Polly wins planetary poetry prize

Dated: 20 April 2023

Overall winner of the Woodhouse poetry competition - Polly Knights
The winners of our 2023 Woodhouse poetry competition on the theme of 'The Planets' were announced just before Easter and the overall winner for best poem is student Polly Knights.
The winner and three runners up (Enzo, Hillary and Ibrahim,) all received prizes of Amazon vouchers. 
Head of Faculty and Head of English John O'Shea, said "There has been such a great selection this year. The theme has inspired meditations on the planet, individual relationships both lost and unobtainable, social commentary, the characteristics of the planets through flights of the imagination.  Incredibly, there were 58 entries this year and we took votes from among the entire Woodhouse staff to make this a truly democratic decision. This was an exceptional year for really accomplished work."
Winner Polly - who came to Woodhouse from The Elstree UTC and is studying A level biology, drama and psychology - said "My biggest inspiration was the Japanese anime 'Your Lie in April,' which I adapted into a short story last year and subsequently into a poem. My poem 'June Afternoon' tells the story of a boy who channels his grief into music, ultimately creating an entire solar system.
My passion for poetry stems from its wide range of interpretations and the freedom it allows me to express myself and tell stories without the constraints of rules or conventions. With my poetry voucher, I purchased embroidery threads and a canvas for an embroidery project I am currently working on.
Winning the poetry competition has empowered me to continue writing poetry and draw inspiration from the techniques and effects used by the other poets in their entries. Studying at Woodhouse strikes a perfect balance between academic rigor and a social life, as I am able to talk openly with my peers who also motivate me to strive for my best."
Overall Winner
June Afternoon by Polly Knights
I play the piano,
One last time for her,
Playing twinkle twinkle little stars
Hoping we get to see the stars again
Above the peer,
Or over the fields,
under the moon
On a random
June afternoon
I play the keys so hard,
Friction turns my fingers bloody
Creating red embers
and yellow sparks
That turn to golden stars
And Gleaming planets,
I wish you could watch me
As I make this auditorium
a planetarium
In this planetarium
I’ve made you a solar system
Out of music,
Where we can watch the stars
And planets,
All day
And night
But now
There’s a black hole,
Not made by music
Made by sickness
My hands are dancing,
My heart is pouring,
But no amount of melody
Will bring her back to me.
There are no more stars,
No more planets,
No more little moments under the moon
On a random
June afternoon
Many other students produced very high quality poems that were worthy of a prize but three stood out from the rest -  Enzo, Hillary and Ibrahim. Congratulations and well done to all who took part.
Runner up
Enzo Prempeh 
Amid the night I look upon the shore
The moon peaks its head above endless seas
All I can think about is you
Had it told the moon about you
It would create tides
Matching the melody of your heartbeat
Had I told the wind about you
It would leave the sky
And command its nimbus clouds
To deliver me to you
Runner up 
Hillary Boye Doku 
Grandad told mummy he followed the stars
To Burma Bright teeth, grinning,
With his characteristic Ghanaian gap
An army man with an army rank
His duty, an extension of a greedy limb
Like the body of Leviathan
Little African bodies fingering eastwards
The colonial head nodding with approval
He drank from the wisdom of the planets
He met the stars and carried his mala beads
A tall, proud man
Stooping to his new religion
A new, Taurus sun
Stubborn, he couldn't forget
Even back home
Where Grandma held her rosary
Taking her devi wo (children) to mass
He poured his findings into his baby
He told her of the planets creating and dancing to Borborbor music
The thrash of the Ewe drum, the start of a new enlightenment
Discovering beauty in the divine
They were both of the Venus Earth
It’s another planet, that is sure
Unorthodox witchcraft
Juju, Voodoo
Celestial predictions, horoscopic inscriptions
Nothing like the master’s desire
He dances amongst the planets now
Three years of passionate orbit
In his draped robe cloth, his technicolour coat
Peering over the head of empire
Still whispering to mummy, to me
Runner up 
Ibrahim A.K.A ‘The Bourgeoisie’ Muhammed Uddin
Just a young swan, floating about in solitude.
I cannot last remember,
being together with my brother,
who has not been by my side
ever since the day our parents died.
Every night when the sun falls asleep,
When the stars take a leap
and the babies all weep.
Two planets appear and they look ever so near.
So I stare in awe as my surroundings disappear.
The first. Larger than the other.
Mighty in size, but not void in colour.
Makes a young swan like me
Feel as mighty as a tree
And that is exactly what I want to be.
It’s pair,
So close yet so far.
As if it was brushing against my hair.
Made me feel like I was a star.
A tear trickled down
Until there I found
A warm white wing,
Wiping away my sorrow with a fling.
Together we watch the planets align
As if we have been together all this time.

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