Poetry Competition

Ablaze Poetry Competition

Ablaze started running its poetry competition in 2015, to support and promote literacy in Primary Schools around Bristol and South Gloucestershire. Since then, we have run the competition another five times and received nearly 2,000 poems from local 5- to 11-year-olds. We launched our seventh competition in November 2022.

Over the years we’ve had the pleasure of reading a succession of amazing poems, met some inspirational young poets and been privileged to hear the winners bring their writing to life by reading them aloud.

The competition is open to anyone aged 5-11 attending Primary school in the greater Bristol area. Details of how to enter our latest competition, in partnership with RPC and Intellect Ltd are here.

A child reads her winning poem from the Ablaze Poetry book

2022/23: My Future

Our 2022/23 competition was on the theme of ‘My Future’ and we were very grateful to RPC and Intellect Books for supporting the competition. The overall winner was Atlas Rowlands from Ashton Gate Primary School with his fantastic wonderful poem ‘A Lego Future’. The book cover was designed by Arjan Singh-Rodh of St Stephens School.

We were touched at how many of the poems centred around the climate crisis, social justice, and a sense of wonder towards our planet. As a result, the book of selected poems is full of insightful, sometimes hard-hitting truths, and reads as a galvanizing call to action.

A celebration event was held at RPC offices in Bristol, where the talented winners read out their poems and received a certificate and prize.

Poetry winners holding certificates with Lord Mayor Paul Goggin

A Lego Future

Soon we will live in a world made of Lego.
And it will be called Lego-world.
All the buildings will be made of Lego.
The cafes will be made of Lego.
The houses will be made of Lego.
All the people will be made of Lego.
And the Lego people will be hard,
And will have very posh houses with balconies and lovely kitchens and
lovely bedrooms and lovely bathrooms.
They will have nice cars and swimming pools,
Dining rooms and private jets.
Everything will be made of Lego.
But
They won’t be able to have cuddles because they will be too hard.
They won’t be able to enjoy their food because they don’t have mouths.
They won’t be able to laugh and cry because they have no hearts.
They won’t be able to die because they have no brains.
But they would be able to live a life in Legoworld.
But I wouldn’t want to.

The winning cover image for the theme My Future- a picture of buildings, rockets and flying cars
Poetry competition winners with Councillor Paula O'Rourke- then the Bristol Lord Mayor

2020/21: Happiness

Our 2020/21 competition was on the theme of ‘Happiness’ and we were very grateful to CMS Law and The National Lottery Heritage Fund via Bristol Poetic City for supporting the competition. The overall winner was Ella Haines from Ashton Gate Primary School with her wonderful poem ‘Books of Wonder’. The book cover was designed by Solange Johnston of Whitehall Primary School.

A celebration event was held at RPC offices in Bristol, where the talented winners read out their poems and received a certificate and prize.

Books of Wonder

When I am sad
And feeling very bad
I want to delve
Into a book on my shelf

And emerge with the story
All full of glory.
On a detective mission I go
Searching above and below.

The wonderful mystery
Set way back in history
To see into Agent Zaiba’s head
Reliving all the things that she said.

And when it is gloomy outside
In the book the sun is shining bright and wide.
And when there is a burning heat wave
My book friends and I will be in a snow wave

And I will make a freezing white snowball
And there will be fun for all.
When I am playing games
About silky tigers and lions untamed

I will take a smidgen of the story
Into my game already full of glory.
It will extend my imagination
And amazing will be my innovation

That’s why books are my happy place
No gloom that I can trace.
I am not sad
And not feeling bad.
So happiness comes to me
When my imagination is free.

2019/20: Water

Our 2019/20 competition was on the theme of ‘Water’ and was supported by Bristol Water. The overall winner was Leilani Peglar’s poem, Water, from St Ursula’s E-ACT Academy and the book cover was designed by Aliza Ali from Woodlands Academy.

Due to the Covid pandemic we were unable to hold a celebration event, so we visited the winners on their doorsteps to hand over their prizes and certificates.

Ablaze poetry competition overall winner in 2020
Ablaze Poetry Competition cover design winner in 2020

Water

My mummy says it’s important to drink water every day
So that I can keep healthy and keep illness away.
I know I’m really lucky, the water we have is clean,
Children in Tanzania drink water filled with disease.
Those children aren’t so lucky, they get sick and many will die,
I watch the films with mummy and it makes me want to cry.
No clean water to play in and none to wash in too,
Water filled with worms and fleas,
Drinking wee and poo.
I wish that I could help them, to be as lucky as me,
I promise to drink more water, so I can stay healthy

2019 poetry competition winners with Bristol Poet Miles Chambers and the Lord Mayor

2018/19: Travel

In 2018/19, we asked children to write poems on the theme of Travel and we received nearly 300 amazing poems from primary school pupils around Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. The overall winner was Ruby Jenkinson from St Werburgh’s Primary School and the cover was designed by Imani Peglar from St Ursula’s E-ACT Academy.

