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mong the many thousands of poems written by young people aged 10-13 for the Betjeman Poetry Prize since the first call for entries in 2006, there are no two poems the same. Creativity reinforces our understanding of individuality. Through the creative arts painting, dance, acting, writing, making music - a child can express their own identity and investigate the dimensions of their potential. Who am I, they ask, and where is my place in the world? Our mission is to provide a platform and support, resources and avenues of development for young writers. In a world where exams and tables seem to matter more to educators than education in its truest sense (from the Latin educare, ‘to lead out’), then space for art and poetry, music and magic is needed now more than ever. The singular act of creation is down to the individual child, but without access to materials as well as mentoring, teaching and interaction with grown up painters, working writers and real musicians, art remains inaccessible to many young people. Alongside our partners and collaborators such as the CLPE, current Children’s Laureate Lauren Child, the Forward Arts Foundation and Scoop Magazine, we aim to make space for poetry.

In this anthology we publish the winning poets of the 2018 Betjeman Poetry Prize, judged by Zaffar Kunial and Scottish Makar Jackie Kay. We are truly grateful to the Rothschild Foundation and HighSpeed1 for believing in the value of our work.

Elizabeth Cavendish Award Elizabeth Cavendish, John Betjeman’s long time love, died just a few weeks ago, aged 92. Her funeral takes place today in Derbyshire. Elizabeth supported this prize generously; she felt that John would have loved to be remembered in this way.

In his blank verse autobiography, Summoned by Bells, John Betjeman describes knowing he wanted to be a poet. He felt compelled, as young as seven or eight, to encase in rhythm and rhyme, the things he saw and felt. He wrote: “Childhood is measured out by sounds and smells and sights, before the dark of reason grows.”

To encourage the youngest poets, we want to dedicate a special award - the Elizabeth Cavendish Award - for the best poem by a 10-year-old in the Betjeman Poetry Prize. We will give this award to a ten-year-old every year from now on, in memory of Elizabeth who loved my grandfather for so long. Imogen Lycett Green Director, Betjeman Poetry Prize National Poetry Day, 4th October 2018




The Moors These hills that rise and roll and ripple Like a dream or a tune or a turning-tide These hundreds and thousands of burring bees These thousands and millions and billions of bells These honey clouds of pollen and scent All rolled by the land to an imperial robe Of purple, slow and sweet and sweeping Purple like sundown summer skies Purple like a peacock butterfly’s eye Purple like dye from a murex shell A robe for the high-throned sun-crowned summer hills Whose bee-filled bell-rung empire cannot fall These purple bells that peal together From sky to moor and moor to sky They ring and echo and tremble and sing Not for one or two or twelve ‘o clock But they ring for all time For never and forever They ring for the rise and the roll and the ripple Of tens and hundreds and thousands of years They ring for the heather heavy hills Ide Crawford (12)





Nana’s House If I try, Scrutinized. I can remember.

Birds… They were bending the crucible blue of the sky. Gently scraping the Afro-tufted trees And fuzzy, hairline wires. Forbidden to swoop As low as the bleached shed. Unknown spiders dwell in there. That old home.

Then…. The sky ignited. My feet, sizzled and tingled, On her crosspatch slates. The weeds eavesdropping on her gardens grandeur. And her door, with the lumpy glass, and obnoxious knocker, Previously represented love and goodness. Now symbols memories. Memories that I don’t want to remember. 8

Her diamond windows, where light bleached in, through an eclipse in reality, lightening the curtains penetrating through parents shallow laughter. Our laughter. At the secrets we don’t know. That old home.

Endless mirrors, spartan bed and rocky pillows. Speckled concrete and bloody car. Roasted weeds and flushed rose buds, used to stare at the sun, in elation.

Pastelled wall shades, melt to paste. When you’re told, beneath a star of clocks. While you wouldn’t touch, that creaky step. For it would disturb her. Too late. She kissed the night goodbye. Yellow bedroom. Like scurvy toothpaste. Appliquéd happiness. Stuffed with sorrow. Unable to fall. With the gentle singing of the train.


2nd place

Until the stars fell with me. Stop….

