October 20th, 2005

MG Puck

Poetry Competition Winner! See Poetry Community!

Results of the uni Poetry Competition October 2005-10-20

Will the winner please make contact with Michael Griffith to collect this year’s first prize. Will all place getters also re-submit their winning poems (together with a photo) to the Poetry Community (this is not compulsory but it would be a nice gesture!)
This document will be posted into all WebCT Literature units and into LiveJournal Poetry Community: http://www.livejournal.com/community/poetrywcom/

The judges decisions are final.
Judges were:
Carolyn G
Olivia P
Rebecca I
Launcelot R
Michael G

1st Prize went to the poem “Chalcedony Shoes” published 12/09 by http://www.livejournal.com/users/publicdna/
Alias David N: congratulations David.(1st year)

The following were the next placegetters:

2nd “Out in my Backyard” published 25/07 by
Alias Shaun F: congratulations Shaun.

3rd “I am Arthur” published 16/09 by
Alias Jennifer S: congratulations Jennifer

4th “A Beautiful Mind” published 18/09 by
Alias Stephanie A: congratulations Stephanie

5th “Real vs Ideal” published 19/09 by
Alias Daniel Gleeson: congratulations Daniel

6th “The Algarve” published 7/09 by
Alias Yasmin C: congratulations Yasmin

These were the best six from a massive number of poems contributed to the Poetry LiveJournal Community hosted by Michael Griffith as part of the Literature Units at uni. Many of the contributing poets are “first-time” poets and this includes several of those gaining a place in the first six.
Selecting these 6 was not easy and there are definitely a number of other VERY talented young poets who deserve to be in this list…. but a competition IS a competition and the best thing that it has achieved is that it has encouraged many young writers to test their writing “wings”. So well done to you all.
The Poetry Community will CONTINUE UNABATED during the recess. Contributions are invited from ALL students at uni (irrespective of their subject specialization). There is a distinct possibility that this community will go NATIONAL….

Here are a few of the judges comments on the winning poems:

1. Chalcedony Shoes

Initially I liked the imagery and form. The long lines and the seperation of lines suggested age and disintegration, like the shoes. I then researched "chalcedony" in Answers.com and realised the author was linking the hidden beauty and treasured nature of these shoes with a mineral quartz, called Chalcedony and possibly semi-precious, hidden in the earth. I found it clever and nostalgic.

Wonderful use of similes that take you way beyond themselves into their widest context, including their history. And what a wonderful surprising ending… a real ephiphany!

2. Out in my Backyard

This poem has an emotional quality to it. There is a sense of slumbering awareness in the beginning but warmth, light and the character of the day draw you in. Everything has a personality, even the verandah, and it all draws you back to the joy and wonder of a beautiful day outside. I particularly liked the sense of friendship the writer experiences with the creatures in the garden. They are not 'the' kookaburra or 'the' fly but my friends, kookaburra and fly. A touch of "Wind in the Willows".

…out in my backyard (beautiful imagery, nive and flowing to read and the australian subject/influence is a nice change!)

What an amazing transformation of an ordinary scene into something beautiful and extraordinary! Great sense of imagery, rhythm and form.

3. I am Arthur

The use of myth drew me to this poem. Arthur, Icarus and Midas, all struggling for something they value personally but each goal brings something they had not considered or wanted. The author of this poem links his/herself to myth and fails also to achieve the desired outcome. I also found the form very interesting and the fact that each line of
each stanza is almost identical in word length. The last stanza differs more in this way but to me this says that while "I" am the myth "I" am also capable of choosing the
situation or changing it.

I am Arthur - I liked the way this poem finds a unique meaning in famous legends and its ability to express a contemporary view - especially of the self.

I am arthur (cleverly written, quite personal and revealing but only if the audience reads between the lines a bit. i like that.)

4. A Beautiful Mind - for the wonderful simplicity of the diction used conveying an innocence, an insightfulness that portrays the themes expressed in the poem.

