Here are the results of the Inaugural Charm Poetry Competition.
Six poems were placed in the highly commended category. These were
- · Someone’s nicked my children’s t’s by Stuart Blair
- · The Closest I get to Flight by Katriona Campbell
- · Love Number 1 by Tom Clarke
- · Parentheses by Doreen Hinchliffe
- · The Okapi Malarkey by Amara Seabrook
- · Teacher by Clair-Louise Walsh
The third prize of £25 was awarded to John Ling for his poem ‘Anti-viral’.
John writes “I have been writing poetry most of my life and have had over 30 published in various anthologies over the years. I have two published poetry books - "Alice the Healer" (2010 and 2nd ed 2021) and "People pie" (Orton, 2021). Two books of social stories for autistic children, and two short story books, "Paper aeroplane man" 2016 and "Mrs Loud and Mrs Quiet" 2020. All available via Amazon. I work as a mediator for families with special needs children, couples and neighbours in conflict. My website is www.johneling.co.uk.”
Last night alone soon after you had gone
I found myself just laughing yet again.
Not laughing at you, though for sure
that’s what you often say you think I do,
but laughing at the laughter that we share.
A laughter that just waits to be released
by twinkles in the eye and saucy touch.
And once it’s out it cannot be suppressed.
It bubbles up just like a happy child,
a joyful dog that jumps at sticks for fun.
And should we look for reasons there are none.
Our lives apart predictable and dull.
But together we grow colourful and free.
You are my health care, my vaccine.
Come lock me down and chuckle me to death.
The second prize of £50 was awarded to Victoria Sherratt for her poem ‘Sound Supermarket’.
Victoria writes “From reading A A Milne’s poetry as a child I have long had a fascination with words and how they can be put together to form stories in rhythm and rhyme, but it was about five years ago, and not until I was in my sixties, that I took the time to work on my creative skills. I found a poet mentor to help me, went on a couple of excellent writing retreats and joined various local groups to encourage me in both appreciating, and writing, poetry.
I have been published in an anthology produced by my local Poetry Society Stanza, shortlisted in a poetry competition run by Shelter, and recently won second prize in the national u3a poetry competition.”
At the music counter I ask for fat rashers
of jazz, half a kilo of opera, several packets
of sweetened incidental music.
I need a click for the kettle
to let me know it has boiled
and a clink of spoon that stirs
in milk and sugar, a little sigh
to accompany my sitting down,
a sachet of crunches for my ginger biscuit.
I want some conversation, long as spaghetti,
but with more substance, and for a treat
a few phrases of Italian to go with tonight’s pizza.
Here’s assorted birdsong, loose in big tubs,
to scatter throughout the day. I’ll take three.
I’m not going to buy any barking this week
for the neighbour’s dog, nor the motory noises
of Sunday afternoon lawn mowers,
chainsaws chewing wood, no roars
or revs for speeding motorbikes.
I choose familiar noises for my house -
the creaks, a softly closing door,
your footsteps coming down the stairs.
The first prize of £100 was awarded to Andrew Wilson for his poem ‘Once upon a Llama’.
Andrew writes “I've been writing for a couple of years but have only recently discovered poetry. I love the variety within poetry and the freedom it allows to play with form and rhythm and words. I am dyslexic and therefore reading and writing don't come completely naturally to me. For that reason, shorter form writing such as poetry is wonderful because I can create something short but with impact. And, as this competition shows, poetry can allow you to let your hair down and create something truly silly and joyful if you are so inclined. I've never had anything published and I've never won anything for my writing either. This is the first but hopefully not my last success in poetry.”
Once Upon a Llama
The phone rings, I answer “Hello,”
“Hello,” comes the reply, “I’m sorry, I don’t want to alarm ya,
My name is Alana, Alana Sharma and I’m a llama farmer.”
“A llama farmer?”
“Yes, a llama farmer, don’t worry, I mean you no harma,
It’s just that life is lonely as a solitary llama farmer.”
I pause and think, quite mystified, “How did you get my narma?”
“It was easy,” comes the reply, “you see, I’m quite the charmer,”
“I don’t have time for your games,” I say.
“Don’t worry, I won’t keep you much larna,”
“Okay,” I say, what the hay? I can help a llama farmer.
“How can I help? Don’t let it simmer, let’s take your enquiry farther,
But before we do, let me ask you, is it hard to farm a llama?”
“I don’t know, I’ve never tried, I couldn’t farm a llama,
I wouldn’t feel right, morning noon or night, knowing I’d farmed a llama.”
“Come again,” I say, “Did I not hear right? You said you’re a llama farmer,
I’m sure you said, the words stuck in my head, you’re Alana the llama farmer?”
“Yes, that’s right my name’s Alana and I’m a llama farmer,
But how could a llama farmer farm a llama? Your logic causes alarma.”
“I beg your pardon,” I say, “Don’t accuse me of drama,
You called me up, you introduced yourself as Alana the llama farmer.”
“Our wires are crossed,” came the reply, “I understand and now feel calmer,
You thought me a farmer who keeps llamas, but I’m a llama who’s a farmer.
Imagine me, with cages, see, lined up and stuffed with llamas,
That wouldn’t do, imagine Auntie Sue, I couldn’t farm a Sharma.”
“Right,” I said, “We’ve put that to bed, so your name is Alana,
You’re a llama and a farmer but you couldn’t farm a llama.”
“That’s it,” said Alana, “I’m glad you understana, it really couldn’t be sampler.”
“Fine,” I say, “But if you’re a llama and a farmer but you couldn’t farm a llama,
What do you farm with all that charm that you previously explainallamad?”
After a pause the reply came.