Young writers show the power of poetry

IMAGINATIVE thought and the ability to write creatively are alive and well in East Anglia. The entries in the Suffolk Young Poets Competition 2006 prove it beyond doubt.

IMAGINATIVE thought and the ability to write creatively are alive and well in East Anglia. The entries in the Suffolk Young Poets Competition 2006 prove it beyond doubt.

The winners enjoyed their moment on stage at the Jubilee Hall in Aldeburgh, where they read their poems and received their prizes. The subjects that had motivated them ranged from schoolday memories and uninviting caravans to scary spiders and friendships grown cold.

The competition, run by Suffolk-based The Poetry Trust and sponsored by the East Anglian Daily Times, attracted more than 1,000 entries - of very high quality. The Peter Hardiman Scott Cup, for the best overall school entry, went to Parkway Middle School, Haverhill.

Michael Laskey, chairman of The Poetry Trust, said: “It's always a privilege to judge this competition. This year we had a particularly strong entry and we were struck by the variety and quality of the work.

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“We had poems that rhyme and poems in free verse dealing with people and places important to the writers, their likes and dislikes, their difficulties and triumphs, painful realities and joyful celebrations.

“Above all we were impressed by the honesty of the poems, and their urgency - they weren't written to please teacher, but because the poet needed or wanted to explore the subject. We awarded a record number of 13 prizes to young poets aged five to 15.”

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The presentation evening traditionally signals the start of the Aldeburgh Poetry Festival, which runs this weekend for the 18th successive year and whose record 44 events brings 30 poets to the coast.

After the young poets had returned to their seats with the applause ringing in their ears, prolific writer

Michael Morpurgo read from his new poetry anthology: Cock Crow.

The former Children's Laureate spent part of his childhood living on the Dengie Peninsula, near Maldon. He became a teacher, but was inspired to write by Ted Hughes's book Poetry in the Making and now has more than 100 books to his credit.

Michael has just finished presenting the 30-part BBC Radio 4 series The Invention of Childhood, which

examined the experiences of children in Britain over the last 1,000 years.

Chicken Shed

I like to be with my chickens in their black wooden shed

They run in all directions around the pen

Stretching their necks into a double chin

Opening their beaks to let out a crow.

Black and white bantams

And the cockerel with multicoloured feathers

Harry, the daddy of them all

Always chasing after the girls.

I like the smell of chickens and chicken food

As they peck from the feeder in the middle

One chicken with a wonky beak

Has to gulp his food down.

I've bought a book about looking after chickens

So I can keep an eye on them

Watching out for missing feathers and upset stomachs.

I enjoy watching them all together

My pets.

Sam Duchesne (8)

Lawshall School


I will grasp the wind in a huge fist.

Whiten the skeletons of trees.

Stiffen the grass and make it sparkle.

Silver the lichened gravestones.

Turn clouds into bullets.

Pattern leaves to a crackle.

Freeze water to glass and icicle spikes.

Until Sun arrives.

Alex Davison (11)

Parkway Middle School,


I Need to Tell You

I need to tell you Dolphin,

I have stolen your elegant swim,

So now I too, can glide through water at high speeds,

And imagine that I am a current in the sea.

I need to tell you Eagle,

I have borrowed your flight,

So now I too, can stretch out my wings,

And swoop in the sky,

And feel as if I am the wind,

Whistling rapidly through the air.

I need to tell you Monkey,

I have possessed your ability to climb,

So now I too, can swing at great heights without fear,

And think that I am a shooting star,

Making my way through the trees.

I need to tell you Lion,

I have used your magnificent roar,

So now I too, can inform all animals that I am here,

And imagine that I am a loud speaker,

Shouting over the plains.

Leah Parolin (11)

All Saints Primary School,


My Dad Calls it Minimalist

My dad's mobile home

smells of stale smoke.

there's hard chewing gum stuck to the bedpost.