Hearse. What right did it have? It’s all a plain pencilled drawing. Maybe. Asthmatic eyes. And the souls. Remember me? Fake smiles. While I longed to scream. Why are people celebrating? Zip the house up and cower. I can remember….. The empty silence…. I can’t talk to her. Crestfallen organs. Better place now Then…. whatever!

Drawling days and sugar… I can remember the absence ~ Of the birds that day. It’s not a home, just a house, Now that Nana’s gone. Niamh McCarthy (13)




Poland When I burst open a plump plum covered with chocolate the sweet mix of juice and rich cocoa reminds me of zesty lemons, the juice flying everywhere on the old table, in the old house, in the wooden village. Or the plumph when I close a leather bound book reminds me of her loving hands, frail hands, but always there, always home, always warm. Or when I wrap up first in a fluffy winter coat I’m drifting down the river, gently, passing tiny daisies-

And the soft hands are słodkie and the heavy dust



when turns the strona means the world, and the daisies mają ciepłe serca. Jan Borysiak (13)





No jist haud on! And read my poem. It’s a dreich day! Why in haggis do I love my country? There are millions of reasons to me One of them is the neaps and tattis The other is the unlimited class tea And don’t get me started on the bonnie folk Who might not be able to see? The amount of lochs and glens And don’t get me started on trees

Our logo is the wee purple nuisance Like me, delicate but strong Other countries say it looks like a weed Those who are Scottish know that they’re wrong Even the coos meandering in the country Have Scottish blood flowing thick and true And know that the Scots code of honour is I will always stand by you

I’ll scream this poem, at the very top of my bag pipes Because even the proud English and the rest Know a very simple fact which is We Scots are solely the best. Charlotte Harris (13)


My World People always ask me, “Where is it that you’re from?” I will always respond with the same old words, “My home has long since gone.” Now please don’t be embarrassed, it’s not rude of you to ask. I used to live on a land called Earth, with hills and water vast.

But, alas, one day, my planet died, and with it, I went down. The world around slowly began to decay, fresh green all turned to brown.

Now it wasn’t a meteor that killed my home, nor an invasion from outer space. My land was murdered in plain sight, killed by the human race. The water become polluted, on plastic, nature choked. Protective layers slowly burnt away, from cities filled with smoke.

Now don’t go thinking that’s all there was that my planet had to give, The world in which I spent my time was a joyous place to live. 15

highly commended

The bright pink flowers, and the fresh green grass. I know, in the end, my world’s demise came around too fast.

Yet, something within me still resides back to that distant rock. I know that something could’ve been done to make the madness stop. Maybe I’m just being hopeful again, that’s usually the case. But, this land reminds me of my home, that lonely little place. I hope that clears up any questions that in your mind you had engraved. Please don’t make the mistake I did. After all, your world can be saved. Annaliese Paskins (13)


highly commended

A Messy Room is Not a Messy Mind! A brush over here and a textbook there, Here in the bedroom is a dirty lair, Dolls and toys line the crooked shelves, Thick Christmas leaves cover the mischievous elves, Candy canes dotted around the place, Trying to outnumber the strawberry lace. The quilt and the sheets have become good friends, Bonded by sweat as they meet their end, Walls painted in a dull blue hue, Round glasses ever so slightly askew, School bag thrown across the hard floor, Everything barricading the blue door. An open window lets in a breeze, So fierce that there’s an imminent freeze, Shirts are creased and covered in grease, It’s so dirty we need the clothes police, The room needs quite a few bits and bobs, It will certainly provide a few more jobs.

Two times two is a juicy four, When you add another you get one more, Times tables posters stuck on the wall, But the peeling plaster has made them fall, Can’t do the maths questions from the rotary, So I might try my hand at…some POETRY! Joseph Oduyemi (12)


highly commended

An tSraith Móir inár tógadh mé / Srahmore is the place I chose as my own (Inspired by An Gleann inár Tógadh Mé by Douglas Hyde) Tá a fhios agam go bhog mé theach Agus aithrú an áit a bím ag sproai Ach ní tógadh mé an áit sin ríomh mar Thóg mé gleann in aice le loch Sa gleann sin tá teach beag buí Agus sa teach sin atá mo chroí.

