Way wive wordz was proud to organise the Creative Writing Competition for the Colliers Wood Arts Festival 2015. There were two categories, Short Story and Poetry. Each had sub categories for Adults and Young People. Some very excellent entries made the competitions difficult to judge but alas the winning entries are posted below. Poetry competition judges were: Danny Thompson of Evolving Creatives, Maggie Nightingale, Manager Donald Hope Library, and local poet David Clark. Short Story competition judges were Becky Middleton, 2014 competition winner and Wimbledon Guardian Chief reporter, Caroline Cooper-Marbiah, Janice Laidler and Michelle Asantewa, Creative Writing Co- ordinator for the festival. You may see from the pieces that the theme for this year's writing was 'connecting' to which our winners responded in wonderful, imaginative ways.
The following works are published with permisision of the winners who wished their works to be posted.
YOUNG PERSON'S POETRY SLAM WINNERS
WHERE AM I?
In the hand of god is the universe.
In the universe is our galaxy.
In the galaxy is the solar system.
In the solar system is the Earth.
On Earth is the continent of Europe.
In the Europe is the country of United Kingdom.
Within the United Kingdom is England.
In England is the city of London.
In the city of London is the borough of Merton
Where you will find the suburb of Wimbledon
And on Garfield road in Wimbledon, is my primary school
This school has year groups and in year four I am a pupil
The class is set in rows and in those rows is my desk
Here I sit
Here I learn and listen
Here in Europe
In United Kingdom
In England which is part of the universe
I n the solar system
In the hands of God
I feel connected to the galaxy!!!
Mya receiving her certificate from Michelle Asantewa
Connecting with Imagination
By Mya age 10
Close your eyes for a while
discover a world of joy
a world that smiles
filled with happy girls and boys
Close your eyes for a day
Unravel a world of peace
where all kids do is play
and the adults are at ease
close your eyes for an hour
Reveal a world of action
where you have the power
to fill others with satisfaction
close your eyes for a second
find a world of mystery
what will be its future
what was its history
close your eyes for a night
create a world of horror
where all that roames is fright
and calmness is a bore
close your eyes for some time
uncover a world of death
where all screams are the whines
of those that want to be left
Light and Darkness
by Giselle Kalisilira, age 12
Light and Darkness Light , one with a deeper brilliance than anything, Light the way with your gentle softness Giselle Kalisilira and become the shining sun.
Like an eclipse in the sky, You will illuminate brightly, As one.
ADULT POETRY SLAM WINNERS
1st Reka Natura
2nd Ann Hayward
3rd Penny Allsop
by Reka Natura To my dragon sisters, to the ones that always fight I love you all Your fire inspires me and frightens me I want to save you and abandon you I am your biggest supporter and your secret resenter: yearning to see your glory and victories... and your losses and defeat Both delight me! I root for you and pray for your rise and shine... yet sometimes I want to hear and smile at your misery. When you rise out of your ashes like the phoenix you are, wherever I am either hating or loving you, I am in awe of you and there is nothing more I need from you than to rise higher and higher to shine your magnificent light And together as teacher and student, healer and healed, free us of bondage and the human conditioning United in misery and gory of the demons we slay, in love we rise, shedding ugly old skins of insecurity and jealousy. Celebrating each other, celebrating YOU for it is me I see in you, and as much as I love you, I despise me too
2nd place winner Ann Hayward (centre) receiving her certificate from Colliers Wood Arts Festival 2015 Chair, Jaqui (left) Cleaves and Michelle Asantewa.
Colliers Wood connecting past to present
By Ann Hayward
When Romans marched down Stane Street
Dense forest grew on either side
Local celts hid in mud houses
In fear of this foreign army,
The year was AD 43.
England under Caeser's power
None had seen a big black tower.
12th century monks built a priory,
They farmed and fished,sang hymns and prayed.
King John liked to visit often,
Henry 6 said "I'll be crowned there,
Westminster is so old fashioned"
Monks processing in their boots
Had never heard of Brown and Roots.
Victorians built some fine houses
In Cavendish and Marlborough Roads.
A sewage works to keep them clean,
Fire station on Christchurch corner.
William Morris used Wandle power
Without a thought of any tower.
And now we live in Colliers Wood
The Priory went and Sainsburys came.
Two thousend years from Roman times
We've trains,buses cycle highway,
Argos, Mothercare and Currys
Tesco open 24 hour
And our NIGHTMARE BIG BLACK TOWER.
