Special Announcement – Competition Winner and Runners Up

A massive thanks to our panel of judges who, despite child-care, work, business and family commitments, very generously gave up their precious time to read and judge all of the excellent poetry entries. Both short-listing and selecting the top three has proven to be very challenging due to the exceptional entries we were very fortunate to receive.

Thank you to all of the poets who participated and kindly decided to share their talents.

The top three poems are as follows:

Winner – ‘The Way It Used To Be’ by Bernie Bickerton of Epsom

Runner up – ‘My Role Model’ by Julie Shackman of Milngavie

Runner up – ‘Silent Voice’ by Neelam Shah of Thornton Heath

Congratulations to Bernie, Julie and Neelam. We will send the book tokens to you all as soon as possible.

Thank you again to everyone for your interest in the competition and for all the kind donations to Maggie’s Centre. To find out more about their fantastic work and to continue to support them, please visit their website: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham.

Self-Destruction Button – Megan Ponton

Happiness terrifies me

My name is Megan Ponton, I am 24 years old from Glasgow and currently work in retail. I discovered a love of words but especially poetry a short while ago and while I am still learning about it. I feel my writing is honesty and from the heart and we as a society, should never forget the importance words can have on a person and the wider community.

Self – Destruction Button

by Megan Ponton

Happiness is a strange thing 

The more you have it

The more you crave it

Like a smoker, 

Desperately craving that first cigarette in the morning

Happiness terrifies me

As

In the past

It has been there in fleeting bursts

Rather than continued spells

Happiness is a great feeling 

Yet 

You always feel that you are one wrong move

From it all going belly-up

And

As a result 

Hitting that self-destruct button

Almost feels like a comfort blanket

In a twisted sort of way

Trying to make sense of it all

Megan Ponton

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation. Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

Voice Note From a Lover – Luke Grey

One of the most beautiful sights of the summer

The author, Luke Grey, is a writer. He lives in London. 

Voice note from a lover

“One of the ways in which I love looking at clouds

Is to see them bisected by wires.

One of the most beautiful sights of the summer,

This late in the day, is when clouds take on

Their deeper tones.

Sometimes more intense, even, than the brightly lit sky.

When sat, or stood, or (as now) walking on a platform

And looking up at the wires, the suspended wires:

Gliding towards each other,

Crossing, ending, held aloft, hitting a pole,

Marked out by the thinner wires that hold the thicker ones apart

And yet together.

That web of energy, stretching far across the city,

Only a few metres above me and the rail tracks,

Never meeting.

That web measures itself out between me and the sky,

And sometimes, sometimes, at the most exciting moments,

When the city is nearly silent,

And you stand on the platform and look up at the wires.

You can hear them fizzing.

Fizzing in a sky full of high, lunging, soft and smooth clouds

That sashay upwards and northwards.

Pink on their undersides, lit by the setting sun.

A dark lavender on their edges, and then above them

A pale, duck-egg blue.”

Luke Grey

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation. Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

Some People – Haris Ahmed

he decided enough was enough 

some people

some people 

are in need 

of anything

but love

their houses a mess 

their phones

have history 

of dodgy premium rate numbers 

cheapened briefly 

by calls from their mothers 

the girl on the phone says 

she’s 24 and

would walk in his back door 

if she didn’t have to chat 

to all the other men 

drinking desperados through 

a straw 

man 

never to be seen again

reads the article 

man 

never to be seen again?

hung himself using a belt 

his ex wife gifted him to wear 

only for his kid to wear 

the stretch marks for him

the man outgrew the belt 

fattened up like a farmer’s mancalf

ready for slaughter 

somewhere between mcdonald’s 

and pubs that weren’t actually pubs 

he decided enough was enough 

some people 

says the woman on the train

peering up from her paper 

at some poor manchild 

clipping his kid’s ears

Haris Ahmed

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation. Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

The Life of a Leaf – Leon Arthur Podolak Perry

Summer sees them fully alive

Leon Arthur Podolak Perry just turned ten on September 22nd. He wrote this poem two years ago and since then he has been a regular poem writer. His mum thought she would share Leon’s work with us – thank you.

The Life of a Leaf

Spring see the scene of leaf growth.

