Poetry Competition Expresses Powerful Love of Our Planet

Henley Library was host to the second Great Big Green Week Poetry Competition readings and prize-giving last Tuesday evening organised by Greener Henley.

The judges Sue Turner and David Williams had the difficult task of deciding on the winners in three categories; children up to 12, teenagers up to 20 and adults. The theme for this year’s competition was Tread Gently on the Earth.

The winner of the children’s prize was Edward Robinson  age 9 yrs with his poem Tread Lightly on the Earth (read below).  The runners-up were Florence Irvine age 11, Dorothy Locke age 7, Thea Hookham age 9 and Isabella Jones age 11.  The teenage prize went to Fleur Wood age 15 with a poem called Equilibrium and the runner up was Naomi Salek age 17.  The adult winner was very a powerful poem written by Louise Brakspear with The Late Arrivals (read below). Second prize went to Lynda Hopkins and third to Daisy Smith.

This year in honour of the late David Grubb there was a memorial prize which went to Richard Fortey for his brilliant poem The Soil.

Sue Turner said, “The second Poetry Competition for Great Big Green Week was very successful.  We had  a lot of interest in it and people seemed keen to express their views about their love of nature and the importance of caring for our planet. The standard of the entries was very high and impressive so it was difficult to decide on winners.  About 35 people attended the poetry reading and prize giving.  It was a very enjoyable evening and the Henley librarians Keith and Peter were very welcoming. We were very grateful to Southern Plant who sponsored the generous prizes.”

The winners of each category won a £25 book token and the runners up received less amounts.  All the children received a prize.  David Williams wrote a slightly ironic poem in Southern Plant’s honour called Hired Hands.

Tread Lightly on the Earth by Edward Robinson  Age 9

Tread lightly on the earth
Don’t step on the turf

Be cautious when playing out for hours
Try to avoid stomping on the flowers

There are creatures everywhere you see
So remember to treat them carefully

Don’t tread on the soil
There might be worms in a coil

Pick up all the litter you see
It will make the earth a better place to be

Some people – I say with disbelief – are destroying
The Amazon rainforest and Great Barrier Reef

If you don’t want to be a traitor
Remember to take care of

The Late Arrivals By Louise Brakspear

We’re late to the party,
but then guests of honour
should always make an entrance, and
things could hardly start without us.
Oh, no point closing the door, we say
There are more of us on the way.
We’ll all just have to jam in somehow.
Thanks, is that for us?

We go up for seconds, thirds, sounding
so sincerely regretful we forgot
our own contribution to the spread.
Bored of scoring
our names into the furniture,
we elbow our way out onto the flora instead.
Turn it up, we insist, and drown
in a siren music of our own making.
With closed eyes, we may realise too late that
we’re the last ones left dancing.



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