|Winners of the Gibraltar Poetry Competition 2014 with the judge, Mr Durante, and the Minister for Culture, Mr Linares|
|Me, receiving my prize from the Minister and looking embarrassed - I hate photos!|
The competition judge, Charlie Durante, spoke in his introduction to the award ceremony about the breadth of themes touched on in this year's entries, including war poems. I guess this year, marred as it has been by some conflict or other around the globe and the threats that ideological extremism pose to any lasting peace anywhere, joined by the memories of the First World War so strong this the year of this war's centenary, the theme of war cannot be far from our minds.
|My boy, David Anderson, surprised and delighted at winning his category.|
It is always interesting to browse entries and see what others see around them, what inspires them to make an observation, write it down and record it for posterity. Poetry opens a single window to the poet's thoughts which in a poem are expressed in a deeply personal way, a unique way which cannot be echoed by anyone else. So in reading some of the winning entries which we are lucky to read in the Gibraltar Chronicle, sponsors of the event, we are able to dip into insights to the world about us. David kindly allowed me to reproduce his poem below and I was surprised that he (usually to be found nose to screen in the depths of some computer game or other, communicating in binary code or peculiar adolescent grunts and trading in bit coins - whatever these are) demonstrated such a sensitive view of how it feels to sit at a desk in the exam room, waiting to turn that question paper round, knowing your entire future is at stake, and perfectly aware that any conscious knowledge of the subject you might have had escaped your over-worked brain over breakfast that morning. His poem is about the tension of crossing that chasm of fear and tackling those exams. Maybe although I never seem to catch him with a book in his hand, the boy is literate after all.
|Mother and son, proud moment|
My poem was sparked by a photograph my very talented photographer daughter took of her son last year on a beach. The sense of wonder that a two-year-old displays in his face as he looks around the infinite spaces of sea-shore and horizon beyond borders on the indescribable. When I look at my grandsons and recall how my own children looked at the world around them with insatiable curiosity, absorbing details, thinking about what they see, working out their world and what might lie beyond the horizon, I see the child-like wonder that adults have usually lost. That we should also view the world about us with the same sense of non-judgemental curiosity would be a wonderful thing itself.
And there was a third family entry. My 12 year old daughter, Carmen added her thoughts to the event and came up with a poem expressing her feelings and fears about the shadow cast by the ebola epidemic, which even in the twenty-first century awakens the horrors of plague and disease experienced for generations. I am a very proud Mum at the moment, needless to say.
Congratulations to all the winners and runners up - many poems were terrific. I also congratulate all who entered, because it is not without a little courage that you put your intimate thoughts out for the world to see.
Over the Bridge by David Anderson
Catch me if you can by Carmen Anderson