TROPHY WINNER: Roger Vickery was the overall winner winning the Babies of Walloon Statuette.
TROPHY WINNER: Roger Vickery was the overall winner winning the Babies of Walloon Statuette.

Budding poets love competition

IPSWICH'S annual Poetry Feast is fast establishing itself as the leading poetry competition in the country.

This year's 14th annual competition attracted more than 1000 entries with poetry flowing from every state and territory in Australia except South Australia.

Budding poets from the United States and Thailand even put pen to paper in the hope of winning.

Ipswich's Poetry Feast has grown to become much more than just a competition.

In 2016 it was backed up with a poet's breakfast, 20 poetry writing workshops in local schools, an online poetry writing workshop for schools, slam poetry master class and an Ipswich heat of the Australian Poetry Slam competition.

Some of the winning entries are featured in this four page liftout.


River 94.9 Awards - 5-7 Years

1st Place: The Library by Christy Davy from St Andrew's School, Ferny Grove, QLD

Magic running through the air classes going everywhere

reading books and doing chess the librarians in colourful dress

Fairy tales, facts and more

I love stepping through this door

into a world a different place

a reading, learning, creating space

2nd Place: The Great Grey Cloud by Isaac Dorman from The Springfield Anglican College, Springfield, QLD

I saw a great grey cloud thundering towards me

It sounded like an earthquake.

I was terrified.

All of a sudden a triangle horn poked out.

Secondly l saw a massive grey body.

It charged!

It head butted!


Just as I thought...

A great grey rhino.


Ipswich District Teacher Librarian Network Awards - 8-10 Years

1st Place: Sad Sunflowers by Abby Jennings from St Joseph's School, North Ipswich, QLD

When it's cold we wish for sunshine

When it's hot we wish for snow

Why is it that we never miss things until we see them go?

I see that your life was a sad one

All black and white and grey

Did anyone ever notice?

Were you brave enough to say?

Did your sunflowers show what you were feeling?

Unable to stand up straight.

Were the stars in the sky your wishes to catch?

You were somehow always too late.

Did the room show that you were lonely?

With no one around to share.

And now that you are gone

Why is it that we now all care?

2nd Place: To My Dad by Chris Roussos from Mosman, NSW

You always know what I want you to say

When you come home from work, in the evening, each day.

You give me love with a hug and a kiss

And tell me how much I was overly missed.

When you drive me to sport, we laugh and chat

And you always remind me how to hold my bat.

You make things better when I fall and cry

And lovingly show me how to do up my tie.

You glow with pride when I do well at school

And jump with excitement when I race in the pool.

It couldn't be easy to be a father, I bet

And even harder to reach the standard you set.

When wrestling with you, I can feel myself stronger

And although you can beat me, you won't for much longer!

I love when you demonstrate recipes to cook

And smile in amazement when I read a big book.

'Cat's in the Cradle' is our special rock song

And when it plays in the car, we enjoy singing along.

It's great to have a father, who gives credit to me

And believes that in time, success I will see.

Just so you know, I'll make it perfectly clear

When I'm old enough Dad, I will buy you a beer.

I'll thank you for all that you've given to me

And forever I'll try, the best son to be.


The Broderick Family Awards - 11-13 Years

1st Place: Don't Tell Me this will Pass by Eden Filbin-Yung from Drayton, QLD

Everybody else has breath

I'm gasping, drowning on dry land

I'm tired, no matter how much I rest

I'd rather hide inside my cold nest

My thoughts are shaken

When my mind awakens

'Miracle' pill not working

Everything I am, is hurting

My brain and my heart are at war

There's no way out, I lose once more

Trudging along, barely breathing

The smile on my face, deceiving

People can't tell

I'm in my own Hell

And I don't know if I'll be leaving

"This will pass".

The blood drips to the sink

The smell of my own red ink

The cold blade makes its mark

And I'm left alone in the dark

Muffled cries, never say their goodbyes

For it will be no different in the morning

Whimpers and welts

Are these the cards I've been dealt?

"This will pass".

There are voices inside screaming

My ears, my hands, my face - just won't stop bleeding

How can you not see it!

I'm eroding away, bit by bit

Sleeping, is my Safety Kit

In dreams, my thoughts bring no pain

My mind is free, to roam again

The nightmares that come to me in slumber

Have no power to pull me under

For I am already down

Buried alive, trapped under ground

"This will pass".

You're telling me there's "A light at the end'?

Do you really think it's that easy to mend?

Think that I can flick a switch?

I almost feel bewitched

Sometimes we win - sometimes we lose

But this is NOT a game

Nothing can take away this pain

The loss I have for something that never existed

Is stuck in my mind, completely twisted.

