Edward Thomas Fellowship Poetry Competition – 2022 and Earlier Years Judge’s Reports and Winning PoemsPrevious Years Competition Reports and Winning PoemsEdward Thomas Fellowship Poetry Competition 2022These are the 2022 Poetry Competition winning poems, judged by Jamie McKendrick.We were delighted by the quality and number of entries – over 480 – this year, and warmly thank everyone who entered.The winning poem of the Competition is ‘Shadowland’ by James Driver. Joint second are ‘This’ by Kathryn Bevis and ‘Kaze no Denwa (The Wind Phone)’ by Theresa Giffard. Highly commended were Derek Sellen (for two poems), Bill Dodd, Lawrence Wray, James Driver (for a second poem.)Jamie’s report may be read here but before reading it you may like to read these wonderful poems and join us in congratulating the winners.Shadowland By James DriverHe was the bailiff here. This is his map.Six inches to the statute mile. The namesAre still the same – Frome Copse and White Beech Lane –But all the trees it shows went long ago,Clear felled one winter, 1921.Work for the unemployed, two hundred menOut in the rain with tools they couldn’t name.He gave them sacks to keep their shoulders dry.They left no tales to tell, no photographs;Their stories, like the paths his old map shows,Are lost and yet, just like he said it would,All that was slight and aimless still survives:A stretch of woodland runs by High Street Green –Replanted, felled, replanted once again –The Sadler brothers owned it. Thomas livedAt Pockford. His favourite horse was Plantain.Ajax and Dewdrop, Bosphorus, his hounds.James, on the Petworth Road, kept Cherfold House.August the thirteenth, 1855,He took his ball and bat to Shillinglee, played inThe famous match where no-one scored a run.William, too, lived somewhere hereabouts.They gave that belt of trees – the way they rodeTo Sidney Wood – the name Botany Bay,And told themselves they’d made a jest as fineAs all the captions on the Punch cartoonsThey cut out, trimmed and framed and liked to hangAround the tack room walls. Hung there too wasThe harness of the horses used by himTo drag the hewn trunks out on furrowed tracksWhich, once the timber tug had gone, the deerTook as their own, pushed further on, and jaysFlew through to plant their acorns out while softSeeds floated in and ash keys tumbled down.When I was young he drew a map for me,Named all the places that he walked and worked,And painted pictures of his favourite treesAs true to life as any photograph.Across that spot he printed “PERFECT WOOD’.Across the rest he scribbled “shadowland”. Joint Second prize poemsThis, by Kathryn BevisA fire has been lit in new leaves,will grow to a green worldin the dark wood. Small whitesrise in drifts to the swish of our boots.Nothing is worth more than this day. A pair of grey wagtails fly low,gold-bellied, over the rushing river.Their bodies translate waterto sunlight, sunlight to water.Nothing is worth more than this day. Here, the wind toys with leaves like loosechange in the pockets of the sky.High above, a wood pigeon calls to us,wild and true, Who are you, who who?Nothing is worth more than this day. Kaze no Denwa (The Wind Phone) by Theresa GiffardOn a hill above Otsuchethere is a phone boxin a gardenoverlooking the building sitethat used to be the townbefore it was swallowed upby the sea The locals comeone by one, or in pairsshuffling outsideclutching tissuesanxious facesscarves and thick coatswrapped up against the cold Pushing the door openlifting the receiverthey dial numbers of homesthat are no longer standingand speak to the missingto loved ones who are lostpresumed drowned A teenage sonhas walked from the stationhis father a lorry driverlast heard of on the coast roadwhen the wave came“I miss you dad” he said“I made the baseball team” An old woman climbs the pathher back bent like an apple treeshe calls her husbandwhose body has never been foundand asks if he is warm enoughthere is no replyjust the sound of the windThe report of Jane Draycott (competition judge 2021) may be read here. That year’s winning poem can be read here, and the runners up here and here respectively.Details of winning poems and the judge’s report from earlier years are available here.