Randolph Stow Young Writers’ Awards 2020: Read the winning primary school entries
In August, a group of Mid West primary and secondary students were recognised for their creative writing talents. During the festive break, we bring you the winning prose and poems from the 2020 Randolph Stow Young Writers’ Awards. Sit back, relax and be seriously impressed by our talented young wordsmiths. In part one, here are the pieces judged best in the primary school categories.
LOWER PRIMARY POETRY WINNER
GRATITUDE By Sydnee Chant, Year 4, Wandina Primary School
As I walked through the door,
I realised that I wanted something more.
I want a castle, at least something bigger,
That's for sure.
I want a front garden filled with colourful flowers,
But I guess planting them would take hours.
Why do I never get anything I want?
See, I want a rollercoaster in my back yard,
But installing it would be really hard.
I need way more than this!
This is cruel, it is!
I want something cool,
I need big water slides in a colossal pool!
I want to be a millionaire,
Does this sound fair?
I want people to come to my house and be impressed.
I don't want them to be bored when they're my guest!
I want the original Starry Night painting on my bedroom wall,
I want an Amusement Park with Acrobats! I want it all!
Wait, I just realised that I want a lot.
I think I should be grateful for what I have got.
LOWER PRIMARY PROSE WINNER
THE RESCUE By Torah Simpson, Year 4, St Mary’s Primary School, Northampton
Ding Ding Ding my alarm clock woke me. My eyes slowly opened. I wondered why it was so bright, it was morning.
I sat up and listened to the birds cheeping. Isn’t it just the most beautiful sound? Jumping out of bed I rushed into the kitchen.
“Morning Mum! I’m off with Dad for the day, bye now.” I kissed Mum, grabbed my lunch box and ran outside.
“Have you got your gear?” yelled Dad.
“Yep let’s go” I replied.
When we got there, Dad launched the boat into the cool, calm water and we took off across the reef to find a good snorkelling spot.
“This looks like a great spot Torah” said Dad.
As the waves lapped on the boat I slipped into the warm water and started snorkelling along the reef.
Swoosh went the fish as they raced in every direction along the reef. The seaweed was waving gently along the reef and I saw an octopus slip away to hide. Suddenly I saw a movement. “What could it be?”
“Oh no it looks like — a green sea turtle but it is struggling and gasping for air. It is tangled in some old fishing net.”
I dived deep down to help the turtle. I tugged and pulled at the net but it was no good the net would not budge. I was almost out of breath.
A sharp rock was hidden amongst the coral. I swam to get it, I cut the net and watched in amazement as the turtle glided away to safety. I swam up to take a big breath “haaaa” I breathed a deep breath and swam to the boat. After I had something to eat I told dad about my turtle rescue and how we can make a big difference if we all reduce the amount of rubbish and plastic in our oceans.
UPPER PRIMARY POETRY WINNER
WHY I LOVE RELIEF TEACHERS By Wil Burgess, Year 6, Geraldton Grammar School
Oh, Relief Teachers,
How I love you so.
You never know what to do,
As you come and go.
We get to lunchtime early,
Recess quick as well.
When we say it’s home time,
You don’t wait for the bell.
We can work with all our friends,
And goof around as well.
You believe all we say,
Does your head begin to swell?
You never know our names,
You don’t know when Homework’s due.
We never do any work
We always mess with you.
When you walk into the class,
And you see that horrid kid.
Do you want to run and scream?
Just remember, you’re doing it for the quid.
UPPER PRIMARY PROSE WINNER
ON THE FRONTLINE By Amelie Dumont, Year 6, Geraldton Primary School
Soil. Blood. Death. Misery. World War had started months ago. Chris and I had signed up to the troops. We had no idea of the horrors we would be facing in the months to come.
The eggy-yolk of a sun rises above the horizon. Through my half-closed lashes I see a muscular body, a body I am familiar with. The body speaks, and a warm voice full of life fills the tent, “Wake up every one! We have a lot to do today”.
Chris. My brother. Except we are more than brothers. We are best friends. “We’re on the frontline,” Chris says. My stomach goes cold. People who go to the frontline often don’t return. Or, when they do return they are different, fathomed by the death of friends, of family.
