To celebrate our very first Chesterfield Plastic Free Festival on 8th August, Plastic Free Chesterfield organised a poetry competition.
Local residents were asked to write a poem no longer than 200 words with the inspiration being their thoughts about how we are affecting our environment, especially with our use of throw-away items like plastic bottles.
Two winners won a special note from Derbyshire poet laureate, Helen Mort. Whilst two adult runner ups won Plastic Free goodies
The winner of the adult category was Tyler Turner with her poem, Scrap:
at the Pauper’s Graveyard
wedged between scrapyards
just off Sheffield Road
the Crooked Spire
is caught between nearby homes
turning its bended spine away from
an empty Lucozade bottle
plugged onto a severed branch
– in memoriam
Next up is the winner of the 11-18 category, Rose Grainger, with her poem, To My Future Children:
To my future children,
I’m sorry that you have never seen a tree, because they were all cut down, just for money.
I’m sorry that we treated the sea as a bin, so you have never seen a turtle, or a dolphin.
I’m sorry that the ocean levels have risen so high, that you have never been to the seaside.
I’m sorry that you will never see what it was like to live on an Earth that was green.
I’m sorry that when the time came, we didn’t do enough to stop Climate Change.
And I’m sorry that we didn’t listen to the warnings when they came. We didn’t think they were
We didn’t think you were important.
As the entries we received were really brilliant, we decided to award two adults as runners up.
First up is Leonie Martin with her poem, Message in a Bottle (a pantoum):
When Chesterfield is plastic free
when senseless single use is banned
you’ll wonder what you saw in me
– the castaway who rots your land.
When senseless single use is banned
you’ll find fresh ways to quench your thirst.
The castaway who rots your land
seemed so ingenious – at first.
You’ll find fresh ways to quench your thirst.
My screw-topped clear convenience
seemed so ingenious – at first –
quick swig of hectic decadence.
My screw-topped clear convenience,
my sparkling spa-themed H 2 O,
quick swig of hectic decadence,
you quenched your thirst then let me go.
My sparkling, spa-themed H 2 O
encased in toxic polymer.
You quenched your thirst then let me go –
drifting down the River Hipper.
Encased in toxic polymer
with ethylene and propylene,
drifting down the River Hipper
– my molecules in your blood stream?
With ethylene and propylene,
pollution blights communities
– my molecules in your bloodstream?
Crisis mounts in towns and cities.
Pollution blights communities
– now tides are turning, day by day –
crisis mounts in towns and cities:
No single use! No castaway!
Now tides are turning day by day,
– you’ll wonder what you saw in me –
No single-use! No castaway!
When Chesterfield is plastic free.
And finally the other adult runner up was Shirley Nibblock, with her poem:
When I was younger the buckets were zinc
Life was much slower, yet nicer, I think.
Brown paper carriers, handles that rubbed
Worktops were wooden and had to be scrubbed. Then came an invention and life was transformed
A brand new material – markets were stormed !
Bright colours and waterproof – it seemed fantastic
The versatile substance we all knew as plastic!
From worktops to furniture they could produce
And packaging see-through our eyes to seduce,
Hygienic, attractive, it all seemed so clever
Rustproof and rotproof and lasting forever.
Yet that was the downside that filled us with dread
When plastic took over big trouble ahead!
It was indestructible wouldn’t degrade
Our land and our seas into junkyards it made.
Distress for sea creatures who ate it and died
And problems for humans were intensified
Politicians and activists all had their say
Yet couldn’t make this problem wither away!
“What can we do to end this disgrace?
Shall we burn it or bury it – send it to space?”
“Burning no good it will cause noxious smoke
Causing your dogs and your children to choke.”
“Burying it will pollute all the soil
Get in the food chain and lifecycles spoil.”
“Sending to space would be much too expensive
Ruin the Universe – DOOM COMPREHENSIVE!”
You may call me curmudgeonly
Daft old scaremonger
But I wish I could go back
To when I was younger.