- “Trips” by Kerrin O’Sullivan
- “Hendrickson’s Academu for the Gifted” by Ellen Ivey
- “Midnight” by Julia Chan
- “Watch Out ” by Rohan Fleming
- “The Strzelecki Track” by Jude Aquilina
- “This Old Land of Mine” by Neil Mumford
- “The Boy Alone” by Scarlett Lake Gorman
- “The Reading Room” by Isabelle Doo
- “The ANZAC” by Jake Upson
By Kerrin O’Sullivan
Middle Park, Victoria
I’d got myself into some bother over a unit I’d been renting further down the coast; a fuss over nothing. The damage was minimal: a punched hole in the plaster beside the fridge, some smoke damage from an unlucky blaze in the kitchen. An ‘anger episode’ was how the landlord described it to the police. I couldn’t deny it but then I couldn’t remember it either. Either way, it was time to move on. Fast. I headed south on a bus.
For days storms had lashed the coast under a blanket of black cloud. Now waves bullied their way beyond the high tide line, vaulting the dunes and potholing the bitumen of the highway tracing the shore. I jumped off at the sort of town people left, rather than stayed. Gusting winds dumped sand onto the barren grassy foreshore, turning the skate park into something more like a bunker on a golf course.
I stood on the steps of the boarded-up pub. Power was out. The main street was deserted. An air of desolation hung over the strip of shops, most of them closed or plastered with signs: For Lease, For Sale.
It was everything I needed.
In the general store, the talk was of flash flooding and a collapsed bridge on Lumberjack’s Track. Bad news stories. My arrival was probably another, but no one knew me yet. A schoolbus had overturned in the creek, a man had been killed when his ute hit an ironbark ; a tradie, electrocuted, moving a fallen wire. We all had our problems.
All week my brother Alistair had been leaving messages. My mobile was under siege. His number would flash on my screen and I’d let it ring out. If I didn’t call back, maybe he’d give up. Only curiosity stopped me deleting the messages before listening—perhaps he’d won Tattslotto and wanted to give me half?
We need to talk. Call me. Always the same.
Then, a new one: Bec… I’ll see you Saturday.
I picked up the phone.
‘Hello Bec!’ he boomed in his first-born, big brother’s voice. ‘Wondered when you’d answer.’
‘You won’t get through Al,’ I said, ignoring the jibe. ‘Road’s been cut.’
A low mocking laugh. ‘The jeep,’ he said, ‘will love it.’
It wasn’t the weather worrying me; the squalls were petering out by the hour. Alistair was guarantor for the lease on the unit I’d abandoned. The bond wouldn’t have got close to covering the repairs. He’d know about the ‘episode’. And probably a whole lot more.
‘The landlord said you’d taken off. So where are you?’
‘In a humpy by the river.’ He’d believe that, for sure.
‘Expect me, Bec.’
‘It’s pouring Al,’ I said. A splinter of sunshine slivered through a tear in the curtain. I peered out at the newly blue sky, in awe of how fast the clouds were vanishing. ‘Thunder, lightning.’
‘Weather bureau says it’s easing.’
‘No way, black as hell here,’ I lied. The wind had dropped to a whisper. A watery sun buffed the purple agapanthus. Out on the ocean, sprinkles of silver sparkled. The worst was over; but I wasn’t about to tell him. ‘It’s really blowing up.’
He could drive down if he wanted. No way he’d find me.
On Saturday, Alistair arrived at eight a.m. When I saw him through the bungalow’s salt-smeared window, I was having my first hit for the day. The old sleuth had tracked me down—how, who knows? Reckon he’d put his cop mates on the trail, the wily bastard. I stuffed the glass pipe and bag of crystals under the sink. Flicked a tea-towel, trying to clear the air. The smoke hung, stinky and bold.
He banged on the locked door. I let him in.
‘You on the juice again, Bec?’ He kissed me on the cheek and sat down on the only chair. ‘Cos you’re playing up, big-time.’
‘Nuh,’ I said, examining my sneakers. ‘I’m off it for good.’
It was true, I never used GHB anymore; it made me vomit and the hallucinations had got scary. Besides, I’d found something else easier to get—and with a better high. I could whip around the bungalow like a whirlwind spraying, wiping, sweeping and still be able to party all night with the only people left in this hick town— the dealers and users. Who said this place was good for nothing?
‘So what are you using?’ He brushed his hand lightly over the sores on my cheeks, flicked my lip, exposing my rotting teeth.