YOUNG PERSON'S SHORT STORY WINNER
The Wood by Max Huianu
I don’t remember how it all started but me and my dad used to go every day to the woods where there was this tree house. We found it when we first moved in, and me and Dad used to go there every day. It was like our own little hideaway place, but one day it all changed.
It all started on September the eleventh 2001. My dad and I would normally meet after school to go to our tree house, but on that day he didn’t come. He was at this conference to do with finance, held at a building called the World Trade Centre. I walked home thinking he might be there, but the room was black and not a peep came from the house. I saw a little red dot flashing - it was the answering machine. As I pressed the button it said “Message 1”. All you could hear were screams and sirens and a voice shouting just like my dad’s. I could only faintly hear what he was saying but it sounded like hickory dickery. It was a book he would read to me every night just after Ma died. I raced upstairs and opened the book. In it was a photo of the tree house. I went out and slowly approached the tree house. I could just hear faint laughter of all the good times we had in that tree house. I walked up the ladder and searched the whole place but I couldn’t see anything unusual. Then I turned the picture of the tree house over and it said 1991 December the sixth. It was my 10th birthday. I remember it exactly. It was the day my dad bought me a tool box and helped me repair the tree house. Then through the corner of my eye I saw the tool box lying unused. I slowly unlocked it … I heard the phone ringing again. I slammed the box shut and raced back. I picked up the phone and shouted “Dad, Dad, are you there?” All I could hear were crackles. I slowly put the phone down and it said “Message 2”. I hesitantly pushed the button and it said three words, “I love you”.
ADULT SHORT STORY WINNERS
1st Peter Vaughan
2nd Posey Furnish
3rd Andrew David Burchill
Real Love by Peter Vaughan
The jaws of summer were beginning to open, not to swallow us, but to set us free. It was April, and the sun was always above us, because we were always out, underneath it. Imagine a dozen men and women, reinvigorated by spring’s solution, and granted an almost teenage exuberance. Not a day without indulgence passed us, and each week was a fond memory by the next, but we were artful and reflective, and knew from experience, how best to reap our harvests, always leaving enough for future fields. Though our circle was close-knit, and our limbs were as though locked together, there was one person at the centre, whose amorous arms spun the diameter of our friendship. Adam, heart connecter, whose effortless labours bound us all.
Our favourite records came out into the South London streets from the open front of an art-house café. It was Sunday service, every week, and Coltrane’s holy horn rang through the balmy afternoons like a siren, and Scott Walker’s baritone voice silenced the congregation, and his sermon was about Love; we were all listening, even if we knew the words by heart.
In the week, we were joined by our jobs, people of the warehouse. We worked for the man, whatever that meant; we didn’t earn as much as the people we walked past in the office, but we let it go, because we were blaring Chic from the shitty speakers, playing chess and reading Penguin Classics on our two-hour breaks. If they wouldn’t pay us living wage, then we’d have to live on company time, and wage war over our boards when the manager’s gaze was elsewhere. At five-thirty we’d hand in our work and bunk the train back home, and when we reached the parks and promenades around our houses, we felt we had our own kingdom; a domain of table-tennis and car park football, Xbox and Nintendo, chess and jazz, improvised jams and collaborative albums, homemade dinner and wine from the continent.
But it was by it’s opposite that our happiness could be measured, and that contrast was found in one man, a friend of everyone, but a forlorn figure that stood apart from us. He is my twin, identical in flesh, but in those days he was a counterpoint in spirit; it had not always been so. Only half a year before, Matthew had been in his own band, and ridden his fixed-gear to Paris and Amsterdam, under the same sun as the rest of us. But little cuts, not addressed, cause the greatest pain. The smaller the cut, in fact, the more malicious, those being the hardest wounds to detect. Out of his hands, his band broke up, and his chrome horse was stolen from his backyard, and he fell into still sadness, and was snowed-over by the winter, while the rest of us had managed to move on. Growing reclusive, as misfortune often causes one, he was wreathed by insomnia, and the early bird gets the worm, but he was a night owl, and disillusioned, he no longer came to work. I had wondered if perhaps it was our closeness that had provoked his depression, he might have felt the chill bite of bitterness, since he was ploughing into bad luck, while I appeared to be sailing over it.
Months went by while he descended into melancholia, and it was easy for us all to forget about Matthew’s Malady, distracted as we were by our own heroic hedonism. Nevertheless, there were eyes watching over him that were keener than my own, and a conspiracy of compassion was wrought in the spring.