Summer sees them fully alive. 

Autumn leaves die in glory, not in pain not in agony but in glory.

Winter carries their dead souls but follows through with new life.

Leon Arthur Podolak Perry

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation. Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

Trees – Henry Wilkink

You can watch them learn and grow

Thank you to Henry Wilkink for his contribution to Voices. We are sure you will enjoy Henry’s work.

Trees

Trees are like children,

You can watch them learn and grow,

You build up love with them, 

Just to watch them go,

The age grows and so do you,

You invest so much time with it,

Never moving, still as a statue,

Your time has come,

Your cottage is empty,

Your body goes numb,

You hope that your garden will keep,

You try to hold back the death phantom,

As you your mind goes into an eternal sleep.

You watch down on your tree, 

You see the fire coming,

It is the most horrific sight you see,

You realise what is going to happen and you cry,

You feel depressed as you watch your tree die.

Henry Wilkink, aged 12

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation. Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

Apport – Marc Stevens

Asbestos hands that unscrewed sparking plugs

Many thanks to Marc Stevens for ‘Apport’ – a poem inspired by his father’s shed. Marc has been penning poetry since 1984 and is clearly very passionate about the art. Marc is ‘ inspired by the fiction of Ian M. Banks and by the Liverpool poets, especially the love poetry of Brian Patten.’ We really appreciate his contribution and support.

Apport

If you asked me where the dead live

I would say nowhere –

unless you count memory.

If pushed, I would tell you that there is no

quantum theory of ghosts, that the soul, 

as a self-sustaining energy matrix, 

is hokum.

In the shed that was my father’s

I’m hoping for rawlplugs

because even armchair physicists

have to put up shelves.

I peer into jars of assorted screws,

into packs of tacks and tins of pins

that prick the questing finger

and prod the sheepish conscience to views

of how much I took my father’s help

and how little I returned.

Screwdrivers look down their shafts 

in dismissal of a man who has no calluses.

Sarcastic spanners and tinsnips

snipe from the sidelines

like old sweats on building sites,

hazing the new boy.

Above the bench, the adjustable wrench, 

the bradawl, the backsaw, the brace

are polished smooth by years of toil,

as bent by the task as the man 

whose hands have stained them.

In drawers, old toys of bolt and grommet,

experiments in copper pipe,

are rusting down to a humus

of sawdust, solder, the spirals of swarf 

he’d pluck from fingers as thick as truncheons

without complaint,

on mornings too cold for participation

by teenage theoreticians.

Asbestos hands that unscrewed sparking plugs

heedless of HT leads, unbothered by the manifold 

that burnt a hole in his good overalls,

seemed to perform diagnostics

that would baffle the man himself

and I’d be back on the road again.

Odd, amongst such riches,

that loss should touch me now.

Odder still that those damn rawlplugs 

have dropped into my palm, 

like a gift, just for the wishing of it.

Marc Stevens

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation. Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

Up the Portuguese Steps – Lucy

The pain doesn’t last, just keep climbing you’re nearly there

Many thanks to Lucy Staveley for her entry. The poem is about a very long journey up a staircase whilst on holiday. Lucy has recently started to create poems and finds this to be an excellent way to express herself. Thank you for your support Lucy.

Up the Portuguese Steps

Breathe

Take a step, hold your breath, it’s okay, you can do this

Breathe

Don’t worry, it gets easier. By the time you’re at the top, it won’t hurt anymore

Breathe

You’ll get through this, you’re a fighter, besides you wouldn’t want to make a fuss

Breathe

Honey I know it hurts but swallow, the lump in your throat will subside

Breathe

They didn’t mean it, they couldn’t have. No one would ever do that to their own family; daring they didn’t know

Breathe

The pain doesn’t last, just keep climbing you’re nearly there

Breathe 

I know you’re supposed to be in paradise but the sun and the sea can’t take this away

Breathe

Oh baby I can see the top now, you can do it

Breathe, and smile. Return to normal. Those tears must stay frozen. They can never fall. 

Breathe.

Lucy Staveley

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation. Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

Sirens and Fireworks – Jessica Williams

Memories are made in real life not on I cloud 

I am a single mother from southeast London and my escapism has always been literature wether it be reading it or creating it it’s always been therapeutic and cathartic to me. Most of my pieces are biographical and based on my real life.