‘Get your freakin’ hands off me.’ I hit his wrist.
‘It’s crystal meth, isn’t it?’
I stared out the window. A magpie warbled from the lid of the wheelie bin.
‘Bec, you’re twenty-three,’ he angled my face to look at him. ‘What are you doing to yourself?’
If I sat out his lecture, maybe he’d just leave.
‘I want to help,’ he said raising his voice. ‘For chrissake, I’m forking out your rent, I’ve paid off your landlord, I’ve held off the cops…’ He leant forward. ‘In fact I’m the only thing between you and court.’
I smiled, knowing it would irritate.
‘No, make that, between you and prison.’
Keep your money, I wanted to say. I can deal to get cash and smoke for free.
‘You’re throwing your life away,’ he went on. ‘I’m offering you the chance to stop.’
I said nothing.
‘Everyone’s over you: Mum, Dad, Max. They’ll never give you another cent unless you agree to go into treatment,’ his eyes were moist, his voice, cracking. ‘And that’s how I feel too.’
I stifled a laugh. It was too funny. He looked so pathetic.
‘I don’t have a problem,’ I said. ‘I can stop any time I want.’
‘Stop what, exactly?’ He folded his arms across his chest.
If I just told him, maybe he’d give up and go back to Melbourne. Then I could fire up the pipe and have a smoke.
‘It’s just ice, Al,’ I said, distracted by the feeling of bugs crawling under my skin; it was hard not to scratch. ‘Everyone’s doing it.’
‘Oh Bec, ice is a dirty drug.’
‘You’re missing the point.’ I gave him what I hoped was a withering look. ‘I don’t use ice to get high…’
‘Nuh?’ his eyes squinted. ‘Why then?’
‘I use it to lose weight.’
‘I’ve lost ten kilos. All the fat I put on when I was prescribed those damn antidepressants.’
‘You’re kidding. Ice to lose weight?’ He stood up, his face beetroot. ‘When you could lose your life?’
‘Everything you have will be gone before you know it,’ he looked around the bare room. ‘If it hasn’t already.’
Sure, my hair was falling out, my nails breaking. And there were voices too, telling me I could trust no-one. Like now.
‘Ice is hardcore,’ Alistair continued. ‘Fries your mind.’
‘You’ve been watching too much ‘Breaking Bad’.’
‘Bec…’He hesitated. ‘I’ve arranged for us to talk to a case worker. Here, in town.’
‘Rehab?’ Forget that. I could stop whenever I wanted, I just didn’t want to. And right now, all I could think of was breathing in those clouds, the bliss—walking out like Wonderwoman. ‘Don’t need it.’
‘Take a chance,’ he added. ‘Give it a go.’ His face was striped with bars of sunlight.
‘Let me get dressed,’ I said. How best to get rid of the jerk? ‘Go get me a coffee. Then we’ll see.’
‘So, coffee,’ he stood shifting his weight from one foot to the other, ‘then you’ll come?’ Puffs of wind kissed the window panes, gently rattling the frames.
‘Depends,’ I grinned, ‘how good the coffee is…’
He was so trusting, always had been. Believed in people. In goodness. Believed in me.
‘O-kay,’ he said drawing out the syllables. ‘Promise?’
‘I love you, sis,’ he said squeezing my arm. He walked out through the doorway slowly, looking back over shoulder, as if I might vanish like a genie.
‘Love you,’ I smiled. ‘Espresso. No sugar.’
He closed the peeling picket gate.
‘Sure,’ he called. ‘Back in no time.’ He headed up the hill path.
I waved. ‘No rush.’
I would get help, just not today. I looked under the sink. There was one bag of crystals left. It seemed indulgent not to use it, wasteful even. Just one last hit, and then I’d stop forever.
I lit up. Inhaled. It was good, very good.
Leaves rustled in the scribbly gums. The soft boom of waves breaking on the shore, the squawk of gulls taking to the skies.
I whipped around the bungalow grabbing my things and stuffing them into the plastic tartan bag I’d bought at the Two Dollar shop. I thought about my brother buying a takeaway espresso in a polystyrene cup; the caseworker who was waiting with warm advice and a 12-step program.
I looked at the sky. Clear glassy blue. The storm had moved on.
I was out of here.
Winner – Adult Prose
Hendrickson’s Accademie for the Gifted
By Ellen Ivey
“And the recipient of the Academic Excellence Award is…Jacquelin Bell!”
