poetrypulse poetry competitions uk

free monthly competition - January 2019 
(28 entries)
How Did I Not See
How did I not see though you tried to show me?
Your art and your words spelled it out- I was too blind to see,
How alone you must have felt while you waited for me to realise,
I am sorry for all your loneliness and your fear.

Yet, now that is in the past and your future beckons you,
How brave you will need to be and how alone you may feel,
I will always be here waiting to pick you up when you fall,
Inside you are still the person I know and love.

Life is for living in the way in which brings us happiness,
Even when that life is not how it started out,
There is a long road ahead and this is your journey,
I can only stand by your side when you have need of me.

Love they say breaks down all barriers- so go find the love you need,
Forget those who would condemn you for they live in ignorance,
Be always true to yourself and seek the reflection of you that is in your heart,
Now I see, now I understand, and I love you for whoever you are.

© JULIE ACHILLES 2019  England

You can punch me down,
Drop me in the dust.
You can kick me to a curb,
And leave me there to rust.
You can shove me to the wall,
And knock me to the ground,
I’d be bruised and beaten,
But still, I’d be around.

You may call me a loser,
You may call me a fool.
You can make me the subject,
Of your ridicule.
You can make me feel worthless,
You can make me upset.
Though I’m weak and helpless
You can't make me forget.

To this day I am uncertain
Who and when to trust.
Which person would receive me,
Or like you; leave me in the dust.

I was ignorant yet wholesome,
I was gullible but kind.
Dreams of fearless knights on steeds
Had clouded my youthful mind.
I believed I was a warrior,
I believed in doing right.
Then you stripped me of my armour,
But I will still join the fight.

I must demonstrate my value,
I must show that I am strong.
I believed I was a failure;
But I will prove myself wrong.
I must see myself as decent,
I must tell myself I’m fine.
I’m worth the same as all the rest
I have to draw the line.

I can’t let you be this person,
Because now you’ve gone too far.
No longer can I wait and wish
On rising shooting stars.
I believed you could constrain me,
You fancied me your steed.
But I shall slip out of my bridle,
I will see myself freed.

© Kaitlyn Leung 2019  Hong Kong

The Cow and I
She swings her massive head,
coils a long, dark tongue
around a tuft of grass.

She pulls it up, starts to chew,
watching as I repair
the fence that keeps her penned.

Her gaze is unblinking.
I wonder what she thinks
about this intrusion on her land.

Hot and tired I stop awhile,
resting against the remains
of an old tree stump, long dead.

The cow turns her back on me,
bored of my stillness,
moves to another patch of grass.

Such a simple existence,
being a cow. I envy her
routine of waking, eating, sleeping.

A field mouse scurries past my feet
and narrowly avoids death by hers
as she shifts herself again.

A shadow passes overhead,
a blur of wings swoops down,
pounces on the unlucky mouse.

The bird flies off, its prey
gripped tight in its talons.
The cow and I watch it disappear.

We two, the only witnesses
to this small cycle of life and death.
The cow looks at me and resumes chewing.

© Tracy Davidson 2019  England

Who knows the voice of hope?
who sings the song of hope?
If hope wanders to land unknown,
and starves our eyes its face to behold,
who knows if hope shall stick to the road?
who knows what hope shall ask of us?

When hope seems to fade on dreams so blurred,
when hope shall fail our weary heart and have us shed blood,
when hope shall leave us alone without another lord,
who shall call her by name?
who shall bring her back to men?

If hope has a name, she could be Emmanuella (beyond our reach yet always with us),
If hope has a child, she could be a Yvonne (always alive, yet lay still afar).
If hope has no child, she could be an Ambassador, (commited to her purpose)
if hope has no name, today hope shall cease to reign.

Hope is lost, hope is found
hope grows, hope gets stout,
hope pleases, hope fails
But if hope die, can she live again?

© Ambassador Amakor 2019  Nigeria

Eyes & flu
Legs are but can't go
Eyes are but can't see
Mind work but not straight
It thinks, like afraid
The infection in eyes
Seems like battle of cattle with water
When we get flu in eyes
Seems a car without light in the rain
Go away, go away and leave my house
The cells say, the eyes are my house
We serve one drop of chemical
The cells through back water
The quarreling made eyes red
And the mind totally bad
Doctor says rest but the world not nest
How I can? How I can?
How can leave work?
More leave makes, my job in dark
Don't worry be happy
Everything all right
Flu is untouchable
So, the leave easy can
But so bored, too much on bed
Life good, life bad
some step make life sad
I am still, I am still, I am still think go out
From this blindness life.

