Foyle Young Poets of the Year 2009

Click each name to read the winning poems:

Phil Coales, Bradley Cutts, Hattie Grunewald, Dom Hale, Bryony Harrower, Leon Yuchin Lau, Nai Liu, Hannah Locke, Karina McNally, Megan Pattie, Phoebe Power, Adham Smart, Phoebe Walker, Melissa Whittle, Jonathan Wilcox.

Plus see the names of the 85 Commended Young Poets here.

Return to main site- 2014 competition is open: Enter by 31st July

Computer Love

Phil Coales


DELL Dimension V400,
with Intel on the inside
and a Mattissean matte of terra-creme cream sheen
plastered over plastic that forms a shantily considered,
hastily rendered, terribly restored shell
on the outside,

you are the monster.

You have emblazonings.

You have emblazoned
thousands of pieces of personal informations
and resemblances
with serial tags and 'Author Names' and ID3 MP3
glitch-free identity storers,
boring deep beneath
the wires burrowed within
my house, escaping
past the chicken escalopes
of the freezer in the room you see into
through the wall and then the next wall,
and you see past and through and
present and futile
facsimile, and all the while,


until you
fill your soul with
a hundred and sixty gigabytes of
what once resembled hardcore porn,
now the scrupulous essay of a careless Deutsches Jungen,
an online chessboard, a series of zeroes and


and on,
and on,
and you whir mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
and you flicker sent light nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn
and you connect me to we
offer translation for free
commit discreet acts of burglary
store away hand-drawn images of tremendous vulgarity and,
all the while,

you just pretend like you don't know,
like you don't have a soul;
you breathe,
you read,
you complain,
you sing songs,
you ring internet service providers,
you relentlessly recharge,
you eat me out of house and home,
you remove the need for a telephone,
you refuse to load Google Chrome,
you plot pie charts and graphs year-on-year, week-on-week,
you view copious amounts of pornography;

yet I propose
one who knows
everything ever shown
in minute bits
by anyone with a keyboard and some sockets,
more than me,
possess a demanding need.

Otherwise you would've run out by now.

I sit here,
breathing very slowly;
you sit to attention
and I know
for sure
that I am
and therefore
you are.


The Shoot

Bradley Cutts

Us beaters, armed with stout sticks,
whack tree trunks and bash bushes.
Three pheasants flap up,
and beaks pointing straight ahead, tug away.
The shooters are waiting.
Bang-bang. Bang-bang.
Ten double-barrelled guns ring out.
Pheasants spin and fall to the ground.
The dogs race, eager
to be the first to get the prize.

We carry on through the wooded area.
Spot sprints off after a rabbit.
Sharp teeth bite neck and shake.
After several long minutes
it is dead. Phew.
No more screaming.

At the end of the drive,
after walking around the headland,
through the elephant grass and the short set-aside,
we count up. Twenty-nine pheasants,
a rabbit, and seven woodcock.

I love carrying the tiny wood-cock
by their necks
between my third and fourth fingers,
like Bernie showed me.
Their warm feathers feel like silk.
Blood bubbles in the corner of their eyes.
Their delicate hooked beaks
open slightly and tiny drops of blood
trickle down like sweat
staining my gloves red.

The pheasants have to be tied by their feet
with orange bale-string,
in braces, two to a string,
evenly balanced over a shoulder.



Hattie Grunewald

tarmac and dark grey cement flowed over her skin
and her hair was the colour of street lights
and when he looked at her,
the cars rushing past seemed only to be going
at 60 miles a decade.

her mouth tasted of newsagents when he kissed it
her lips smudged his.
eyes like rusty metal,
he kissed her.

and she didn't understand half the words he said
but she liked the feel of fabric softener
on her naked skin as she pulled off his shirt.
she liked the smell of expensive aftershave
and she reminded him of bubblegum machines
in fairgrounds.

their hearts were covered in grass stains;
the mud of trampled feet in the corner of a city park
when stars aren't visible under city smog
and the moon seems too old to care.

she could not even spell his surname
but when she danced she danced dark and
she was no longer lit by neon,
her skin no longer uncovered in public bathrooms
and he was traversing unknown territory
when she let him wander through her memories.
when he kissed her, he kissed privileged.

she spoke in plurals
and he breathed the words from her mouth
and smoke from her cigarette
and wine from her own breath.
her hands wander through the grass
to find her jeans’ pocket
to pick up a mobile to talk to a friend
he watches her, without moving.

and oh, what loves these be,
overlooked by tired moon and old trees
and the scream of rough kids far away
skin rough, soul rough
but his touch smoothes it away
and his chest is like marble in a Parisian museum.
his eyes are silver coins
and he kisses by the public school book.



Dom Hale

A hand retreats a sullen grasp
As sure as lovers break and clasp,
And part with pale lips aghast.

Specks spun blank in diamond pools,
Such pupils veiled by blinkered truths.
And all the while the clamour soothes.

The knack of hanging onto hearts
Is lost as evening leaves its mark.
Bright but bitter, brusque and stark.

