The Farrell Society (Sixth Form Literary Society) recently organised a writing competition for Years 7 & 8.
The overall theme was summer and the setting was a forest/woods for Year 7 and an island for year 8, which connected to the Shakespearean plays they have been studying, A Midsummer Night’s Dream in year 7 and The Tempest in Year 8. Students could choose to write either a poem, play script or short story.
All students in years 7 & 8 wrote an entry, with a shortlist of 25 entries being compiled by their English teachers, from which the 5 prize winners were chosen by the sixth formers of the Farrell Society.
- Best Overall Year 7 Prize was awarded to Aarunima Sharma.
- Best Overall Year 8 Prize went to Estel Shatverian.
Both of whom won a £10 Book Token to treat themselves to a good summer read!
Runners up prizes (of chocolates) were awarded to:
- Nancy Holyhead Year 7
- Joseph Hayes Year 8
- Mia Shaw Year 8
Aarunima’s poem is one which reflects incredible maturity and literary skill. Her use of classical references, paired with her extensive range of vocabulary allows for beautiful imagery within her poem. She articulately conveys the beauty and wonder of nature, using personification to bring her poem to life. The language used allows for complete submersion into the verses, and her incorporation of wider subject knowledge was incredibly impressive.
Estel shows fantastic use of stylistic devices such as extended metaphor, which create a captivating story. She approaches the prompt in a unique way, combining prose with poetic elements and references. Structure is carefully used to improve storytelling, and her mythological references show wide-spanning knowledge. A perfect blend of technical capability and emotion, nothing is forced – the story itself flows when read like a ballad. This story and its setting has a strong sense of character, bringing out the most of its short length. Just the right amount of information is concealed and the ending is just right!
Both entries are attached for your reading pleasure!
This is a ballad of half-collapsed walls, a ballad with no tune, no melody. It is riddled with anecdotes of the past, which are whispered into the wind- softer and softer. This is a ballad of what is and what was, since the future is never accounted for; it is a ballad of sunken ships in the limelight, and ancient, crumbled weeds. This ballad starts now, like it has for centuries and centuries, as my feet touch down on these familiar golden sands. I’m here again, revisiting my history, aiming to learn its tune, its melody. I’m here again, taking small steps, praying to memorise every bend and every crack before I am sent away. With every stride, the ballad sharpens, ringing through my skull, like millions of tiny wasps. The wasps crowd my brain, leaving my feet to carve a path alone, and they do. They roam past the beach and past the rivers into the seemingly endless jungle. They take me to fields and show me the flower-freckled hills. All throughout, I hope to remember the tune, my tune.
The melody never reappears, yet I remember this breeze, this sweet summer wind. I’ve been here before, I know it. Before I hit my head, before it all went askew. I’ve been here before something in me went wrong, before thoughts escaped my head, before the migraines. And yet, the tune never makes sense again- it is atonal, cynical.
The ballad quietens until it is almost unidentifiable, and I see the waves hit the shore methodically. They prance and they waltz, in time with the parrots and flies; they twist and they turn, they come and they go, and it stuns me for a moment that they have their own melody, that mine is lost. It stuns me that it is my fault.
It is my fault that I hit my head so many summers ago, my fault that I didn’t stay inside. I easily recall the date.
It was July of 1899, and the island ballad was at its climax. I could hear the flute and the harpsichord, the guitar and the leisurely trickle of water which blended so well I almost couldn’t tell it was of foreign origin. My feet would trace this very path, past the beach and through the thick, disordered jungle. My eyes would gaze upon these very fields, and the wind would weave through my hair. I remember it as clear as day, and yet the relentless gale ceases my memory of anything in-between. My ballad is dulled with screams and cries, my former porcelain face stained with the ruby of tears. My memory now swings like a decrepit pendulum- back and forth, blessing me occasionally with glimpses of the past.
My eyes close.
I curse myself, silently, for not bringing water on this trip.
It gets worse- louder, almost deafening.
The pounding in my head that I have formerly mistaken for a headache, reveals itself as a sheathed message, something on the tip of my tongue.
“I’ll race you!”
The words outline themselves as mere mumbles, the tone of which is nostalgic, melancholic.
“I’ll race you!” you cried, holding your skirt and charging out into the field. Your laughter diffused into the air, which consumed it, enveloped it in its arms. My feet took off before I could get a grasp on what I was doing; I unlace my corset swiftly, leaving my blouse to dance as I ran. Childrens’ voices travelled up from the shore, curling and jumping, and my head couldn’t resist the urge to look. The rock ahead of me pleaded for equal attention.
My eyes open and realisation hits me like a dissonant note: I had a chance. A chance to save myself, to save you, and yet I lost it to the simple grasp of fear, alarmed by what awaited.
I stood in apprehension as you promised me the stars, the timeless constellations, and now the ballad loses its will just like I lost you. Your mumbled confessions blend into a collection of sweet prose, and I lost you like Icarus lost his wings.
I take in the field around me, the slender grass, which was often sheltered by a chequered blanket, the delicate flowers, which served their purpose in the dark cradles of my room- my own treasure; however a sense of unfulfilled absence hangs in the air, like a veil. Something is missing, maybe it’s the ringing of my verse, or perhaps it’s you.
The iridescent blue hummed,
Below the tiny critters sung-
Birds and animals and fishes
Danced along to the drums-
‘ O Weeping willow!,
You have wept for our foes
You have wept for our loved ones
You have wept for all;
Today an everlasting joy
Has bloomed and won our favor ,
So wistful tree join us in our endeavor !’
They sang to the willow leaving it barren of grief:
The willow bellowed out merrily a chorus
Using only its hallowed self as a flute,
Now the youthful slugs briskly moved and mumbled
‘O old spiteful yew!,
With a cynical and sullen attitude
You recite old words,
That harbor no wisdom
so leave us to our faithful rose
Who has just blossomed!’
The yew grumbled
But nevertheless complied:
Branches fell on beat
Adding their own drunken gleams
‘O what a pretty orange petal!,
O everyone! come and see
She has to be royalty:
It can’t be possible
For someone not Regal
To shine as bright as an angel!’
Now everyone had surrounded
A petite bleached tree
That was rather annoyed at the custom
‘O please let me rest!
O please let it not be summer,
O please let winter last forever!
O never let me bear another wretched flower!’
Suddenly a tiny voice whispered!
-silencing the agitated tree-
‘O dear friends!, pay no mind to my mother
She just woke up and is feeling a bit disgruntled.
How kind of you all to pay a visit to my humble home!,
But You must warn me, when you do come by!
You’ve caught me ahead of time,
without any prior preparation from my side,
But nonetheless the less I comply.’
A wave of anticipation had passed:
Even the buzzing bees hadn’t buzzed
The humming birds hadn’t hummed
And the fluttering butterflies hadn’t fluttered
‘Our spirits shall soar:
Higher than Icarus had grazed
We shall mark the atmosphere
We shall drink among the stars;
Sunken heads must rise
After listening to our gleeful verse’
Everyone cheered on the idea
Trailing on with their favorite flower:
Previous beats entwined together
Forging an orphic crescendo
‘O great lords,
you have gifted our land
With an elysian rose,
Who sings a euphonious tune,
She has brought true meliorism!,
So oh please let this be eternal’
They sang melodies and choruses
On repeat like a broken record
Singing hymns long forgotten;
They sang all summer long
Dismissing anything important
When the moon returned
From his voyage around the world
He acquired a fair maiden wind
That brought along winter
Alongside a deep slumber.