Wildlife Words Poetry Competition Winners 2019

We are pleased to announce the winners of our ‘Wildlife Words’ Poetry Competition 2019, the details can also be found in the Spring issue of our bi-annual magazine Feedback which is sent to Friends of the Trust and supporters.

Our Open Poetry Competition invited entries for a poem on “Protecting Life on Earth“. All profits from the competition help us to provide care for casualty birds.Wildlife Words 5

The winner of the 2017  competition, Philip Burton, kindly agreed to judge the entries of which there were 95 this time. Philip commented “the judging was a very rewarding experience”, a Big Thank You to him for taking on this task.

The winning poems, and a selection of the ‘best of the rest’, will feature in ‘Wildlife Words, Volume 6’ – a  Poetry Anthology published in 2020. Anthologies will be available once the office opens again.

The response to our autumn competition was larger than on previous occasions and we would like to thank all of you that made the effort to enter a poem, your support is really appreciated, we are sorry we cannot publish them all.

The 2019  prize winners:

1st prizeLandlords and Lodgers – Sarah Leavesley  (see poem below)

2nd prizeThe Things I won’t tell my Granddaughter – Virginia Griem

3rd prizeBird Ringing – Jack Warren

Highly commended:
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Nigel answers a siren song – Emma Purshouse
It is beautiful, it is, really – Noel King
The Accidental Places – Martin Reed
Elephants, Bees, Whales and Trees – Paulie Paul
Mother – Bear – Amy Louise Wyatt
One Day on Dartmoor – Peter Donnelly

Additional poems featuring in Wildlife Words Volume 6:

The New Forest – Phil Santus                                   Re cycles – Nicky Hetherington
At the Zoo – Anthony Watts                                      Street Pigeon – Anne Harding
20/20 vision – Andy Eycott                                       Rewilding – Eleanor Vale
Owl Howl – Lizzie Smith                                            River – Isobell Thrilling
Who killed Hen Harrier – Maureen Fenton           Buddleia in Summer – Eve Jackson
The Seagull whisperers – Pamela Jackson


2019 Wildlife Words Poetry Competition Winner:

Landlords and lodgers

Living in a converted barn is sharing a skin
and voice with all those that lived here first.

Field mice and shrews needle from tossed bales
to rustling straw shadows. Grandad’s collie barks.

Cows, sheep and horses stomp, clomp or trot
towards the trough-still, full-trough landrover.

Chomping on a blade of grass while sniffing the air
for weather becomes the family expression.

The mash-and-cud of generations echoes
in the stone walls, along with the shushed rush

of Rookery Barn’s two remaining occupants:
a little owl, snug in the garage nesting box,

and a barn owl in the loft. Its heart-shaped moon face
is the winged secret that turns rafters to night sky.

As good lodgers, my parents swap the kitchen calendar
for a lunar chart, hung beside my gran’s corn dollies.

They plant new trees, leave the meadow unmown,
place bowls of fresh water on the windowsills.

As landlords, the owls maintain a presence
that’s mostly felt, but not seen – the odd screech,

or morning gifts of feathers, bones and pellets.
My mom weaves and beads their small offerings

into dreamcatchers for each room. Soon we’ll shrill,
woop and kiew, kiew even in our sleep.

By Sarah Leavesley

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