"I'll meet you by the river shore"
As sunshine peppers dusk with gore.
The crimson smatter's dappled moor.

I held you tight, my arms a guide.
Horizon's careful cover hides
Us from the swelling, sparkling tide.

Crystals dripping from the mire,
A velvet host of grabbing briars-
Such shallow hands that never tire.

Goodbyes are breathed and tears dipped deep.
We acquiesce to lidded sleep
Surf shatters in a swift retreat.



Bryony Harrower

Woke and thrust pearls through her ears,
bled her lips red and scored tomorrow off
her calender. Closed herself up like an oyster
and found heself by the Thames, water hissing
if. The hesitation was enough to send her over
the edge.

unmaking rooms

Leon Yuchin Lau

somewhere in december

i awake to find us with the sun

in our mouths

coagulating like yolk. our bodies

folded into jilted corners, eyes

still papered with a dream

grown hazy by morning.


you angle yourself for some light,

propping your head up against mottled

wallpaper swirls, each arabesque

gliding ghost-like in a film

of ungreeting strangers.


the city outside writhes

like the back of a lawless viper;

the windows engulf us

in borderless white. it is

so bright the coffee trickles

down your chin like mercury.

so bright words are put to

shame, scattering under furniture

like pearls

in this winter room

where memory and glass

                        sweep our spaces.



 Awaiting Epiphany

Nai Liu

Left-brain society and I do not
click like high heels
on marbled floors or pearls on broken string
diving to their deaths- not at all
like the victorious sound
of golden keys unlocking golden doors.

Give it time, she says. Maybe it’ll grow on you.
I doubt that. If it did it’d grow like the thorny
leaves of the acacia, inviting
but guarded by esoteric ants, elitist giants
barring entry into the realm of the sacred,
sealing off the gems of the known.

Maybe it’ll appear from nowhere in a glimpse
of intuition, a softened image on sleepy eyelashes
peeled away and cherished-
to be a dream-catcher is to be gifted-
no fanfare, no drum roll,
knowledge comes quietly.

But for now, I doodle, watching ink squiggles
turn to meaning-four corners filled
with words, blissful; thoughts, ephemeral-
working inward from the outskirts,
towards the day
the seeker is triumphant.


Breaking the Ice

Hannah Locke

Me and my almost new,
Five year old sister
were standing near a pond
on the first of February,
amongst the First of the frozen flakes that year.

The pond had sealed over,
her dad suggests throwing stones at the ice
- I later see all the families doing this, I don’t know
I’d never seen it before that ice

I watched as she and our little brother Ronan
threw little stones to smash,
Then her
interfered, showing off,
they simply continued.

Roisin gives me one of her two,
and we tossed them into the air,
Celebrating quietly,
and smiling

Breaking the ice.



Karina McNally

Snow fall
Friends call.
Streets white
So bright.
Car stuck-
Bad luck!
Ice slide
Sleigh ride.
Palm snow
Ball throw.
Breathe smokes;
Fun, jokes.
Great plan
Make man,
Build high-
Grey sky.
Body, head,
Hat’s red,
Nose black,
Mouth crack,
Coal eyes.
Happy cries!
In park
Dogs bark;
Play chase-
Wet feet!
Day’s old:
Hungry, cold.
Some slush:
Can’t rush
Go home
Love snow!



Megan Pattie

The melody of ten thousand men
Rises and falls over the hills and the sea.
Crowds are quiet then restless then peaceful.
Animation fades to contemplation with the light
And as we wait to be caught up by time,
The wind throws papers up into the air.

Not a pleasant smell can be found cradled in the air;
Changelings for the seaside scents come with the men
And settle on the sands and blow around with the dust of time,
Come to and fro like the ferries from land to sea,
The boats that will come to save us, our shining light,
Waiting for them makes these mad soldiers peaceful.

It is our knowledge that makes the scene peaceful.
We possess hope so strong we breathe it into the air.
And the dead carnival in the dying light
Is full of life as it was in the youth of these men,
Frivolous and childish, playing by the sea,
Singing songs, we are quite lost in time.

There is nothing that ever trudged so slow as this hazy time.
Not even we as we marched to the beach, peaceful,
And drew deep, needed breath as we looked upon the sea,
And took great gulps of the cold, gentle air,
Closer than ever to the homes of our men,
Glittering with joyful spray in the brightest light.

Fires big and small, here and there, throw light
As the sun fails, pulled from us by the time.
The night brings out darkness in these men.
They want for worthless treasures and are less peaceful.
Curses and yells taint the stillness of the air
And damaged men throw damaged men into the sea.

I throw my pencil, too blunt, to sail the sea,
Pale and delicate in a new and dawning light.
The heavy horns of boats blast the air,
More welcome than ever after all this time.
Farewell to the beach, we leave it pensive and peaceful.
Boats sail home with half as many men.

The melody of ten thousand men, carried by the sea.
I hold my letter to my chest and feel peaceful in the morning light.
This is the time we have been waiting for. I breathe in sweet familiar air.


