Young and older poets from St Margaret’s and Twickenham were among the 22 shortlisted finalists for the inaugural Poems in the Park competition organised by The Friends of Richmond Park and Sheengate Publishing (publishers of The Richmond and Elmbridge and Kingston magazines).

The competition was launched in the Spring and reached it’s culmination during November at an awards presentation at The Royal Ballet School in the centre of Richmond Park. The winners, runners-up and commendations were judged in three age categories (12 and under, 13-18 and 19+) from over 650 entries received across a wide area of south west London. The judges for the competition included renowned children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Sir Trevor McDonald, the editors of the two co-sponsoring magazines and local poet Paddy Hughes.

Dame Jacqueline said of the competition: “I’m a veteran of judge children’s poetry competitions, but these entries were truly outstanding”.

The winning poems and poets, a full story and photographs of the event can be seen at:

                         you don't fool me, you 
                       orange-breasted buddha with 
                     your harpoon kiss, pirate monk in meditation on your 
                       willow twig, bobbing like 
                    a boat upon a sea of winter 
               air, watching snowflakes melting 
            in the stream.  I too can be tranquil 
        if it means I come to know tranquility's 
     reward.  A downward shimmer, dart and 
    splash of feathers Caribbean blue, and 
  one more silver minnow leaves the  
   world, sucked along your harpoon 
 tunnel down to minnow paradise, 
down to where old comrades 
must be waiting ... tranquil 
 on your willow twig, orange- 
 breasted buddha, meditating 
    quietly with your Rolls 
      Royce killer brain, 
         thinking minnow, 

Kingfisher, Beverley Brook, December 2010 by Chris Rice, local St Margarets Resident