© Rishi R Bhardwaj 2019  India

Oh! Look at the mountains , the pines the streams.
The soft grass , the clouds , the beautiful creeks.
Oh ! Nature is such a wonderful treasure ,
God must have made it in His leisure.

Oh! Look at the forests , the maples , the rivers.
The marshes , the rain , the thick green cover.
Oh ! Nature is such a wonderful treasure ,
God must have made it in His leisure.

Oh ! Look at the deserts , the sands , the dunes.
The camels , the sun , the bright beautiful moon.
Oh ! Nature is such a wonderful treasure ,
God must have made it in His leisure.

Nature reflects qualities of the Divine,
Its an expression of His will sublime.
Oh ! Nature is such a wonderful treasure ,
God must have made it in His leisure.

© Tahera Jadhav 2019  India

Neutered Bacchus
Alabaster ballsack over there,
Stripped of its former sculpted member,
Chipped off my time's remorseless erosion,
Or some post-Pagan prude's notion,
Either way the deity sits legs astride,
Confident posture unable to hide,
Proudly showing what's now bereft,
For Bacchus' penis is no longer left,
Perhaps it's kept within a drawer,
Or cupboard,
Or is no more,
I wonder how many more agog,
Are wondering about the disappeared knob,
One thing though is abundantly clear,
Bacchus has had better years.

© Paul Christian 2019  England

Woe Violin concerto No.13. In D- Major.
Listen his story,
Upon life’s violin.
Fingers enraged,
Tempo Seethes.
Rosin too taught,
Emits loud wail.
Slashing strokes,
Venomous notes.
Repeated piece,
Self Pity score.
No one to listen,
Still more verse.
Auditorium empty,
Tickets unsold.

© John Garry 2019  England

The Visit
I hug her tight

A moment locked in time I wished would never end

Drink in her scent and fold her tightly in my arms

Like long ago when she was young

And bound to me daily.

And then I let her go

On a crowded street

With everyone milling around on a wet Lisbon day

Open the taxi door to help her in

And let her fly back

Across the great arc of the world


From coral barrelled rooftops of whitewashed villages

That bleed into the sunset

Along the coast.

Like a solitary stork

To her nest

I watch her face fade through rain splattered glass

My heart pulsing in my throat

Distance between us growing as she makes her way

To the check in, bag drop, security queue

Duty free and gate

Southwards she goes

Dipping southwards towards the rising sun

Past arid sand-baked deserts

Southwards past steaming jungles that sit like jewels encroached on an azure sea

Now reaching the edge of an ochre painted land

Southwards across the red heart


Past the pastures of the brolga

To the fertile fringe

Till she circles and lands.

I trace her every step

As I make my way back slowly to the shopping mall

To sit and cry invisible tears


A surreal loop in time

As the real world throngs around me

To go about their everyday lives

To shop and celebrate

But like the stork or crane

I must let her fly and build her nest

Afar ...

And wait and hope for her return

Next spring.

© Maggie Persson 2019  Portugal

Precious moments that make me go wandering in tears
Loving past that thrills me to weep in fear
But now I got nothing in mind that is dread
I have kept all behind and moved forward for all

Lot I ever want to remember and share
But those pains and agony keeps me not to tell
Joyous moments that turned sour and made all bitter
Worse time that turned all into a glorious memory that's better

I got many that keeps me remembering but nothing is like then
The path I walked, the singing and dancing all is lost
Sleeping in mommy's lap and drooling all is ever gone
The picnicking and sorts of picture taking ever do I get time to do them
Oh! Memories untold

© Henry Ayodele 2019  Nigeria

Wraps ever so tightly,
Enveloping your whole.
Clouding your vision,
Exacting a bleak toll.
Thoughts become shaded,
A gloomy lifeless grey.
Weighing down so heavily,
Darkness here to stay.
Broken you stumble,
Through a mire crawl.
Nothing's ever worthwhile,
Except nothing at all.
An endless daily battle,
We know the final cost.
Refusal to surrender,
Still resigned been lost.
Though the haze blinds,
Paths of light still shine.
Supportive hand guides.
Yourself again you'll find.
Strength's not just coping,
Two steps back, holding on.
Accept hands reaching out,
My step still forward one.