It was our birthday, and all of us had come to wake him up and give him company. The sweetest phrases came flowing out, summer was calling from the other room; the day had rolled by and hung around, a blue afternoon. Of all the places we could find ourselves, between the arms of his garden, we laughed together. Although we knew that he held his sadness inside him, we all were waiting with secret smiles, because the garden door was open for Real Love. The signal was given, we all went around the corner, and he followed us, bewildered; there stood Adam, conspirator, smiling like a child with Matt’s new bike beside him.
“Everybody here put money together to get this for you...” But he didn’t get to finish, because Matt’s mouth dropped open, and his hair stood up when he saw it, and he brought his hands up to his face, and tears were rolling in him like thunder. He sprung over, and threw hands over shoulders and hugged him, tight. Everybody was silent, not even smiling, no one daring to speak or move except Adam, who gripped his friend just as tightly. His face was buried in the shoulder, muffled up, but his shoulders quivered with every tear, and he couldn’t let go until they were all gone. I went over to them and wrapped my arms over them both, though the gift was given from all to one. Real Love was there, connecting us; our hearts were pumping saline tears instead of blood.
White Stone by Posey Furnish
A small hand clutches the stone. A small hand drops the stone. It tumbles through the river’s lazy current and nestles into the silt, waiting, hoping to be selected again.
Anne’s small hand dips swiftly into the cold shallows, snatching the whitest pebble she can find. “Thomas, look thou!” she exclaims. “A snow stone.” Her brother snorts “It’s just quartz, sister” but even he cannot resist holding the rough stone in his larger hand. He hefts it and hands it back. Anne raises it to the pale sun and the sharp edges catch the light, flash glimpses of rainbows trapped inside. “Come on, we’ll be late back to mother, and we don’t want to miss our carriage to the coast!” She holds it tightly – too tightly – before letting it fall from her small hand and thin line of red wells up on her palm from the rock’s sharp edge. The rock lands with a splash and catches the sunlinght.
It sits. It glitters. It catches Violet’s eye. Perhaps if she is quick, if Nanny is tending Baby, who is fussing, always fussing… she steps off the path and dips her hand swiftly. The cold water soaks the black cuff of her gabardine. At least it won’t show, being so dark and drab, she thought, hastily reclaiming her place behind Nanny. As the perambulator sets off again, Violet steals a glance at the stone. She’s never seen anything so white, so pure. It is cold but lighter than she expected, as if it is made of trapped light rather than minerals. Could it be salt? She raises it to her lips and “VIOLET” shrieks Nanny’s voice, snapping her back to attention. The rock falls swiftly to the ground and Violet feels Nanny’s glare burning into the top of her downcast head. “Is this really how a young lady conducts herself in a time of mourning for our beloved monarch, who gave 63 proud years to our country?” Violet knows she’ll be lucky to get a bowl of milksop for her tea now but smiles to herself. Their tiresome stroll resumes, Violet looking back once at the stone, dusty now, but still sparkling.
The stones jar his crutches and he narrowly misses a large white one. “That would’ve sent me for a tumble” William mutters to himself. “Blast these infernal things”, he sneers to his crutches, their wooden legs a sorry replacement for his left one. The surgeons called him damned lucky but Thomas didn’t feel lucky. Barnaby and Edward hadn’t been lucky, shot in the back, shot in the head, both too young to know better than to tempt fate. Thomas hadn’t tempted fate. He’d known straight away, as soon as he saw the first field, that the bravado that helped him enlist 2 years too young (combined with his height) wasn’t going to save him. He’d wanted to be a good soldier, truly. But it was all too much. When the shell caught his leg and tore it off he hadn’t thought he’d live. And yet here he was, back in London, in the hall here in Morden Park, now a hospital for others like himself. Thomas pauses, sighing, knocking the white stone hard towards the thin river trickling onwards to somewhere else. The stone rolls towards the edge and drops gently into the water.
