'Freedom' competition Judge's Report


By Jude Aquilina

I felt privileged to be the judge for a competition with such an important and inspiring theme as FREEDOM. Thank you to all the poets who entered – you reminded me of the many different forms that freedom can take. These included: freedom from war; freedom of speech and thought; freedom in retirement and through travel; through bushwalking and horse riding; freedom from a refugee’s point of view; freedom in nature; freedom from abuse, racism and ageism; freedom through religion and freedom through zen; freedom in self-sufficiency and going off the grid; even freedom in death from suffering and freedom to reunite with loved ones in the afterlife. Congratulations to the competition organisers for choosing such a wide-ranging and thought-provoking theme.

The quality of the poetry was extremely high, in every section, making my job as judge difficult. Many more poems than I can mention deserve praise. And I was especially thrilled to read so many amazing poems by school students. I know the future of poetry is in good hands.


In the Primary School Section I chose four poems to Commend:

· Feeling Free (1) Lorena Burford - Horizon Christian School

· Freedom (18) Amelie Kowald – Domino Servite College

· Camping Moment (3) Sophie Manuel - Horizon Christian School

· Waking up on Saturday (8) Benjamin Trinkle – Domino Servite College

And I chose the poem The Freedom to Read (17) to Highly Commend Kezia Ziegelmann – Domino Servite College

For Third Prize, I chose a poem titled Charlotte and her eggs (6) Alexandra Hill – Tea Tree Gully Primary School – a clever and unusual poem, with rich poetic language and apt use of the senses.

For Second Prize, I chose the poem titled Freedom in Science (14) Wesley Trinkle – Domino Servite College – this enthusiastic account of the freedom, wonder and creativity in science, had me thinking and kept me smiling. This young poet has captured the thrill and passion in engaging in creative thoughts and experiments.

First Prize goes to a poem titled Freedom for me (16) Brandon George – Domino Servite College - a beautiful and vivid poem about finding freedom in the Australian countryside, when, I quote, ‘the evening shines like brass’. With images like this, I was transported me to another place. Congratulations to a poet with a talent for painting word-scapes!


In the Secondary School Section I chose three poems to Commend:

· The Beautiful Word (25) Amal TlaaOur Lady of the Sacred Heart College

· What is it? (28) Olivia Hayes – Domino Servite College

· I wanted to fly in the beautiful sky (12) Jasit Kaur – Domino Servite College

And I Highly Commended three poems:

· What happened to our acceptance? (6) Chloe Wightman – Domino Servite College

· Freedom is a funny word, isn’t it? (5) Jesse Blakers – Hawker College

· Why would you wear something so inappropriate (4) Freya Cox - The Friends School

For Third Prize in the Secondary School Section, I chose a poem titled Freedom Lies in Being Bold (8) – Aimy Tran - Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College - a mature, intelligent poem that is a reminder of what women have achieved, and what is yet to be achieved in regards to equality. This is a bold and thought-provoking poem.

I chose, for Second Prize a poem titled A white blanket laid over Syria (13) – Rabjot Kaur - Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College The poem relates vivid images of human suffering and gives the war in Syria a human face. This is a memorable, emotive poem that does not shy away from truth; an important narrative that needs to be written and read.

First Prize is awarded to a vivid lyrical poem simply titled Freedom (2) – Maya Chromik – Horizon Christian School. This poetic list of images captures the sense of freedom that we, here in Australia, are fortunate to enjoy free of charge, like, I quote ‘collecting stars at night’ and ‘finding dirt roads that lead to the unknown. This clever poet has put together a collage of positive experiences to capture the theme of Freedom in a clever and resonating way. Congratulations!


In the Open Section, there were many great poems that addressed the theme of Freedom in quirky ways like the three poems I award Commendations:

· The Cost of Zen (55) Helen Thurloe

· a peregrine falcon (86) Claire Albrecht

· Child of My Heart 928) Shelley Hansen

And I Highly Commended four outstanding poems:

· 1976 (no number) Stephen Smithyman

· Strawberries and Poppies (25) Donna Edwards

· Advance Australia - Fair (29) Chris Richardson

· Moon meeting (62) Nina Scott-Bohanna

Third Prize in the Open Section goes to a poem titled Free at Last (80) Tom McIlveen that takes the reader back to early Australian convict history. Rhyme, rhythm and meter are employed to effect; with this style suiting the era. I also enjoyed the authentic voice and dark humour.

