The winning entry is followed by the judge's report.

Yesterday

By Jess Vandersande, Boonah State High School


Somedays,
I swear she was born
with a piano at her fingertips.
Her life was a melody no one
bothered to write down,
but listened anyway.
I could catch her smile against
the ridges of my palm and
Hold it close, hide it away where
the world could not touch it

And I swear, she could hold please stay
with the tip of her tongue and could
Twist it into something
Permanent.

Somedays,
I swear her skin mapped out
the stars of a nighttime sky
Her spine, ridged, mimicking the
hollows of the moon, yet,

she was my sunset.
She rose and fell at my horizons
Laying claim to all illuminated by herself.
She was my unspoken forgiveness
My shaking hands and dampened cheeks
My rise and fall of restless lungs
The sinking weight of withheld words;
my love was an understatement, and
one I never failed to mispronounce.

Somedays, we
planned our future in the past and
forgot that time doesn’t need to catch its breath
quite like we do.
Goodbye hit me like a beating and
I’m sorry was a line of bruises, littering
the very parts of me I saved for her,
wrapped in the ribbons of
what could have been
Held close in the fingers that curl over what was,
Knuckles white against one day, and
Hopes strung against the backdrop of I promise.

 

And I promise
this skin still burns under sunset’s touch and
splits under yesterday’s broken trust.

And somedays,
Her life was a melody I told myself
I could write down, only
I could never hold the notes of her
In a way that truly seemed to matter.

She was my someday, left
yesterday.

 

Judge’s Report

Pam Schindler

There was great variety in the poems submitted for Section A.  I was impressed by their honesty and delight in language.  Themes included love and friendship, identity, inner and outer worlds; some looked back to the certainties of childhood, and some set out into the unknown.  In their various forms, they explored feeling and experience.

Sound is an important element of poetry, and the most successful poems were flowing and rhythmic, but without using rhyme.  Some poems used rhyme successfully, but others were hampered by it.  In my view it’s better not to rhyme than to let rhyme force you into awkward expression.

There was wonderful, vivid imagery, and this was a delight to read.  Some poems achieved that seemingly-effortless slipping between idea and image, or between one sense and another, which is such a fine thing in poetry.

Poetry works best (again, in my view) with the immediate material of life, rather than abstraction, so it was good to see poems gathering in details of the poets’ lives, including birds, snakes, tattoos, quad bikes, mud flats and mangoes, as well as loss, religion, myth.

A few technical comments:

• “A poem should not mean, but be.” (Archibald MacLeish)  A poem embodies meaning, but can go astray when it starts explaining it to us.  The most successful poems avoided explanations and commentary.
• Some of the poems were closer to song lyrics than poems, and might work well as songs.  But songwriting has different conventions, and a poem has less room for cliché, and wants more precision.
• Some poems began with a few lines where, I think, the poet was finding his/her way into the subject; often such lines are best pared away later, to reveal the true beginning of the poem.
Congratulations to all the poets.  It was a pleasure and a privilege to read your work. 


A few years ago, I wrote this little poem about a poetry competition:

Poetry Competition in an Olympic Year

some points will be awarded
for technical difficulty
in the chosen dive

but what the heart applauds
more than the twists and somersaults
is the pure line followed truly

finishing in deep water
with barely a surface splash

and an afterimage
of flight

Thank you for the chance to read your poems, whose “afterimages of flight” will stay with me.

Pam Schindler
6 September 2013

Upcoming Events

An Afternoon with Lindsay Williams

An Afternoon with Lindsay Williams and the Analytical Essay will be held at Centenary Heights State High School, Performing Arts Complex on Wednesday 16th October  2019 from 3:15 to 5:45 pm. A Certificate of Participation for 2 hours CPD will be issued to participants. Afternoon tea will be served from 3:15 to 3:45. For furt...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   3:15 PM
Date:   Wednesday 16th October 2019
Venue:   Centenary Hts SHS
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Thou wouldst be great

Charlie Thomson, Amy Proud and Rosie Maguire  present their findings from the Bell Shakespeare Regional Teacher Mentorship on Saturday 19 October, 2019 from 9:00 till 11:30.

For all the details, download the flyer

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 19th October 2019
Venue:   St Paricks College on the Strand
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Early Career Conference

The Early Career Conference will be held at the University of Southern Queensland, Springfield Campus.  The program is now available here and will be mailed to members later this week. Registrations are now open and will close on Friday 18th October, 2019. You may register online or by completing the registration form and mailing it ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 26th October 2019
Venue:   Springfield Campus of USQ
Venue Address:   USQ Springfield Campus, 37 Sinnathamby Blvd, Springfield Central 4300
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


An Afternoon of Moderation

The Darling Downs Branch will present an afternoon of moderation on Wednesday 30 October from 3:30 - 5:30. This will allow members and teachers to participate in an afternoon of moderation.  These professional conversations will be conducted in a collegial manner, and allow teachers to read responses to FIA4 written by a range of stu...

Category:   Workshop
Start Time:   3:30 PM
Date:   Wednesday 30th October 2019
Venue:   Fairholme College
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Grammar Day 2019

ETAQ will be condudcting another of the very successful grammar days on Saturday 9th November  at Iona College, Wynnum. Download the flyer for further information. Registrations will open on Monday 30 September and close on Monday 28 October 2019.   ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 9th November 2019
Venue:   Iona College


< Previous | 1 | 2 | Next >
View all

English Educator of the week

 

Meet Boori at UQ on Monday 23rd September from 8:30 am

Details available here

View all

Blog Feed

Grammar myths

Sep 12 2017
An edited version of the letter below was pu...

Impact on learning

Sep 12 2017
The following letter was submitted to The Au...
Read all

PO Box 3375, STAFFORD,
Queensland, Australia, 4053
(07) 3284 3718
ABN: 17 689 278 512

Connect to a great range of people who are passionate about English and have their finger on the pulse.

Be Connected