iF Poems and The Times invited under-17s to submit original poems for the chance to be our Young Poet of the Year. We also provided 30 great poems everyone should know and separately 30 great love poems as 8-page pullouts which featured in The Times 2011/2012. We’re now proud to present the winning poems from our competition.
The iF Poems/Times Young Poets of the Year are here! After receiving almost 1000 poems, our judges have finally chosen their three talented winners, and another seven exceptional young poets as runners-up. Read all their poems below.
A huge congratulations to them, our other shortlisted poets and the rest of our entrants who can now see their poems published on our website. Our judges were delighted by the standard of the submissions we received, and we sincerely hope you’ll continue to enjoy writing poetry.
We’re proud to present the iF Poems/The Times Young Poets of the Year
WINNER: Yetunde Lanlehin
My Little Bother
I have a little brother.
He always bothers my Mother.
He takes my toys
And ruins them.
He is more like,
My little bother.
RUNNER-UP: Amalie Cooper
I Don’t like Jam!
I like marble cake,
But I don’t like Jam!
I like fruit cake,
But I don’t like Jam!
I like Cup cakes,
But I still don’t like Jam!
WINNER: Harris Porter
I struggled up the brae, the win’ and rain soughing haird in ma face,
Frichtened bauties skittered intae the heather as I passed.
Twa craws were fechting ower the harigals o some pare crater,
like weans ower a poke o’ sweeties.
But then the sun broke through the cloods,
and the douce song o’ a laverock filled me wi’ gledness.
Your guidance, the ocean, the ocean mantling the earth,
the origin and promise of life.
The most powerful rage of storm, sweeping rain,
waves stifling the rocks.
carving the earth, shaping the cliffs.
Yet the calm of the ocean protects its life,
caresses the beaches with sand,
coral reefs swathed in warm water.
To me, an infinite and inexhaustible shelter.
Your Pride, the first few drops of rain
instantly absorbed into the cracked and dry dirt,
and more, until torrents of water cascade into floods.
The soil is darkened by water,
The rainwater spreads and fills me with life.
A Unicorn in the library
I found a unicorn in the library,
He was reading “Mythical Tales”.
I asked the librarian who he was,
She said he came in with two snails.
“Excuse me,” I said to the unicorn,
“But what are you doing here?”
“Sssssh” he said, “It’s a library.
Please don’t talk so loudly my dear.”
So I whispered, “That’s my book.
I reserved it here last week.”
The unicorn bowed down his head
And suddenly looked rather meek.
“It’s my favourite bed time story,
Reading tales that are all about me.
If you let me finish it with you,” he said,
“I will take you out to tea.”
He was such a beautiful unicorn,
With silky white mane and tail.
His coat was as soft as a butterfly wing,
His horn like a spiralling nail.
“Do you like buttery crumpets?” I asked.
“I do when they’re sprinkled with hay.
Jump up onto my back,” he said.
What a wonderful end to the day.
At breakfast this morning
when I cracked my egg,
a monster jumped out
with a hairy leg.
I’m telling you straight
(and it ain’t no joke)
he was small and fierce and covered in yolk.
Well, he stood quite still and he looked at me.
Then he washed himself
in my cup of tea.
He dried himself
with the morning post,
then he helped himself
to my piece of toast.
WINNER: Catherine McManus
First ensnare it with false promises,
Lure it in with fruit and nuts,
Treat it to obsequious titles,
Then clip its wings tight shut.
Be sure not to let it out,
Of the cage when it sings,
When it weeps into its feathers,
Or acts like a mourning thing.
Pretend you’ll let it out in summer,
Say you’ll let it out in spring,
Declare that it’s too cold in winter,
Warn it of Autumnal winds.
Announce you’ll let it out in two years,
Or you’ll let it out in three,
Mention that it is getting old now,
And could perish if it’s free.
Then wait until it’s lifeless,
And the carcass has grown thin,
Then seize safely it with gloved hands,
And throw it in the bin.
Burning tallow at the quay
the red light
strip-strung from the sky
burnt through hair and ice
fluttering up into the lies
you could ape a hallelujah
a great stumble down the boards
my heart furrowed in my mouth
too cold, too warm
that old ramadan
the skull in the soil
by the hip bone
lost in the field of gold
a crooked crown cut so deep
into the blood and dirt
it wept blue, blue
all around, the bees
shaking waking still.
Season of Fire and Fog
Autumn is coming again.
I can see it in the rigid lines on the field
the green coding of new shoots.
I can feel it in the banks of leaves
around each wounded tree, its red life-blood
spilling out on the icy ground.
Soon will come wool weather
and orange shovels the only colour
on a blank canvas.
Quiet will fill the whole of my soul.
Trees black, ground white, air grey and full of silence
pushing down on me as I walk through the woods.
But there is another world before winter.
Appreciate autumn as far more than fall
not just the shedding of summer’s green garb
but also the donning of a brief, fiery shawl
and an air with more than a little barb
and the crispness of windfall apples
and the slow sound of rot after rain
walking through these woods again
with the ghost of summer on my arm.
Tell them they are birds
and watch them fly,
Tell them they are stars
and watch them shine,
Tell them they are flowers
and watch them grow,
Tell them they are clouds
and watch them snow,
Tell them they are friends
and watch them love,
Tell them it’s impossible
and thoughts undreamed of
will make them fall
So tell them they are hope.