I know that I moved house And I changed the place where I play But I can never take that place as my own Because I chose a valley beside a lake And in that valley, there is a little yellow house And my heart is in that house. Sadhbh Barclay Ní Dhaighre (11)





My Imagination My imagination is a lively, amusing place. It’s absolutely ace. Somewhere I would never lose a race Somewhere I can relax Because I don’t have to pay any tax. I like to go there, Every now and again, To check on my best friend Ben. I wish Ben was real; I would cook him his favourite meal.

I would even show him my favourite pet seal. It’s great But wait! It’s not even real, Not even the pet seal.

Although I don’t think I’ll stop going there even when I’m out of day care. You see my imagination means more to me than that. Oh, but wait, got to go! I need to feed my cat. Callum Gray (12)


Place The exact placement, Of the folds in a tablecloth, The defining dent, In the cream wall, Crayon scribbles, Chipped china dolls. It’s a celebration That all this fits These fine threads Twisting at the fabric Which embraces us, Makes us, Ends us, The room shifts

A celebration this was, A commemoration now, To all the tablecloths, To all the dented walls,

To all the unremarkable places That were truly Remarkable‌ Scarlett Timlett-Sheehan (13)


The Explorer


I once knew an explorer He wanted to explore the unknown To explore in caves that moan He said boring things are the things that are known He wanted to explore forests and swim in lagoons To find ancient black objects inscribed with runes To discover things lurking in the darkness Explore in caves buried underground To find the things that have never been found Explore the oceans, explore the seas He wanted to see what has never been seen. He asked just once: “Will you come with me?� Johnnie Rudd (13)

When I Went to Hong Kong Crowded market square Busy restaurants flooded Golden cats waving Erin Edwards (11)


Blossom Tree


There once stood a blossom tree Proud and strong With its roots in the emerald green grass Birds would twitter And animals would gaze As the petals flew off in the day Sofia Sadikali (11)

Riding a Bike with My Eyes Closed Memorising the lane. Picturing the road ahead. Feeling the surface. Always feeling the wind, cold on my knuckles. Closing my eyes as I pedal, seeing nothing, Always feeling the road. Fighting the fear. Oriet Tesfay (11)




When the first light of dawn comes to Devon And the tide comes in from its out, Some say it looks like a heaven Some say with a shout, There could be nothing better! Than being here, this minute, right now. When the first light of dawn comes to Devon Scones will be carefully cut with a knife Cream then jam is rightfully so And that is truly life. Nothing could be better Than being here, this minute, right now.

When the first light of dawn comes to Devon And the shore is stuffed with a beautiful blue Surfers in sea, about seven, Will be waiting for the biggest wave, Saying, nothing could be better, Than being here, this minute, right now. Becky Lorden (12)



The Silence of the Sunrise I paddled slowly Dipping my oar in and out Trailing ripples as I went All was silent The yellow canoe glided As the sun woke up The birds kept still All was silent

The golden sun beamed The willow trees waved A cool breeze kissed my cheeks All was silent

Behind me the water lay still All movement was lost The former ripples had dissolved All was silent

I gazed at the serene mass of water As the first birds awoke They sang their morning song The sun beamed higher in the sky I took a long deep breath And closed my eyes The air was soothing and fresh 25


The sounds of bitter breeze filled my ears The morning birds were chirping now Singing happily to each other The silence of sunrise was over All was silent no more Jessica Wilby (13)

The Bench The bench sits there, Surrounded by flowers, A teddy watches out, Keeping guard. Smooth and brown, shining in the sun, the words on the epitaph for all to see, memories keep growing for you and me. Anyone can sit there, It’s a beautiful view, Moments cherished Never forgotten. Lola Edwards (10)


The World


The world is finding something That you didn’t know was there. The world is a command that you must do. The world is life and love that’s special. It is a place that is yet to come and it’s always a mystery in your mind. Donte Cook (11)


After WB Yeats I walked around and Felt the evening’s Breeze and the full Pleasure of Being alone. It is the Song from the linnet’s beak that brings me imaginary wings. Jaylen Cheng (11)



Winner of the 2018 Elizabeth Cavendish Award

Eight Ways to Look at the Moon

Moon, you are a beautiful hammock of silver silk, in a garden of delicate flowers, cradling the immense darkness. Sing to me moon, sing your song of peace and sleep, help me to fall into your arms of placid rest. Moon, you create a constant hush across the world, reminding everyone that you are there.

