Headington Poetry Competition 2001
The Winners


First Prize
Headington Old and Headington New
Reg Burnley

Headington Old and Headington New
The Shark’s in the roof but there’s nothing to do
Except sit at a Bistro, now that is quite hip,
But what if your fancy is taking a dip?

The cinema’s gone, and Holyoake Hall
If it wasn’t for Bury Knowle, there would be nothing to call
A public space to have some fun,
Chase a ball, let kids run.

Forget McDonald’s, it must be said,
I long for the taste of Vallis’s bread.
Yes, Headington’s changed, and I must stop crowing,
They tell me Williams’ the bike shop is still going!

Second Prize
Headington at Home
Brian Aldiss

Someone sits drinking in the Café Noir –
Known to punters as the Latin Quarter
Of Headington. Thinking of how he lives
He naturally prefers strong wine to water.

Daily he treads the treeless London Road,
Sensing almost tangibly meanwhile
The people’s discontents; Estate agents
Show how we seek a better “domicile”.

Nowhere a decent restaurant! Only
Cheap food joints and pubs that serve dear hooch.
People dropping litter in the street,
Into the many charity shops they mooch.

Who wants an iron bed, a funeral
By Co-op? Friends, life is just a kind of code!
Be philosophical. Concrete must yield
To mind – and Oxford’s only down the road.

Third equal prize
Marilyn Cox

The Romans, thinking Oxford was
A damp and boggy hell,
Found elevated Headington
A better place to dwell.

Commerce in the village grew
Till potters’ wares were sent
Not just to other English towns
But to the Continent.

A windmill brought in business too,
Grinding wheat to flour,
And later stone was quarried here
To build New College tower.

Today, there’s trade in curtain poles,
Videos, toothpaste, carrots,
Herbal teas, organic peas,
And special seed for parrots.

Stamps, fishing reels, exotic flowers,
Films processed in a day,
And undertakers near at hand
For when you pass away.

Change your hairstyle, glasses too,
If they’ve become outdated,
Have osteopathy at Brookes
And be manipulated.

We’ve hospitals to cure all ills,
Skilled folk who’ll mend a puncture,
And a university
To add a bit of culture.

But with even more development
Foreseen for various places,
Let’s not forget the value of
Our parks and open spaces.

Third equal prize
Wendy Slaymaker

From Shotover Hill we begin our descent
All Royal Forest land long ago
To roam around Headington is our intent
We visit the places we know.

The village of Quarry has alleys galore
The stone from the quarries well known.
Our fine City buildings to heaven did soar
Tho’ “stone is too soft” is the moan.

Plenty of pubs, two churches, a school,
Morris men dance joyfully
Supping their beer to keep cool
On festival days we do see.

Cross London Road to the Park now we’ll go
Play tennis, or golf, or just sit.
Young children swing to and fro,
The Library has all that is writ.

In Old Headington we step back in time,
High walls, stone houses, large gardens to view.
The bells of St Andrew’s ring out a chime
Proclaiming the faith ever true.

Down Devil’s Alley and Headington Hill,
With parks to the left and the right.
Fair views of the City will charm us still,
Spires that dream and delight.

Then up Cheney Lane to the Old Road we come,
(To London by horse in days past)
Now into New Headington as known by some.
This port of call is our last.

Suburban centre in our city
Has myriad charms all its own.
Archaic, flamboyant, modern or pretty
Some well recognised or less known.

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