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.
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.
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.
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
don’t say sorry at all,
the magnets will separate from each other,
our feelings scrambled like an egg.
How can we make it,
could we go back to the beginning,
when we were whole,
Sorry can stop wars,
to not say sorry,
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.