A twinkling fairy-light you are moon, along with all the stars. Stay with me moon, don’t leave me all alone, I need your light to keep the spark of life in me alive.

How can you cope on your own, moon, whilst we all fall into deep, deep sleep, and you watch over us with nothing to do?

Moon, I know your only wish is that you could befriend the sun and allow the barrier of hatred between you to rise, so that you can work as a team. Moon, you can save the world with your warm heart, offering us everything we could wish for. Rebecca Eaton (10)


Aberfan Ballad


It was a cold, dark misty morning, As the kids slipped off to school, Hands in gloves waved goodbye, Headed towards a fate, so cruel.

A rumble was heard from the mountain Thunder was presumed up above, Likely with all the recent rainfall. Just hoping it wouldn’t cause a flood. But this brutal heavy rainfall, Had decided to strike a worse blow, For all the tips had been filled up, And the structure was soon to let go.

The school bell echoed ‘round the village, Joy for the last day of term Towards the school sped a mountain of slurry, In its tracks set so straight and so firm.

There were mountains of complaints made by villagers, And even a petition from the school, But many minors kept their mouths shut, About the worrying darkness that could rule. Particular worry for tip seven, That towered thirty-four metres high, It had slipped three years previously, When a crater decided to drop by. 29


The desks began to shudder, The lights began to sway, The black glistening avalanche devoured its path, Nothing stood a chance in its way. Seconds after it hit there was silence, As nature realised what it had done, Faces filled with shock and worry, For every daughter and son.

It stopped at the school when it landed, Bodies blocking the way, Terrified parents rushing towards The rubble, in which their children lay. Shouts of gleeful discovery, Cries of horror and dismay, Screaming from deep down under, Where live and dead children did stay.

Pupils emerged looking crestfallen, Slung over shoulders of policemen. Heartache for the 116 souls. With whom they would never play again. Parents discovered their children, Small blackened bodies, on the floor, Crying and weeping oceans of tears, For their babies were surely no more. 30


Depression terrorised the village, A mother took her life, to be with her son, Surviving children were consumed with guilt Wondering what they had done. An enquiry was opened in London, Justice for the price that was paid? But the jury were left with no answer, For the blame was thrown into the shade.

The disaster would ne’er be forgotten, The children laid out on the hill, Their lives were ended for a cheap lump of coal, The grief their parents carry still. Harriet Whitwell (13)

London I adore this city that lays in a smoke cloud Pop stars invade our city like little green aliens They spread their imaginations through cracks and creaks Governments plan their ideas Music attacks our planet Our city can play any instrument The musicians come from all cultures And that is why we’re London A place of snacks from all cultures Finn Wallis-O’Dowd (10)




Dying place, Sheared cliffs, Broken face, Rain lifts, Short time, Then back, Evil swine, All black.

Field of flowers, Now dust, Super powers Never trust, Now a sea, Made of mud, Not a tree, Was a flood.

Waves high, Mountain tall, People shy, Love small, No one cares, No one gives, This dying place Ever lives.

Bertie James (12) 32

The Den


We made a den of quilts and sheets, When there was nowhere else to go. With boxes filled with drinks and sweets, Secrets no one else could know.

The pillow chairs were white and soft, Where there’d be meetings, fun and games. In the corner of the loft, Where everything would stay the same. The den, the safest place we had, The den, destroyed a year ago, It held the good times and the bad, But now there’s nowhere left to go. Ruby McCallion (12)

Brea Hill In a nervous inlet of land The retired soldier stands mighty and strong, A landmark that overlooks the timid bay and protects its Territory. The long snaking paths hug the small mountain, Wild flowers dancing to the old hill’s lullaby. The hill is always quiet and peaceful, Dominating its landscape. 33


It sighs at the incoming tide, Knowing that the spraying waters will soon grow stronger. It has always fought against the blinding wind And the lashing sea. It is tired and old like a wilting flower. One day it will fall. But old soldiers never die, They simply fade away. Elizabeth Simpson (12)

The Zoo the duck is quacking to the midnight sky, whilst the tiny little robin is having a fly, please do not ask why! it’s just what happens in the zoo

the big fat elephant is having a sit, whilst the very bouncy rabbit is falling in a pit, please do not ask one bit! it’s just what happens in the zoo. the bittering polar bear gave a scare, whilst the scared stiff koala ate an éclair, please do not glare! it’s just what happens in the zoo. Sam Carter (11)



Blissful Woodland 

The woods are a magical place, Inviting you in with colour. But look, there’s a girl As young as youth itself. Sprawled on a bed of green She sits, patting down Her cotton dress which splays In a ring around her.

