases littered the seabed, blanketing the sandy floor.
The once beautiful palace was not lovely anymore.
Poseidon formed earthquakes.
Potanus formed storms.
The once beautiful world was not beautiful any more.
Waves cracked upon the sand, like a whip to the back.
Mermaids with their Spire swords,
Glittered in the water.
Sharks snapped their blades of teeth,
Impatient for their supper.
The palace fell, destroying everything in its path.
All that was left was broken coral and the panting of the gods.
All the way from dawn until dusk, the war went on.
Brown by Leon O'Donnell (Highly Commended)
If I could be any colour in the world
it would be brown.
Brown like a big brown bear
Sleeping in his forest cave
Hiding from the winter snows
And bitter winds
Just sleeping …
Brown like a lion
Lying quietly under a baobab tree
On the vast grasslands of Africa
Lazily swatting flies with his long tail
Brown like a Hobo Spider
Preying on beetles and soft insects
On a big, brown log
Camouflaged, to confuse it’s predators
Quietly crunching …….
Brown is the best colour for me
Darkness by Dora Wang (Highly Commended)
Everything has its limits,
Till the world falls apart and breaks,
Let your emotions bubble and simmer,
Darkness has its own traits,
Can you feel that lust,
Insanity driving through,
Becoming a sociopath is a must,
Tenebrosity is coming through,
Though the world is a funeral,
Without its masquerade,
Darkness is falling down upon us,
Time to shout your last hurray,
#HomeSweetHome by Alexandria White (Highly Commended)
I woke up on a brand new day
stretching in bed, tired still,
hearing the calls from my dearest rhyme,
as the sun shone through, through the blinds for real,
I thereby opened my eyes to have a peek
peeking at the ringing phone,
to which I had pressed the “snooze”, over and over;
until my father came; singing the softest Edelweiss, he said
“It’s time to get changed, girl, faster…”
I rolled and rolled, to pull myself up, eventually
And here is my father just finishing his overnight work, humming
“Small and white, clean and bright…”
Huh, that was when our duet both landed on the cutest puppy, my gem;
In a hurry, I had my teeth brushed, and my face washed, and everything seems just right,
Oh, how about the breakfast?
As soon as my belly started to drum,
I could already smell the the most delicious coming along,
breads and milk clinging their ways on a dozen hot plates,
I mean nothing can really go wrong,
especially when mum’s in the kitchen
as I dipped the bread in the milk,
and looking at my parents sitting just next to me,
I only wish the clock could freeze this very second,
when countless sweetness and warmth were locked just in a single key,
a key to yet another ordinary flat among the many here in this city,
and that to me, is already my
Fishing with Pa by Izach Parr (Highly Commended)
When Pa and I go fishing
We always end up wishing
For lots of fish to catch
But mostly we get bait snatched.
I wear Pa’s hat for luck
And in my pocket a Turkish delight is snuck.
So even if we’re beat
I know I’ll have a special treat.
We always have fantastic fun
‘cause in the Bay there’s always sun.
One time I caught a butterfish
Because on my hook a worm was squished.
Winter whiting are the best to get
But one time I caught a crab instead.
Not that it matters if I lose the bet
‘Cause we can always go home for hot chips and bread.
I really love fishing with Pa!
As a fishing partner, he is the best.
We always think we’re superstars
That will out-fish all the rest.
The River by Ivy Guyatt (Highly Commended)
A river is an unharnessed horse,
Running and rampaging.
She twists around the river bends all day
Thundering hooves and flowing mane
Jumping and frolicking with hours to spare.
Banging and thumping against the rocks
She forces herself through the grass and reeds.
The beautiful river horse calls
Swishing her watery tail.
The Vacuum Cleaner Got out of Control by Elisha Wilkinson (Highly Commended)
My friends down the street, Lilly and Cooper,
Have got a silky brown pug they call Scooter.
Little Scooter was as cute as could be,
But gee, that little Scooter, she liked to pee.
Although little Scooter tried, she just didn’t get it
She peed everywhere, on every mat and carpet,
The floorboards and tiles no surface too hard
She peed everywhere, except in the backyard!