The jovial voice of the headmaster is drowned out by the copious applause that follows. I clap slowly, mocking the underserved ovation. The crowd in the school’s grand theatre is made up of the terrifically rich and their spoilt lapdogs, hangers-on, and conspicuous sponges. They know the ins and outs of this game like the backs of their carefully manicured, un-calloused hands:
Ms. Ronald has recently inherited a large fortune? We must have her stay with us for the spring.
Henrietta, you must marry a man of rank and fortune so that your family may live in the comfort they are accustomed to.
We can no longer associate with your sister after she placed our family into such disrepute by eloping with that pitiful man.
Clap for Jacquelin bell, don’t you know her father is the richest man in town. We must gain his favour.
Jacquelin isn’t anything special.
She is just a girl, blessed with wealthy parents and a pretty face. Although these two facts alone secured her a coveted place among the students of Hendrickson’s Academy for the Gifted.
The only gifts the students have are being rich.
The academy scouts couldn’t spot talent if it was glittering right in front of them, but they sniff out money like bloodhounds.
Jacquelin has money.
Look at the way her satin pleated skirt swishes as she makes her way up the theatre stair and up to the stage. Her shoes look so perfect and undeniably expensive.
How funny it would be if she tripped on her way up I muse, but she reaches the headmaster’s outstretched hand without so much as a wobble in those slim heels. She slips her hand into the headmasters and gives it a delicate shake, flashing her straight, white teeth.
The golden medallion is placed around her swan-like neck and she smiles at the admiring crowd one last time and then sashays her way back to her front-row seat, blond tresses bobbing obnoxiously up and down.
“Well, what a bright young woman we have here at Hendrickson’s! Please give a final hand to Jacquelin bell. The eldest child of our gracious benefactor, Sir john Bell!”
The obliging crowd shows their exaggerated appreciation in the form of loud, gloved applause.
They are nothing more than well-dressed bootlickers.
They all know Jacquelin has no talent, no academic greatness, but they are prepared to put the truth aside for the sake of her fortune and status and the chance they might have a share in it.
I think even her father believes her to be a true simpleton, but his pride forbids the possibility of some other family trumping his own. So, however undeserving Jacquelin may be, she receives the award every year.
In fact everyone benefits from Jacquelin’s yearly title of ‘Miss Academic Excellence’, Sir John’s pride is appeased, his rich ‘friends’ get to live another year in his good graces because none of their offspring have taken the award and the headmaster and staff of Henriksen’s retain the steady flow of money coming into their school. And their pockets.
The headmaster especially.
Everyone knows he spends his extravagant salary on his wives. It’s the towns worst kept secret, and the resident gossipmongers. Four failed marriages later and he still showers the latest one with gifts of lavish gowns and layers of pearls. But no matter how much he spends on them they always end up storming out of his office, clad in feather boas, faux tears streaking down their perfectly made-up faces, screaming; “You don’t treat me good enough George!”
Then they disappear with half of the headmaster’s money and he is left broken-hearted.
The headmaster is currently newly married, again, so the evening’s presentations are cheerful and upbeat. It’s always hit and miss when it comes to the mood of the presentation, but this year the headmaster’s happiness and the date of the presentation evening were in rare alignment.
“The final award of the evening is presented to a very deserving young lady. This student excels at being a kind-hearted and genuine person who treats other students with the upmost respect,”
Oh please. There is no one, not a soul that walks the halls of this pretentious academy that fits that description.
“The prize money for this award has been altruistically donated by none other than our hallowed benefactor Sir John Bell!”
The headmaster is laying it on thick, his new wife must have a more expensive taste than usual.
I don’t understand why an award like this exists at Hendrickson’s. In my experience, no one here has ever been welcoming or accepting.
“It is my pleasure to present this year’s ‘Compassion and Good Nature’ award to; Maria Bell!”
What a foolish award.
Why is everyone staring at me? Have they no manners?
Wait, did he say Maria bell? That’s me!
Oh, my goodness, I got an award!
I look to my right and smile at my older sister Jacquelin, and then to my right and see my Father beaming with pride. Gathering my gown between my fingers, I gracefully make my way up to the glittering stage and Hendrickson’s exemplary headmaster to collect my award.
Winner – Young Adult Prose
By Julia Chan
As night drew a grey cloak across the sky, a maze of tangled roots, branches and leaves closed in around Piper.
Thorny barriers wound their way around the Forgotten Forest; vines weaved around tree trunks.
Pulling her mottled green cloak closer around her shivering body, she cast a determined look into the darkened forest. She would not go back to her old life.