She hums a blissful melody, Smells the sweet aroma of wild flowers And places a feather-like fingertip Upon each and every flower. Paige Wathey (12)

A Place Called Kindness I wasn’t always kind before, I was a monster to the class, My words quickly transforming negative And it was a permanent thing. Until…



I had a dream, It shocked me, Everything switched, My class were monsters to me, I was the one crying. Then I woke up…

As usual, My parents would give me the eye, My worthless words couldn’t dance out. I thought they were rude.

I got to class, And everything changed, I said something that changed everyone, And after, I was a friend anyone could have.

And now, I’ve learnt my lesson, Treat others the way you want to be treated, And be kind, And when anyone bad tempts you, Ignore them.

Now my words were like butterflies in the air, Instead of goblins and monsters, This new place is where I want to be. Temidayo Olwoye (10)



Behind Beauty’s Mask

The empty shell is the lone remnant of Oldenmoore Manor: Its splendid grandeur faded As the sepal of the last summer rose. Now, it lies desolate, sprawled across the moor: A blemish on the clear skyline, Its walls crumbling under the weight of whispered gossip, Its eaves misshapen from the damp of tears; Tears that weep and mourn Mr Bracken Tears that weep in the odour of death Tears that weep, sending crying children running to their mothers’ embrace. No-one looks behind beauty’s mask.

No-one knows the fragile walls guard a natural kaleidoscope of colour, No-one feels the silky breeze fluttering through the trees, greeting them as old friends, No-one hears the rush of the eager spring that shines with dappled sunlight, No-one sees the flourishing floral residents that inhabit odd crevices As if a spirit had forgiven the haunting past And leapt to sow the seeds of a bright future; As if a spirit had looked behind the ominous mask And endeavoured that he would help to nurture The place we’ve all heard of, Seeped in misery from the past. 37


But, as flawed humans, we fail To look behind beauty’s mask. Annabel Clancy (12)

Wild and Free You can travel there by bus or car It could be near It could be far You could scoot or bike or even fly It could be low It could be high As long as it’s a destination Who cares about its population? It could be on land It could be in the sea What a holiday that would be! You might’ve never been there You might’ve been there loads Whatever the situation Keep following the roads You don’t even have to do that Go run wild and free If you keep following your dreams You’ll be where you want to be Jacob Luckett (11)


The Woods


This is a toddler Dreaming, Of playing in the woods near his house For that was all he wanted to do This is a child Playing, In the woods near his house For he found it fun to do

This is a teenager Staring, At the boring woods near his house For he had nothing better to do

This is an adult Admiring, The view of the woods near his house For he was wishing he could still do what a child was allowed to do This is an elderly man Heart broken For he had seen the woods near his house For the last time‌ This is a child Playing,



In what was, The woods near his grandad’s house. However, what does he call them now? Sebastian Jenkins (13)

This Place I Call White Surrounded by a blank canvas Lonely and bemused As naked as the last puff of breath Coming from the lost winter wolf A snowflake falls A shimmer of beauty Before it hits the ground Giving up

As the bare frost Slowly suffocates life Like a killer that has no choice The sadness is overwhelming How could whiteness Filled with all colours Be so lonely? Anna Pritchard (12)




After ‘sink’ by Lucy Thynne I’ve decided to live in the fridge. I’ll fit in better in there. I’ll make my clothes from tinfoil that’s wrapped around the ham. I’ll swim in milk all day long, make friends with the butter. I know these fridge walls like a lettuce knows its heart. Bonnie Watkins (11)

Until I Saw the Sea Until I saw the quiet waves I had no idea that wind could move over the sea so peacefully

I never knew that the sweaty sun could destroy a sea into blue splashes I did not know that the sea is breathing in and out whilst we are having fun Johnny Umdasch (11)


Under the Duvet


When I curl up under the duvet Hundreds of worlds I might see. The bad and the good, Couldn’t and could And things that are precious to me.

