7th to 16th September 2018

Poetry competition winners


Notebook with the word poetry written on it.

This year we had our first poetry competition and we are really pleased with the all of the entries that we had.

The competition, with the theme of ‘The World in Saltaire’, attracted entries from across the country and from poets of all ages.

Ros Garside, Events Coordinator for the Festival, chaired the judging panel and commented:

“We were thrilled with the variety and level of entries that we received, and we’re so grateful to the judges, Sue Vickerman, Nick Allen and Davina Silver, for giving up their time and for sharing their expertise.”

The winning poems have been published in the latest edition of the Saltaire Review and will be on the BBC Big Screen in City Park, Bradford, later in the summer.

The winning poets have been invited to read at the Festival poetry event on 11th September at the Dandelion Café, where Sharena Satti’s poetry will also be featured.

Ambra Kumbalatara Arachchige was the Under 18 and overall winner. Second place for under 18s went to Ira Dalby and a joint poem by Nathan More, Bailey Waugh and Samuel Stefinuti took third place. In the adult category, Mark Taylor Batty won first prize and Liz Chillington came second.

Iwakura by Ambra Kumbalatara Arachchige, age 16 (under-18 category winner and overall winner)

The Iwakura Mission was a voyage undertaken by Japanese diplomats in the early 1870s, in the hope of studying Western industries to better their own nation, and to introduce Japan as a competitor. In 1872, they visited Salts Mill in Saltaire.

The cobbled and worn ground felt foreign
Beneath my cracked geta.
Each groove of the smooth stone fractured my journey,
As I gingerly teetered through the winding paths, desperate
To follow the group ahead of me.
In the distance a voice shouts,
‘And here is the famous Salts Mill…an industrial establishment which-‘
At least that is all I ascertained. His harsh accent created a garbled, indistinct speech,
We all nodded politely; half-expecting to be moved to the next faceless building,
When I finally glanced above and caught site of the colossal monument of man’s creation.

This towering expanse of stone and glass stretched alongside a tranquil canal,
And at that moment, it was alive.
Every few seconds it breathed out clouds of grey smoke that billowed out into an overpowering fog;
Which encased the vicinity in a haze of heat and sulphur.
Through hacking coughs and watering eyes we could see the hundreds of people furiously working,
Their aching, sweaty bodies mingling with the smoky haze and the unyielding din of factory work to create a complex cacophony;
A sensual overdrive for the untrained mind.

I staggered to the banks of the canal, gazing at the ever-changing reflection of the mill.
The water was dull, muddy, polluted from all of the chemicals and sickness.
But then and there I saw the beauty of our mission-
Being milled through the West, observing the developments of collaboration,
Far from a warm, natural home and into the world’s spotlight.
We thought the world was barely ready to see our beautiful landscapes of green hills and fertile soil,
Our testaments to a rich history and architecture to amaze the mundane western mind-set,
But is Japan ready for the world?

‘This way, people!’ Our party quietly shuffled on, meeting a sudden burst of green.
Spindly beech trees were outstretched above us, their intertwined arms creating complex shadows
On the dense patches of young grass beneath us.
The crisp, clean air and brown-tinged leaves became our haven, and in the distance,
The smoke and faint cries created a steady pulse of this sleepy village.

I was here as a mere visitor, but to understand the changes and sacrifices of the people,
For one day mine would do the same.
The wan, fatigued faces of these workers are no different to the others seen in this arduous journey,
But together they accomplish something greater that would cement this small village
Its rightful place in history.

Glenway Experience by Ira Dalby, age 9 (under-18 category runner-up)

On a glorious day we went on the tramway,
Up to Shipley Glen ‘How about that then!’
Said I, as the tram set off.
We waved ‘hello’ to the passers-by,
They waved back in the blink of an eye.
We reached the top and had to stop,
At the traditional sweet shop,
Yorkshire mixers, soft rock, midget gems, we’ll take the lot,
Enough muckment to make your teeth rot.
Now onwards and upwards to the giant stones,
And to get Dales ice cream in double cones.
This is the life up in the fresh air,
Oh, look over there is our home Saltaire!

The Aire by Mark Taylor Batty (adult winner)

The rain pleads down over sandstone grassy Dales;
Tight stone walls, cudding sheep, sheer open land.
Space pelted sodden, sheeted grey skyfall,
Rained and soaked, wrung and rinsed downstream
Where becks released from stillness skip gleefully
And all shove down, collude to make the Aire.

The eager rush steadies as it heads around Skipton,
Cutting at the turns, rinsing through low leaves,
Splaying into the depth of the valley,
Playing in brief eddies to wait and catch up,
Before gliding under the canal aqueduct
To corner and face the home run to Saltaire.

By the bolted boating hut, shift by Hirst mill,
Swish low, stream bold, thick, deep like soup
To the Boathouse Inn, and nonchalant ducks,
Where the heavy river swells like a distended belly
And bloats sated to claim the summer’s shore
Spilling at the path in the park.

The river would kiss the canal here by the thin green bridge,
Were it not for the pub, a gooseberry in between.
The mill then shouldering the canal away to Shipley
The river veering to roar its claim over the weir,
And farewell down dirty to Otley Road bridge.
Then confidently on to beat that canal to Leeds.

All threads… by Liz Chillington (adult runner-up)

Mill, tendril threads warp and weft to clothe a
World in worsted; cloaked, clothed, draped, enveloped
Wrapped. Sort, comb, twist to slivers of roving-
Test the tension… all threads lead to home.

Water, tarn-sprung, silvers the green valley
Malham, Hanlith, Airton, Bell Busk, Gargrave,
Skipton, Kildwick, Silsden, Steeton, Utley,
Keighley, Riddlesden, Bingley, Saltaire – mill.

Fine altiplano alpaca fleeces –
Unfamiliar words on Yorkshire tongues
Arequipa , Islay, Cuzco, Peru –
Land on the dock through atlantic sea foam.

Buttery, luminous, Yorkshire sandstone
Bashfully echoing Venetian style,
Di Santa Maria Gloriosa,
Italianate foil to grey Welsh slate.

Mill-hands move lustrous mohairs, angoras.
Wool sorters ,staplers, combers and spinners
Many hands re-making cloth by Flemish hands
first woven, cloth for Queens and French clothing.

Water, dammed and locked, navigates eastwards,
Liverpool, Scarisbrick, Burscough, Wigan, Leigh,
Chorley, Riley Green ,Blackburn, Rishton, Church,
Burnley, Barrowford, Gargrave, Saltaire – mill

Mill, tendril threads warp and weft to clothe a
World in worsted; cloaked, clothed, draped, enveloped
Wrapped. Sort, comb, twist to slivers of roving-
Test the tension… all threads lead to home.

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