Why do I bother telling you?

What's the point in writing this down?

I'm not some sort of performing clown

A smile from a total stranger

Can lead to light, away from danger

Instead of judgment and pointed fingers

Instead of gossip and stares that linger

I need you to understand

That sometimes we all need a helping hand.

Don't tell me this will pass

Depression will strike, where Depression will

And left alone, Depression can kill.

So take the time to know me, please

See the person, not the disease.

The Queensland Times Awards - 14-15 Years


1st Place: Among the Crosses by Emerson Hurley from Brighton East, VIC

As I stand among the crosses

Fighting man's repository,

I watch the dead stretch far beyond

The point where eye can see.

And ponder why they fought and died,

For none but they can know.

The secret notion of delight,

That bid them thence to go.

Some duty to their countrymen?

A thought of nation's pride?

Perchance the hope of glory led

The doomed souls hence to die.

They gave no thought to strategy

Or military reforms.

Their killers, decked with medals wore

Their own fools' uniforms.

And silent, ever silent,

Like fallen winter snow,

They fade among the crosses white;

Row on aimless row.

The world moves on with scarce a thought,

No wiser for its loss.

A piece of sense is crucified

Upon each voiceless cross.

So I gaze o'er endless crosses

To the failing point of eye

And wordless mourn the futile cause

That led them all to die.


2nd Place: They Belong by Emerson Hurley from Brighton East, VIC

Ipswich City Council Awards - 16-17 Years

1st Place: Fill the Hole with a Bird by Zoe McDonald from Anstead, QLD

metallic rain, grim-faced,

turns within itself for you

are its child - born in the night,

lingering in cesspools of

regret and fermenting sorrow

you cradle the frostbitten stump

held up your sleeve;

damn the blank stare

of wet bitumen

under your bare feet

its 4 am

or something like that

and a mouthful of car fumes

shifts above the dead bird

under the power lines

you can feel its missing heartbeat

under your nails,

it's where he used to live;

the stiff-winged hello

of a road-casualty in the rain

climbs, for a moment, into the

limbo where the torn carcass

of what was rots silently

you don't know why you are here,

by where you spent summers

wholly entangled,

your wet shirt

feels like fingers up your skin

to a quiet place between your eyes

he used to kiss-

the street lights feel less

severe when you close your eyes

and try to pretend it's dark

and there's the bird

only less dead

and from the obtrusive grin

of purple flowers by his back fence

you swallow the glimpse of life

shuddering behind the curtain;

under the rising grin of the moon,

too late, you feel yourself bleed

between his fingers once more,

alone yet still whole,

the alternative more frightening -

to be fully engulfed,

to watch yourself fade

like sheets left in the sun too long


Metro Hotel Ipswich International Awards - Open Age - Bush Poetry

1st Place: Legacy of a Fool by Catherine Lee from Bangkok, Thailand

A careless toss from passing car received by gusty breeze-

initial spiralling of smoke ascending through the trees;

the tinder sparks, ignites the tussock, fuels this tiny flame-

gives birth to brooding, sizzling fiend prepared to make its claim.

It smoulders furtive, sinister, a criminal in wait,

yet temporary captive while it festers at the gate-

till suddenly the crosswinds spread the embers randomly,

and misery's unleashed as prisoner casts its shackles free.

It grows at startling rapid pace, insanely writhes and whirls-

a killer on the rampage now, it prances, feints and curls.

How swiftly monumental beast devours the dry terrain,

consuming vegetation as it sweeps across the plain!

It breaches fast and leaps the road, a demon unrestrained,

a wild and harsh leviathan that cannot be contained,

while creatures, choked and petrified, their stomachs full of ash,

attempt to flee the carnage as the fractured branches thrash.

In moments it engulfs with an opaque and forceful blaze,

and blackened dust is raining down through dense and filthy haze.

The mighty conflagration builds, defenceless forest burns-

inferno shows no mercy as it twists, balloons and turns.

The locals drench their houses, seize what treasures they can find

and toss them into boxes, dread of loss on every mind.

Without much hope they pray for an unlikely sudden change-

a south wind bringing rain - but still the monster rides the range.

A fiercely raging furnace from the fiery pit of hell,

creating squalls with crackling roaring din and heinous smell,

it howls with potent wrath and very swiftly takes control

while cruelly sucking energy from every living soul.

A sudden, loud explosion - further walls of flame advance,

which mesmerize and seem to taunt in chilling, deadly dance

as homes are torched and crumble in a boom of crashing beams,

demolishing along with these all former hopes and dreams.

Astounding impetus and strength, the damage very clear-

with life at risk, the people join an exodus of fear.