Sirens and fireworks 

Sirens and fire works 

I’m just sitting here hoping my lighter works 

Wondering what will stop hurting first 

My head or my heart 

Even if I wanted to tell you where would I start 

Making the best of what’s rest of me 

After life has tested me 

One too many times 

My only solace in these Rhymes 

Cause I’ve seen so much my eyes don’t work rose coloured glasses 

Highlighting every perk 

But when the lenses crack there’s no looking back

Can’t try to make it work 

I can’t ve the technician in my current position 

Cause my candles gone out at both ends 

No matter where I go I always come back to my old ends 

And no matter how many people I try to show a glimmer of me fail to see 

So I tend to stick to my old friend 

But even sometimes they seem to fail 

To even the scale and put in the work where it need be 

But when a favours required there never to tired 

To make sure they let me know they need me 

But when I was hungry you didn’t feed me 

And called me out on being needy 

Thought you were good fruit 

But you were rotten from the root 

And what you flowered was way too seedy 

But your gardens so groomed 

And your neighbours was not 

So therefore the decay spread 

And while you were picking their fruits and planting your own 

You didn’t realise there main plant was dead 

No good soil to bury my head 

Few good ears to hear what I said 

And I saw how you cooked with my dirt on your heart 

So no thanks I don’t want your bread 

Weeds in your ears can’t you hear what I said 

I didn’t ask you to groom me prune me and clip 

To watch me and judge me 

There to remind me I’ve slipped 

So sometimes I dip 

To a place all my own 

A place I’ve preserved in my in another zone 

Where not a tablet or phone is allowed 

Memories are made in real life not on I cloud 

Where saying your proud is not an emoji 

I don’t need your feel well soon I just need you to hold me 

I don’t need you’ll get over it I just need you to fold me feel me and console me 

And keep me with all the things your consider holy

Cause it’s never your job to fix it although I’m happy you’ve tried 

Sorry if along the way part of you died 

But our pictures been painted 

And I tried not  to taint it 

Although I might have just stained it 

While we did I happy we maintained it 

Cause old scars healed I’m sorry if i made new ones 

I’d refer you to a friend if I really knew one 

But I can sit in 

Cause I don’t fit in 

But from my broken pieces a mosaic begins

Jessica Williams, London

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation. Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.

Nocturne – Anthony Watts

Perfection buried its head in the full moon

Anthony Watts has been writing ‘seriously’ for over 40 years. He has won prizes and had poems published in magazines and anthologies. His latest collection is Stiles https://www.paekakarikipress.com/?content=publications.php . Anthony’s main interests are poetry, music and walking.

Nocturne

Birdlike, with busy beaks,

Two voices made a nest in the telephone – 

Pointing and smoothing far into the night – 

A nest of words to hatch perfection in.

With an effortless compulsion, this labour of love

Carried them out beyond tiredness and midnight,

Interweaving anxious threads of guilt

With reassurances of secrecy,

Slicking down tufts of doubt. . . yet still

The nest, all littered with ifs and buts, remained

Untenanted, the cuckoo would not come.

Perfection buried its head in the full moon,

Whose stubborn penny would not drop but simply

Continued to charm her curtains and to gild his kiosk

And as their purchased seconds clocked up a bill,

Neither would be the last to say goodnight

Or the first to hang up, so loath were they to abandon

A job half-done – though it would never be done.

Now they have forgotten whose hand it was,

Replacing the receiver like a lid – 

But gently, gently on the woven nest – 

Restored the night to silence, nor recall

To whom the dialling-tone’s unbroken purr,

Recloseted abruptly in its niche,

Told of the waveless ether’s self-content – 

Untroubled by intercourse of human hearts

Or fret of words like starlings on the wire.

Anthony Watts, Taunton

Did you enjoy this poem? Why not visit Maggie’s website at: Maggie’s Centre Nottingham to find out more about their exceptional work and/or make a donation. Do you have a poem you would like to submit to Voices? Feel free to do so by email at: voicespoetry@outlook.com or via the ‘Contact’ page on this site.