Headington Poetry
Competition 2004:
Winners of children’s section


Thirty-eight children entered the Headington Poetry Competition 2004.
The poems were judged by the poet Bernard O’Donoghue,
who is Fellow in English at Wadham College, Oxford. Here are the winners:


Phoenix (Katie Honey, Headington School)

Dark grey, bleak grey, cold
Hard rock, stone grey rock
Diluted sense of heath
Moorland overwatered
Rise from sludge high, high and
Wind, piercing, cold
A phoenix.

Crest and plume and streak black wingtip
Rising brilliant red and gold
Streaming over brown, warm
Bird green moorland twinkling stone
Wash of colour from the phoenix

Warming, cooling
Splayed out chords of shrouded music
Wingtip bronze-eye clouded phoenix
Sun god gone
Phoenix gone
Sunlight out of sight.


The 5th of November (Katie Neal, Rye St Antony School)

As I look out of my window
The night is as black as coal.
Children with fluffy mittens
Are laughing and running
Towards the glowing light.
Warm scents of fire, sausages,
And hot spiced soup are carried
On the wind.

An explosion of gold lightning
Flashes in my eyes, only to
Wither as it slowly dies.

The sound of the firework is
Vibrating in my ears, it’s
Trapped, and it can’t get out.
Up goes the firework over the
Roofs of Headington,
Into the cold, black, night.
Then BANG!

The popping in my ears has gone.
Firework night has ended.


Fire work (Zoe Cheung, Rye St Antony School)

In Hong Kong the fireworks are so beautiful.
There is so much smoke.
There are flowers and stars in the sky.
The colours of apple-red, orange juice, pear-green,
melon-pink, ice-cream-blue.
In Hong Kong the fireworks are beautiful.

At Rye St Antony there’s only one firework in the sky.
There are only three colours.
Such a long time to wait for one firework.
But there is still a lot of smoke.


Autumn in Headington Park (Kate Ellis-Sawyer, Rye St Antony School)

It’s autumn in Headington Park.
In the old manor grounds the sunlight
Yellows, crispy browns and rosy reds tumble
From hundred-year-old oaks.
On the stone wall squirrels leap
Gracefully collecting fallen acorns.
Children in navy duffle coats and fluffy
Bobble hats chatter noisily as they pass.
Boys playing football and the thud thud of a tennis ball on the courts.
There’s a screech screech of a rusty old swing and children’s laughter.
People walking their muddy dogs snuffling in the leaves.
Then out of the quiet of the manor grounds, just behind the stone wall.
Out into the hustle and bustle of modern times,
The roaring of lorries, buses and car horns.
But just behind the stone wall the park is waiting for me.


Going to school (Bethan Morris, Rye St Antony School)

Trees rattle against the window.
People standing at the bus stop wrapped up warm and tight.
Bustling, pushing people shove on to the bus.
Teenage Cheney boys shouting on the street.
Big bright Cancer shop bric-a-brac-stuffed.
Wedding shop with the embroidered white dresses,
Covered in lace and pearls.
The cuddly teddy smiles at me from the pink card shop.
A funeral place, which is all dull and sad.
Fat grey pigeons sitting on roofs of houses taking a rest.
The house with a shark crashing into its roof.
People stare at it or take pictures.
Curious people looking from the bus.
Long never-ending queues of traffic at the
Headington roundabout.
Finally at school.


Christmas in Headington (Zora Newsome, Rye St Antony School)

Co-op. Clovers, Leopard Press
Sparking like snow
Somerfields, Budgens Express
Gifts for friends I know.

Glittering on lamp-posts
Different coloured lights,
Snowflakes, gold bells, Santa,
Shimmering through the night.

Sometimes I don’t buy things,
I go out just for fun,
To look at different shop displays
And pick my favourite one.

Three for two and two for one
Everything must go!
Candles, tinsel, baubles
Prices staying low.

And when it all is over
And the celebration’s done,
I know there’s always next year,
So, God bless us every one!


Rush Hour (Ellie Kay, Headington Junior School)

The traffic lights are still on red,
Oh why won’t they change?
Coming round the roundabout
Mmy thoughts swirl in my head.
The driver’s getting cross now,
He puts his foot down hard,
We’re all thrown back against our seats,
And all are put on guard.

I like to look at all the shops,
And see the people bustle by,
A small old lady limps along,
She’s the one who’s caught my eye.
I get up off my comfy seat,
I pack my book away,
I get off at the bus-stop,
And I think about today.

Poetry Competition home page