Voyages and views win poetry competition

Two lucky locals have won a day at sea with the Royal Navy after entering a poetry competition hosted by Liverpool’s Lord Mayor.

Ann Evans, 55 and Joseph Murphy, 13 from the Bluecoat School entered the Mezzanine of Maritime poetry competition and were chosen as winners from over 100 entries.

Lord Mayor, Councillor Sharon Sullivan said: “I was amazed by the response we had to the competition.

“The standard of entries we received was excellent and made it really difficult to choose ten finalists.

“I hope that this not only inspires young and old to write poetry but to ask questions about their heritage and background, I am sure they will find some fascinating tales.”

Ann, who was born in Liverpool, said: “I was delighted and surprised to be chosen as the winner of the over 18 category, the other entries were fantastic and so varied, yet all captured the sense of Liverpool’s rich history.

“This bit of success is such an encouragement for me to carry on writing.”

Joseph Murphy, winner of the under 18’s category, said: “As a young boy my nan would take me to Liverpool’s docks, we would go to the museum and feed the seagulls. This is what inspired me to write the poem from a seagull’s view-point, to see what I see through someone else’s eyes.

“This was the first poetry competition I have entered and when I was named the winner I felt ecstatic! It was a great pleasure to attend the event and meet the Lord Mayor and I’m very grateful to the organisers and judges for making the event possible.”

The competition was organised by local poet Roger Cliffe-Thompson and backed by the Lord Mayor. Both winners will receive a full day out at sea on a Royal Navy ship. The Judges were Roger Phillips of Radio Merseyside, Jeff Dunn from Liverpool Schools Parliament, Alison Chisholm from the Windows Project and Liverpool Lord Mayor Councillor Sharon Sullivan.

Organiser, Roger Cliffe-Thompson said: “The final of the poetry competition was a great evening, the tide of history rolled over us as ten poets weaved their magic in the majestic venue of our Town Hall.

“The quality of the poetry was outstanding and I would like to thank the judges for their contribution, this was a fantastic evening which we should all be proud of.”

It is hoped that the poems submitted will be published to raise money for the Liverpool Sea Cadets, who are one of the Lord Mayor’s charities.
Winning Entries

 Winning entry over 18 category – My Father’s Voyages by Ann Evans

My father took voyages for a living, brought back
the greater world outside Liverpool,
and monochrome days,
to us in nineteen sixty three.

Excitement when,
an old white sheet draped
as a screen,
the silent cine-film began across oceans,
somewhere colourful and warm.

Dad on deck in his
white short-sleeved shirt,
shorts, officer’s hat and epaulettes
trimmed in black and gold.

Younger men in costumes;
Their blackened faces and
makeshift crowns – crossing the equator.
King Neptune’s procession
to the whirr of yesterday’s projector.

Then, those names of places called out
I’d never heard of; Mombasa, Mauritius,
the Suez canal.
And talk of cargoes of sugar
as we watched semi-naked,
dark-skinned men row
boats close by the ship.

I sensed the meaning of exotic
long before I met the word.

 

Winning entry under 18 category – The wandering seagull by Joseph Murphy

I perch myself upon the docks
and I watch the boats come in and go out.
From China and Africa; from all around the world they come,
bringing imports of wondrous delights.
I joyfully watch these foreign ships

and then I wonder…
I swiftly fly along the Mersey waters,
allowing the salty air to fill my lungs.
Hearing the foghorns ring as a new ship arrives,
Liverpool makes another profit,
Liverpool makes another trade
and then I wonder …

I feed off the bread-crumbs given by the friendly passers’ by,
and anything I can pick from these ship’s fruitful cargo.
Oh, what I live!
Oh, what sights I see!
Oh, what would I be without my Liverpool?
And then I wonder…

And then I wonder why such a Seagull as me,
has been given a life like this,
where Liverpool gives me sea
and where Liverpool gives me salt
Liverpool and its ships and Liverpool and its river
Am I in heaven and I wonder?