So, one day the Browns had quite enough
They said to each other, “It’s time to get tough”
We can’t have little Scooter making a mess every day
Our house does smell and it is turning people away!
The kitchen floor was where she started first,
Bedrooms and bathroom all done in a quick burst
Now Mrs Brown was really on a roll.
Until the vacuum cleaner got out of control!
The vacuum went zoom and boom and bang
And growled like a grizzly bear in a car prang.
It burped and groaned and grunted and wheezed
And Mrs Brown did not look at all pleased!
Then the vacuum took off at a hectic pace
It zoomed through the house, all over the place
It found out where little Scooter had been
And boy, did that vacuum know how to clean!
The vacuum was amazing – by gee, by golly
As five different arms came out of its body
It scrubbed and it mopped and perfumed and preened
It was the most magnificent vacuum ever seen!
Mrs Brown’s shocked expression was soon replaced
With a grin that spread all over her face
Their house was spotless, little Scooter could stay
The amazing vacuum cleaner had saved the day!
River 94.9 Award – 5-7 Years
Play with Me by Thomas Savige (1st )
Play with me.
Look over there.
He wants me to play.
Rolling over the ball,
Balancing very carefully.
Pop! The ball shoots out.
He runs to chase it.
Laughing with him all day long
The Unforgiving Season by Allegra Clarke (2nd)
Fierce, scorching sunlight
Crackling flora beneath me
Baby Turtle by Noah Springall (3rd)
Pop! The Turtle comes out of it’s shell.
Crawling on the sand, his friends say farewell.
Flapping his flippers to get to the sea.
Climbing over sticks that fell from a tree.
Swimming in the ocean off we go.
Protect our waters, it’s important you know.
Aotearoa by Allegra Clarke (Highly Commended)
Brutal gusts of wind
Sheets of frigid sleet and rain
Save the Goal by Thomas Savige (Highly Commended)
Save the goal
Prepare to run up
Messi is on strike
The ball glides over the goalie’s head.
Roar for the goal!
Now it’s back in
He ducks and does a bicycle.
It was epic!
Saved by the goalie.
The Beast Man by Joel Sage (Highly Commended)
That awful, awful Genie turned that man
into a great big, horrible, scary Beast Man!
He has got sharper than sharp claws,
big dirty feet and crooked jaws!
He is huge! Way bigger than me,
And look at that – he just gobbled a bumblebee!
Is that what this Beast Man eats? I don’t know,
But he is much scarier than the Gruffalo!
I do not know what to say, but it doesn’t matter now – hooray!
The Beast Man is gone because he got stung on the horn!
“Revenge from the bumblebees!”, I think I hear the bees say.
But the Gruffalo like Beast Man will not give up – no way!
He comes and stands right next to me, “This is your fault”
I hear him say. My fault? Not me! Not fair! No way!
But then a tiny ant crawled up Beast Man’s ear.
He slips and bangs his head – and now he can’t hear!
Suddenly a rock came shooting from behind.
When Beast Man turned – the rock hit him in the eye.
The horrible Beast Man is hurt – the frightful Beast Man is blind!
Now I run and leave the Beast Man far behind.
So – I run, run, run – all the way back to the city.
I’m panting and sweating, but I make it in a jiffy.
I hear the Beast Man make one last, long, big roar
But I’m not afraid – I’ve faced the Beast Man before!
Nature by Zoe Gard (Highly Commended)
Nature! Nature! Let’s talk about it,
Come down let’s have a sit,
You’re home to birds of prey,
But people think you’re dull and grey
But why? But why? But why?
Let’s reach tall and high,
Not all of us love it,
But we have it bit by bit
Second to none,
You’re the Number One,
You have sticks for great forts
And you have birds and their little snorts
Great camping spot,
If you want to be in the bush on the dot
I suggest this spot!
Do a good deed,
The rewards is birds to feed
Want a camp fire?
Don’t hire! Go to the bush,
And listen to the wind whoosh
Want bricks? No! Not bricks, we have even better – sticks,
We have some cute chicks,