We’re delighted to announce that our judges have read the shortlist of poems (and what a wonderful collection of poems they were) and have made their final decisions.  The winner of our junior competition was Lucy Thynne with her ‘Ode to interrailing through Europe’ and the winner of our senior competition was Pippa Little with her poem ‘Eurascope’.  Congratulations to our two winners, the worthy runners-up and all the honourable mentions.  Even if your poem wasn’t shortlisted – thank you very much for taking part.

Each poem was read through several times and it took a number of committee meetings to agree the final short lists to forward to our two judges.

The results:

Junior competition (16 – 25)


Lucy Thynne, Ode to Interrailing through Europe

Cities you know only in July.
The forest thickens as the sun thins,
and we fold the peeled skin
from your back into
an origami church, make paper
museums we forget to travel to.
Early morning again and you hold
every town between your teeth
for safe-keeping:
speak in swallowed tickets
of metro tongues, in handfuls
of cherry stones,
in the rush of blood to ears
you confuse for the sea.
Balcony dusk, a moon-lipped song.
The woman singing below us
to the same pulse of the market -
that age old exchange,
the palm to coin to fruit,
copied into the air.
How to remember this?
The beach spread before us
like an easel, and the water, 
cupped in your hands
like stained glass:
held as if in prayer,
that ring the stars in blue.

Runners Up

Natalie Pierce, Globes

Amy Wostenholme, Words

Honorable Mentions

Lucy Lapchani, Hitching

Florine Lips, Mountain Peaks

Catharine O’Donaghue, April is the cruellest month

Amy Wostenholme, hireath

Open Competition (26+)

Pippa Little, Eurascope

I hold you up to the light
so your colours tumble, catch fire, supple and luminous:
you remind me of falling in love in the lake'
lanterns strung from trees (speckled golds, saffron,
reeds tobacco-brown), the night we slept in a forest, cocooned
in a single sleeping bag (owl silver, stern evergreen)
or older, on trains graffiti-slashed,
not quite visitors or guests, nor yet
inhabitants, owl vowels a-swirl (cherry black or
palinka's opalescence, coffee grounds, goldenrod.)

Here, meetings and partings with all my beloveds,
my dead, bone of my bone, all fly up
and form, effortlessly into a pure and perfect dance
(cinnabar glow and cobalt shadows) the day
I lay next to my sister in the deep hamman of Madrid.
And long before me my elders crossed intricate borders,
pushed a thumb into bullet holes along apartment walls
(field drab, bisque, according to their shadow)
whose symmetries whirled and rushed around them
sharp-edged, indecipherable:

I hold you up to the light,
question formed from a lost question.
Either you are small, distant as a pour of stars,
gigantic, a close up of pores, pelt,
or perhaps you are only a far-away thunderstorm
(ochre, umber) where fine rain is falling, somewhere
I might have been born, before the lightning.

Runners Up

Cato Pedder, Postcards from Europe

Barry Tempest, In Transit

Honorable Mentions

Amma Bolton, Caffe Nero, Easter 2019

Christal Sujeong Bratley, Ode to Europe

Linda Burnett – Frozen Food Aisle

Natalie Camlin – Brexit Bound

Elizabeth Carew – The Young Europeans

Carol Clark – The Pied Piper

Jeanette Davies – Brexit Bus Stop

Fay Dickinson – Care, Nations

Marc Fiddes – Mummy, what did you do in the Great Peace?

Amit Gabbi – Kingdom Come

Adam Horovitz – Returning to Frankfurt

Roger Iredale – Villanelle for Europe

Roger Iredale – War Mantras

Connie Jenkins Teague – Compromise

Simon Kersdale – Elitism

Sue Kindon – Farewell to Europa

Flora Claire Page – The Ballad of Independence Day

Ellie Rose – City of Bridges

John Smillie – Vive la Difference

John Smillie – Someone’s Built a Wall

Nicholas Thompsell – Europa and the Bull

Steve Watson – How Edwin Hubble’s discovery in 1929 of an expanding universe puts all this Brexit nonsense into perspective

Ross Young – Would it be so….