I climb into the back of the truck. Knuckles white, rifle clenched in my hand. Muddy camouflage uniform crusty with blood, muck and grime. The motor rumbles spitting dust into the air. We drive past bodies upon bodies of dead, rivers upon rivers of blood.
I look around at the rest of the troop. I can see the fear building up around them, their vacant looks diminished by the sound of thumping heartbeat. We don’t talk, but unspoken words linger in the air like the stench of rotting flesh. We go on like this for about an hour. Finally, we stop.
I’m scared. My belly squirms uncontrollably. I focus on my breaths. Gulps of air. Gulps of life. I steady myself and climb out of the truck. My boots hit the dirt intensely. I look into Chris’s eyes, reading for emotion. He looks at me and squeezes my shoulder. “We’ll be fine,” he croaks. “I love you, little bro.” He turns around slowly and heads to the others. The truck drives off leaving us in a cloud of dust. We are alone.
We look around slowly, daring the enemy to attack. We take a step forward then another. Our boots leave footprints in the dirt. A red field of poppies sway to the small gusts of wind. The sea is a line of blue in the horizon. I cock my rifle, ready for anything. Cold wind rushes about my face stinging my eyes and numbing my ears. It is so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Too quiet. Eerily quiet. CRACK! A foreign swear word. The whoosh of a bullet. They have started shooting.
Gripping my gun, I dive into the soil, hardly daring to breathe, as bullets rain down from the sky. Fresh dirt fills my lungs. My hands cover my head, my rifle lying a metre away. My brain races, racking on what to do under these circumstances. I take a deep breath. Bullets keep falling. Tilting my head to the side I see Chris, hands over his head, the same position that I am in. Bullets keep falling. Suddenly, it stops. As quick as it had begun. I grab my gun, lurch myself upwards, and charge towards the enemy.
I pull the trigger again and again not caring who to shoot. Every man for himself. Aiming. Squeezing the trigger. Watching the body fall. That’s the process of a gun. A yell interrupts my thoughts. I flick my head to the side and see, Chris falling to the ground. An open wound over his heart. His hand nestled over his rifle. His eyes still fixed on the action. Like he has just frozen in time. But that’s not possible. I run towards him stumbling over other fallen bodies not looking anywhere but at my beautiful brother, lying in the dirt, unmoving, his smile once so full of life gone, forever. My senses just stop. An odd echoed silence rings in my ears. My eyes glaze, my heart feels like it’s been ripped out of my chest. Then my senses come rushing back. My emotions fall back, so heavily, that my legs buckle. Sound gets thrown into my ears, other shouts of help, other screams of despair. I throw myself at Chris, tears leaking from my eyes like water does from rivers.
I cry. I cry and cry, all the hurt, all the anger rushing away through my tears. I feel like I’ll never be happy again, that all the joy has drained from the world in one swift shot. I will never get up again. I cry until the last bit of light has drained from the sky, pitching me into what seems like eternal darkness.
Groggily, I get to my feet. The deserted battlefield is layered with corpses, bullet wounds unmistakably marked on their unbreathing bodies. It’s wrong to see their lives wasted away, no more than a memory left in the soil. I recognise some of the other troop members, dead on the ground. And in the midst of them, Chris. I can’t leave him here, alone, abandoned by human life. I feel the emotions rushing back, but I manage to hide them, deep in a corner of my soul. My uniform is covered in my brother’s blood, a tragic memory of the night before, sticking to me like a stamp to a postcard.
The ground rumbles. The truck returns its roof hanging at an angle. I climb into the back, followed by one or two troop members. They look worse than I do, their legs shot and their arms burnt. Their forehead is black with grime and their eyes full of misery. The truck starts to rumble. I look at Chris, saying goodbye for the last time.
After the war I am more aware of human life. How precious it is. How one person can bring life and joy and love into your world. How much you miss them when they’re gone. How you think of them every day for the next weeks, months, years. Chris. The name I had cherished so much, the name that had made me happy. The name that is gone. Forever. War. Never a human’s game.
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