© Johnny Parky 2019  England

Morning creeps in
Choc-a-block schedule
Find me having a brew,
Lazing around feeling a scruple

Mundanity has seeped through
Out on the daily schedule
I don't mind a brew
Still feeling scruple;

Then comes broad daylight
This makes them pun
Trying to hold the night
That was filled with fun

Work has finally taken over
Rein in the pun
Sunday night,
Let's put an end to weekend fun

© Siddhart Bakshi 2019  India

Waiting For the Unknown
I sit on the hard brick wall every day,
Longing to hear stones crunching underfoot
Of the man I long for;
The man I love.

My Father left us for an army uniform,
Empty words of reassurance tumbling from him.
He could make no promises:
He could be dead.

My parent,
My role model,
My lifelong friend,
Lying lifeless in a place far from home.

Taken by the enemy
As a lowly prisoner.
‘Twas the last we heard of him.
They don’t give a damn about petrified families.

Though the second great combat is now over,
We are barred from rejoice and the sensation of peace,
For our souls cannot be free of war
Until we know what became of him.

I must quell these solemn thoughts.
I must remember his voice:
“I love you, my son.”
Oh, Daddy, where are you now?

© Hannah Earl 2019  New Zealand

First Times
Running in your first snowfall
I saw you trip and full-reach
Fly where a gravel path lay
Concealed cruel beneath
The perfect white snow.
It’s sudden teeth tearing
Soft, unprotected palms.
In awe you watched
The beading blood rise
Crisscross on your wrists.
For the first time flesh rent.
Your gaze in wonder before
The pain, before the cry
Took me back to that
Time so long passed
When reaching for a bee
Busy in a snapdragon
I discovered the shocking truth
That this world can hurt.

© JOHN STEPHENS 2019  England

A Mild Observation
A scar in the seasoned wood
Stigma hereby,
Chaotic sound’s running nearly
Which dancing with the peculiar breeze
Plea to the timbre,
Plea to the chaos,
Signs are like tragedy, as they're multiethnic;
Mooniest doors reverberate the breeze
Slowly, softly or gently
They caress with smoothness
Shy appearance or shameless
Beneath the doors,
A black floor’s waiting
He's making a hush sound
Oh! What a regret!
What a feeling of unavoidable negligence!
Observer is only the scared seasoned wood.

© shuvendu sarkar 2019  Bangladesh

I haven't seen you in forever
The last time
Do you remember
You were so out of it you hit your head
On the sink
I put you to bed
With a cuppa and some paracetamol
If I could just get my hands on some morphine you said
You silly goose it's just a headache it'll pass I said
I phoned you left a message
You didn't respond
I wanted to tell you I was pregnant
So excited I'd waited so long
Cycling to yours I was going
To give you a piece of my mind
A stranger answered your door
Your sister she said
Crikey all the way from Australia I said
Brain cancer she said
Quickly and peacefully you'd passed
Waiting there to be crushed into
Your jubilant bosom
Your muffled hello and kisses to my brow
I looked over her shoulder into
Your living room
The bamboo blinds I bought at IKEA
Were all lopsided
The light was too bright you said
Dust ponders restlessly
She was packing away your precious books
I didn't go in
Not that she asked
I can't remember your address now
I feel you in my ear saying
Buy flowers
Make butternut squash soup
Wear a hat

© Liz Atzori 2019  Isle of Man

i’m tired
tired of proving who i am to everyone
laying my foundation bit by bit
to show the world i am strong

but really,
i am a scared architect whose workers left him
and he scrambles all his bricks out on top
just to reek that essence of normality
but you can see his striking green eyes though the gaping holes in the bricks

… wait, but why am i telling you this story?
because i have felt for the longest time that there was something wrong with me
that every time i heard my mother talk about the “lays”
and not the chips i hold so dearly to the round edges of my skin
but her trying to figure out why two ladies/men would ever love each other
her trying to come to me, giving me an awkward sex talk;
thank you, mother
you have shown me the world,
you have always been so helpful
but let me figure this out on my own

i’m crying on the inside
because i don’t know where it stems from
my abnormality

they say there is a root,
so i wanna know as i write this poetry,
where did it begin?
am i of a confused sexuality?
is it depression? anxiety? self-esteem?
and the lines blur in front of me,
because i didn’t know what they mean
i still don’t know what they mean,
will someone please help me?