Great subject focussed in the line “His illness made him better”. Written with real feeling and understanding.

5. real vs ideal (love this poem because it is unexpected, a great move away from the cliche of bad "teenage poetry" [i hope objective value judgements are allowed!])

Terrific sense of form as the universe e x p a n d s and then comes to a CRUNCH… great taste for the effective and unusual word.

6. The best out of this group is definitely "The Algarve" - its vivid sensory description, the alliterations used, the beat, rythm and flow of the poem has made it a very captivating piece of work. This poem takes you there.
MG Puck

Prize Winner and up-runners! Poetry Competition...

1/ Chalcedony Shoes

The black slippers had been with me for half of my lifetime.

Grown old, they had fallen apart.

Zippers still intact, that spiny sound of an ascending keyboard or

A persons feet racing up a circular staircase sends me into a nostalgic muse.

I didn’t like them at first when mum brought them in with the shopping.

Ugg boots were what I wanted, not old man shoes.

“Practical”, she said, “They were all I could find”.

Conceding in my pragmatic way they have been with me since.

A thin woolen lining like buffed skin to shield my feet from the elements needed the

Additional protection of socks. A design fault, certainly, if these slippers were an animal

They would soon die out in the race a hopeless cause; they needed something else to survive.

An ancient shoe, as they lived with me I began to like them more. The gray rubber sole

Was durable and never let in the wet from an outside lawn or a messy bathroom.

It was only as they were shedding layers like a snake that I took heed to their beauty.

The sole gained holes. The rubber, cross hatched with the poorly sown line of stitching

That held them together.

Deconstructed I pondered over each section and the hands that made them.

Is this slipper art?

The back heel was last to go, as a withering flower dies another blooms more brilliantly.

The material wore away. A cheap piece of cardboard was held between the wool, this

Flimsy junk that housed my skin was but bark off the tree lined in a green glad-wrap that

Was clearly salvaged from rubbish near the sweat-shop they were created in.

Tearing the cardboard away, the real treasure smothered my breath with a

Heart-wrenching awe. A fabric, soft as silk, deep maroon with flowers of yellow centers

Slightly faded but alive with fiery petals of green and orange. Blue wisps of string

Smothering them was ripped away with prying fingers to gaze at the inside of a slipper.

Never had I seen such hidden beauty as these crystallized stones of blood hidden behind

Walls of slender fibers in parallel bands.

2/ Out in my Backyard

i Awake to the gentle caress of the warm, humid breeze
In a swaying hammock, groaning with content
i sit myself up, Stay the hammock's swing
Smell the uneven grass, bathed in morning dew

A sea of radiant gold pries open my sluggish eyes
The golden hue of the raggedy grass sharpens my focus
How could one trade gold for jade?
Though the diggers have left much gold remains

Kookaburra cackle as i find my morning feet
The old verandah mourns that i turn towards the door
Little Black Willy scrabbles over the tin roof above
Maggie cries in my ear - stay a little longer

Though my fingers touch the splintered door i turn back to the sun
It nows shimmers and shines as grass brushes my sole
i twinge slightly as Gecko traverses my palm
Swat as Fly darts pointlessly around

Then there in my yard limitless life!
A flock of Galah and the sight of Warratah
A music more than any symphony, orchestral
An uplifting rhapsody! i remain enraptured, till Cricket sings his closing hymn...

3/ I am Arthur

I am Arthur
For the Holy Grail
Not realising
This quest
Will steal away
What I love most

I am Icarus
Higher than I should
Then falling
To sea
Sink or swim
I've made my choice

I am Midas
For the priceless touch
Then finding
Like lead
Gold will also
Drag me down

I am Me
Not quite detached
To distance
From our lust

4/ A beautiful mind

"Everybody will go some day!" He proclaimed.

I thought he seemed scared, Anxious. He seemed so fragile yet so strong.

