Poetry Happening Near You

Competition winners!

Happy National Poetry Day! And what an excellent day to announce the winners of the Poetry on Loan 2017 poetry competition. And the winners are...

The winners of the 2017 Poetry on Loan poetry competition are:

adult:  Off, by Bert Flitcroft

junior: On, by Hazel Cook

The poems are judged by a panel of 10 librarians and people closely associated with libraries. Only one person (me - the Poetry on Loan co-ordinator) knows the marks given by all the judges, so the fact that we have such a delightful pair of titles - Off and On - is just democracy at work.

Congratulations to our two winners! There was strong competition and they can feel proud of this achievement. Bert has been known to Poetry on Loan for some time, and is currently Staffordshire's Poet Laureate. Hazel Hazel is twelve years old and her favourite subjects are English and music.  Her mother tells me that she enjoys writing poems and stories as well as swimming,singing and playing the clarinet.  She has entered a number of writing competitions and is delighted to have won this one.

And here are the poems:


Imagine the pent-up energy,
the violence, of a single electron
spinning madly around its nucleus,
unable to break free.
Think millions of them, going nowhere
in the red-hot cauldron of their universe.

Until some outside force charges in
and scatters them,
                              or marches them in lines
directing them to travel North or South.
Imagine their excitement at the thought
of travelling, of having somewhere to go.

There are such moments,
                                    when the world shifts.
Imagine Einstein pushing off his little boat
at midnight across a sea of relativity –
  all those ricocheting atoms.
Or Rutherford as he fired his first alpha particles.
All those electrons suddenly weighing up
the possibilities, high-fiving, punching the air.

Bert Flitcroft



The winding path,
I walked upon,
The maze of life ahead.
When a junction,
I came upon,
Your voice inside my head.

“To choose the path,
To walk along,
Look to your heart instead.
Listen to the lyrics,
Of your soul’s song,
To guide you up ahead.”

“Never stop,
Through twists and turns,
Along the path ahead.
The destination,
Your heart yearns,
To find out is up ahead.”

“Don’t look back,
Go on.”

Hazel Cook