THE ELMBRIDGE LITERARY COMPETITION

Poems & Writings for these strange days...

 

Missing you 
by Olivia Burgess (Winner of the 14-18 'New World' Short Story Category 2020)

  
It’s strange, how one of favourite pastimes has become

Flicking through the camera roll, conjuring up memories and

Moments where you and I had a laugh. That’s all I’m missing. Your laugh.  
 
And when I need to ask you something, advice, the answer to  

Question Number 4, I can’t turn to my left and ask you.  

Sometimes I have to remind myself you’re not here, and I start to miss that.  

Your presence. 
 
Or how about the time we cried with laughter  

Or joy, or sadness? It’s weird to say this, but I miss the tears.  

The reassuring hug that came afterwards. The knowing

It would always get better, because you’re there.  
 
Yes, we’ve tried. Calling, texting, videos.  

As if the graphics of you could make up for the emptiness I’ve been feeling.  

Turns out you’re more than just a picture on a screen.  

You’re a whole, brilliant person.  
 
Remember I’m counting down the days,  

And if you haven’t guessed already, I miss you.  

Viral Terror

April 2020 – In the wake of the coronavirus 19 Pandemic

by Agnes Meadows (Judge, Elmbridge Literary Competition)

  

Imprisoned by this viral foe, the somnolent smile

Of evening sunlight turning brickwork golden on old

Victorian walls reminds me that life beyond my window continues. 

The horizon is clean of airplane’s rasping interruptions,

And only clouds and sparrows soften azure skies. 

 

Spring burgeons trees, misting them with emerald love,

The promise of blossom and fruit still dreaming in each

Waiting bough. There is sweetness in the wind,

Deprived of endless footsteps or fume-spread. 

 

The land breathes a soul-deep sigh, Gaia’s relief whispering through

Abandoned streets and alleyways, across heath and hill-top,

A joyous sibilance that weaves through forests, snaking along

Stone-rich canyons, and stream-stitched valleys. 

 

Our cities stand silent and empty now, streets occupied

Only by the shadows of the long dead congregating moth-like

Under a silvery lunar lamp, each castle-keep, each church,

Each monument and battle-site forsworn.

 

And I wonder when all this is done, when these days and weeks

Of viral terror have finally departed, when we have

Grown accustomed to stillness, and solitude

Is no longer a burden, will we understand

 

The complexion of our brave new world, count up the cost

Of gain and loss, and take the time to once again

Recognise the beauty of ancient sun-gilded stones,

Acknowledge the purity of spring’s unfouled breathing,

And remember the currency of kindness in all its myriad forms. 

In Other Words

by Sally J Blackmore

www.sallyjblackmore.co.uk

I wish there was another word,

a word to escape the

tarnish of celebrity, the

stain of idolatry, the

banality 0f Saturday sport.
A word not so much
devalued. 

 

If I could only find a better word, more

able to embrace the

stubborn resolution,

a word to enshrine the valour.

A word to harness the

fathomless grit
of the few.

 

The few who care, who dare, who
embrace the fear of the many.

Those few, who nurse, who diagnose, who
stop what they are doing to
tenderly

hold a hand.

 

Those who deliver, who collect, who

serve, distribute, drive, make, invent,

smile and wave, whose names

we’ll never know, who hold

at bay the virus, this

plague of our time.

 

Hero, tired, timeworn,

both word and worker

but they do not deserve each other.

Hero does not speak to

the majesty

of their gift.

 

Word Less

by Sally J Blackmore

I used to be a poet -

words would arrive unbidden

(not one for the sunny side

though occasionally funny)

now the world of grim

has caught me in

what seems

like

a frantic, who knows how long, game of chase.

Time past wasn't always...even often

kind though I knew it was a possibility, now

when I'm aware of tremendous acts of charity

and kindness, expected and unexpected

now when I turn to words to thank,

to care,

to share,

even to warn

in the face of something terrifyingly

unthinking, unreasoning,strong, virile...and

seemingly inevitable...

...now when I see poetry all around

in Spring, doing its thing

in people going beyond and above

on the radio each day to uplift

I

am empty and bow to word less

power of Covid.

©SjBlackmore 2020

A Cockney Blessing for Writers in Lockdown

By Andrew Lunn (A commended author in the Adult 'New World' Poetry Category) 

As you travel down the Frog and Toad of Struggle and Strife,

may a guiding Merry and Bright show you the Isle of Wight way.

When it’s Mork and Mindy and the France and Spain

comes down, may your Cousin Ella never turn inside out.

When you feel Tod Sloane, may someone reach out their Chalk Farms

and give you a Mix and Muddle (from a safe distance, of course)

 

If you’re Barb Wired, had Barney Rubble at (online) work

or you’ve just had a bad Bubble and Squeak,

pick up the Dog and Bone and call a Mile End and Chew the Fat

for a Cock Linnet or two – remember when you could

put the Hansel and Gretel on to Conan Doyle,

invite your Mile End round and Rabbit and Pork

things through over a cup of Rosie Lee?

(Those things will come again…)

 

If your West Ham Reserves are on edge, you feel

you’re going to Snoop and Pry and Jack and Jills don’t work,

may the Dull and Dowdy Apple Pie disappear and

the Currant Bun shine through.

May your Uncle Fred always have Cough and Splutter on it

and your Mother Hubbard be full.

Should you run short of Satin and Silk, You and Me or

Everton Toffee, may there be a Bottle of Pop close by

(and no queue...)

