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And now it’s over….

The 2019 takahē Monica Taylor Poetry Prize has closed

Thanks so much to everyone who entered. The judging is now in process…. And the results will be announced on our competitions page and in the December print issue of takahē.

Sorry, we don’t have another competition about to run but there will be one in due course. Keep checking our website for announcements.

And you can continue to submit – poems, flash fiction and short fiction –  the editors are looking forward to reading your work.

Hunt Ducker Competition winners

A huge thank you to everyone who entered the takahē Hunt Ducker poetry competition!

We thoroughly enjoyed reading all your poems for our special celebration of native New Zealand birds, in fact, you made our National Poetry Day super special. We were especially thrilled with some of your onomatopoeia!

     flit flit!

           khee khee!

                     cheep cheep!

We’d like to give a big shout-out to the wonderful Forest & Bird for gifting us an annual membership for the top prize, and of course to National Poetry Day for sponsoring our top 3 prizes. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Before the big drumroll, we’d like to commend these poets, who sent in some robust, moving, and closely-observed poems, and really gave our judges a tough time in coming to a decision:

Cindy Botha, flight of the pīwa-
                                                ka-
                                        wa-
                                                  ka

Maggie Buxton, Ngā Tūī o Tangihua 

Rosie Copeland, Kereru Outside my Window

Jared Doe, Kāhu

Melanie Harding-Shaw, A Problem Solved

Jenna Heller, kereru

Courtney Hilden, 7 Ways of Looking at New Zealand Birds

Amanda Hunt, Rangitata River

Glenda Lassen, Ma te Kanohi Miromiro

Lissa Moore, Kereru

Anna Woods, thirteen ways of looking at a tūī

And now for the big drumroll! The top 3 were absolute stand-outs, offering us finely crafted poems that embraced the theme, and reached beyond it too. We just kept coming back to them. A huge congratulations to:

WINNER: Hebe, suburban pukeko 

RUNNER-UP: Jan FitzGerald, Albatross return

RUNNER-UP: Joan Norlev Taylor, Birds, Sanctuary: Rarangi 3

 

 

Hebe

suburban pukeko

you walk silly, my big-footed bumbler,
without full control, the legs awarded you
end in the orange spiders of your feet.

you are way further up that tree
than you should be, clinging desperately
and with much feather flapping
as the wind tries to dethrone you.

I have seen your friends already
teetering along the neighbour’s fence top,
they are like plump blue acrobats in white bloomers.
what are they doing up there?

your kind are over-confident, my bumbler,
ill-suited for heights, yet high you climb
up trees, fences, rooves and vines

always completely clumsy
and without apology.

Jan FitzGerald

albatross return

Toroa, master aviator,
welcome sight to any solitary seafarer,
what danger you encounter
skimming the ocean for squid
among tiger sharks and orca.

Celestial glider and rider of storms,
sleep-flying night’s thermals
over vast seas, distant countries,
how you tilt the wind
with your tail feathers,
stretch the sky with your shadow!

Illustration by Jan Fitzgerald

It’s hard to imagine
as you shake out great wings
and nestle into the cliff face,
pointing a pastel pink bill
into the wind,
that you can circum-navigate the globe
without landing.

Hoki mai. Hoki mai.
Welcome home.

Joan Norlev Taylor

Birds, Sanctuary: Rarangi 3

We sit in a nest of soft sun,
where you’ve placed
heart-shaped stones, paua, driftwood.
Trees percussion the breeze while
korimako practise dinging,
tui experiment with
squeaks and tweets,
pīwakawaka peep.
The great green hill
curls comfortably,
like a curvaceous body asleep,
its forest
a hidden aviary, busy,
and the sea breathes, exhaling a
shush to the noisy birds,
sloppily lapping at the feet of gulls.
I think of childhood albums:
wildlife cards from jelly packs,
sought after, glued, the empty squares
like creatures now extinct.