Poetry Competition 2013

npd_logoThis competition was organized by the Garvald Website Team in support of National Poetry Day, 3rd October 2013. We had a fantastic response with over a hundred entries! The theme, as for National Poetry Day, was ‘Water’. The poems were sent as anonymous entries for judging and this year we were delighted to have Scottish Poet, Writer and Playwright Liz Lochhead, the Scots Makar, as our expert judge. She really enjoyed reading the poems and sends her best wishes and congratulations to all the winners.

We would like to express our thanks to her for supporting this competition and volunteering her valuable time to judge the entries. We had so many entries this year that her job as judge must have been very difficult. We are very appreciative of her support and on behalf of everyone who took part in the competition we’d like to say Thank You! For more information about Liz and her work, have a look at the links below:

We would also like to thank Garvald and Morham Community Council for their support in providing funds for the book token prizes. Winners received a £20 book token, Second prize was a £10 book token and Runner-Up prize was £5 token.

We are also grateful to Georgi Gill, Learning Manager at the Scottish Poetry Library in Edinburgh, for her support and for arranging some lovely prizes. All nine winning entries received a prize poetry book kindly donated by the Scottish Poetry Library. For more information about the SPL see their website at www.spl.org.uk.

Comments from our judge Liz Lochhead

I found judging this REALLY hard.
I am far from sure I’ve picked ‘the best’.
I’ve just gone for things that, one way or another, appeal to me.
I am hoping that ‘water’ poems of many and varied sorts have been read to, and by, the children. Reading and hearing poetry is at least as important as writing it. We need to do both, let one feed the other and I have chosen, usually, as winners, pieces that use poetic techniques like repetition, structure, rhyme, pattern.
I’ve not tended to go for just a startling image alone, or for completely free verse…
I think another day I’d have chosen differently. Something else would have possibly appealed to me!

Very best wishes and congratulations,

Liz Lochhead


Category: 5-7 years

  • Winner: Molly Mack (I Can See Water)
  • Second: Rudie Shearer (Bubbles in the Jacuzzi)
  • Runner Up: Fergus Montgomery (The Rocky Water)

Liz said: “I picked the winner because I loved the first line – I wanted to pinch it! – and because of the zapping of the thunder and lightning in the clouds in the last one. I like that zapping, a word with real energy, and with the zigzag of lightning in it too…”

Category: 8-10 years

  • Joint Winner: Isla Kilkenny (Waterfalls)
  • Joint Winner: Craig Milligan (Floods)
  • Runner Up: Lochie Bruneau (Waterfall)

Liz commented: “Both winners were very visual, and surprising with it. I simply couldn’t choose which image was my favourite between the rainbows in ‘Waterfalls’ and ‘the fireman’s hose’ in ‘Floods’… while ‘Waterfall’ (not with an ‘s’) used rhyme really well – and this isn’t easy! A sophisticated poem.”

Category:11-13 years

  • Winner: Murron Bland (The Sea is Full of Life)
  • Second: Hubie Litherland (Battle on The Seas)
  • Runner Up: Arabella Flame (Fish)

Liz explained: “I just really, really like the winning poem. Sophisticated, enjoyable rhyming. I love ‘the whale and his wife’- and I can’t explain why – which is always the right reason for loving a poem… The other two have great images and colours in them…”

Winning Poems

Age Group 5-7 years


I Can See Water. By Molly Mack

Blue heavy rain falling from the sky.
Dark clouds above my head.
Wet rain hitting my house.
Salty water in my tummy.
Heavy heavy heavy rain.
Grey sky.
Thunder and lightening zapping the clouds.

Second Prize

Bubbles In The Jacuzzi. By Rudie Shearer

The jacuzzi’s bubbles are popping.
The jacuzzi is warm and bubbly.
The warm water between my toes.
Bubbles won’t stop popping.
Blue birds twittering.
The lavender making us sleepy.

Runner Up

The Rocky Water. By Fergus Montgomery

The crushing waterfall whirl around my feet
Fish and newts
Slimy green plants
Very salty and fishy
Bubbles and fish tickling my feet
Vine and leaves
Fish and wavy water

Age Group 8-10 years

Joint Winner

Waterfalls. By Isla Kilkenny

Water splashes down
Onto rocks
Making them sparkle a lot
Watching it splash is fun
Watching it bubble down
The water is freezing cold
Climbing up slippy rocks
Is fun and dangerous
When the sun shines
It makes little rainbows

Joint Winner

Floods. By Craig Milligan

The flood in the village
Sweeping the cars along
And lily pads are growing in the road,
The park becoming a lake,
And the village becoming
More and more like the sea,
And rain sploshes like an
Un-controlled fireman’s hose.

Runner Up

Waterfall. By Lochie Bruneau

As the rapids go down river,
and reach their deathly fall,
the water crashes and smashes,
as the birds loudly call.

The fish swim round and round,
as the wind blows by,
the leaves fall to the ground,
the blue water as blue as the sky.

Then the water flows down river,
and slowly out of sight,
as the grass moves slowly,
the frogs jump with such might.

Age Group 11-13 years


The Sea Is Full Of Life. By Murron Bland

The sea is full of life
the whale and his wife
the seahorses prance
and the little fishes dance,
hidden sea filled caves
and dolphins amongst the waves.

A shadow silently glides all day,
To get to the place where the fish like to stay.
With its toothy smile and glinting eye
The fish speed away as if they fly,
So the hungry monster disappears,
Leaving behind a fading fear.

The reef returns to its usual calm,
The seaweed moves with hypnotic charm.
The blue green sea reflects the light,
A thousand glittering jewels so bright.
The sea is a place to soothe and calm,
The sound of the water a comforting balm.

Second Prize

Battle On The Seas. By Hubie Litherland

Liquid silver glistens
The red rose sinks below the horizon.

The captain steps up from his cabin
Wig curled, eyes a-glitter.
Storm is brewing,
Black clouds draw in,
The crew is tense.

A ship is sighted dark and skeletal,
cannons shine, tattered sails flap,
Splinters shattered swords, slice through.
Dark red blood upon the floor,
Amber flames lick the hull,
Cannons pound out!

And the screams of dying men,
As the ship is slowly engulfed,
The deep takes its fill.
Down, down, down to the bottom.

Runner Up

Fish. By Arabella Flame

Finally I am released
One of the thousand
Almost blinded by my bright colours
I grow up, get stronger
Smell the salt in the sea
My baby coat turns into a beautiful collage of colour
My scales like a rainbow in the glimmering sea

I swim for the first time
The blue water encouraging me along
I am so taken back I do not see the shark
Its teeth like daggers ready to strike
I swim, swaying
The once relaxing see now like a terrifying trap
As I swim the beautiful fish hide away in the multicoloured coral
Then I realise I am lost
I try to swim every direction
Nothing seemed like home

Want more poetry?

If you’d like to read all of the competition entries, they have been published in a PDF file, see Garvald Poetry Competition – All Poems 2013.

Websites of interest for young poets, parents and teachers:

Celebrating National Poetry Day (Thursday 3rd October, 2013).
Supported by the Scottish Poetry Library

Scottish Poetry Library logo

6 thoughts on “Poetry Competition 2013

  1. Dorothy Hilsley

    We were delighted at the enthusiasm our children showed when writing their poems and I can understand why Liz Lochhead had such a hard job choosing the winners. Congratulations to those children who did win, from Yester and other schools, and thanks to everyone who took part. You are all stars.
    It was lovely being able to write poetry for a purpose and to have such positive comments from Liz Lochhead. Many thanks to the organisers of this event.

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