Crunch. She yelped and looked down at her feet, thinking she’d stepped on a bone; but only rotting leaves and twigs littered the dry carpet of dirt.
Dull grey, shrivelled leaves and boughs formed a canopy overhead, almost obscuring the entire sky from her view; however, a few patches of moonlight were allowed through the strong canopy. Occasionally, a grey cloud drifted across the moon, blocking the only source of light in this black nightmare; the stars twinkled weakly from air pollution.
Turning around, eyes widened, for she had never left the life of imprisonment in her stepmother’s cottage, her eyes captured everything:
Ghostly shadows danced against the ground, clones of the rustling bushes and animals; the chilly breeze ruffled up her hair, whispering hissing voices in her ears; swirling, brooding mist shrouded the tops of the unwelcome, hollow trees; it seemed as if the wrinkled branches were reaching towards her, trying to snatch her with those crooked fingers… every tree had eyes, watching her, resembling stooped, ghostly, disfigured shapes…
At every movement, at every sound, at every touch sent tingles up her spine, and her heart jumped every time.
Then, suddenly a sixth sense told her that something or someone was watching…
A blur of white-and-black leapt on her back and she tumbled onto the uneven earth.
Flocks of birds that were roosting, once peacefully asleep, had now taken to the sky, forming an uneven black cloud. The alarmed hoots of owls sent a jolt of surprise through the woods.
Piper’s mouth was frozen mid-scream; no sound came out, for she was too frightened: nose-to-nose above her was the causer of the chaos.
Wild, bloodshot eyes glowered at her savagely. Powerful, slavering jaws were inches from her face, and were open to reveal an impressive set of dagger-like teeth, with fangs dripping with saliva at the very front.
The big cat’s gleaming white pelt glowed in the weak moonlight. Black stripes lined its body.
Piper couldn’t move. She couldn’t think.
As the time came closer to certain death, the tiger could wait no more and sank its fangs into her leg, ripping out a large piece of her flesh.
Pain soared up her leg; she let out the piercing shriek that had been building up in her throat for so long. Fear pulsed in her veins.
Writhing and thrashing beneath the cat’s paws, her brain could only process one thing: she was a goner.
Just as the tiger was about to sink those vicious dagger-like teeth into her wounded leg again, another creature pounced out of the shadows.
Apparently, Piper was in luck, because the tiger rolled away under the savage slashing of the other creature.
However, it overcame the surprise attack quickly and hissed, anguished. The tiger raised its mighty paw and delivered a brutal gash on the flank of its competitor.
Screeching, the other animal stumbled; the tiger and this creature had been a blur of movement until now: Piper got her first good look at the creature who was apparently helping her:
Its midnight-black coat bathed in the silver, feeble moonlight, glimmering; muscles bunched up on its powerful, sleek body; the panther’s ears twitched angrily, and out of its mouth came a furious hiss. Only now did Piper realise how terrible the wound that the tiger’s claws had delivered: the bloody gash along its heaving flank was a foot long!
It seemed like a fair cat’s battle, but the panther had a smaller, more flexible build than the tiger. Black versus white, just like the Yin and Yang Japanese symbol, a circle, half black and half white, each with a small dot the opposite colour of what the half was.
The panther’s more flexible build, however, enabled her to dodge and jump more often than the tiger.
After one particularly cruel swipe of the panther’s claws, the tiger gave up and retreated, bounding into the depths of the forest.
Piper, who had frozen in shock for most of the battle, suddenly unfroze and sprinted to the panther’s side as the she-cat collapsed onto the ground.
It meowed weakly and began to lick the wound.
The trees and the forest now seemed less frightening, somehow. The pines were less glowering, and the moon now shone clearly through the trees. Gleaming red blood was splattered on the ground around the panther.
“I think I’ll call you Midnight,” Piper decided.
Winner – Junior Prose
By Rohan Fleming
Knox Grammar Preparatory School
It was the most exquisite thing I had ever seen! My great grandfather’s watch – it was gold and had an ivory face with tiny diamonds at the hour markings. Now it was mine.
I remember seeing it on his wrist. He had told me that he had bought it in France when he was fighting in World War I. Nan said he wanted me to have it – my first tenth birthday present. Turning ten was going to be awesome. First this watch and then tomorrow, my movie party!
