Poem of the Day


Orang-utan Crying

by Ken Williams


Forest wakes,

Brand new day.

Mother stretching,

Orang-utans play.


Little-ones rolling,

Little-ones tumbling.

Little-ones swinging,

Little-ones fumbling.


A sudden rumbling,

Looks of worry.

Engines roaring,

Little-ones scurry.


Forest falling,

Can’t find cover.

Little-ones scampering,

Can’t find Mother.


Engines blaring,

Forest bare.

Trees smouldering,

Nothing there.


Engines ceasing,

Mother enraged.

Trucks retreating,

Little-one’s caged.


Sun setting,

Forest dying.

Earth shattering,

Orang-utan crying.


  • Highly commended in  the 12th Kathleen Julia Bates Memorial Writing Competition. For full results click here.

Poem of the Day

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Who Is Outside?

by Jodie Davidson


I see you through the glass

I can’t hear any sound

Your feathers are multicoloured

You start to move around


You have funny extra toes

At the end of pointy feet

Lifting quickly up and down

To a very peculiar beat


When you begin to flap

Those spindly looking wings

Your beak opens and shuts

And your feathers start to swing


I wait for you to rise

Up high into the air

But you stay flat on the ground

And all I can do is stare


I ease a little closer

And softly I hear you tweet

A pretty little tune

To match your dancing feet


I open my small eyes wide

And take another step

I stretch my short neck forward

Then all of a sudden… ‘WACK’


That stupid piece of glass

That separates you from me

I’m going back to my home

I’ll watch you from my tree


  • This poem was highly commended in the 12th Kathleen Julia Bates Memorial Writing Competition.

Poem of the Day

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Winner of the 12th Kathleen Julia Bates Memorial Writing Competition


Yuval says

by Elizabeth Honey


A walnut is the brain of a tiny ancient dinosaur,

protected by two wooden boats

joined together after the War of the Squirrels

says Yuval.


Almonds are wooden teeth from the mask of Hadro Gull,

too hideous to look upon,

but if you did look upon it and did not die

then your hair would fall out and you’d be petrified granite

in just one second.


Pecans? says Yuval.

When the Holy Priestess of Darmon rode the waves

there were pecants, but pecants are well nigh impossible

and no matter how she tended them they up and died,

so nobody bothers growing them now,

in fact there are only three pecants in the world


Pistachios from the Veiled North are holy fruit,

symbolised in the royal court by the tongues of old cockatoos

which is why they are favoured by monkeys and kings

and jugglers who toss them in that tired old hawker’s disappearing trick

You know the one?


And now the toughest nut of all, from Macadamia,

the ancient Chinese-checker nut, sent by junk to Uku Haadeer

where stern crackers in puffy white shower-caps and blue aprons

perched in rows at wind-powered machines with red wheels

and cracked each nut one-by-one and dropped them in a cup – Ding!


But you can’t crack me, I say, and I leap. Oww!

Nut find nut, says Yuval.


Judge’s Comment

“This poem immediately engages the reader: Who is Yuval? Why should we listen to what Yuval says? The strong first line opens to a story and following stanzas introduce new stories, each connected but very different. While the reader engages with the strong imagery, they are also eavesdropping on the conversation between the teller and the listener. Language is simple but each word works hard to scaffold imagining. At the end there’s a twist that brings lightness and tongue-in-cheek humour. The poem is cohesive and creates rich images. Well done.” Competition Judge Claire Saxby


Competition winners announced


A poem with strong imagery and a twist at the end has won the 12th Kathleen Julia Bates Memorial Writing Competition. Yuval Says by Elizabeth Honey took out the top prize of $150. Second prize of $100 went to This Magic Night by Neridah McMullin and Jenny Erlanger won  the $50 third prize for Footloose.

Who is Outside? by Jodie Davidson and Orang-utan Crying by Ken Williams were highly commended and special mentions were made of Not Out by Neridah McMullinGoldfish Troubles by Melanie Hill and I Am Fire by Marsala Strachan.

The competition, sponsored by Dianne Bates, attracted 61 entries from around the country. Judge Claire Saxby said it was fascinating to have the opportunity to read work from such a wide range of poets.

“Poetry is a wonderful form that has the power to provoke and entrance. It is a fabulous playground for everyone who loves words,” said Claire.

“There was a wide range of topics explored in this competition, from the global to the very personal. Some were very serious, others were funny. The winners offered poems full of imagery and story, used poetic devices well and used the right words in the right places.

“Congratulations to each and every entrant for their hard work, imagination, playfulness and sincerity.”

In her report Claire noted that many poems started strongly but lost their way or weren’t completely finished.

“Sometimes it was the grammar, spelling and punctuation that was distracting,” she said. “In other cases, the end didn’t match or answer the beginning. Poems should end as strongly as they begin.

“Titles work best when they add an extra layer to the poem. Some titles also appeared in first and/or last lines – diminishing their strength.”

Rhyme was used in the vast majority of poems and Claire offered advice for poets choosing this form of expression.

“When done well, rhyme is a powerful tool,” she said. “Rhyme is like the icing on a cake – to be considered only after the baking is done, the cake cooled and the layers assembled.

“Rhyme challenges seen here included: ‘convenient rhymes’ where words were inserted more for their sound than their appropriateness; and ‘inversions’ where sentences were arranged to suit the rhyme scheme rather than the content.

“In other poems, rhyme limited the arrangement of lines. Rhythm within these rhyming stanzas was also sometimes uneven. Reading work out loud can help, but it can be even more helpful to someone else read the poem out loud. Then the poet can hear where the rhythm needs more work.”

The winning, commended and special mention poems will each be featured as a Poem of the Day, accompanied by the judge’s comments.

All entrants will receive the judge’s comments on their submissions.

Competition results also appear in BuzzWords Magazine.