Under the sofas and chairs,

in the pokey, dark rooms,

are piles of newspapers,

old paperbacks,

polystyrene take-away food trays

crusted in Chinese sauce,

Mars Bar wrappers,

CDs you get free from newspapers

that he doesn't even listen to,

and odd socks, so he always asks me

“Where's that sock, the one with the red stripe?”

The only light is from a single fluorescent strip.

And when the meter runs out,

we rely on sunlight and candles.

The electricity runs out a lot.

The sofa, left by the man who used to live there,

smells of Wensleydale cheese and old men.

We use a saggy-seated dining chair for a TV stand.

We painted all the walls white

to create more light and to cover up

the dull, flowery wallpaper

(the sort you'd see in your grandma's house).

No shelves, no ornaments.

My dad calls it minimalist.

The back garden is a jungle of weeds

crammed with gravel and piles of cracked paving slabs.

There's a shed full of rusty tools and cobwebs.

To most people,

Dad's house is a grotty caravan,

But to me

It's my second home.

Jodie Hatton (13)

Parkway Middle School,


My Memories of School

I remember

the time when

we had tadpoles

in a small clear bowl

I wrote a diary about it

I remember

the time when

I was pinned to

the bench by a child a bit

older than me

outside the ks1 door

the teacher

came out and took no notice

I remember

the time when

me and Rochelle went

every play time and talked

in the play house we made

up secret signs one was

nodding your head once

meant you needed the

toilet at the time I needed

the toilet so I nodded

my head it took Rochelle a

while to understand

I remember

the time when

I thought I could not do the

crocodile pit and I did it

I was pleased and still am

Charlotte Matthews (9)

Bramfield Primary School,


When Mum says “bedtime”

He hangs on to his light, green lizard


“Boo” he shouts

From his hiding place.

He adores shiny new shoes,

the garden,

slithering down his slide,

leaping, bouncing

until he is out of breath.

Angel Delight.

Sticking and glueing

At Sticky Steph's.

A lion's roar.

He's a fine little fellow

For a brother.

Georgia Nathan (8)

Saxmundham Primary School

Pain of Popularity

Pretty Girls

they have it all

their faces perfect

their lashes twirled

their tummies tiny

their skin sunkissed

their nails shiny

never dissed

They walk around from place to place

always perfect

pretty face

The scars left from family wars

the pain they feel

behind closed doors

the mask of their identity

will be held there for eternity

Lest they slip and reveal

who they really are

Lizzie Colvin (14)


Red Ink and Pale Paper

You tell me just to write it down.

Every little thing,

In a journal or in poems,

Any way to win.

Because to you it's all a game,

Who can make me stop?

When I reach the very bottom,

Who can drag me to the top?

So I do what you say,

With just one little change,

I'm sorry, I just broke the rules,

But I won't play your games,

You told me just to write it down,

Every little thing,

But my pen is this blade,

And my paper is my skin.

Jennifer McCarthy (15)

St Alban's High School,


Right, I've Got to Do This!

From the safety of the amber light

outside the kitchen window,

I dread the shadow of the bay tree

half way down the garden.

Making sure my shoe laces are properly tied

I click my thumb joints. Ready.

Sprint through blowing shapes

and shadows to the damp gloom

at the bottom of the garden.

(But, why is the shed door already open?

I can't go back.

I have to go in.)

Avoid hanging tools

the spade, the fork, the long rake

and hoe poles and the heavy pick axe -

Step over the dark, boot-sized rat holes,

still full of poisonous blue pellets

into the musky petrol smell.

Chuck logs into bucket


haul it back to the house.

William Betts (11)

Parkway Middle School,



I don't like spiders


cobwebs tickle me

crawl and creeping

round my room

in the dark

over my planes

my cars

my face


Ben Hartick (5)

St Edmunds School,

Bury St Edmunds

The Last Time I Saw You

The last time I saw you, you were getting off the train,

You just looked at me like you vaguely recognised me

And smiled.

You were with people I didn't know,

But I don't know you anymore.

And I don't think you know me,

Although we'd been together for so long before.

When we were younger, I could never imagine not knowing you.

Best friends forever, we said.