 

If your Ball of Fat is constantly Gert ‘n’ Daisy, may it be revived

with a good brisk Song of the Thrush of  its Weasel and Stoat

or a nice fresh Jack the Ripper.

When you’re lacking inspiration for a Grim ‘n’ Gory or Friedrich Nietzsche,

or looking for that perfect Dicky Bird, don’t pull out your

Barnet Fair. Take a Ball of Chalk and clear your Loaf of Bread

(observing the two metre rule - or six feet if you’ve Brexited)

 

Whether you’re a Lilley and Skinner, a graduate, or taking

a creative writing Green Eggs and Ham, or if Early Birds

are the April Fools that pay your Rock of Ages,

don’t take criticism to Stop and Start.

Take it on the Thick and Thin.

 

When you get home, pour yourself a Philharmonic

or a Hackney Marsh of Fine and Dandy

or Pimple and Blotch, then go up the Apples and Pears

to Uncle Ned. Lay your Loaf of Bread

on the Weeping Willow, close your Mince Pies and go to Bo Peep.

In the Day’s Dawning, take a Butcher’s Hook at your Grim ‘n’ Gory again.

May the Anneka Rice you received from your Fierce Creature

or Pitch and Toss make perfect Eighteen Pence and put

a Penny a Mile on your Boat Race.

This too will pass…

How many did you get right? Here’s a translation:

 

Frog and Toad (road), Struggle and Strife (life), Merry and Bright (light), Isle of Wight (right), Mork and Mindy (windy), France and Spain (rain), Cousin Ella (umbrella), Tod Sloane (alone), Chalk Farms (arms), Mix and Muddle (cuddle), Barb Wired (tired), Barney Rubble (trouble), Bubble and Squeak (week), Dog and Bone (phone), Mile End (friend) Chew the Fat (chat), Cock Linnet (minute), Hansel and Gretel (kettle), Conan Doyle (boil), Rabbit and Pork (talk), Rosie Lee (tea), West Ham Reserves (nerves), Snoop and Pry (cry), Jack and Jills (pills), Dull and Dowdy (cloudy), Apple Pie (sky), Currant Bun (sun), Uncle Fred (bread), Cough and Splutter (butter), Mother Hubbard (cupboard), Satin and Silk (milk), You and Me (also tea), Everton Toffee (coffee), Bottle of Pop (shop), Ball of Fat (cat), Gert ‘n’ Daisy (lazy), Song of the Thrush (brush), Weasel and Stoat (coat), Jack the Ripper (kipper), Grim ‘n’ Gory (story), Friedrich Nietzsche (feature), Dicky Bird (word), Barnet Fair (hair), Ball of Chalk (walk), Loaf of Bread (head), Lilley and Skinner (beginner), Green Eggs and Ham (exam), Early Birds (also words), April Fools (tools), Rock of Ages (wages), Stop and Start (heart), Thick and Thin (chin). Philharmonic (gin and tonic), Hackney Marsh (glass), Fine and Dandy (brandy), Pimple and Blotch (Scotch), Apple and Pears (stairs), Uncle Ned (bed), Weeping Willow (pillow), Mince Pies (eyes), Bo Peep (sleep), Day’s Dawning (morning), Butcher’s Hook (look), Anneka Rice (advice), Fierce Creature (teacher), Pitch and Toss (boss), Eighteen Pence (sense) , Penny a Mile (smile), Boat Race (face)

A Different Kind

by Sally Long

 

Queue’s spaced outside the door,

Distances marked on the floor.

Trolleys filled with pasta and rice,

Check-out orderly and precise.

The new normal now defines,

Shopping of a different kind.

 

Screens flicker in the room,

as meetings are held over Zoom.

Virtual breaks of coffee or tea,

Same time next week they say to me.

The new normal now defines,

Work life of a different kind.

 

A nod and a wave as you venture out,

to fellow walkers out and about.

A veer to the middle of the street,

when all of a sudden, you happen to meet.

The new normal now defines,

Traffic of a different kind.

 

My friend and her three year old son,

rushes towards me, his arms a-flung.

Don’t worry, his mother said,

I told him he could hug your leg.

The new normal now defines,

Social distancing of a different kind.

 

I wonder whether we will see,

a return to things as they used to be.

Or whether ‘new normal' now defines,

a world of a different kind.

From Adrienne Dine, Judge of The Elmbridge Literary

Click Here 

2019-20 LITERARY COMPETITION

FULL LIST OF WINNING, HIGHLY COMMENDED &

COMMENDED ENTRIES

HERE

To read the Winning, Highly Commended & Commended entries click on the links below

5-7 Short Stories & Little Rhymes, Winning, Highly Commended and Commended Entries Here

8-11 Short Stories & Poems, Winning, Highly Commended and Commended Entries Here

11-13 Short Stories & Poems, Winning, Highly Commended and Commended Entries Here

14-18 Short Stories & Poems, Winning, Highly Commended and Commended Entries Here

Adult Short Stories & Poems, Winning, Highly Commended and Commended Entries Here

Audio readings to follow.

Audio Readings

Adult Short Story Category

A Day of Freedom Jasmine Flagg
00:00 / 09:35
The Internet is FunBenjamin Britworth
00:00 / 08:37
Utterly UselessLynden Wade
00:00 / 08:12
The Scissor GateAmelia Butterly
00:00 / 08:57

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