i wanna know why i betrayed my friend in the tenth grade,
and why was it so horrible that i blocked out the memory from my mind?
why do i not like my fingers,
born short even though my mother forced me to the piano?
i wanna know why i get offended so quickly,
and why people attach me the title of a “sulky bitch”
it’s definitely not because she gave me two draw fours in UNO
(bitch, i’m competitive, you don’t even know)
why do feel like a knot rises to my throat,
and why no one believes my life could be far from normal?

i got into college, i have good grades, i smile when i talk,
i blush around cute guys, i constantly keep making terrible jokes so people remember me,
that’s all normal according to all of them,
but it’s not to me.
i’m not acting like myself and i’m digging and digging,
these shovels called ‘introspection’ and ‘talking’ don’t fucking help
i’m digging with my bare stubby nails from even fatter fingers into a never ending ground,
the rain falls on me,
pitter-patter rain drops fall on every pore of my clothes
as my hands become coated in fourteen layers of myself:
thick, brown sludge

and every mistake i could ever make revolves around me
i need a break
i am tired
fatigued exhausted
i don’t wanna dream of anything better anymore
take me like the pith of an orange and throw me away
at least i’ll belong somewhere
i’ll sulk right to death,
live up to my name
cross an uppercut against the walls of the wood coffin
a right jab on the top,
a few leg kicks below;
ah, i wish they had just cremated me instead of letting me live,
all those years ago.

i’m a failure:
i said it,
i’m a failure,
and i am tired of proving myself.
the weather looks beautiful, don’t you think?
the little clouds shape and fly off from my panoramic view
the red sun glows in my face,
and i just wonder,
and bang my head against the wall
wondering why i betrayed my friend,
why i hate myself so much,
do i even care about what gender i’m attracted to?
and sulk even further,
and it’s all my fault,
because i tried to figure it out on my own.

i sit in the shower,
steam emanating from above,
as the sludge washes off of me,
layer by layer,
as my hands wrinkle in the water,
i reach a certain sense of tranquility.
i go to the swimming pool,
i lay there in the cold water,
a mess of my heart,
and i forget as my brain dilutes,
and my body sinks deeper and deeper,
and my limbs shut down, as i don’t feel so tired anymore
and my eyes shut down,
and the only thing i feel is the water penetrating my bones
i open my mouth,
and let it all in
i can feel the blood rising,
as i scratch it out,
there must be one more layer of sludge removed:
the sulky bitch i have become,
i grasp and reach for open ends of skin,
each blow felt like a burden off my shoulder,
as i felt rejuvenated, not tired,
i want to start anew,
my soul will travel to a better body, i know it,
and so i stop breathing.
it feels so tranquil
the touch of the water so sensuous
wrapping me in arms i could never feel
foamy snakes coiling around my ankles
and all i can hear is the muffled barking of the dog,
and the odour of chlorine filling up my nose

if you google “trying to prove myself”
you get brainy quotes from people who are shitting in piles of cash about now,
but there opened a reddit page,
and i wanted to end this poem with “get the help you need” but here’s what i found

“i admitted i texted the hotline because i had just cut myself and they ended up giving me some links to websites about self harm. they didn't seem at all concerned about my situation and i wasn't able to get even a fraction of what was bothering me off my chest and they cut our conversation short and i ended up sobbing half-hysterically afterwards.

only thing i got out of it i think was it delayed my plans for suicide long enough”

so what is wrong with our brains,
please explain it to me,
i’m tired of me pouring my pain through strains,
the only thing i can do is learn from others,
but i’m so tired
from screaming,
i know.
i’m a coward,
i’m a failure.

see you in four years at the school alumni reunion maybe?
i heard they’re building the new school!
i’ll tell you about my college,
and you… you can just ignore me, that’s alright.
hopefully my life would have turned,
or you will see me, my friend,
fifteen renewed layers
of sludge on my skin.

© Eshita Shrawan 2019  India

A wide passage pouring out the deep things
The hollow arena like flow of inks
Lots of secrets could be released in awhile
But could only make someone live for a short while
Letters are not all said in a day
Words are not uttered in arrays
Deep things are kept for safety,
Not said in a haste until they become reality
World is waiting to hear one’s booming tales
Waiting to strike with darkness and shut off your praises
When you are eager to let loose your close-mouthed
Alas! Always remember the out-turn and be reticent

© Oluwaseun Adeyinka Akinyede 2019  Nigeria

struggling thoughts
Nature is magical and pure
Which controls the entire world
But some thoughts struggling in my mind
Questioning the world's life.

why an animal depends on another?
And why food chains and food webs?
why animals have to live with fear?
And why they must struggle for existence?