Here families are scattered; there a woman's lying prone;

a red-faced child wails frantically to find himself alone.

A farmer screams his fury to the unforgiving skies;

succumbing to the yellow fumes, an ancient collie dies,

while mothers grab their kids and run and men concede defeat,

now powerless to quell persistent churning waves of heat...

The aftermath - skeletal profiles stark through murky light-

once lush and green, now charred, obscene, wiped out by kindled might.

The sickly stench of burnt existence permeates the air;

a pall of smoke sweeps hope aside and generates despair.

The fiend lies overcome at last, destruction in its wake;

collectively the hearts of all those present sink and break

in wretched disbelief at what such devastation reaps-

while over his beloved dog, an aging battler weeps.

Now miles away, the culprit lights another cigarette,

forever unaware of his immense, appalling debt

to countrymen he'll never know, the many lives destroyed-

he tosses yet another glowing butt towards the void.

His tail lights in the empty outback darkness disappear;

the reckless youth is swallowed in the night, his conscience clear.

He sings along to music with enthusiastic breath-

and leaves his nameless legacy of chaos, pain, and death.


Joy Chambers and Reg Grundy Awards - Open Age - Other Poetry

1st Place: Bird Stitcher by Roger Vickery from Freshwater, NSW

During a night march in '16 he heard his first nightingale.

At smoko, remembering his Devon-born mother reciting

Keats' ode beside a Creswick fire, he opened his jacket

& quick stitched that warbling song into his chest:

'O bird thou wert...'

Not a patch on our Kookas, Mum.

He regretted throwing a mess tin at his first

French robin after it alighted with a dainty

flutter on Wilf Lawson's sleeve soon after

a whizz bang had torn off the boy's face:

Never minded a mademoiselle

on his arm did Wilf.

He laughed when an English gull making a trench

raid across the railing of the troop ship taking him

& who was left back home, snatched a slice

of bully beef from his shaky hand:

Greedy for life and

lucky like me.

While he was docked at Fremantle the Spanish Flu

took his mother like a greedy Rook. In the family's

bottom paddock he unbuttoned his battle dress jacket

& groaned as his birds screeched in the Creswick air.


2nd Place: Colony Collapse Disorder by Damen O'Brien from Wynnum, QLD

We have no responsibility for the bees.

They were born to their lives, we to ours.

The parasites that kill them, and the disease

is for once, not of our making or our powers.

In the grey forest, these tragedies:

the silent hives and palling fall of flowers,

are not our fault. We may save the trees

with a clear heart, in these final hours.

We may save the fruit, without unease,

or even save the hives before they sour.

Over Auschwitz and Dachau, on the breeze,

the bees flew on their own business, not on ours.

No burning cities, no orphans to appease.

The places that our heavy history scours:

the bees were not responsible for these.

The bees are not obliged to farm the flowers.


3rd Place: Disappearance by Roland Leach from Cottesloe, WA

First: My father walks the reef in an old pair

of shoes; a worn bag, hessian, strung around

his neck; a tin can hanging with bait:

the grey shiny slime of abalone gut,

like a muscle un-stretched. It seems too loose,

too fragile to put on a hook, but for

my father it stays on. Stays firm on the steel

barb, as tight as the pollard thumbed into

the float that rises through the air in a perfect

parabola. Sent out to lure herring.


My father said it was a load of bull

when he disagreed with what he heard,

did the same when he watched the 6 o'clock news.

They're shooting bull he would say to the screen.

This whole world is full of bull he'd gasp -

as I imagined a truck full of bulls,

their horns raised like white radar.

He was ten when chased by the farm bull. Just got

over the fence in time. In the war he was sent

to Borneo to shoot Japs. The only one

he remembered had him in his telescopic

sight - my father its centre, the bull's eye.

Just a second he would say, just one more

second and I would have been dead, then he saw

the end of the barrel turn away, and this man,

his enemy, disappeared into shadow.

He knew it had all been bullshit after that.


He had an eye for exits. Backdoors

were his speciality. One moment he

was standing in the kitchen, cup of tea

in hand, then gone. Dad? Dad are you there?

But he never answered. Sent the dog

after him but he pricked his ears and turned

back. My Mum would say: "Let him go, just let

him go", and we all did: all of us, a house

full of children, a wife, a dog. We let

him go till he returned home to us,

as if he had gone for the bread and milk,

a quick beer, a punt on the horses.


For a year we lived in an asbestos house,

no back fence, no side fence, out the back the loo.

Beyond the clothes-line a sand-pit, to the west

a limestone track ran the back fences

of houses on the beach. If my father

could not live in the bush this would do.

He was there most of the time, but wasn't.

His trick was to disappear into light.