I hear a crow call, I hear a finch tweet; A world of nature at my feet. I hear a bee buzz Or a camel complain; Exotic things down Dreamtime Lane.

Maybe I’m trudging through a castle of cobwebs, Abandoned and eerie with creaking floorboards. Haunted and locked up in a mysterious tower; Saved by Prince Charming at this very hour. Perhaps I’m taming a dragon Or under the sea; I’ll be a sailor sailing free. Watching the winds, braving the storm; Holding my breath as giant waves form. I know! I’m in outer space Soaring the galaxy in a rocket ship race. Visiting Mars, Venus, Neptune; Orbiting the sun with roaring volume. Trying to find a home for the night; 42


Let’s try the moon and get a cheese bite! Then I’ll travel along like a cowgirl Owning the desert, lasso in a whirl. Swinging from trees in the rainforest Maybe the Arctic, or more Wild West.

Lose yourself in a fairy tale land With mermaids and dragons and pirate bands. Under the duvet your dreams come true Everything is unique to you. Annie Young (10)

Manchester My home Always raining Nice and wonderful people. Challenges around every turn. Horrible people tried to break us but Everyone Stuck Together. In the End we grew stronger. During Really bad times they shall not break us; because this is my home, Manchester.

Daniel Clark (12) 43

The Trip


The coach engine roared as we clambered on board and took the first seats we could find. Jola had thought she’d have time for the bathroom but somehow we left her behind. Damian sat with his girlfriend, he knew his friends wouldn’t mind. And Ruby ate Evie’s chocolate when Evie lied. It rained down a fuss when we got off the coach, Our teacher was soaked to the skin And when she found out she forgot all our lunches Her patience began to wear thin. She got so befuddled, she stepped in a puddle, The water went up to her shin And I’d gladly say what she said when it happened But I know that swearing’s a sin. We moaned and we groaned as we stood in the cold Cranky, exhausted and spent, Mosope was certain her stomach was hurtin’ We soon understood what she meant. Miss Petican might feel the trip was a failure I’m sure that was not her intent I’ll tell her we had the most wonderful time I just can’t recall where we went. Mosope Braimoh (12)


Moving House


The lawn, the gravel and the tarmac drive It was a “Don’t touch!” house when first we moved Its neatness seemed to suck the sunlight down And bury it somewhere just beneath the drive. The house was very disobedient Because the pebble-dash could hardly hide The listening loving life The laughter and the lawlessness Of a lived-in place, warmed In a long-lost time When smiling silk-gowned ladies penned their letters And danced and dreamed and dressed and sang duets And tied bright bows and rang their bells and blushed And Nelson sailed his fleet upon the main With cutlass and cannon and fierce flying colours And all that is dashing and daring and dangerous All that is fiery and far-off When the leaves breathe in the wind The house breathes too It breathes with the men and women Of that fiery far-off time Glistening, glittering, growing, listening And maybe even speaking To those who are not afraid to reply. The house watches Through the creaking sash windows Where maybe a woman once leaned out And saw a carriage roll away 45


Over what is now the tarmac drive. Once the grass and the thyme and the trefoil grew Between weathered cobbles A drive it is now A drive it was then When the coaches rolled and rumbled and ricketed out But no alien smell of petrol then Only the vague scent of horses and hay And a little lavender water From a lady passenger. Under the tarmac the cobbles lie Here the wheels rolled, the horses trod And the woman leant on the sill And waved her bonnet for goodbye And the coach went rolling away. And down here, beneath the gravel There are paving stones, pale, moon grey With a faint pink glow Like sundown summer skies With damp moss trimmings Just here the soft of a muslin dress Gentled the worn stone And a shoe stepped And a woman laughed And the evening light fell It falls now Golden, quiet, On the sharp-edged pebbles The laughter is heard no more


But the light falls And the cobbles sleep And the stones sleep And the house sleeps And breathes in its sleep Disobedient


Ide Crawford (12)