His illness has made him see differently.

What does he see that I don't?

As we walked through the gardens

he winked at the lillies,

he whispered to the butterflies,

he told me of this garden's secrets.

He has another scope.

His illness has moulded his mind, I thought.

For the better.

His imagination, somewhat childish,

was most appreciative.

He gave the lillies character,

he gave the butterflies a reason to

Be. They became his companion.

I watched in utter amusement.

This was emotional. Lovely.

The garden became a secret.

His secret.

His illness has made him better.

It has made him see what I don't see,

what many don't see.

He doesn't seem scared. Or anxious.

He knows better.


Skanky parasitic creatures multiply forth.

Devour every item. Mouth and earth are yours.

Blotch eternal

from a symptomatic inherited obsessive legacy

of control?

(or lack thereof).

No blotch.

Universe expands, then contracts like a balloon deflated.

The Big Crunch.

The blink of an eye.

6/ The Algarve

I left Portugal
The mingled bright lights
The cobbled pavement
The glasses glitter

Ice cold salt water
Splash the Atlantic
The cooling beach sand
At night the brass band

Proud light of day shines
The breakfast sublime
The solar eclipse
How the beach waves rip

Moroccan fever
Still moist wind in hair
The white line is grand
Hurry see the band

Out in the country
Burnt landscape oh my!
Bright red omber sun
Cool night sparking star.

The half red sun brave
The moon revel shade
Stand high cliffs reach sky

Utopian mass
Tranquil land soothe soul
No city burden
Leaves, tiles, simple life

Consoled and at peace
Street beat wild, how neat
At sea boats lull, rock
Memories are locked.
MG Puck

Poetry Competion 2 2005/2006

Everyone please note that another poetry competition has already started and an even better, bigger prize will be handed out in orientation week at the start of next academic year to the new winner. Prizes to be announced!
MG Puck

David N's Prize-Winning Poem

This poem captivated all the judges to varying degrees... but it scored the highest among the five of us. Why? It is such an extraordinary treatment of the most ordinary. A pair of old shoes that contain and tell a whole life-story both that of the wearer and the creator. And after this, after years of use and near-distintegration they burst into the loveliest transformation: a brilliant thing of beauty, radiant colourful, breathtaking...

Tearing the cardboard away, the real treasure smothered my breath with a
Heart-wrenching awe. A fabric, soft as silk, deep maroon with flowers of yellow centers
Slightly faded but alive with fiery petals of green and orange. Blue wisps of string
Smothering them was ripped away with prying fingers to gaze at the inside of a slipper.
Never had I seen such hidden beauty as these crystallized stones of blood hidden behind
Walls of slender fibers in parallel bands.

I think it takes quite an intense meditation on an object to bring its inner beauty to life in this way.... there echoe in my mind the classic lines from Francis Webb ("Five Days Old"): " To blown straw was given all the fullness of heaven". But there is no talk of heaven in David's poem, but there is talk of the blazing glory hidden in the most demeaning object... hidden... waiting for us to wake up to see it..

It was the famous German poet Rainer Maria Rilke in the first of his Duino Elegies who wrote about the fact that everything around us in the created universe is crying out for our creative response, our inbuilt capacity to transform the muddle of existence into shapes of beauty and meaning... but usually we are too asleep to respond, to take the time to see, to watch the leaves of meaning gradually unroll themselves to reveal the moist, glistening texture of the unfurled rose.... here are Rilke's lines in translation:

Yes, Springs needed you. Many stars
waited for you to see them. A wave
that had broken long ago swelled toward you,
or when you walked by an open window, a violin
gave itself. All that was your charge.
But could you live up to it? Weren't you always distracted by hope... (form "The First Elegy")

So for me, the last few glowing lines from David's poem, which -as I experience them- is a response to something beckoning from an "open window" . It is a moment when someone DID live up to the call latent in all things.