Hi All

It’s been the best ever month for submissions to the competition, so many excellent and heart-felt poems.  Thank you everyone for entering and making the judging such an emotional experience this this.

Next month's subject is Christmas so start writing!

I promised to post my own poem about poppies and here it is:


The youth once so proud of his country

Now silent and cold, cloaked in mud

The khaki material shredded

Stained dark from the slow seeping blood

His colleagues could not stop to move him

They had to run over the hill

His sergeant crept back in the moonlight

And prayed for him when all was still

He noticed the boy’s fist clenched tightly

A red petalled flower in his hand

Embracing the symbol of freedom

While dying on bleak foreign land

His sacrifice, how did it help them

The next generation of sons

Would they have peace in their lifetimes

Or die midst the firing of guns?

Again brave men went into battle

Families once more cruelly torn

Fighting for peace as their fathers

Protecting sons as yet unborn

The youth in the rainy car boot sale

Sold poppies in fond memory

Of soldiers who’d given their lives

So that he could live fearless and free

A man with a knife came up to him

And demanded the cash in his tin

But like generations before him

He wasn’t prepared to give in

He cried out as the blade sliced his body

And fell to the ground in the mud

The khaki material shredded

Stained dark from the slow seeping blood

This month’s Harrow winner is:

POPPIES by Jon Bromberg

It was dark I was scared

It was like no-one really cared

I lay so still, not moving an inch

I took some snuff, just a pinch

I closed the tin, to keep it dry

I tried terribly not to cry

Why was I here, why did it matter

What did I see see, bombs just shatter

My feet were cold, my legs were stiff

Sulphur was in the air, it did whiff

My friends where there, alive or dead

I did not know, it was in my head

The time came my score was up

No more Camp coffee in my cup

Then I saw it in the distance

Just a quick glance in an instance

It was small and delicate in the wind

Amongst the bodies, had they sinned

The leaves were green, the petals red

The poppy to remember the dead


And Barnet’s competition was written by:

ARMISTICE by June Sayer

One hundred years ago today

The Armistice. We must convey

our thanks to all the very brave
who sacrificed their lives - their graves
remind us of all those who fell.......
and those who must have gone through hell.
On this day we'll have our thoughts
(remembering all those who've fought
both near and far in many nations)
with words and quiet contemplation.
A fitting tribute - thanks to all
who stand up when their country calls.


Other worthy entries were:


As a child my Grandad took me to see "Big Tree," a majestic evergreen in nearby fields.
After work each day, he would bring us chocolate nougats, and a bottle of Corona pop.

In the months before his death
On Tuesday 29th November 1988 aged seventy six,
I used to drink Vimto, hot, with him.

That Christmas 1988 was his magical gift to us.
Me, my Mum and our beloved pug
Sat in his room, his gas fire blazing, drinking pots of tea against freezing navy Christmas night.

Thirty years later
Melted Christmasses and joys had dissolved,
I think of the poppies in my late aunt's back garden
In Spring 1978.Pale red flowers,
Faded fires on long tall thin green stems, silky petals falling away,
The Big Tree was cut down decades back,
Its fields built upon.



POPPIES by Rose Wilson

"In every town and village green

Poppies lie on cold stone plinths

Where tears from leaden skies above

Ricochet off blood red tints.

Their ruddy living counterparts

Lately adorned a farmer's field

Embodying the bloom of youth

reaped too soon, dreams unfulfilled.

Wreathed blossoms which grew not in clay

Persist while they defy decay

Outlast those sprung from Nature's seeds

A reminder of heroic deeds

But also Sorrow, Grief and Pain

Too dear a price to pay again."

Standing Stone - by Hugh Turner

There was a small landslide today

Not that it will make the National press

It was simply an old standing stone

going to its next place of rest

Children played on that stone

Some stood on it too

They could even just see Ireland

on a day with a very clear view

So many people have used it

Many have been helped to see

when and where they could get to

what it was they could achieve

Time and weather took its toll on our stone

The freeze thaw gnawed at its surface

But this created chips off the old block

and made hand holds for future generations

But this stone was our true rock

hewn out of the Prescelli hills

one not taken to build Stonehenge

and now it lies there still

This stone is no longer standing

and we will see it no more

however the memories of its great inner strength

will live on forever in our core

There was a minor landslip today

insignificant in geological terms

Just a small part of global erosion

soon to be covered by ferns

Poppies by Kusum Hars

We arrive again at the time of the year

When poppies are placed for those dears

Who fought and lost their lives.

There are those who fought and survived

And now have come to remember that time

When life was in danger and they fought bravely

Along with mates who did not make it  safely.

One such soldier I remember an old man now

Related his first ever encounter with the war.

A young officer of nineteen years old

Recently recruited and out of  training

Full of bravery, ready to do his duty.

Straight into the war, described his first night

Bodies  everywhere some his mates of a few seconds before.

He sat down to eat but felt sick looking around him

Almost swooned. Body trembling he pulled himself together

Just concentrated on the food. Ate and ate and ate

So he could forget the horrific  sight around him.

Fatigue and sleep overcame him, took away the horror of the war

Peace we want not war, here as well as everywhere.

The Volunteer by Ian Bloom - Barnet

If you had known then
What you know now,
Would you still have gone
To fight at the Somme?

If you had been told
What you know now,
That you would never
Go home, never grow old?

If you had been asked
Do you know you'll die
Young, leaving no trace
To place in a casket?

If you had known then
What you know now,
You were Heaven bound - but
Your Heaven was in the ground.