Bridlington How long ago, How long ago, Did the ship creak and screech? How long ago Did the sand feel like a pillow? How long ago Did the sea sleep? How long ago Did that pub have laughter? How long ago Did the shops smell like fish and chips? How long ago Did the violent seagulls scream in the luscious environment? How much How much Did I miss? Adam Wilson (12)




I am like a wolf, forever intent on fulfilling my purpose I am like a dog, playful and eager

I am like Greece, sunny, bouncy but in a millisecond I can change to tidal waves and storms I am like London, busy and bustling, always something going on I am like netball, fun and determined I am like tennis, always bouncing back for more

I am like the living room, full of love and laughter I am like the garden, happy and summery

I am like a lamp, glowing and will never let anyone dampen my sparkle I am like a hula- hoop, forever spinning I am like a satellite, reaching the limits but remembering my roots I am like Saturn, mysterious and unknown. Sadie Roberts (10)


Earth’s Orchestra


For great waves crashing against the shore, And the tide breathing out and in evermore, I shall make them my double bass: Groans and growls or a leaping pace. And for the stars, so bright in the sky, Little notes of hope to never die, I shall cast them as a flute, Silent twinkles yet never mute.

As to mountains, great shattered peaks, Always harsh, windswept and bleak, They shall be my alpenhorn: Now sure and steady, then painfully torn. But my forests, seas of green, Trunks steadfast but branches lean, I shall set them as a violin: A silver voice, strong yet thin. Yet my cities, they shall be A piano’s notes for melody: Sometimes happy, bright and gay, Others dismal, a foreboding grey.

And my creatures in earth, sky and sea, A trumpet they will have to be. Creeping, prowling, stalking, hunting, Deep and clear, unruly, thundering. 49


Now my piece is fit together, One of teamwork and joy forever, What can I call it? What shall it be? Earth, the world’s symphony. Sylvie Ades (11)

Manchester 10.31 Tick tick Drifting through the streets like smoke A pale shadow Sweating guilt Face to the ground This is the place I grew up Tick tick This is the place I called home Tick tock And this is where it stands Hunched like a beast Now I can hear their screams Of laughter, of joy Fairy wings and glitter The kids from the playground, the chip shop Just kids Squeeze my eyes shut Don’t be fooled That’s what my new friends said Angels grow up to be devils too Tick tock 50

Time to go Tick Across the road Tock Wet palms Tick One more step Tick Tock



Fin Perry (12)

Atomic Fairytale The stories got it wrong There is no man on the moon I’m the only one up here Just me.

Looking at the blue orb in space You call it home, But I don’t. I live in the blankness With no sound No sights And no air

Humans I have watched you destroy yourselves for centuries 51


and I will for many more until your world is as lonely as mine

Frankie Lee (13)

School As dawn rolls across the damp silent stomach-like playground. Waiting until it’s full again.

The clock ticks like a heartbeat. The pencil cases starve until they’re full.

The playground is full with the echo of happiness. The mobile phones scream out a message. Teachers weep into class. To see the warm welcome of friendly children. The afternoon where pupils doze. And the playground rests. Parents prepare... For the clock to roll over to their final tick. The soon steady sea turned to a storm of children. Until it’s calmed and becomes a silent bed. Gabriel Field (10)



The Deserted Chair

The deserted chair rocking on its own. Its green greeny velvet, with horrible, hard, wooden arms. The deserted chair, rocking on its own. Who would dare to sit on its ugly green seat?

The deserted chair, not rocking anymore. Dad took it to the dump, and it lives no more. Sophia Marples (10)

Bath I am from a world that is green From a street that is black From a house that is yellow

I am from my Mum’s bright laugh From my Dad’s skills From my brother’s football goals From my sister’s warm hugs

I am from: sad since my dog died From a neighbour who argues with everyone I am from wanting to see the sea 53


I’m from Bath From a city of grand structures where pigeons rule the streets Kieran Hill (13)

Our Earth I adopted the trees so fresh and new, but chopped them down and drank the dew. I adopted the bees so sweet and buzzy, but squashed them for a coat so fuzzy. I adopted the grass so green and kind, but sawed it in half and took its mind.

