by Maureen Forsythe, BCA Youth Director
Since the fall of 2021, the BCA has been organizing a series of writing contests for Blackburn youth. In April 2023, the BCA invited local youth aged nine to fifteen to write a poem about finding joy in the present moment.
We received a total of eight eligible submissions. Each submission was written in English. Congratulations to all of the young people who found time to hone their creative writing skills and submit a poem!
We are very happy to announce that the first place winner of the Hello Spring! Poetry Prize for Youth is Chloe Tang for her poem “Wasteland Suburbia”. Chloe, who is fourteen and attends Emily Carr Middle School, will receive the top cash prize of $150.
We are also pleased to announce the following winning poems: “Joy in Strange Places” by Theodore Giles and “When She Looks Up At The Sky” by Theia Taylor. Theodore is ten years old and attends Good Shepherd Catholic School and Theia, aged 13, attends Emily Carr Middle School. Each of these aspiring young poets will receive a cash prize of $75.
Each poem was reviewed and scored by David Taylor, an artist and published poet who lives in Adelaide, Australia. His first short book of poetry (chapbook) “Life Scraps” was published by Picaro Poets, an imprint of Ginninderra Press. Each of the winning poems is presented below.
by Chloe Tang
Scene; wasteland suburbia.
Dead trees strain to touch the top of the sky
Stagnant desperation of diseased arteries.
Light chokes the black sky
Feral scrabbling with bloody claws,
Foaming spittle flying at nothing.
Like saliva, it begins to rain;
Raging thin drops dissipating on impact.
Bleach stripping the earth to its bones,
Because the stars will not be put down without a fight.
It will rain for hours.
Lightning spotlights the torrent from the sky
More than a few veins burst.
In the morning, the sun will rise.
This is a direct contradiction and infallible proof of the previous night.
Grey dawn delivers spring regardless
Fresh decay of the long-dead feeds the petrichor in the air.
A branch snaps off a tree
Hanging only from the skin of its jagged teeth,
The arteries seek the ground now.
Allow lingering dirt into the grooves of your fingers
The smell of glorious survival into your mouth
The sun stains the sky around it in iridescent bruises,
Should it be seen with open eyes.
The porch is soaking wet.
Indulge in it anyway.
Joy In Strange Places
by Theodore Giles
Winter is a time of decay.
Spring brushes the snow away.
It turns rubble into something you’ve never seen before;
It looks like things from legends and lore.
Even in the cut down trees,
You can find creatures like birds and bees.
The rain brings flowers in all colours.
And look, here comes butterflies that flutter!
Every spring, I go outside and see all the nature.
Joy creeps up on you in the strangest of places.
When She Looks Up At The Sky
by Theia Taylor
Always caught up
In the future
Or the past
What’s to come
Where everything is from
How her life will change
How it’ll stay the same
But someday she’ll look up at the sky
That there may be no future
Nor any past
And when she looks up
At the stars and the clouds
She’ll want to live
In what she feels today
In her bones and in her brain
And love every part of the world
The muck on the ground and the warmth of the air
Humanity and everything that is not fair
Because if you’re all caught up
In the future
Or the past
You’ll never be able to hold onto
What actually lasts