This year we had 132 entries- 31 adult and 101 children’s, which included some individual entries and poems from four local schools. [It may have been five schools because I received a small batch of poems in the post by several eleven year olds contrasting the life of children in 1914-18 with the present day, clearly done in class but with no clues on them as to their origin.]
The standard of the adult entries was very high and once the judges had got down to a final group of eight, it was hard work indeed deciding on the three winners. So although you will find the winners of both categories on this website please take the time to visit Calne Heritage Centre and read the other entries.
First prize in the adult section went to Gill Minter for her poem “War Grave” which was inspired by the discovery in 2010 of a mass grave from WWI near Fromelles. It is a sensitive, compassionate poem of lyric beauty and looks at the situation from an original angle.
Second Prize was awarded to Alexandra Cleverley for “Dear Mrs Sage.” This shows just how effective a well-written narrative poem can be and it tells the true story of a Calne woman receiving the news that her youngest son has been killed in action.
Third Prize winner James Harpham’s poem “100 years on” is a sardonic condemnation of the war- any war in fact- with a clever play on the title of this year’s poetry competition.
The children’s entries were lively and imaginative, particularly in the younger age groups. The judges would like to congratulate all the teachers concerned for inspiring their pupils to imagine themselves into an atmosphere far from their own experience.
The winning poem “A Moonlit War” by Beatrice Watts shows a remarkable gift for striking visual imagery for a ten year old and shows an understanding of how beauty and horror can go side by side.
“A Young Soldier” by Amelia Hatlapa is a moving evocation of the feelings of a woman who in spirit is beside the soldier she loves through the war and at the moment of his death.
Carina Stephens’ poem “The Spirit of Memory” captures the more reflective atmosphere of remembrance, expressing how although time may soften the sharp edges of grief, the sense of loss and regret will always remain.