Last Tuesday, the 1st of October, accompanied by my ever-encouraging mother, I headed for the HMC conference in London. I had been chosen by the poet laureate, Carol Ann Duffy (pictured), as one of four runners-up in the HMC’s sixth form poetry competition and I was to read my poem at an evening of music and poetry in London. On arriving at the Hilton hotel on Edgeware Road, where the conference was being held, I was met by the Warden and James Priory, organiser of the event. After meeting the winner and other runners-up we had a short rehearsal. The evening was opened and closed with a number of pieces of music from different schools. The music varied from jazz to opera. I was particularly taken by a choir from King's School Canterbury who had put a modern twist on some classic songs. When it came to the poetry section of the night we were each presented with a certificate by the Poet Laureate and in turn read our winning entries. She read a few of her poems including the very amusing ‘The Laughter of Stafford Girls' High’.
I still cannot quite believe that Carol Ann Duffy has not only read my poems but that I was able to read one to her. I had a lovely evening in London, albeit a somewhat unexpected addition to my week. I particularly enjoyed hearing Carol Ann read her own work; it had an entirely different impression on me when read by its author. Meeting her and other young poets has encouraged me to continue writing. It was altogehter together a thoroughly inspiring experience.
by Sadhbh Sheeran
I want to say I threw you a party,
Played your songs and told your stories,
But I didn’t.
I wore pyjamas down to breakfast.
I want to say I put on your jacket,
The one you gave me,
But I didn’t.
I did visit you, for the first time all year.
A muddy oblong without a stone.
I chose a card for you. I’d painted it,
Brimming with colours.
I didn’t know what to write so mummy did it.
Maybe you could read it,
I did bring you flowers, boring out of season Flowers; white, cold, nameless things and
I placed them close to your head.
Maybe you could smell them.
Somebody had put a rock where your heart should be,
Flat and round and white against the mud.
Maybe you could feel it.
I wanted to tell you that Spring will come
But I didn’t,
Because I know that you know that,
Can taste it in the earth and rain.
For then the mud shall turn to flowers,
And you shall show the world you came!