“Brrrring! Brrrring!” the alarm rang. My birthday! I stared at my beautiful watch – I just felt so grown up having such a special treasure. Just then I noticed that the second hand was going backwards. How odd! It was very old, so it probably just needed to be serviced. “You’re going to be late!” mum yelled from downstairs,”the bus is almost here.” I ran downstairs and mum shooed me out the door. She didn’t even wish me a happy birthday.
I ran in the school gate as the bell rang. “It’s time for your Maths test!” announced Mrs Pengilly. Maths test? I thought. We did our Maths test yesterday and it was pretty hard – I had barely scraped a pass. Why were we doing it again? Had I just dreamt that I had done the test yesterday. I looked down at the paper – the questions were all exactly the same. This time I got every answer correct.
At recess I showed everyone my watch – I told them it was an early birthday present. Still, no one said happy birthday to me. Nobody was talking about my movie party. When school ended everyone just went their own way. Was this some kind of secret birthday surprise? I got off the bus and ran into the house. Mum was in the kitchen cooking dinner. She was making steak and liver stew. Liver for my birthday? Turning ten was beginning to look a bit terrible. “Mum, what time is the movie?” I asked, excitedly. She looked at me perplexed, “The movie is tomorrow, on your birthday.”
I ran into my room and threw myself onto the bed. I looked down at the watch. The second hand was still going backwards. Could it be that time was going backwards? Today was actually yesterday, and tomorrow could be the day before. I did not even want to think about it. Would I ever turn ten?
Suddenly the alarm was blaring. Mum and Dad were standing at my door. “Happy Birthday!” they shouted. They handed me a wrapped gift box. I ripped it open – A watch!
Winner – Junior Primary Prose
The Strzelecki Track
When the lifeline of bitumen finishes,
a river of gravel erodes tyres and city thoughts
and dust plumes parachute behind.
We descend into another world,
out beyond Mount Hopeless
where a dead tree signposts: ‘nowhere’.
Heat hangs over rows of pleated dunes
that run like ribs across this arid track.
After hours of dash-rattling, pothole dodging,
and juddering over cattle grids, it’s time to stop
at Montecollina Bore, watch bulldust
fall away in pink waves; smell the crisp desert dry.
The windscreen has cataracts of insect sap.
Flies stick like bindis in socks – we swat and swipe,
but they rise and return to sip our sweat.
The road is gouged with potholes, rifts
and corrugations. Then mining signs flash by
a grid of tracks appears, with utes, hardhat drivers
and thundering road trains like dragons puffing dust.
Soon Moomba’s chimneys slice the sky,
like Blake’s dark satanic mills. I imagine a new
FIFO worker gazing down from a Cessna,
midsummer, to the roar of fire-breathing towers.
Our airconditioned craft floats over sand and stones
past broken-down myall fences, saltbush and spinifex
until the shores of Cooper’s Creek surprise, like an island,
like a cool change; sweet scent of dampness.
Giant gums lean in to the creek as if it was a crib;
late sunlight mirrors their trembling figures.
as the evening cries and chirps with life.
Over milky jade pools, swallows flit about mud nests
and coolabah leaves ripple on water-cooled breezes.
Corellas, galahs and magpies take to evening branches.
In the bronze gloaming, the last quail calls. Then the hush
of the bush spreads gently as Tilley lamplight.
Hard to believe that upstream Burke and Wills,
piano and iron bath long abandoned, staggered back
to find dry banks, their camp life erased.
Did they rest on this dark soil, perhaps hallucinating:
a woman’s soft white hand, aroma of hot scones, mew of a cat,
till fatigue and harsh country snatched away their victory?
Now, the hum of generators and twinkling lights
as humans settle on comfortable swags, or stroll up
to the pub, where beer evokes stories of The Strz:
of blowouts and ruts big enough to swallow a bus,
of giant catfish caught, bull bars bent, of the weather,
where you’ve been and where you’re headed.
Men show off apps and mobile snaps
of their SUVs as if they were well-shod stallions.
Outside the night sky is crusty with stars
and when you finally crawl inside your swag
the twinkling universe is printed on a Coopers’ pond.