I awarded Second Prize to a poem titled Transitions (84) Kerry Harte an ironic poem with moments of dark humour. The poem is about reading a shiny brochure for a nursing home, in which, I quote, are ‘The faces of the people … bright and bubbly as champagne’. I like this poet’s unfaltering tone and apt imagery.

First Prize goes to a poem titled, Freedom wakes me in the morning (69) Rhonda Cotsell It was a joy to read this intelligent, compassionate take on the theme. The poet focusses on the small things that mean freedom but also encompasses the big picture. This poet has captured the intangible, the essence of what freedom is and what it means. Congratulations to this brilliant poet. May freedom continue to wake you in the morning.

Thank you, Carolyn and the Adelaide Plains Poets for this enlightening experience.

Jude Aquilina


As the President of Adelaide Plains Poets, I thank the judge and of course all of the entrants in this competition, where we received well around 130 poems from around Australia, based on our broad topic of Freedom. As the Competition Secretary I say thank you to all of the lovely poets who sent their work to me and kept me entertained as I read the poems as that came to me in the mail, or by hand. And of course thank you to the teachers involved, keeping love of language alive in the young people they work with every day at their work!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Another Day, Another Poem

It's the eleventh of January as I write this post, and I've posted eleven new poems to the website, one a day.

I've written more poems than that though, inspiration seems to be reaching out and hitting me far more than usual. I think this is because I'm open to it, and actively looking for more things to write about. What happened this afternoon is a case in  point.

You find inspiration for poetry in the darnedest places! I had a doctor appointment today to excise a lump on my forearm, which may or may not have been pre-cancerous, in the opinion of my team of medical advisors.

So as my doctor was preparing the site we chatted about various things, as a way to keep me calm and untroubled about the huge needle he was painfully jabbing my arm with, perhaps. One of the various things we chatted about was poetry.

I told him the two limericks I've written (they're the only poems of my own I've managed to learn off by heart.) Doc then insisted I write a limerick for my medical procedure, mentioning him and Margaret, who was helping.

Being the person I am, I of course wrote the poem when I returned home, lump removed and dressing in place.

I've mentioned this on my Facebook page, which is where most of my life matters are mentioned. I didn't indicate that my medical team which sound super high tech, is actually my GP, a friend who's a nurse, and my uncle who used to be a GP up until about thirty years ago. They all know their stuff though, and I willingly decided to go ahead with the procedure.

If I hadn't done that, then I would never have written this limerick, because it wouldn't have happened. So, thanks doc, here it is (he wants me to give the clinic a copy so they can put it up on the wall) - Fame!


Patient had a lump on her arm
It was deemed it might cause her harm.
Helped by the worker,
who wasn’t a shirker,
Doc excised it as he turned on the charm!


john malone said...

a tight little story told in 5 lines;with a happy outcome

Carolyn Cordon said...

Thanks for your comment John. I took the limerick to the Mallala Medical Clinic the day after, and both Margaret and the doctor loved it. Margaret put my poem up on their notice board for all to read!

I'm going to be famous, as the patients read my witty words.

Anonymous said...

VERY TIGHT. How long did it take you to get it so small and perfect?

HOW do I subscribe to this blog?

Carolyn Cordon said...

Hi Jen,

when I knew I was going to write this poem in this style, I knew I only had a limited number of lines and rhymes.

When the poem was first thought of, I knew it had to be a limerick, and I know what a limerick is allowed to/must have.

A limerick is a five lined poem, with the first, second and last line rhyming. The third and fourth line rhyme also.

There first mentioned lines must have three stresses, while the last mentioned lines must have only two stresses.

Knowing the poetic form meant I knew what I needed for the poem, so writing it seemed easy.