Entrants were asked to write on the theme of ‘Celebration’ and Hudson’s poem Anniversary, which you can read below, won him a place in the finals on 26 May. At the final Hudson performed his poem in front of a large audience along with the other finalists, and we are delighted that he was awarded the overall prize by judge and professional performance poet, Dean Atta.
Hudson has developed his writing skills through the school’s Creative Writing A Level course and is hoping to read English and History at Queen’s Belfast. We also hope he continues to write creatively and wish him every success in the future.
Anniversary // Lavender
Red face, eyes wide, cheeks ready to burst.
Ten smoking candles, extinguished.
Streamers suspended from plastic barrels,
The air spiced with gunpowder.
Sticky fingers passing parcels.
Bitter-sweet; lemonade and cake.
Red rubber landmines, sugar-fuelled screams;
A helium chorus calling in The Anniversary
Of pain; love lost, and gained.
Red face, eyes wide, chest ready to burst.
Heart racing, resting, slowing
Spilled tea, perfumed grit; violet myrrh.
Sandy knees, salty face,
Compressed chest. Crushed sandcastles.
The ambulance couldn’t get this far.
Mother can taste the sea on his lips,
Taste his last lavender breath in the air;
Fading with the wind.
Red face, eyes wide, stomach ready to burst.
White light, curtain walls, crushed hands and nitrous screams.
A breath in. A breath out. A decade after,
And with a scream; I’m a father.
Red face, eyes wide, tears ready to burst.
A tiny hand finds its way into mine,
And I lift a smiling face to find
My father’s eyes.
Happy birthday. I love you. Both.