This year’s eco-poetry competition saw thought-provoking entries from students in First Story partner schools across England. Young writers’ concern about the environment was highlighted in their responses.
From bringing to life whole universes, to using powerful imagery to convey broken landscapes, this year’s entries were inspired. Our judging panel ultimately selected three winners from schools in London:
Third place was awarded to Unremarkable Us, Jonathan Lingofe from Eden Park High School. The judges felt this poem displayed “inventive and effective use of form and structure”.
Second place went to Return, Malu Summerfield from Holland Park School, which judges felt was “an incredibly evocative poem which explores both the conflicts and connections between people and nature, painting an amazing dystopian landscape.”
This year’s first place winner is Walnut Tree, Rose Roghani Araghi from Eden Park High School, which the judges felt was “a gorgeous, tender, very moving poem that captures the ‘oneness’, the interconnectedness of the world so wonderfully. The repeated persian/farsi lines are like a prayer or a lament for the world.”
Congratulations to each of our three winners, who will receive certificates and eco-conscious goody-bags. Further young writers who received special mentions will also receive certificates.
First place winner
Walnut Tree by Rose Roghani Araghi (Eden Park High School) I walk along the empty streets At 8am, when the morning peaks افسوس که شهر مدهوشان جاودان نبود * Where the crumbled wall draws me close And the walnut tree extends her arms She pulls her green sleeves over my head Her velvet veil tints my view افسوس که شهر مدهوشان جاودان نبود * The breeze gently runs his hand Through my hair and across my face The walnut tree sings a song Spring comes and rushes by افسوس که شهر مدهوشان جاودان نبود * Flowers bloom under her grace And the birds join in her song Home is near and passing by اما افسوس که شهر مدهوشان جاودان نبود ** Persian translations: * alas, the city of the enchanted may not last forever ** but, alas, the city of the enchanted did not last
Second place winner
Return by Malu Summerfield (Holland Park School) Vines spiral upwards, in and out of skyscrapers, now only islands in an ocean of charcoal. They climb through the shards of glass, intertwining, creating webs of evergreen in the never-ending night. No more breath. No more life. Roots rise through the rot, and life returns from their dim lines; they stretch their wrinkled legs as they photosynthesise. Great giants emerge from the ashes of ancient fuels, blinded by bright light, Claiming back their wealth. They stomp through the muck, through the endless debris; faces crystalled with salt as they look back on broken memories.
Third place winner
Unremarkable Us by Jonathan Lingofe (Eden Park High School) Picture, if you can, our universe. For immeasurable lengths it stretches, containing equally immeasurable amounts of stuff, – all of it organised into small, dense pieces, fitted together like a jigsaw puzzle. And each and every single one of these pieces somehow manages to stretch for exceptional lengths, and contain equally exceptional amounts of stuff, – also organised into pieces of insane size, which stretch on for further lengths, and contain further amounts of stuff, divided into somewhat smaller parts that contain… yet more of this stuff. And somewhere in there is us: small, naïve, unremarkable us.
Our special mentions, in no particular order, go to the following students for their impressive entries:
Zane Lacy (Bulwell Academy, East Midlands)
Maisie Caller (The Dukeries Academy, East Midlands)
Bernie Rogers (Bulwell Academy, East Midlands)
Halima Bi (Co-op Academy Grange, West Yorkshire)
Tariana Jones (Eden Park High School, London)
Tahiya Murshed (St Paul’s Way School, London)
Click here to read last year’s winning submissions.