Registered charity 1059047

The National Association of Writers' Groups

HomeCompetitionsCompetition Results ♦ Winners: Open Poetry 2016

Winners: Open Poetry 2016

Here are the winning entries from the 2016 open poetry competition.

You can also view the full competition results.

First Prize Winner

On a Wood Pigeon Proposition by Roger Elkin
When you catch a glance of it tantivying across
the garden, its wings battling forward/back
like the oars of the Oxbridge boat race as if all
that really mattered is the winning, and you notice
how the new-dawn-pink blush of neck and chest,
the smoky greys of its back, the whitish slash
at back of its neck, have been watered down
against the sun to a charcoaled silhouette …

                                  and when it sails
like a child's paper plane racing over the lawn, then
lifts to a clattering ladder of mad flapping and stalls,
its wings akimbo like those cliff-hurlers launching midair
into vacancies of space in a sort of death-daring
that has your heart in your mouth, and not landing –
but gliding, tight breasted, wide – rising, falling,
then arcing in to wing-drift to the leylandii,
or flop-dropping to settle on the trellis …

                                and when it stoops
wing-crash-flapping on the garden steps its head
tick-tocking as if on clockwork, its seed eyes mad-panicking,
its bill's rolled gold, those coral pink toes, and communing
in its jewellery-plumage puts on its Coo-oo-cou song
like a stuck recording, Coo-oo-cou, Love-you-u, Love-you-u …

                                               then you know
this is me, is you, is us – that lift, that dive, that fall,
the battling mad clatter of our love that has my heart
in my mouth just seeing you …

Coo-oo-cou … Love-you-u … Love-you-u …

Second Prize Winner

The Gardener by Joyce Worsfold
Delphiniums edge path, echo seas and skies,
your gentle, laughing, water-colour eyes.
I glimpse you bending by the poppy bed
A cotton hat protects silvery head

Dead-heading in the heat of July day

Here, where you like to meditate and pray.
I call your name, raise a glass of lemonade
arms outstretched we meet and hug, afraid,
I feel your bird-like bones, you're growing old
I kiss your waxy skin and shiver cold.
Gentleness, not a feeble, flaccid thing
But steely strength that makes the earthbound sing.

We sit on the warm stone bench, relax, talk
Of books and baffling things and laugh and walk
eaves-drop upon sparrows, savour the air
ramble with roses, a gardening pair,
Your work, crumbled earth, cut grass, pristine edge
The level stretches of clipped, green box hedge.
A mound, couch grass already withering
wheel-barrow of nettles, white roots quivering
Rambling Rector spills sermons on the lawn
every moment some new thing is born
You crave the peace here, taming wilderness

And I honour your strength in gentleness

Third Prize Winner

Saying Goodbye by Jacqueline Pemberton
Your suitcase is at the bottom of my stairs.
I'm prepared.
Well versed in making mountains
Out of memories,
Adept at holding fast to fleeting moments.

Photos line the paths
Of our days together,
Precious parcels to unwrap And feed on, slowly

I have learnt to live with hunger
To fill my calendar with writing,
Big and bold.
I can fold the corners of despair, Sticky tape them down
And leave no gaps
For wounds to weep.

Skype: a rope that ties
Our separated lives
But cannot hold my hug
Or the breath of your smile.

Time passes.
The date of your next visit home
Will come
And the chambers of my heart
Echo once more with joy.
Article Actions
Article Information
Author: Kevin Machin Date: November 26, 2016 11:35 am
Categories: Open Competitions, Competition Results Tags: poetry, winners
Comments: 0 – permitted Article: 5140 – public
Submit a New Comment
Alternatively, you can use your account, if you have one – Log in

article as:

Get Creative logo

Competition & Mentorships

We are proud to be associated with the Highlands & Islands Short Story Association.



  • Book Printing
  • Self Publishing
  • Anthologies
  • Hard and Soft Back Book Production
  • Free guide and sample book

CMP (uk) Ltd

G3 The Fulcrum, Vantage Way, Poole, Dorset, BH12 4HU

Telephone: 01202 739993