I adopted most things like birds with wings, and fish to make a wish But I adopted the happiness from the Earth and didn’t realise how much it’s worth. Amber McIver (10)


The River


There is a ray of sunlight, Peeping through the gold-tipped leaves, Of the beech tree that stands by the river’s edge. It grows by the side of a narrow gorge, Fringed with moss and brushed with dead leaves. The rocks in the gorge, Jut out from the man-made walls, Soaked with spray and silvered with time Curling protectively around the river, An obstacle course for the water to run through.

It seems to me that the river is like fallen leaves, Coming from different places, yet pressed together. A drop of dew from a blade of grass falls into the river. It rushes through the countryside, Releasing a never-ending sigh of joy, Running around boughs of blackberry-laden brambles, Brushing past bees busy about their business, Gliding around the silent stones Underneath a low bridge Echoing against its curving walls. Then: A drop, a waterfall, An icy white spray, tumbling over the rocks, Roaring to a halt in a pool far below, Curling in a shell-like shape Then moving in a swift wave, On. Juliet Hadari (12)



The Forgotten House

The long forgotten heating switch Covered with mould and rust Of the horrors that engulf this house This be only the crust

The walls are rotted and weak Everywhere you go the floorboards squeak The remains of the windows shattered glass Heaped in a weed infested mass

None has been here for many years The last one had cried many tears For he had known when the house was grand But as it passed from hand to hand It rotted into the land Hugo Edward Taylor (10)

The Classroom This classroom Tastes Like broken souls Like sweet And inky wisps Of smoke. Like ticking clocks And sweaty palms And papers


Robbing me Of hope. Like red biros Turbulent spirals Their ticks scrawled ‘Cross my bloodshot Eyes. Like closed doors And looming threats And children leaving None the wiser.


Amelie Roscoe (11)

The Lost and Found Pile I’ve never lost anyone, anything. Never lost a life bound to me by love, never lost a mind, a mind that tells me all I know, never lost a body, the body that hugs me at night. Never lost as others have lost. Even my jumper is here, in the lost and found pile. Ruby Frizzell (12)


The young poets published in this anthology belong to the following schools, clubs and libraries:

All Saints CE Primary School, Barnet, London Altrincham College, Manchester Beaconsfield High School, Buckinghamshire The Cathedral School of St Saviour and St Mary Overy, Southwark, London Cawston Grange Primary School, Rugby Codicote C of E School, Hitchin, Hertfordshire Colyton Grammar School, Colyford, Devon Crosfields School, Reading Dame Alice Owen’s School, Potters Bar, Hertfordshire Dartford Grammar School for Girls, Kent Dragon School, Oxford Gaelscoil na Cruaiche, Co. Mayo, Ireland Gheez-Rite Supplementary School Westway Trust, London Glenmanor Primary School, Glasgow The Grange School, Northwich, Cheshire Grimm & Co, Apothecary to the Magical, Rotherham Hebden Bridge School, West Yorkshire King Edward VI School, Lichfield, Staffordshire Kingsbridge Community College, Devon Macclesfield Library, Cheshire The Mary Erskine School, Edinburgh Moor Allerton Preparatory School, Manchester North Elmham Primary School, Norfolk Ossett Academy, West Yorkshire Oxford Spires Academy, Oxford Queenspark Community School, Brent, London Robert Gordon’s College, Aberdeen Rokeby School, Newham, London

Sacred Heart Secondary School in Clonakilty, Cork, Ireland St Aidans VC Primary School, Haringey, London St Gregory’s Catholic College, Bath St John’s College School, Cambridge St Josephs & St Gregorys, Bedfordshire St Mary Abbots CE Primary, Kensington, London Thomas Gainsborough School, Sudbury, Suffolk Truro High School, Cornwall Waingels College, Reading Wilson’s School, Wallington, Surrey Woodroffe School, Lyme Regis, Dorset YMCA Summer School F4YP, Bedford

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Betjeman Poetry Prize 2018  

Read all the top 50 poems of this year's Betjeman Poetry Prize, including the winning poem from Ide Crawford, The Moors.

Betjeman Poetry Prize 2018  

Read all the top 50 poems of this year's Betjeman Poetry Prize, including the winning poem from Ide Crawford, The Moors.