IILT Poetry Prize Winning Poems
Below are the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize winning poems from the recent IILT Poetry Prize competition. The standard of all of the more than 30 entries was extremely high, and the judges had a very difficult time choosing the winning poems.
A bird caught on a child’s eyelash
On a busy evening
And black rain falling
The rain does not look like my mother’s plaits
Does not look like my grandfather’s date palm
Does not look like a child laughing
Does not look like water
Rain like gunpowder
Black like my heart’s sky
Terrified horses clatter
with mindless joy
DO NOT FLY
So roared the miserable palm
The bird flies
Here and there
In a time before this one
When the sky was screeching
And gunpowder made a red lake
The bird caught in the child’s lash
The emaciated child
And a cage hung with a thread of rain.
The child’s screech
The thread cut
The cage falls down
And the rain dies…..
On being an animal
I am a lonely bird,
A bird with no mother,
In the middle of the rainforest
Singing to the emptiness.
How did I get so lost?
A bird should not be lonely!
A bird should be in the midst of flock!
A bird should have other to sing to!
It's not a good life
With my stepfather
Who always has me under pressure.
It's a life without joy.
I'm a pathetic dog chasing after a man
If I do right I get a few scraps
If I do badly......
Well you know what happens to dogs!
I'm a mule.
I serve a master
Night and day
Monsoon or heatwave
A mule with no straw to lie down
I must face every damned change in the weather.
I'm a frog tumbling down a well
Shrieking for help.
Still no one comes to my aid.
I wish I had wings again.
I wish I was a butterfly
On not being afraid nor ashamed of childhood
I began by imitating.
Then I played at the river with the other children .
I thought water was a mirror
because I saw my image.
And I also thought water was flat
then when I dived into water
water began dragging me down.
The sun seemed to be like a round hot coal
One height with the mountain
and I could easily catch it.
I used to climb higher trees than some birds
and then always falling down
Death was only like sleeping
because the next day I would awake as usual
I wasn’t ashamed of talking nonsense
or doing something silly
I could eat everything
and I couldn’t understand
because I was ignorant.
I wasn’t threatened.
Although I was stupid and ignorant
I was being loved,
given fondness and well treated.