Lockdown Poetry Burst

Winners of the Lockdown Poetry Burst competition announced!

With over 250 entries from across Hampshire, this year’s Poetry Burst competition was judged by the distinguished poets Wendy Cope and Lachlan Mackinnon.

The competition was open to any Hampshire resident of any age, and to schools and colleges within the Diocese of Winchester. It was split into four age groups; lower primary, upper primary, secondary and open, and was entitled ‘This Christmas’ – providing entrants with an opportunity to reflect on what Christmas means to them this year.

The winners for each age group are as follows:


Lower Primary: Alex Steen, aged 6, The Pilgrims’ School

Judges’ comment: We like Alex's concern for others, the 'whizzing' of Santa's sleigh, and the effective separation of the last line.

I Hope Santa gives us presents this Christmas Eve?
Santa's sleigh whizzing past
Lonely people are locked in their houses
What if they not have a stocking?

Will we have snow?
We could build a snowman
Will all the people have enough money...
...to buy a Christmas tree, a star and baubles?

I pray to God that they do.


Upper Primary: Adam Shepherd, aged 9, St Francis C of E Primary School, Chandlers Ford

Judges’ comment: We congratulate Adam on this accomplished acrostic. We enjoyed 'teaching Zoom to Gran', and we like his mention of key workers and of staying safe.

This Christmas

This Christmas may not be the same
However hard we try
In Bethlehem a King was born
Salvation from on high

Coronavirus affects us all
Has changed our Christmas plan
Restricting contact keeps us safe, and
I’m teaching Zoom to Gran
Self isolation, distancing
That won’t stop us having fun
Many thanks to all the keyworkers
And there’s better times to come
So Merry Christmas one and all, and stay safe everyone


Secondary: Erin Rumsey, aged 12, Toynbee School

Judges’ comment: Erin's variation on Robert Frost's original is effective, well-considered and a pleasure to read.

This Christmas

Whose sleigh is that? I think I know!
The owner is quite cheery though,
Full of joy like a flurry of snow,
I watch him laugh ho! ho! ho!

The sleigh is jolly , magic and deep,
He has promises which he must keep,
Gingerbread biscuits and lots of sleep,
Sugarplum fairies, dance and they leap.

He rises from his comfy bed,
With thoughts of mince pies in his head,
He puts his red hat apon his head,
Preparing for the night ahead.


We would also like to commend the entry by Jamie See, St Swithuns’ School


Open: Ann Lewin

Judges’ comment: This is a beautiful and moving Christmas poem, which makes strong use of the ancient acrostic. It deserves to be set to music.

This Christmas

In this bleak midwinter
He will come:

Embracing us in love,
Re-ordering our priorities,
Opening our hearts to hope;

Comforting us in sorrow,
Rescuing us from despair,
Accepting us in weakness,
Surprising us with joy.

Nothing can cancel Christmas
He will come: The dawn of light
No darkness can destroy.


We would also like to commend the entry by Ellora Sutton.


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