Young Poets 2018 15-18 winners

Adjudicator: Yvonne Reddick 

Yvonne Reddick won a Northern Writers’ Award for her poetry in 2016. Her poetry pamphlet Translating Mountains (Seren Books, 2017) won the Mslexia Poetry Pamphlet Prize. Her poems have appeared in magazines including Stand and Shearsman. She is Research Fellow in Modern English and World Literatures at UCLAN, where she researches literature’s engagement with environmental issues. Her book Ted Hughes: Environmentalist and Ecopoet has recently been published by Palgrave Macmillan.  Yvonne’s comments on the entries to the Ted Hughes Young Poets’ Awards were: 'The standard of the young people’s poetry was exceptional. A passion for ecological issues comes through in their poems. We can look forward to hearing much more from these budding poets in the future. Ted Hughes would be delighted that his legacy continues to inspire so many people’.


Ted Hughes Young Poets 2018:15 – 18 Years

 

Winner – Suli Scatchard

Boy is Tree. Tree is Boy.

 

Boy sits on a bed of litter; throne of foliage; dustbin kingdom

Here, where hands meet with moss like plush grandmother’s rug and swallows supple

Knuckles, twig fingers; scarecrow

Boy feels sap within the roots of his hair; sticky; resin statuette; like His hands keeping

Hold of lemon bon bon to keep for later,

When Time lulled Children as if she loved them

Once, Boy found a dead chaffinch, and plucked the wing feathers

Until he cried, and grotty blood; under fingernails; tears; stained the tips

Tried, Boy did, to fix the feathers into his arms, try he did to fly

Boy’s mind is a scribble; metaphorical cloud; hay fever sneezes; shampoo smells

Boy’s mind is filled with the screaming Children who stamped the world out of beetles as they

Fell from his fingers; Shield Bug; general playground noises; skipping rope against tarmac

Squished. Shell pieces. Crying. Childish behaviour.

 

Boy’s mind is growing, here with Mr. Oak and Ms. Yew he belongs

Here he enters the portal between the bending boughs as they faint in melodramatic

Boy enters a world of Faeries

Hidden in knotholes; scuffed leather; movement with rock lifted; musty comfort in the Big Hole under the roots of That Tree

Celestial broken light disintegrated by sieved canopy; icing sugar on marzipan figures.

Wickered memories of clasping hands with the Forest Faeries; skipping on Fern.

As they clap, clap, clapped and tapped on tambourine; ribbons of soft petal; bluebells tinkering like the sound of snow on grass

 

Man walks between the trees. Crackling underfoot. He sees Mr. Oak (Quercus) and Ms. Yew (Taxus Baccata)

He does not play with them anymore, no more does he feel bark against cheek whilst throwing arms around the trunk in embrace; Love. Acceptance.

He instead asks for advice

They tell him that people do not like to be challenged. They tell him that adults do not like to dream

It makes them realise how dull their life truly is. The idea of a better life is sad.

He thanks them, exits the portal between the bending boughs as they faint in melodramatic

Good luck. Good luck. Have fun. Be safe. The forest Chorus root. For him. Childish behaviour.

 

And sees Chaffinch telling him to wake up

It’s a new day, and the world; is beautiful

 

Comments by Yvonne Reddick: ‘We enter a magical world of knotholes, wickered memories and broken light in this haunting poem. The ‘dustbin kingdom’ of modern life reminded me of T. S. Eliot’s poetry of waste lands and deathly dream kingdoms’.


Runner Up – Ishita Ananth Krishnan

The Growth of an Ancient Heart

 

Stumbling and small as my footsteps were,

The roots in my soul began to rumble,

Growing, spreading to the ends of time.

From memories of being a mere sapling, fighting to uphold its place within the soil

To the commanding flashes of lightning that had left my youthful branches singed and healing,

And at last, there came a moment where I realized I could no longer distinguish

When that body had ceased to be, and this one came into existence

Carrying with it the heartbeats of a matured seedling,

Nurturing it further

and further,

Until my dreamlike consciousness was no longer lost, or confused,

But had instead become one with this body, and loved this body

For as long as this form was present for,

All the way to the very end.

 

Comments by Yvonne Reddick: ‘When the poet writes of roots rumbling in their soul, it makes the readers’ souls take root too. The poet should be very proud of this wonderful poem’.