'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!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Playing the Pokies Game

I have conflicting thoughts about the current political argument going on regarding pokie machines. I'm certainly away of the fact that there are people who have huge problems with losing too much money gambling on the pokies. I'm sorry for these people and their families. I hope they find help to cure them of their addiction.

But I like playing the pokies, I find it enjoyable. Every now and then, if I'm at the local hotel and I have some spare cash, I might take a drink and sit and play the pokies until the money runs out. I always use up only the spare change I have, or get five or so dollar coins in my change. Once that money's gone, that's it.

Sometimes I take home more than I arrived with, sometimes I don't. Either way, I enjoy myself. I might have a chat with any other gamblers there, or chat with my hubby if we're gone there together. I feel connected with my community when I'm there. Most of the time, I already know the other gamblers there, because we're all members of the same community.

If may be different if I was somewhere different, somewhere away from my other life. I've never felt like gambling more than my spare change, and certainly never more than ten dollars. I don't go very often either, never more than once a week, and it's not unusual for many weeks to go past without a session on the pokies.

Gambling was part of my early life. My father was a harness horse trainer, my older brother his reinsman. Once I was 18 I sometimes bet on a horse. My father's gone now, but my younger brother maintains the racing connection, as an owner. Sometimes I'll place a bet on one of his horses, sometimes they win, sometimes they lose, it's all part of the gamble.

So, that's my gambling story, I'm prepared to spend some money to possibly win some more. But the way I look at it, it's spending money to go to a concert, or a sporting match. You pay the money to have the fun. If you can't afford it, you don't do it. It may be I'm missing something there, but I don't see dangers in gambling as such. Properly regulated, gambling can be a fun for of entertainment.

I've written a poem about the pokies, read it if you wish, and please, leave you comments on this vexing issue.

Pro Pokie Poem

Husband and I at the pub
a drink each and five one dollar coins.
Put the coins in then press the button,
enjoying ourselves, no need to rush.

The lights and music come on, I forget
the pollie’s arguments and we just sip,
chat and push buttons, win or lose,
it doesn’t matter, we’re having fun.


john malone said...

nice little poem, Carolyn; it reflects your casual attitude towards an issue that for some is charged with emotion;

Carolyn Cordon said...

Thanks John. It seems to be one of those things where we all must miss out so that a minority will be safe.

I have no problems with reform of the gambling industry, and I welcome things that will help those with addictions and financial problems caused by them. But I don't like the way a harmless past time has been made to be the only cause.

Gambling is an Australian thing, an Asian thing, a European thing. Cultures all around the world have gambled in many different ways. Now though, big businesses are making huge profits from the poor folk who can't control their gambling.

I'd like this to be looked at more closely. A lot of work and money is spent to make pokie machines more 'attractive' to the gambler. And there are more and more forms of gambling available to everyone. I have issues with some of the gambling on cricket matches and can see there are terrible things that could go on with match fixing.

Is the government looking at those things, I wonder?

john malone said...

I find it disturbing that gambling seems to be going on in areas where it never used to: like the outcome of football or cricket matches or placings in the Olympics --- and we haven't even mentioned online gambling

Carolyn Cordon said...

It almost seems the media is focusing on pokies and ignoring the other moves the government is planning.

I don't like gambling interfering with things children like - there are a lot of impressionable boys watching their favourite sports - gambling shouldn't have any place in such things.

Carolyn Cordon said...

I dropped into the Mallala Hotel again today to back a horse. The visit cost me $4.50 for a super yummy iced coffee, $4.00 for the bet and $3.00 lost to the pokies.

I put in $9.00 to lose the $3.00 on the pokie machine. While was there I chatted with friends, and found out the name and phone number of a painter who can help me with a little paint job.

So the trip cost me $11.50 net all up and I feel the hour or so was well worth the cost. I was going to Mallala anyway, so why the hell not go and have some fun?

John crish said...
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