Winner – Open Poetry
This Old Land of Mine
By Neil Mumford
Port Pirie, SA
Up in the tropics around Weipa Way
Where the crocs are alive and well
And the Daintree drips with monsoon rain
Ancient secrets she can tell
The Farrier keeps working on
There are cities with fancy bridges
And gleaming snow capped mountains
Rocky outcrops reach for the sky
And country towns with parks and fountains
The Blacksmith keeps working on
Where orchards greet a morning sunrise
And vineyards dress a sunlit hill
While red gums loom high above the land
Shading a creek with waters still
The Saddler keeps working on
There are lush green fields and rugged tracks
And caves with time worn fossils
And rolling seas of white tossed foam
That cool the twelve Apostles
The Cooper keeps working on
There are dusty plains and dying stock
Through years of lasting drought
A life of sacrifice and hardship
Where the bush folk go without
The Stockmen keep riding on
There is a rock basin named Wilpena
In a land so ancient and diverse
And endless sprigs of golden wattle
And fields of Patterson’s curse
The stonemason keeps working on
With all the miners out in the field
There is a need to understand
For all the wealth that lies neath the ground
The farmer is the backbone of our land
The Geologist keeps working on
We are a land of many cultures
But our tradition stays the same
Uluru is our country’s heart
Where the early custodians came
The historian keeps writing on
I love this old land of mine
From the desert to the sea
It is but a speck in the universe
That was meant for you and me
Time keeps marching on
Winner – Open Bush Poetry
The Boy Alone
By Scarlett Lake Gorman
Fitzroy North, Victoria
Lost in the empty shadows of his eyes,
he looks fragile,
like he could shatter at any moment,
fragments to be swept away.
There he sits angular and sharp,
with his wide, smooth face dwarfing his long limbs,
like an egg on a bundle of sticks.
His skin, pale and powdery is devoid of
Lost in the discard pile,
he does not dream,
but stares with hollow sockets
at the polished mask of the world.
He can’t see the muck beneath.
He can’t see outside the box around his own head.
Instead he sits there, trapped by his own thoughts.
Lost in the endless blue,
pulling him away.
He hates this sky because it has no emotion,
and it engulfs him,
widening his world.
Yet he is afraid of the dark,
being trapped in that box,
but it comforts him too.
The sharpness of the bright world dimmed to a muffled drone.
Lost in the whispers,
thrown around like shards of glass,
tossed upon fevered winds.
They float through the air,
not unlike the wisps of a dandelion wish
blown on the breeze.
That is, until the delicate knives embed themselves into someone,
a red flower blossoming upon their fingertips,
glittering and deadly.
Lost in the tear,
slowly sliding down his cheek.
The playground nattering and chattering along,
moving like the sea,
the waves sliding around.
Screeching yells and crackling laughter echo like a bats shriek.
Lost in his hopeless expression,
a faint crease between his feathery brows,
disrupting the still water like shark fins erupting out if the sea.
He has a small twig between his needle-esque fingers.
They tremor and close,
crushing the stick,
frail and brittle.
Lost in his hands, the stick is trapped without light or air or any sense of direction.
Just like he is.
Lost in the world,
drifting and turning like an astronaut who has lost his tether to the ship.
A small wilting flower in a field of roses,
all pushing and shoving to show off their bright colours.
so very lost.
Winner – Young Adult Poetry
The Reading Room
By Isabelle Doo
A sandwich of ink and paper,
A banquet of pictures and words,
A meal of chapters and plot twists,
A recipe to read undisturbed.
An adventure of magic and mischief,
A planet of fiction and fun,
A holiday of romance and thrillers,
A quest on the moon or the sun.
A lake of knowledge and beauty,
A spring of wild thoughts and dreams,
An ocean of myths and legends,
A trench of betrayal and schemes.
A book is a weapon and antidote,
A quiet, imaginative friend,
To curl up with by the fireside,
To read to whatever end.
Some people think books are useless,
A jumble of phrases and rhymes,
But we know that the pages are precious,
To reminisce over one at a time.
So next time that the world gets you down,
Which is more often than we like to admit.
Get lost in the pages and listen to;
The stories who shape us bit by bit.
Winner – Junior Poetry
8 yr. old
Knox Grammar Preparatory School, NSW
The poppies softly swayed in the breeze
As the injured soldier fell to his knees
The bullet hole made his leg too weak
And a lonely tear rolled down his cheek
As he fell to the ground all he could hear
Were explosions and men crying in fear
Planes roared directly above his head
As he wished he were safely at home in his bed
The early morning sky turned pink as the sun began to rise
And he gently wiped the rolling tears from his eyes
He reached into the pocket of his coat
And pulled out a crumpled photo and note
His teary eyes were too blurry to read what it said
But it didn’t matter ‘cause he had already memorised it in his head
He smiled lovingly as he thought of his loved ones
Back home in Australia under the golden sun
Winner – Junior Primary Poetry