POPPY IN YOUR NAME by Ruheena Shah

As I lay my poppy, dear in your name

Rushing in my mind your memory came

All those years ago when you went away

I always waited for you, without dismay

When the news came about your demise

I couldn't believe, I should have realised 

The brutal war had taken so many lives

So many men widowed their loving wives

All the memories come rolling in my mind 

How cheerful you were and was so kind

The promises we made to be together

Has faded away, fulfil they will never

The day we wedded in the local church 

You lost the ring and started to search

Every body was waiting for you to find 

I said I'll wed you still, I do not mind 

On our honeymoon I lost my purse

I blamed it on the gipsy's curse

I couldn't walk long in my high heel shoes 

I had to walk barefoot, I couldn't choose

We were so happy in our little house

My dear husband and my darling spouse

You were so young only twenty four 

Your life cut short, enjoying before

You had to join the army, go to war

Our country needed you, you went far

I am proud of you what ever it was

Your gave you life for a good cause 

As memory rolls down along with tears

I stand at the memorial, strong no fears

I never married again, I couldn't share

I love you still, with you, I wouldn't dare


Poppies promote peaceful ponderings;

Poppies pacify past Paladins;

Poppies prod placid pasture;

Poppies prompt protective prayer;

Poppies perform profound pageant;

Poppies plant pride, prudence;

Poppies picture Picardy purgatory;

Poppies punctuate Passchendaele pity;

Poppies provide patriotic parlance;

Poppies perturb puerile populace;

Poppies, pistols, ponies, PTSD;

Poppies poetry paints perfidy;

Poppies produce picturesque phantasmagoria;

Poppies propose plaintive panacea;

Poppies press, poppies placate;

Poppies pretty petals predominate;

Poppies promise precise prescription;

Poppies please, prevent perdition;

Poppies protect people's psyche;

Poppies present peace, propriety.



REMEMBRANCE (& POPPIES) by Helen Cynthia Feldman


What was the Great War fought for?

Was it all to maintain as a Wasp monopoly

Imperialism, war-mongering, genocide?

The ending of it worries me as well

On the eleventh month’s eleventh day

And the eleventh hour.  That looks as if

Those in charge of it gave priority

To ending at a memorable time

Instead of as soon as was possible.



THE POPPY by Philip Celner

In the long grass by the lane

poppies have popped blood-red

in a crowd less numerous than the dead

opium reverse of shell-shock

the same but good

in the Monet a frisson

where was the pain of bereavement’s gut

but the trenches and the camps?

only the past case of the absence of God

when love only instituted

is there no love?

and God instituted no God

and the poppy so fragile

so temporary



Continuing The Traditions Of Remembrance And Poppies

by Patricia J Tausz

Blood red poppies are being sold in thousands of outlets, shops

Each time I see them my heart briefly stops

I am recalling the ultimate sacrifice thousands upon thousands of men made

We publicly recall them at every Remembrance Day parade.

A hundred years ago on the eleventh of November the guns stopped pounding

A truce had been called -  across many lands a solitary bugler the Reveille now is sounding

Calling to mind those men who proudly gave their lives

Behind many were left weeping - girlfriends, sweethearts, wives

Brothers, sisters, parents were amongst the countless bereaved:

Each year we remember them for we too feel we are grieved.

The poppies we wear remind us of the innumerable pints of blood

Shed by those fearless soldiers who died in the stench and mud

We must continue to honour them as that entire generation has now gone to the life beyond the grave

After all they were our heroes, honourable as well as brave.

So like me I ask you to wear your poppy with pride

For we must never forget the reason why they died

This routine should be carried on by future generations

For those soldiers never were afraid to answer the call: 'Action stations.'


A Soldier`s Lament - Jo Harris


A soldier in the trenches daringly stretches out his hand to touch a poppy,

Its vibrant colour is now fading, but its softness reminds him of the girl who awaits him,

Is she still strong, is her love tender, can she stand their separation?

The noise of the guns deafen his ears,

He misses his family, his friends, his home,

His feet are wet, his kit is stinking, rats abide with him,

He visualises his father puffing at his pipe,

His mother tidy, her kitchen small but bright,

What would peace mean?

He withdraws into himself,

He asks a rhetorical question,

What would peace bring for ordinary folk?

He is losing all hope.




Remembrance and The Poppy by Howard Lambe

The battlefield lies cold and still

Scattered with destroyed artillery and twisted steel

The Poppy raised its weary head

Through the earth next the recent dead

Many had died that fateful day

Where nothing was achieved, it was such a waste

Of good men's lives horrible as they lay

In freezing craters full of blood, water and clay

An eerie silence gripped the air

No one moved it was as if they were in shock or scared

Wrecked tanks and field guns stood like monuments to those who fell

Having sacrificed their lives in that living hell

Through this misery a gleam of hope was born

As The Poppy grew and flowered, sad but not forlorn

Which became a symbol, a badge of peace

A token of remembrance for those sadly deceased

Permanent memorials were later erected

Throughout the country for their memory was for ever to be respected

Now every year at the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of November

The nation stops and observes two minutes silence to quietly remember

Numbers by Jeff Edmunds


One poppy, one day, one hour

Two minutes, two friends, two tears

One band, many marchers

One cenotaph, many wreaths

One reveille, one hymn, eleven chimes

One echoed command, many salutes,

many boots on tarmac


One town square, many witnesses

Repeated many times across country,

continents, borders

Shared hope, shared tragedy

Shared memory

One purpose, many wishes, many whys


Names are read aloud. The many

remember the few. The brave salute

the brave. The saved salute the sacrifice

of others

Commentators try to balance the figures

Can war and loss ever be reduced to

mere numbers?


Have a good month