Schoolwork showcase: secondary poems
Education and Learning 2024

Schoolwork showcase: secondary poems

Young poets ·

Students were asked to write a poem containing the words 'pen' and 'talk'

Friday, 15 March 2024, 15:39


1. Best secondary poem

Spilt Milk

Grief lurks in cobwebbed shadows,

Surreptitious, shifty and shrewd,

A Deathstalker Scorpion, venomous,

For a moment - brief interlude,

Then pincers grasping, clasping, a victim fragile, frail,

A paralysing, searing sting, secreted from its tail.

Guilt hovers raucously overhead,

Its squalls pierce the evening chill,

A voracious vulture stalking its prey,

Then silently - in for the kill.

On a bed of remorse, stripped to the bone,

A ravaged soul - no way to atone.

Fear is a young trembling fawn,

Abandoned without its doe,

Loneliness, a single robin, pecking in the snow,

Despair is a freight train screeching,

Pounding what-ifs on tracks in the rain,

And Loss, her blue lips and swollen tongue,

All life drained from her veins.

Love is a gift with candles,

A birthday invitation surprise,

A homemade, frosted, carrot cake,

With fine-blended walnuts inside,

A pleasant talk, a flame, a wish, a taste, a plate of crumbs,

Then frantic, rasping, Get the pen, and moments frozen, numb.

Regret is milk spilt on the floor,

And puddles of tortured thoughts,

What if she hadn’t switched it that day,

Her own handbag for the one I had bought,

What if I’d known her condition or we could start again,

And what if she hadn’t been rushing and forgotten the Epipen.

Forgiveness is flowers besides my friend’s grave,

It’s the many years that have passed,

A pure-white dove with an olive branch,

Placed tenderly on the grass,

As Guilt and all his cousins, have now long since departed,

And I’ve learnt to see the light again, despite being broken-hearted.

Irma, aged 14. English International College

Judges' comments: “Marvellous concept and structure, taking us on an exploration from grief to forgiveness via fear and love among others. Stunning range of vocabulary and striking turn of phrase,” said Peter Edgerton.

2. Runner-up secondary poem

Whispers of the Pen

In the hush of the night, the pen takes flight,

Its ink a river of thoughts, dark and bright.

Words unspoken, in silence they dwell,

Awaiting the touch of the pens gentle spell.

In the dance of shadows, secrets unfold,

Each stroke of the pen, a story retold.

For when tongues falter, and voices fail,

The ink on the paper becomes a trail.

Through the papers embrace, emotions walk,

In the whispered cadence of the pen’s talk.

It weaves through the pages, a silent symphony,

A tale of longing, of hope, and epiphany.

Oh, how the pen converses with the soul,

In letters of love, in tales untold.

With every stroke, a universe unfurls,

As the ink spills forth, and the heart twirls.

So let the pen speak, let its ink flow free,

In the language of dreams, let it be.

For in the silence of paper, in the quiet den,

Lies the power of the pen, the art to begin.

Pelin, aged 15. Atlas American School of Málaga

“‘In the hush of the night’ is a lovely opening line. Includes the rhyme ‘symphony’/’epiphany’ - it’s a risk which could have fallen flat but works beautifully,” expressed singer-songwriter Peter Edgerton.

Stories and poems

3. Special mention secondary poem

The Classroom

The clock keeps ticking over loud conversations.

My thighs stuck to the seat, I cry out in frustration.

The ink keeps pouring, splotches on my paper.

The feeling then sets in but the aches still linger.

Breathing heavily I close my textbook

Lie back on my seat, biting on my pen which is now a chew toy to me.

Then I hear whispers and eyes that are on me.

Am the talk of the classroom? I didn’t do anything wrong right? I was only a distraction merely…

The teacher broke the eerie atmosphere in a second, maybe less

‘Put your work on my desk and see yourself out.’

People pouring out, but I’m still drowning in doubt.

A. Webb, aged 14. Novaschool Sunland International

“Darkly atmospheric. Reminds me of Joy Division for some reason. Shows great depth of feeling and perception,” remarked singer-songwriter Peter Edgerton.

4. Selected secondary poem


In a world of pencil and paper,

Where thoughts flow and ideas taper,

Lines drawn with graphite grace,

Capturing moments, time and space.

Inscribing tales of joy and sorrow,

On pages where dreams borrow,

Words to weave their silent song,

As the ink dances, swift and strong.

With every stroke, a story unfolds,

In the quiet whispers, secrets hold,

A canvas for the mind to explore,

With pencil and paper, forevermore

Margo, aged 12. Laude San Pedro International College

Former editor Liz Parry said she enjoyed this poem’s rhymes.

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