Category Archives: Competitions

Trevor Breedon – Chatsworth Street

Chatsworth Street

Not one memory of the place contains rain,
yet here it is now, siling it down, windscreen
runnels melting the house front’s worn brick,
its unmatched windows and the door
with the high letter box, from which news,
good and bad, drifted down for 18 years.
Odd that rain is not remembered, while snow
builds miniature ranges in gutters
and sun bakes gravelled tar into dinner smells,
fag smoke and sawn-off woodyard scents.

Today the strongest stink is said to be of weed
from dealing dens, the talk is of fireworks
launched into neighbours’ homes. But only
at the top end of the street, a resident proclaims,
the end that was for night-time gatherings
under the iron lamp in games of growing up,
baked bean kisses and long drags on rescued nubs,
before seeking, hiding, then vanishing inside
to listen to adult voices wonder
how they might escape this place.

Trevor Breedon

Trevor Breedon lives near Canterbury in Kent. He started writing poetry in 2014 after a career spent working as a sub-editor on newspapers in Sheffield, Nottingham and London. He is a member of two poetry groups, SaveAs Writers in Canterbury and SoundLines in the Sandwich/Deal area.

Chatsworth Street by Trevor Breedon was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (April 2021) judged by Mary Anne Smith Sellen.

Ama Bolton – Sumburgh Head 2020

Sumburgh Head 2020

I’ve been coming here
daytime dusk and dark
since early spring

I have watched
fulmar and puffin
seen tufts of thrift
bloom and wither
on the cliff edge

I’ve known the camera’s eye
blurred with rain
seen the gaze turn
from sunlit fields
to steel-grey cumulonimbus
behind the lighthouse

I have seen sunset
flame-yellow or palest peach
the sun’s last blink
under a blanket of stratus
a lit window on a spit of land
dazzle of airport lights

I’ve walked the cliffs
stared out to sea
watched ships pass
heard surge and backwash
and the clamour of birds

I’ve found a way
to outwit gravity’s drag
spread black-tipped wings
skimmed the waves
braved the wind
dived and snatched
flown back to my mate
to our nook in the high-rise
moss-green rockface

in the early hours
I have tuned in
     Shetland Isles
southeast four to six
becoming cyclonic

Ama Bolton

Ama Bolton convenes a Stanza group in Somerset, where she lives with a sculptor and two hens. Her work has appeared in several anthologies, from Bridport Prize (2008) to Horses of a Different Colour (2021), in journals including Magma, Mslexia, Coast to Coast to Coast, Obsessed with Pipework, Brittle Star, The Alchemy Spoon and Far-Off Places, online at Right Hand Pointing, Unlost, Places of Poetry, The Poetry Map of Scotland and The Stare’s Nest, and on Radio 3’s The Verb.

Sumburgh Head 2020 was commended in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (April 2021) judged by Mary Anne Smith Sellen.

Ted Gooda – Seeds


In late winter I sowed so many seeds,
spending time in a blindly hopeful gamble:
covered them in dirt knowing nothing
would appear at all for weeks, if ever.
Petulant frost did for some, one starred night
when the greenhouse door was left wide open;
heat did for more when scorching sun crippled
through radiating glass that should protect.

In April, I planted out, after what
I’d heard was the last of the cold. It wasn’t.
Demeter’s grief had miles further to run,
adding to my hurt. Nodding bedding plants,
begonia and petunia, lost their heads.
Little red mouths stopped smiling. Frozen
corpses lay in that cold bed, unblanketed.

My daughter, high priestess of Pinterest
taste, helped with re-planting. She wore
my gloves, hands nearly my size,
I had to show her how to break hard ground.
I watched her choose new places, pattern earth.
So more of that blasted blind hope returns,
with Persephone, broadcast to the winds.

Ted Gooda

Ted Gooda is a West Sussex poet, ghostwriter and teacher. She is editor for the National Writing Project (UK), and the ghost of a series of foster carer books by Louise Allen (writing as Theresa McEvoy), the most recent of which, Eden’s Story reached the Sunday Times Top Ten general bestsellers list in February 2021. She lives, not far enough from the madding crowd, with her husband, three children and a flock of hens.

Seeds by Ted Gooda received a special mention in the Sentinel Literary Quarterly Poetry Competition (April 2021) judged by Mary Anne Smith Sellen.