The park is so silent today, as if somehow the birds and insects know to dampen their calls, their buzzing. Molly walked too far today, much of it barefooted, but she couldn’t stop until she had reached her spot by the shallow river, next to the white wrought iron bridge, right next the clump of tall grass. No children playing pooh sticks today. No dogs enjoying their freedom. The park is hers alone and sinking gratefully to the ground, her feet slip into the water and are washed clean of the Central London grime and horror. The smoke. The screams. The darkness. She recalled the explosion, then the silence that quickly filled with screams. She walked out. Others didn’t. Once above ground, one shoe missing, she’d brushed off the paramedics and just started walking towards home. Through the streets, sometimes in groups, sometimes alone, always silent. Her feet throbbed now, and the soothing waters swirled around in tiny eddies. By her toes was a white stone, half-buried. Almost lost. Like so many today. She scoops it up, traces its worn edges with a finger, the cold smooth surface now rubbed clean and shining. It warms slowly in her hand and she tucks it into the tall grass for another to find on a better day.
“Mama! Look! I find a treasure!”
A small hand clutches the stone. A small hand drops the stone.
Automatic Writing by Andrew David Burchill
We were both exhausted by the time we reached Amsterdam. Neither of us had slept on the night crossing from Harwich to the Hook of Holland. When we reached the Hotel Parel the following morning, we had just enough energy to stagger round the corner for a late breakfast before returning to the hotel and tumbling into bed.
We woke at four o’clock that afternoon, tired and disoriented. It was already beginning to get dark and the atmosphere in our room was close and muggy. Desperate for fresh air, we dressed and went out.
We decided to walk towards Dam Square. It was mid-October and the cobbled streets were empty. The trees were beginning to shed their leaves and the canals were filled with black, stagnant water. In the square, a gigantic Ferris wheel slowly revolved carrying a cargo of mothers and young children. By now it was pitch dark, so we decided to go back to our hotel.
It was around two o’clock in the morning when I woke up. The room was unnaturally light and I could hear a soft creaking sound, like the movement of a ship’s timbers. I pulled myself up in bed and looked at the corner of the ceiling where the sound was coming from. There, suspended in mid air, were three ghostly balls of light, gently pulsating in a blanket of albumen. I rubbed my eyes and looked again. They were still there. I panicked and turned on the side lamp. Instantly the ghostly lights and the accompanying sound disappeared.
Beside me, my wife was fast asleep. I rose quietly, grabbed my notebook and moved into the bathroom, where I turned on the light and shut the door. My hands were shaking as I opened my notebook and almost immediately began to write; first one short line, then another. And then I shut it without looking at what I’d written.
Feeling calmer, I quietly crept back into the bedroom and slipped beneath the duvet. I fell asleep almost instantly.
The sky was grey and overcast when I woke up the following morning. My wife was still sleeping, so I decided to go down to breakfast before her.
When the waitress came over, I asked her if she could tell me about the history of the hotel.
“What would you like to know?” she asked politely.
“How did the hotel get its name?” I asked.
She smiled at me enigmatically.
“Do you mind if I sit down?”
“No. Please,” I said, indicating a chair.
She smoothed the front of her dress, sat down and told me.
Our return journey was no less eventful than our arrival. Stormy weather prevented us from taking the most direct route across to Harwich and the ferry had to hug the coast as far as Calais and then make a dash for it.
I joined my wife in the cafeteria.
“So what did she tell you?” she demanded, as soon as I had sat down. She was still curious to know what the waitress had said to me the previous day. So I told her.
The Hotel Parel, which means pearl in Dutch, belonged to a rich merchant. After one voyage, he brought back a beautiful pearl necklace for his wife. One day, however, the necklace went missing.
Distraught, the wife searched the house from top to bottom. Finally, she turned upon her faithful maidservant and accused her of having stolen the necklace.
The poor girl vehemently denied it. But the merchant’s wife was insistent. The authorities were called in and the girl was arrested. At her trial not a single witness spoke up in her defence. She was found guilty and subsequently hanged.
That evening, the wife returned to the house and went into her boudoir to get ready for bed. Rummaging around in the bottom of one of her drawers, she felt something hard and knobbly wrapped in a silk scarf. She pulled out the bundle, carefully unwrapped it and inside found the pearl necklace.
“But that’s awful,” said my wife when I’d finished the story.
“I know,” I replied. “But that’s not all.”
And then I proceeded to tell her about my first night in the hotel.
“But why didn’t you say anything at the time?” she demanded.
“I didn’t want to worry you,” I replied. “Anyway, I might have imagined it.”
“But what about the notebook,” she insisted. “What did you write?”
“I don’t know,” I said. “I haven’t looked at it since that night.”
“Where is it?”
“It’s here,” I replied, reaching into my black holdall.
“Let’s see,” said my wife impatiently.
I put it on the table and opened it at the first page. There, written in my thin, spidery hand, were two short sentences: “Look again. Look again.”