And when I left your school you cried

And gave me a special card;

It was supposed to be a surprise

But I knew you'd made it because

You never could hide things.

I knew you too well.

Do you remember the time you fell asleep on me in the car?

And when we used to play Mums & Babies with the Cabbage Patch kids?

And you always had to pretend to break your leg.

We used to watch the Parent Trap and we wished we were long-lost twins:

That's what we told people.

Remember when we were first allowed to go for a picnic

On our own

And you got stung by a wasp and we rushed home,

Scared you might die?

You must remember these things:

They mean so much.

When I left your school we wrote letters to each other,

Pen Pals forever, we said.

Ellen Ruffles (15)

Deben High School




I like them.

Ask me why.

Because they have long stretchy trunks,

Because they are strong and fat,

Because they are bigger than a shed,

Because they have a short swishy tail,

Because they are grey and wrinkled,

Because they have nice big ears that flap,

Because that's why

I like elephants.

Sophie Richards (6)

Lawshall School

The Track Up to the Water-tower

It's where my little sister, Lotty, and I snuck out

early one morning, while our parents were asleep,

to go for a bike ride all on our own.

Where we did brilliant tyre-skids

on the dusty, cracked concrete.

It's where I first took the stabilizers off

my two wheeler bike, then fell

down into the ditch full of stingers and brambles.

It's where Lotty and I searched

for bugs and mini-beasts and small animals.

Where we found the stubby toad,

which Lotty held, but wouldn't give to me.

Where we stuck our arms down tunnels

searching for baby rabbits,

but only found their black, sticky droppings.

It's the field next to the track

where we played all day

building castles of straw bales,

on sun baked stubble, that got stuck down our socks,

and bits of prickly straw that poked through our jumpers.

It's the track with the steep slope

where we tobogganed on an old tray,

so fast we somersaulted into the ditch

full of snow and Lotty laughed

when she fell on top of me.

It's the track where we climbed into the branches

of the wishing tree. Where we had laughing fits

and told each other stories and secrets.

It's the track where we had to dodge the cracks

on the race home. And if we rode over one and fell

down the never ending drop,

we'd be lost forever.

It's the track where we never saw anyone,

(except the lady on the grey horse)

near the house,

where we used to live

when I was eight.

Evey Richardson (11)

Parkway Middle School,


Highly Commended

11 and under:

Morgan Ambrose (8),Lawshall School

Katie Barnes (11),Parkway Middle, Haverhill

Alice Bucksey (7),Lawshall School

Chiara Ciufo (6),St Mary's Primary, Woodbridge

Rory Hird (11), Blackbourne Middle, Stanton

Harvey Jolly (5),Honington Primary

Ellen Kibble (9), Palgrave Primary

Grace King (4), Lawshall School

Joe Kydd (6), Lawshall School

Tom Lamb (9), Lawshall School

Rosie Lloyd (10), Sandlings Primary, Woodbridge

Annabel Millward (6), Reydon Primary

Frances Mobbs (11), All Saints Primary, Laxfield

Elly Paton-Terry (10), All Saints Primary, Laxfield

Oliver Rackham (10), St Johns Primary, Ipswich

Sarah Stock (8), Elmsett Primary

Emily Wallace (8), Lawshall School

Freja Wright (9), St Helens Primary, Ipswich

12 and over:

Anya Bricknell (13), St Alban's High, Ipswich

Lizzie Cassidy (12), St Louis Middle, Bury St Edmunds

Matthew Cook (15), Chantry High, Ipswich

Bradley Cutts

Sasha El-Halwani (13), Parkway Middle, Haverhill

Ben Febvre (11), St Alban's High, Ipswich

Corinne Gallop, Great Cornard Upper

Alex Holmes (13), St Louis Middle, Bury St Edmunds

Hollie Johnson (15), Claydon High

Sophie Lockwood (15), Deben High, Felixstowe

Clare Rennard (17)

Nathan Tynan (12), St Alban's High, Ipswich

Jessica Warren (12), Blackbourne Middle, Stanton

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