Bristol Airport supported the competition, and the prize giving event was hosted by Clarke Willmott.

Travel Through My Day With Me

Beep, beep, beep my alarm goes off.
Whoosh, I surf out of bed with a bit of a cough.
I skate to the bathroom to wash and brush.
I hear the toast pop up, Oh! I’m in a bit of a rush.

I open up my parachute and glide down the stairs,
I eat my yummy breakfast, sat on one of the chairs.
As I finish eating, my heart is excitedly beating!
I get into my boat with my favourite pet goat.

But Mum is calling “Ruby, you’ve forgotten your coat!”
We row to school and it feels cool,
There’s swimming later, I’ll swish and swash like an alligator.
Maths is fun – we’re counting odd numbers,
Wait a minute, 35 + 63 equals how many cucumbers?
English is great, I get to work with my best mate.
We invent new words, whilst we listen to the birds.
At playtime I get in my rocket, with sweets in my pocket.

I set off for the moon.
I’m back an hour later, with a hot potato
and a friendly baboon!
Next lesson’s art – I draw a bad horse and cart, so bad, I can’t tell them apart!

I imagine what it’d be like to be a Roman, riding a chariot, with my good friend Harriet.
Or what it would be like to push a wheelbarrow, if I was a little sparrow.
Lunch is on the mountain, where there is a water fountain,
I arrived by hot air balloon and need to be back at school soon.
As I’m up high floating in the breeze,
I suddenly cough, fart, burp, hiccup and sneeze.
Back at school, it’s time for Music – strum, strum ,tap. Strum, strum, tap.
For our performance, the audience will give us a huge cheer and a clap.

We finish the day with a cookery class,
Hot chocolate brownies and milk in a glass.
I scoot to my boat. I row with my goat, many times around the moat.
Hooray, I’m home, exhausted from my journey.

I sit down for five minutes before I rush off to play with Bernie.
Next time, I’ll fly way up high, in the sky, whilst eating blueberry pie,
On a plane, once again, going somewhere it doesn’t rain.
Bye bye!

2017/18: My Planet

Our theme for the 2017/18 competition was ‘My Planet’.  Our team of judges picked the poem ‘One World’ by Maryam Iqbal from Whitehall Primary School as the overall winner. The cover was designed by Victoria Bartlewska from St Teresa’s Catholic Primary School.

2018 Poetry Competition winners with Bristol Poet Miles Chambers

One World

I wish we lived in a world where everyone was treated equally,
No difference between rich and poor,
Where we all lived in perfect harmony.

A world without conflict and war,
A world where we respect every faith
A world where we could be sure,
That no one was unsafe.

A difference in race can start a war,
A war between the powerful and poor,
So what if we are black or white?
We all have the same rights.

Poor children crying in pain,
Just want to be happy again.
Scared, they sit in hunger,
Knowing they may not live for longer.

Loving families torn apart,
Feeling distressed, hopeless with a broken heart.
People’s homes shattered to rubble,
Their lives now an ever-lasting struggle.

Let’s all come together, united as one.
Let’s end all wars and put away the gun.
Why can’t we all just see,
That unity is diversity.

2016/17: Friendship

The theme for our second competition, held in 2016/17 was Friendship. The overall winner was Iris Taylor from SS Peter and Paul Catholic Primary School and the cover was designed by Anona Whately from Whitehall Primary School.

2017 poetry competition winners with local poet Miles Chambers and author Huw Powell

Friendship Is A Miraculous Thing

For my two best friends Ornaigh and Katie

Friendship never comes to an end,
Well not friendship with a proper friend.
When friendship unfolds and makes a start,
It will forever be inside your heart.

Friends are people whom you love,
Even when life gets really tough.
Inside your heart friendship is stowed,
When you walk along the friendship road.

Friends are people, who share with you,
Who care, who love, who get you through.
The highs and lows but no matter what,
A friend is with you and cares a lot.

Nobody can ever tear apart,
The friendship that dwells inside your heart.
But please remember one more thing,
Friendship is a miraculous thing.

2015/16: Reading

For our first poetry competition, we chose the theme of Reading. Our first overall winner was Erin Stimson from Ashton Gate Primary School with her poem The Loneliest Book in the Library. Purab Jayendra from Whitehall Primary School had the winning cover design.

First poetry competition winner Erin Stimson
2016 Ablaze Poetry book cover design winner Purab Jayendra

The Lonliest Book in the Library

I am a book in the library that’s never been borrowed,
I’m here every day and I feel so much sorrow,
I fell down the back where no-one can see,
Whatever will become of me?
The other books they come and they go,
When will it be my time, though?

One day I saw a girl walk in,
She had a really cheerful grin,
To my surprise she reached below,
And saw me sitting all alone.
Her hand stretched out to pick me up,
Dare I hope for this much luck?
She read my first page and she was gripped,
Before I knew it, I’d been picked!
And with one stamp, I was freed,
And soon became the most popular read,
A lonely book no more