Poetry champions


Winners of this year’s The News poetry competition were announced recently during the Poetry Open Mic at Across the Bridge arts festival in Bannockburn. Winner of the adult section was Annabel Wilson, of Wanaka, for Begin Being. Adult runner-up was Jasmine Cuthbert, of Cromwell. Winning the children’s section was Hannah Bisset (15), of Cromwell, for Our Plastic Planet. Children’s runner-up was Molly Christiansen (15), of Cromwell.


Begin Being


Annabel Wilson. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

It’s the same moon, but it’s different –

these mountains you’ve known as long as

you’ve been knowing, who knew you before you

even started to know, look different now. Your

new glance is slant, askance as you take in

this autumn miscellany:

manuka, matagouri, an empty beach

slate-grey sand in ribbed

corrugations beneath your feet

Also known as wild Irishman, matagouri is the only

native plant with thorns. For much of the year, it has

few leaves. But it’s the stems and thorns that

let light in

Keep walking til you’re

knee deep in the lake, walk

til you’re standing

in blue clay. Meanwhile

somewhere near Hororata

a farmer drives north, in his green ute

with his dog on the back. Dust follows

the truck as he cuts his way across

the Canterbury Plains. Irrigators rush past

like giant strands of DNA. He’s listening

to Dire Straits, Love Over Gold

and when Telegraph Road plays

when he passes Darfield’s Telegraph

Road, he laughs. Then came the churches,

then came the schools, then came the lawyers,

then came the rules, then came the trains and

the trucks with their load

And now the texture of what you’re standing

in changes. It’s lost its firmness. Much of the year

you’ve felt the ground has been like this. You

think about the mud we chucked at each other

as kids, then made into sculptures left to dry

on the rocks on the shore. Keep walking

towards the blue line

which was once the edge of the world, the ledge

where things get deeper and darker and you can’t

see the bottom anymore.

Didn’t you keep your clay man for a while, in your bedroom?

Didn’t he sit, grey-blue, watchful on your window

ledge, looking out to the lake? And was there a moment

when you knew you couldn’t keep him, knew

he couldn’t stay? (Was that when you began being,

was that when you knew?)

Now it’s night. There’s a Southerly. A pale blue poukana moon

holds a tricksy vigil over the bay. A curl, a frond, a biscuit, a scrap:

You saw me standing alone. And the farmer keeps driving north

and he’s never coming back.


Our Plastic Planet


Hannah Bisset. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

Hey Look!

A new discovery of a brand new island!

Found near the coast of North America

A new place for vacation

A new place to live

Deserves celebration

It’s big too!

Three times the size of france

Twice the size of texas

Let’s take a glance

That’s weird

No tropical trees

No soft sand

No nice sea breeze

Here’s the catch

It’s the great pacific garbage patch

And it’s not an island

It’s a layer of plastics

Lots of it

One point eight trillion pieces

Like a toxic blanket covering the ocean

“It’s biodegradable”

In slow motion

Like a poisonous potion

Brewing in our ocean

But still we apply it

Like lotion

Where is our emotion?!

Why do we do this to our planet?

It’s beside our lakes

On our grounds

In our forests

On our beaches

Our planet

Our earth

Our home



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