Atelier East

Fenland Poet Laureate Awards - The Young Winners

The winners receiving their certificates from John Lyons

The winners receiving their certificates from John Lyons

This year’s Young Fenland Poet Laureate Awards catagory produced a really strong shortlist of poems. Here are five of the final ten:

First Place - Tashi Marley
I Am

I am the deep blue river bed upon the dusty creek.
I am the light grey field mouse, simple and so meek.
I am the hard and fertile peat, deep beneath the soil.
I am the hearty farmer, working hard through dirty toil.
I am the cold silver scaled fish,
I am the feathered wren,
I am the cold majestic eel,
I am the cherished fen.


Highly Commended - Toby Rolfe

As she flies,
Unseen to human eyes,
Swooping, soaring,
On an icy winters morning.

Gliding over fertile land,
And splotches of sand,
Birds and bugs making nests,
Chilly townsfolk knitting vests.

Her beautiful feathers of snow white,
Allows her to soar like a kite,
As she catches fish from the pond,
She is a proud gallant swan.

She sits in her nest watching the sun,
As day is gone, tomorrow’s not come.


Highly Commended - Reuben Cartwright
The Fens

The seasons go and change,
But the vast fields stay the same,
People go around,
Through fields or just through town,
People come and go,
For the Fens have been around longer than we know.
The skies of blue,
Sun-sets of red,
Those meadows that feel like a soft green bed,
Autumn days,
When the trees shower gold,
The small eclipses when the sky is bold.
The wrap-around coast,
Although not to boast,
Is the only place to see sun fall,
And from it a new day will crawl.
The clouds in the sky,
Shifting in the wind,
A sudden breeze,
Causing them to spin.
The drowned grass and trees,
Where the floods rise again,
Along with the ghosts of the old fen men.


Highly Commended - Jenna Petchell
The Fenlands

Miles upon miles of shaded green fields,
Steep water filled ditches acting as thread, bonding our land together.
Like a patchwork quilt, floods of colour and nature.
Crops and grass, stretched as far as the eye can see.
This is the Fenlands.

Lush green grass that never dies,
A stream of water that never ends.
Rippling waters, soft white clouds,
A crowd of animals that are never loud.
This is the Fenlands.

Elegant trees grow tall and wide,
Branches pointing their leaves to the sky.
Birds sweep high and low,
Wings spread out, carried by the wind.
This is the Fenlands.

Mice unseen, dart in and out,
Flying along the ground.
Squirrels fly from tree to tree,
Skimming the floor all around.
This is the fenlands.

A sea of fields and flowing waters,
A cloud filled sky and breezy winds.
Singing birds, whistling winds,
Cracks of twigs and rustles of leaves.
This is the fenlands.


Special Merit - Katie Kirkpatrick
This isn’t what you think

She was a bright girl, an always-right girl, a clever kid- or so they said;
He was ‘you lot’, ‘this year group’, ‘you youngsters’, ‘those damn teenagers who never want to get out of bed’.
This isn’t what you think.

Her hair was flecked with gold, fingernails pristine and outfits preppy and smart;
His palms were rough with scars and bruises, he wore shirts that just screamed ‘I am art’.
They met.

Not under cover of night, or anything quite so Shakespeare.
Just after school. By that clearing, you know, with the cans of beer?


She was waiting.

It was twenty past four when he showed up, face scarlet and shoelaces undone.
She sighed, thinking ’Gosh- should I get ready to run?’

‘I know what you’re thinking’, he said, ‘And no, I suppose’.
‘Just take a seat, fix your hair, and let me give to thee this rose.’

She was flattered.

…for the best part of a minute.

I’m sure, like me, you understand there’s two ways this could go;
Is he a creep or a gentleman? Is he a friend or a foe?
These questions, I guess, were answered when he plucked from his pocket a rose;

From there he compared her to a summer’s day, said by any other name she’d be as sweet;
‘You’re like a book,’ he told her, ‘That sweet character we meet.’

‘I know’ she replied (with a devilish smirk), ‘I’m a damsel in distress.’
And then, without a second thought, she kicked him, yelling ‘Bless…’

‘…What a mummy’s boy! A sweetheart; a lover; a fool!’
He was tumbling, flailing, shouting, yelling, and suddenly feeling less ‘cool’.

Tricked to believe it wasn’t so bad, that he was just feminine- weak;
Panicked to remember he couldn’t swim, that his future was scarily bleak.

That the river was at the end of the slope, in the corner of that clearing with the beer;
That all his romantic efforts had earnt him was death, or at the very least something near.

Because the River Snail wasn’t a trickle anymore, it was an ever-growing pit;
A swirling noose of deep, dark water, insurmountable by wit.

He died, by the way.

In case you haven’t worked it out yet.

But I’m not here to patronise- this isn’t a cautionary tale.
This is a story without the details, a picture book written in braille.

She wasn’t his Juliet.

This isn’t what you think.


Also shortlisted: Jack Robb, Natasha Richardson, Aida Kahn-Blunden, Olivia Pugh, Beatrice Winder, and Felicity Wright.

Katie Kirkpatrick reading her poem

Katie Kirkpatrick reading her poem

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