2012 Leeds Peace Poetry competition winners revealed

POETRY JUDGE: Rommi Smith.
POETRY JUDGE: Rommi Smith.
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Winners of the prestigious Leeds Peace Poetry competition were announced at a packed ceremony in the city’s Civic Hall.

Leeds Peace Poetry competition has attracted thousands of entries from schools, colleges and individuals since it was founded in 2003.

It usually takes place in the autumn but was postponed last year so that it could be linked to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

This year’s theme was Truce, in connection with the truce which was declared between warring city-states when the Olympics were originally held.

The competition is supported by the Yorkshire Evening Post.

Prizes were presented by Chief Judge Rommi Smith.

Rommi Smith is a poet and playwright. She has written and performed, extensively, on BBC Radio, featuring on programmes such as Poetry Please!, Late Junction, The Verb and Woman’s Hour.

She has held numerous international residencies for organisations ranging from the British Council, to the BBC. Rommi was Poet in Residence for the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and Poet in Residence for BBC Music Live.

She was appointed Parliamentary Writer in Residence; the first such appointment in British history.

There are three categories in the competition: adult, secondary school, and primary school. Winners and their poems were as follows.

ADULT:

THE DISCUS THROWER AT OLYMPIA - By Don Nixon

There is a line of beauty in the pose

the sculptor Myron set for me to hold.

The light plays off the patina to define

the tightening forearm just about to throw,

the tendons straining in the twisting neck

and tapered muscles bulging at the thigh,

the golden mean he cast in gleaming bronze.

I am no longer real. An archetype.

He recreates me as a demi-god,

a symbol sent by the immortal ones

from high Olympus where they hold their state.

Old Myron’s statue shows us an ideal,

perfection realised in human form.

These Games stand also for the great ideal

of universal peace. All seek the crown

but still remain as friends whoever wins,

rejoicing in their shared humanity,

a greater legacy for a future age

that will survive when statues falls to dust

and Hellas is a glorious memory.

In this Olympic truce we may just glimpse

a better world - a brotherhood of man.

JUST A KEY - By Catherine Howard

It’s only a key.

A piece of cold hard steel.

Like so many others,

Keys to houses, cars and boxes,

But this one has a secret,

A secret you can never know.

You cracked my ribs,

Scarred and bruised my flesh,

But I was never broken.

Peace is a tiny flat,

A hundred miles from you.

And I hold the key in my hand.

SECONDARY SCHOOL:

Ekecheiria by Luke Dukinfield, age 16, Royds Language College

They flounder’neath tides of glacial blades,

Refugees of War, wraiths of loss and strife:

Living, absent; plagued by Death’s faceless shades

Who weave this void of plundered faith and life.

Poseidon’s trident, wrested by man’s Greed,

Now doth with Power’s tyranny oppress -

Persecution, Injustice, Fear its creed -

Reigning o’er tides of blood and tears shed.

Zeus sways not this tempest, razing their shore;

Nay, but Politics, that doth blind and sear -

The squall that deafens, with deceitful roar -

Wings of promise clipped by Artemis’ leer.

Yet erelong voices rise above storm’s din -

A symphony of Dialogue and Truce -

Braving this ocean’s wrath, and sword-sworn sin

To render unto the unpitied truth.

Swathed by red, borne by Educations’s sail,

This boat doth surge towards those lost at sea:

To the blue of this long eclipsed sky hail

Where doves soar in euphonic liberty.

This crew donned in garments of black and green,

Bearing naught save the yellow torch of peace

That sentinels, as shield of hallowed sheen,

Embellished by the rings of armistice.

Truce by Saarah Yousaf, age 13, Bradford Grammar

Softly, falls the sunset - shaded feather

Against the stretch of smudged blue

Gentle fingers play a chord

Gingerly stroking the ivory keys

The tuneful wing-beats of a kingfisher

Twinkling blurred dots against the wane of indigo

The satisfied coos of a dove

A melody sung by the calmest of duets

Truce is all of these things

Sometimes hidden and sometimes hard to find.

Connor Craig, age 15, Grammar School at Leeds

Truce (noun); ‘an agreement for

Temporary cessation of hostilities’, or

A time to pause, stop, reflect and think

What good is war?”; we’re on the brink

Of disaster if we cannot understand

That if we can’t stop or offer a hand

To our ‘enemies’,no ‘better’ are we

Than they; we border insanity

If we believe that to go to war

Is something intrinsically human, or

Something to seek. Heavens above!

War creates peace like hate creates love!

So stop, drop your weapons and open your eyes

And also your mouth: seek compromise,

For if you believe you’ll never cease fire

And ‘fight the good fight’ right down to the wire,

Nobody shall win, and many will die;

Not even the ‘winner’ could hope to hide

The hole in their soul caused by the cost

Of so many lives; the loved and the lost.

Fighting and dying in the pursuit of truth

Is stupid, so stop now; make peace - just call a truce.

PRIMARY:

Olympic Truce by Isabella Myers (aged 9) Birchfield Primary School

People come from every Nation

Just to enjoy the celebration

People forget their fears and wars

When they listen to the crowds roar

Faces, which may disagree

Come together, suddenly

Reaching for the finishing line

The Olympics make all hearts shine

People of every race

Running together at a pace

No fights and none to blame

These 3 weeks make life not the same

Those you never give a glance

Now’s the time to give them a chance

People there of every colour

Stand together as sister and brother

We all can cheer and have a laugh

The Olympics are the right path

To take when all the world is broken

For peace and love, the TRUCE has spoken

Sorry by Destiny Fearon, aged 11, Woodlands Primary School & Leeds Young Authors

Sorry is a magnetic force,

that can bring people together.

If you don’t explain why

or,

don’t say sorry at all,

the magnets will separate from each other,

causing splits,

cracks,

our feelings scrambled like an egg.

How can we make it,

whole again,

could we go back to the beginning,

when we were whole,

Hold hands,

be friends.

Sorry can stop wars,

to not say sorry,

is to,

loose a friend.

Truce by Charlie Wilson, Hawksworth Primary, Guiseley

The world has to forgive and forget.

Let’s see if we can keep the truce for longer

than 3 weeks.

The world is a beautiful place. Without the war it

will be even better.

Peace by James Black, Hawksworth Primary

The night is silent,

Peace on battlefield

Enemies become friends.

Bygons be bygons

No gun shots fired,

Differences change to similarities

Forgive and forget,

Olympic gamers are coming

The night is silent.

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