He seemed a decent man, but was never

convincing. Stella was his sweetheart

when he was young. My mother said that she

was the woman he should have married.

I, as I am, would never have been.

An idea I like: the randomness of me.

Instead he wedded someone else. A woman

at a dance who became my mother.

The random chance of a night,

of a dance, stalked my father for half

a century, until with Dementia he thought

he had married the woman he loved.


Never went beyond the city he was born, except

Borneo, and he was glad to be home.

Only went to school till he was twelve.

High school was as distant as Paris.

He rode horses through bush with eight

brothers, ran down roos with dogs, worked

the farm. He knew plenty. All the things that would

keep him alive in the bush - but outside,

where the roads began, where people dressed

up to go to work - that bitch life did nothing

but stifle every word he couldn't write.


What am I to do with these fragments stored?

Things washed across the reef that I have gathered?

I could make patterns in the sand:

a shell becomes an early morning

and herring; strangled weed a kitchen scene,

with father-magician. I could dig a hole

in wet sand for the times he wasn't there

when he was. Or the sounds of him: 5 am

leaving for work; the truck idling for three

minutes before the jolt of the gear-stick

into first. I imagined I could hear the sound

of loss, its colour metallic grey not black,

its sound a jungle rustle, not silence.

I sometimes thought I could hear his axe,

steel edge into wood, ten miles away.


Highly Commended: Rock Fisher by Bruce Marshall from Red Rock, NSW

Highly Commended: The Mort Street Badlands by Vanessa Page from Cashmere, QLD

Highly Commended: "Netsuke" Ivory and Blue by Gill Jewell from Deebing Heights, QLD

Highly Commended: House of the Living, House of the Dead by Jenny Blackford from Walsend, NSW

Highly Commended: The Cranes by Damen O'Brien from Wynnum, QLD

Rosewood Green Awards - Open Age - Local Poets

1st Place: Grindle Road by Brett Dionysius from Chapel Hill, QLD

A bull bar is a ute's clenched fist. There

is no prestige left in its silver colour. There

is no classic style to death. The killing floor

was outside, late at night between the men's

& women's prisons. He could imagine the

inmates asleep in their cots, whimpering as

he drove off the road & into the grassy gutter

blasting into the radiant mob like a steel bolt

into a cow's forehead. The force felt inside

the cab was equivalent to smacking a face.

The high humidity suspended particles of

roo, clotting night's air with smell of fresh

blood, like a stained tinted window. Death

was not instant. Seventeen times he floored it.

2nd Place: A Child Unafraid by Gill Jewell from Deebing Heights, QLD

She will do away with me that little love, that beautiful baby girl.

Without a wave or bow, she will turn and smile, door will slam

ever so gently, as she leaves nursery rhymes and mother

For a plane ticket, departing to that other place.

There is another life.

My foot stretches the length between ground and water

But I am a land creature, fixed fast to the soil of routine.

Still, I can come; take me too! I have always been ready.

Riding above the turbulence of change, means to live life

Conjured into existence.

Remember shivering in snowy blankets we saw that new place,

The 'dream time', so close to the motherland?

I didn't know how to get there, only that you would.

Because its heat and dust shone in your eyes as I told its story.

You were my true believer.

Stepping over years of empty fridges, discarded gas bills

There was never pity, always playtime and singing;

Looking forward through Wonderland glass to a new heaven and earth,

To the promise marked on your head with water then wine;

For your new life.

Sometimes in my nightmares drowning children wave,

Floating in a pond of flowers; a grieving mother standing close.

She believed in the strength of her babies to walk on water.

For after all they were only ever reaching out for beauty.

My hair turns white in the shadow of their bravery.

With a pocket full of sovereigns, your dream unfolds.

Finding land to build a house and community.

I flag Foundation lessons from Walloon's daughters

Not to stretch too far too soon, when too young.

You will grow your adult uniform; carefully.

My daughters' place is where great hunks of steel fly overhead.

"That's ours", you laugh and look (it's taking supplies to Afghanistan)

Behind her are the brave who defend a nation and lest we forget, the

Parents catching breath, sweat Amberley's fear and pride.

Did Walloon's mum do the same when they carried her babies home?

She grows her home in the blistering heat shimmering off new roads

Where swimming pools spring up in fields for children; unafraid still.

The coffee shops gather momentum, developing toward a future

Where work and play dance above and below the water line.

Edwards Property Mentorship Award

Wandjina by Maureen Clifford from Basin Pocket, QLD

Chairperson's School Award

The Springfield Anglican College, Springfield, Qld

Overall Winner (selected from across all Open Age Categories - Winner of Babies of Walloon Statuette)

Roger Vickery from Freshwater, NSW

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