Can't the world be a place
Without struggles,pains and fear?
And can't the world be a place
with full of love and true freedom.

© ridmi amanda wijerathna 2019  Sri Lanka

Ladybird, Ladybird
It would be impolite to ask you
to fly away home.
It’s a long haul back
to Asia; Ulaanbaatar
Kathmandu or Kandahar.
It’s not as though you could make the trip
In the back of a lorry or inflatable boat.
Although here you’ll usurp the
affordable housing; the cracks
in my window frames,
under the collar of my winter coat

It’s gone viral that you cannibalise
your own poor babies and carry
a sexually transmitted disease.
Fake News? I don’t think so,
not if reported by the BBC.
I’ve read that you eat five times
the amount of aphids
of the nine to five British ladybird.
So you’re taking the jobs
of the local population,
undercutting the living wage.

Aphid eating is not on our list
of preferred occupations.
You’re a caravan, an invasion.
We were hoping for teachers of physics,
geriatricians and red squirrels.
Immigrant entomology bites and
emits unpleasant odours.
If you persist on coming we’ll
set fire to your house,
take away your children
all except one.

Should we celebrate
your colourful contribution
to society, to our nooks and crannies,
our curtain rails, our shrub roses,
love your foreign pronotum, elytra
and subtle way with spices,
And from the back of the cupboard
sweep up the faded ruby
whose name was Anne
and she hid under the baking pan.

© Steven John 2019  England

The Ego
Wind can blow you
Water can flow you

Fire can burn you
with a single flame
Earth can swallow you
in a few minutes game

But nothing stops you
O ignorant…
Within a blink of your eyes
It all gets wiped out

Then please tell me
Where does this ego come from?

© Pranav Niturkar 2019  India

Bodyboarders, Newgale Beach
Straddling the almost nothingness
of surfboard and kitted out in wetsuits,
they're self-silhouettes, liquorice-flicked.

Beneath them lies temptation,
its sea-swell lulling them to buoyancies:
the rise, the fall, the drift.

Waves are their bounty
as riding the incoming tide,
their faces recording their nowness –

the dare, the fun, the fear.
How profligately
they caress its crests,

their fingers raking the spume,
sifting its chilled veins, its sand,
its shell-shingle

to riddled stillnesses.
See how the beach greets them
where they towel their wetness down.

Try as they might,
they cannot wipe away
that salt-birth slick on their lips.

© Roger Elkin 2019  England

Time Capsule
At the top of quaint ridges—bird's-eye view,
under the silhouetted skies laying upon the
branches along with winged creatures' nest
and svelte feathers—unfolded rawest of times
in the month of May, all cached in a canister,
in a time capsule of childhood's provincial
summer days.

© Franchesca Tatel 2019  Philippines

ठंन ठंन
आज सुबह फिर ठंन ठंन की बारी है
देखा एक भिखारी है भारी भरकम सबारी है
मैने पूछा ये भाई आज क्या बेचारी है
पूंछ पकरवाने की फिर तैयारी है

उसने दिखाया देख भाई मेरा पेट
ऐसे ही नही लगता नेताओ के रेट
आज अगर तुम फंस गये तो आँखो से बच गए
नींद अगर फिर लेनी है तो ये कैप्सुल देनी है

मै मान गया मन ही मन ठान गया
पूंछ पकर पार लगाऊगा हजार गलती कर जाऊगा
बात तब जा बिगरी जब पहुचा मंजील की नगरी
मैने पुछा क्यो फसाया पूंछ को मूँछ बताया

उसने कहाँ नेताओ की यही तो बेचारी है
अब जा ठंड के बाद किसे कम्बल बिछानी है
अब फिर ठंड आएगा तो नया मुर्गा बनाएगा

© RAMESH KUMAR 2019  India

A month of false promises,
lies whispered into our calendars

borne of sobriety’s regret.
Only with this new dawn

do we appreciate the morning,
the cleanliness of sunlight

come to purge our long dark night
of the soul away.

We stifle in our potential,
daunted by annual prospects

as the next morning
mirrors the past.

We live day by day,
see year by year,

a chalk outline
around every month

detailing another
dead waste.

© Colin Dardis 2019  Nth Ireland

Bennelong point
Marooned into voice
creamy bergs rub at the point
swapping form around

implicit throats of humpbacks
slipping under the Tasman

© Matthew Plumb 2019  Wales

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