First Prize Elinor Johns
My Magical Kingdom
It’s great to ride a bike in the park, pedals clicking like the beat of a drum,
To climb trees like a monkey, impatient to get to the top,
I love to play in tree dens, bristles tickling my legs,
To wander in fields bedded in quilts of snow,
How fun it is to see the playground crowded with a mass of people,
Allotments carpeted in healthy veg, sweetened with fresh fragrance,
To watch horses snorting like tractors, lapping water rapidly,
Bright colourful flowers dotting the grass, swaying merrily,
But best of all, Alexandra Park is my magical kingdom,
A place where I can be free.
First Prize Toby Healy
Through the window
Bright sun upon green grass
Squirrels climbing, passing cars
Tall trees shaking in the breeze
As a dog runs past he sees
Laughing children in the park
And as he leaps up and barks
I turn away from morning dew
As the teacher says “What’s 5 times 2?”
Children gloating, bird are floating
Branches waving, children saving
Goals as the ball moves foot to foot
Where in the past there was soot
Is grass and trees, in the breeze
Shaking pollen, makes you sneeze
Shiny dewdrops, polished leaves
Rest on ground but no one sees
Dogs barking, cars parking
Wind blowing, like it’s snowing
Blossom drifting to the ground
Silent playground, without sound
Freshly cut grass and a damp moss
Minds are mourning for the loss
Of another year but now
“William 1st invaded. How?”
Joint First Prize Sally Woodward
When we first brought her home we went straight to the Park.
Late Summer lush green trees, blue skies and scudding clouds, cricket bats and footballs and laughter. And a mad one year old Heinz 57 rescue dog. We let her go and she ran – exhilarating in her new found freedom, such a happy day.
The Autumn came and the sun still shone. Red, burnt orange, leaves like lemons against the deep blue skies. The smell of bonfires in the air. Early morning chilled we flew across the frosted grass.
An early winter morning, wrapped up warm, we crunched to the Park. A wonderland blanketed in white. Utter silence. Total beauty. We raced around each other leaving deep footprints in the snow. Barking at my madness, laughter echoing among the swirling flakes.
Later – children, squealing, sledges, blue skies, snowmen, igloos. Wonderful to see in our own local Park. She chased our sledge – gathering snow in her mouth like a canine digger. Rosy cheeks, frozen fingers, magical moments.
Christmas time – she wore a red ribbon around the Park. Shouted festive greetings, new bikes, new footballs, merry faces walking off a big lunch.
In spring she sat in a clump of crocuses, wind blowing her ears. Lime green leaves, fat buds on trees, white blossom waving against bright blue skies. Welcomed visitors admiring the stunning views of a beautiful city.
Sheets of rain, heads bowed, alone in the Park we walked. Wellies, inside out umbrellas, wet through, the smells of drying dog.
Bowls, Boules, Summer whites. Picnics in the Park, rounders, cricket, barbeques, students collapsed in the sunshine. Bottles of wine. Bare toed toddlers wobbling in the grass.
We walked among the moonlit trees on warm Summer nights, stars twinkling. Heady, summer scents. Foxes lingering, badgers snuffling.
And so the many years flew by and we loved the park in all its glorious seasons. When she was too old to run, we took our time, ambling around enjoying every moment and vistas of city and countryside.
On the day she died it snowed again – big fat flakes blanketing the earth. A dark Winter evening and needing to walk we entered the deserted Park. The snow was deep and silent and our falling tears left no trace.
Our hearts were filled with sorrow but when we looked back at our lonely footprints, there they were. Not another soul in sight, but paw prints running clearly around our feet – everywhere. We looked at each other in wonderment and smiled. We would love this magic Park forever.
Joint First Prize Able Lawrence
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AFTER THE SUNSET
It’s ten o’clock at night
and still light.
A gibbous moon
sits at the apex of the sky
and a deep crimson band
sits across Bristol.
Bath twinkles below,
its church spires
silver, red and gold.
A city wash of sound
laps up the cliff
An endless bubbling of invisible traffic
an occasional brake squeal or horn pushing through.
A dog barks down in Bathwick
another answers from Widcombe.
A snake of glowing beads below
pulls out to London
with a rising whine of acceleration.
A bat pirouettes over my head
and the great trees
stand proud against the sky
Bushy beeches like cumulous clouds
Wiry ashes still showing
each twig and spray.
On the cliff wild garlic flowers
and scent the dusk.
Night gently falls
and wraps the park in peace.