Phoebe Power

BlogEarlyBlogOften LaughOutLoud!
ShortMessageService is so 2two0thousand0and7seven.
I prefer MicroSoftNetwork, OKay
but only when you’ve got WirelessFidelity.

Every1one of you’ll get
AcquiredImmuneDeficiencySyndrome from
social networking, I
prefer my MovingPicturesexpertsgrouphyphenoneaudiolayer3three
player, it’s so compact.

My headphones nestled
within curls
rectilinear, charred and static,
I always use my GoodHairDays;
I remain faithful to the new religion.

My pal Ryan and I fly airily
away across the wasteland;
earth’s got cheap.

I’ll pick up a souvenir on the
UniversalSerialBus, some
SevereAcuteRespiratorySyndrome, and when I’m

hospitalised, they’ll get in
some visitors: amiable
to send me to zzzzzz

while my friend, Mister Brain
is being insouciantly fried
ears inwards;
by polyphonic microwaves with
toothy blue grins.


good morning Palestine

Adham Smart

this is your captain speaking
five-hundred meters
from your window

look at us
the red and gray
we fly at you

ugly birds
all talon and tusk

the fire we harbor
in frosty canisters
with messages
in children’s chalk

leaves you
with the smell
of burning textbooks

a shroud of dust
on his tiny face


Tuesday 22nd, morning

Phoebe Walker

Today I want to say that everything
is exactly normal, just that.
The neat somersault of the calendar
means less than a fleck of spit,
less than an eyelid's twitch. Nothing.
There are four sickle moon shapes
slivered on each of my palms.

The table,the two chairs
crooked at an angle, parted lips
the breakfast things laid out
as normal.
Blind gloss of bowl and plate.
Butter, gross yellow
Cereal shapes curled, little crusty foetuses
Nothing to speak of.

Just the bad treacle drip of your voice,
pooling on the newspaper,
the acid shape of your tongue, eaten into the spoon.

Just this,
and the quick-quick-slow of my bloodbeat, the thick air around me,
My upturned hands.


i am god

Melissa Whittle

i am the god of war
and the mighty lions roar

i am the goddess of love
and the coo of the white dove

i’m the little mad person who sits in the corner of the retirement home


My First

Jonathan Wilcox

It was not profound, exotic,
did not play
like saffron or zereshk
across my lips.
It didn’t stay with me,
haunt me forever after,
show the scope of my life
in relief, like some storm
shot with static.
Justification was
not necessary;
conscience didn’t burn.
I didn’t reflect afterwards
that he was about my age
and probably liked football too.
Life didn’t accelerate to
hyperspeed, until the roaring in my
ears was cut through
by the gentle click of metal pins
and then the CRACK!
And then everything didn’t slow down
and carry more weight.

I simply lined him up,
checked the windage (1.5" right),
and watched the left half of his face
from ear to nose.
His AK-47 hit the ground in real time.


Commended Poets

Harriet Agerholm, Freya Aquarone, Will Ashton, Joseph Attard, Tessa Bamkin, Ellie Barnes, Matthew Bent, Erica Berry, Fergus Blair, Elizabeth Briggs, Ben Brooks, Matthew Broomfield, Ruth O’Connell Brown, Katie Byford, Kaine Catton, Danielle Charette, Olivia Christophers, Ling Xin Chuan, Lauren Coleman, Charlotte Cooper, Laura Costa, Hannah Darbyshire, Melissa Doyle, Joseph Edwards, Gabriella Fee, Samuel Ferry, Nicole Findlay, Alexander Ford, Sophie Gaddes, Kim Germundsson, Laura Grantham, Beth Greaves, Eugenia Grigorieva, Aleka Gurel, Rebecca Hainsworth, Anurak Saelaow Hao, Rachel Hard, Emily Harrison, Bethany Harrison, Spencer Hart, Rebecca Hawkes, Ruth Ingram, Zainab Ismail, Natasha Japanwala, Madelaine Jones, Rosie Jones, Sawsan Khalaf, Andrew David King, Rachel Lewis, Ruth Maclean, Hamda Madar, Jonathan Manley, Louis Mayall, Rachel McCoach, Thomas Mitchell, Elliot Morgan, Bethan Morgan-Williams, Ceci Mourkogiannis, Gregory Ng, Jed O’Connor, Andrew Wynn Owen, Sarah Piggott, Anna Rathbone, Juan Romero, Rachel Rowan-Olive, Mia Ruf, Reece Saint, Ash Sarkar, Jack Stannard, Megan Stewart, Kate Strange, Phoebe Stuckes, India Sutton, Pauline Suwanban, Anastasia Symecko, Jenna Threadgold, Charlotte Trevella, Cathryn Turhan, Rebecca Tye, Joshua Kam Chun Wah, Glendon Kok Jun Wei, Rebecca Wheeler, Lee Zhi Xin, Chua Jun Yan, Christina Zhou.