Poetry Competition Winners! - Aimhigher West Midlands
book of poetry

Poetry Competition Winners!

We invited students in years 9-13 to take part in our poetry competition, responding to the statement ‘Being close while distant’. The entries were excellent – a huge well done to everyone who got involved. Your creativity is inspiring!

The Poet Laureate for Worcester, Leena Batchelor, judged the competition and provided the following feedback:

“This was so hard to judge. The depth of feeling and awareness of our world through the words of our youngsters is both touching and humbling. The interpretations of the theme ‘Being close while distant’ are interesting and show a maturity of understanding, I found it difficult selecting just 3 from each category. These poems are stunning and all the entrants deserve to be proud of themselves.”

Take a look at some of the amazing poems composed by students. Congratulations to the winners!

YEAR 9 – 11 WINNERS

FIRST PLACE, YEAR 10 STUDENT – GLOW OF A THOUSAND LANTERNS

The old tale about loneliness
is a tale all too familiar,
’tis of a soul being haunted
by an echo of a bitter siren song,
and relentless, too, its midnight chorus
that cannot be stopped,

And even with my heart of stone,
the song pulls me, ever close,
like a moth that is drawn to the flame,
I can’t resist it at all;
and there is no escaping this madness
even if I knew how,

For nothing could ever save me,

There is no hand that can reach out for me;
isolation is my only true destiny
that I will ever achieve
for as long as I am breathing,
yet I do hunger the taste of love
that I know I am not allowed to feel,

If the world moves on without me,
I will not mind at all,
for the shadows will stay behind
and never leave me alone,

And shadows are all that I know
that will not betray my trust;
they might leave me by the first light,
yet always come running back,
unlike the glow of a thousand lanterns
that is fated to die
when its flames are blown by the wind,

So why am I entranced by its soft glow?
Why does a lantern’s light make me feel so alive?
I can’t seem to grasp the thought
how a fleeting moment of joy
could ever bring me down to my knees,
praying for a life that I wish I have,

But I know I don’t deserve such a gift,
for I have strayed too far from the light to be saved,
too attached to the music
that reminds me that scars can’t heal,
and forever will it stay with me,
not once will it mend nor will fade away,

No, I don’t deserve it;
the glow is just too much for me,
and it could have been given
to someone else that deserves it even more than me.
Allow me to linger in the dark,
away from the thousand lanterns
that bears with it a promise
or a wish of someone that’s unbound
from the cage of eternal servitude.

Albeit all it took was a single touch
to grasp the value of light and reality,
It was like fire on my skin.
It burned, and it burned so bad.
Yet I resisted that, and I survived.
Not as ashes and dust,
but as a phoenix reborn.
That single touch sent me away
to a distant, unattainable dream.
How I long to reach the clouds
beyond the cerulean skyline
only to find myself awake,
back to reality.

[Let the glow of a thousand lanterns
carry your deepest desires
as it soars into the heavens.]

SECOND PLACE, YEAR 10 STUDENT – PULSE

Keys type away
Friends go astray
Heads told to lay
At home where we stay
Touch becomes foreign
Distance is now common
But my heart still beats

Family board games
Birthdays not the same
It’s hard to keep sane
But we must remain
Calm and prepared
Even tho I’m scared
My lungs still inflate

Society erupts
Awareness is a must
Some are left unjust
But won’t keep my fist tucked
Patience wearing thin
Love my melanin
and my blood still bleeds

So check up on your friends
Soon we’ll see an end
No need to pretend
It’s all fine again
it may take some time
But we’ll all be fine
As I still have a pulse

So live for those lost
Smile through the screen
At what cost
Will the outside be seen
Cook up something zesty
Just don’t lick the spoon
And don’t worry bestie
I will see you soon

THIRD PLACE, YEAR 9 STUDENT 

Am I not like you?
Do I not have the ability to use the voice of reason?
Do my thumbs not oppose as yours may do?
Do I not have the capability to learn, to evolve as a person, whatever the season?

Perhaps I cannot communicate through words?
Maybe I’m not capable of expressing emotions?
Surely I cannot dispose of my own turds?
Or understand an articulate notion?

Surely I can’t live peacefully in a society?
And live my life without behaving violently?

Why do you see me as different to you?
Is it because a different paint on the canvas was used?
I’m human too.
And why you view me this way has me confused.
Is it too much to live in harmony?
Is impartiality a concept too tough?
We are all humans,
Harvested from the same tree,
Are we not?
So why is it so difficult for you to see?

Am I not like you?
Why can’t you treat me equally?


YEAR 12 – 13 WINNERS

FIRST PLACE, YEAR 13 STUDENT

I know I’m not okay, I know,
But it seems as though,
Me saying this alone,
Isn’t enough,

I want to see the light; I want not for it to be fleeting
I want to grasp it, hold it in my hands and give a gentle greeting
I want it to seep into every crevice, light up my every being,
I want to bathe in the rays, feel like I have meaning,

But I can’t,

It seems as though, no matter how far I am reaching,
Again and again, my hand is open for receiving,
Yet nothing falls upon it, nothing left for keeping,
And once again, the sadness slowly starts creeping,

Into my bones, into my soul,
No matter who is around me, I will never know,
Why my sadness is the only thing that grows,
I try, I try,

But I can’t,

The sun is out, but for me it only snows,
I try to swim, but I get caught in the vicious flow,
In a room of people, I am still alone,
Being happy seems like centuries ago,

I go out in the world, join people for meeting,
Yet my heart seems to be deflating,
The energy within my body continues depleting,
Even around those I love, my mind keeps retreating,

Why?

Why is it that I can’t?

Why can’t my happiness be for keeping?
The cycles, they keep going, keep repeating,
Every day seems to be defeating,
The air from my lungs seems to be leaving,

Is this considered cheating?

Why?

Why can I not reach the light?
I know I’m not okay, I know,
But it seems as though,
Me saying this alone,
Isn’t enough,
And so I keep reaching.

SECOND PLACE, YEAR 13 STUDENT

2 meters apart
That ain’t too far
For the days we’d spend together
A week apart
But the weeks turned into months
And the calls started to fade
And 2 meters happened to take you away

A month together
Those were my favourite days
But the days were only hours
And the hours start to fade
Then every second began to feel like it could be our last
Until our final message to show the month had passed

4 months apart
Feels further than the train
That I’d take to go to see you
And forget all my pain
But all the trains stopped running
And the pain only built up
And the messages stopped sending
And the tears were enough
Locked down in my own room
My demons as my guards
And you swallowed my escape key
And I couldn’t break the bars

Now 2 meters feels like an eternity ago
But the memories you gave me are burned into my soul
This isn’t a love song, I already let you go

THIRD PLACE, YEAR 13 STUDENT – LONELY COMPANY

I hear you talk nearly every day
But it’s not the voice I remember
It’s muffled by poor connection
And I can’t make it sound any better

I see the words you type
Emotionless on the screen
I’ve almost forgotten what you look like
I’ve lost track of how long it’s been

I long for the days where we were free
Still, I’m thankful we can talk at all
But I know you’re just as bored as me
So you’ll always pick up my call

Endlessly mashing these buttons
It just doesn’t feel the same
“Just for another week or two”
They always seem to claim

I know you’ll always keep me company
You’re just on the other side of the phone
And yet I can’t help but feel
So utterly completely alone

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