Poetry Prizes for SHS girls

Congratulations to two SHS students on winning national poetry prizes!

Sacha Eyles-Owen is a winner of the 2016 Simon Powell Poetry Prize, with her wonderful poem ‘The March‘.

The March

Dripping in sunlight, we marched down the leafy lanes,

Our black thoughts mirroring our sombre dress,

Rumpelstiltskin had been busy, spinning freckles and speckles

Of gold onto the mahogany wood.


Down the hushed lanes, we marched. The chest, cheetah-skinned

In dappled sunlight, was cold, and too empty

With assumptions and expectations of the worst kind:

Echoes of now impossible futures.


Through the eerie lanes, we marched, until the path

Delivered us to a pointed stone building. Where,

Upon laying the little box to rest, the bearers nursed

Tender shoulders, sore from their onerous task.


We marched down the dark lanes,

Our eyes brimming like dams:

Straining. For we too must carry the burden

Of a light blown out before it was lit.


We stand shaded from the sunlight

In the shadow of a solitary oak

And we all ache from accompanying

her on her brief journey, from lust to dust.


But none are as inconsolable as she,

Who carried her from first buds to first snow.

For although she may be tiny,

The smallest coffins are the heaviest to bear.


Alice West, as well as winning the TS Eliot Prize for her poem ‘Deep Lane’, has won the Basil Bunting Prize for Young Poets. Alice traveled to the Newcastle Centre for Literary Arts to collect her award, where she met the judges and read for the appreciative crowd her winning poem ‘10 ways to crack an egg‘.

10 ways to crack an egg

With our smallest hands it ends like this:
Crumpled, a bewildered face, sticky fingers
Running from a height, from a hand it’s too easy to drop and –
We know what follows.

Or subtler:
The spilling of a shard
Like grit between teeth-on-teeth,
Stung. Wingeing, fate-kissed.

Or bowl-smacker, the orthodox
Spanks child to bleed potential and she grows
Somewhat, the rest discarded – still exists.

Or the one-mitt-smashers
Smugly brandish forefinger and thumb and one brutal palm
To tear open the shell,
Freeing only egg-juice, all the splintered intact;
Their one-handed wonder, godlike –
Neatly scruffy, like an omelette.

Or prod-and-pull, separate them,
A cup in each hand and a spillage of milky tears
Is a child between lives, bobbing,

Or the thrown-in-from-chilled,
Shocked in blazing waters, pop
Well, they had little chance.

Or the boiled egg, successful:
Hard –
Done by, battered and peeled, cut vertical,
A pear-drop womb,
Or soft –
Tickled, levered up at the crux,
Like an egghead, I once thought: unhinge me, unload me,
But it’s not that simple.

And I, pinpricked, head and tail,
Breath through me, not mine
Lips to my coral bones, blow
And daughter when I die make me an eggshell mosaic –

Congratulations to both girls!