Tag Archives: poetry competition

A Poem for National Poetry Day


As you may already know, today is National Poetry Day – you can find out more here on the website: http://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/

In honour of this occasion, I thought it was about time I dusted off my most successful poem – winner of last year’s Writing magazine new subscribers poetry competition – and (having checked the competition post-publication rules!) reproduced it here for your entertainment.


The Midnight Demons

The smallest thing can start them off
A passing car, a spouse’s cough
A hot duvet, a touch of cramp
The light from a forgotten lamp

You struggle in your fleeting dream
Where things are not the way they seem
And surface into consciousness
In twisted bedclothes, restlessness

A deep desire to know the time
The thought of that day’s missed deadline
The chance of sleep is dead and gone
And that is when the demons come

They magnify each tiny fear
The barbed word you weren’t meant to hear
The torture of your crass mistakes
A thousand faults keep you awake

You toss and turn, all comfort gone
The demons raise the volume on
The ticking clock, the humming fridge
Your snoring spouse, the buzzing midge

You pull the covers around your head
Your pulse beats hard against the bed
Think happy thoughts, try counting sheep
Anything to get to sleep

But the demons won’t release their grip
Thoughts crowd in, your heartbeat skips
You’ll never ever get to sleep…
…next thing you hear: the alarm clock bleep

Your routine leaves no time to dwell
On pointless worry; a broken spell
The demons banished without a fight
Until, that is, the coming night…


If you would like more info on the competitions hosted by Writing magazine, you can visit their website here: https://www.writers-online.co.uk/writing-competitions/



Success Beyond the Comfort Zone!


Back in the day after leaving University, I remember a horrible few months of fruitless job searching, laboriously completing complicated multi-page application forms for various graduate training schemes for which I didn’t really have a hope of being chosen, and failing even to get a job on the check-outs at our local supermarket (an all time career low, it has to be said). Then late one evening, I discovered a form I’d forgotten about, lost in the detritus of my cluttered desk. It was for a lowly role in a large, prestigious organisation. If I was going to apply for the job, the application would have to go in the post the following day to have any chance of making the deadline. I almost didn’t bother, but in the end I just completed the form as quickly as possible, without any of the pen-chewing consideration I’d given to any of the other applications. Not only did I end up getting the job but, subsequently, it led to several promotions and me working for the umbrella organisation through a number of re-shuffles and mergers for the best part of 14 years. How glad am I that I didn’t simply chuck the form in the bin!

So what has this got to do with writing? Well, umpteen years later and here I am entering as many story competitions as I can in the hope of furthering my writing career. As a subscriber to Writing magazine last year, I was eligible for their new subscribers’ competitions – there was no doubt I’d enter the short story comp (indeed, I spent some time reviewing and selecting a suitable entry), but there’s also an annual poetry competition. Now, those of you who know me well will be familiar with the sort of poetry I write – it’s the kind which is appropriate to scribble in a birthday card to raise a smile.  A poet, I’m not.  Still, I’d written a poem as an exercise for one of my local writing groups. Feedback from the group had been positive so I decided to send it off.

Months went by and, unsurprisingly, I heard nothing. On my submission tracker, I marked the story submission as unplaced but I hadn’t even entered the poem on the tracker.  And then I had a call from Jonathan Telfor, editor of Writing magazine, telling me my poem had won the competition! Me? Win a poetry
competition? Surely there’s been some mistake?

I’ve waited until it’s appeared in print, just to be sure – but honestly, the October Issue of Writing, which is out now, includes the 2016 competition special along with Jackie Tritt’s winning short story, and my winning poem ‘The Midnight Demons’.   I couldn’t be more chuffed – particularly as Jonathan has written lots of lovely things about it in the judging comments.

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It seems as though all those years of attempting to pare back my prose and remove redundant words has paid off – albeit in a different genre. Thank you Writing magazine for encouraging me to widen my horizons!