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Words are Worlds: The Magic of Hong Kong’s Local


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2015-16Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award Anthology_OP(outline).pdf 1 31/8/16 5:07 PM


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015-16 Anthology

Words are Worlds: The Magic of Hong Kong’s Local

Edited by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, Jason E H Lee, Jason S Polley Cover Photo by Holden Liang Qichao

Cover Design by Bianca Chiu Book Design by Margaret N Y Lam


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 1


rare indeed

a man sent me an autograph from Beau Jack.

he said that Beau Jack asked him to send it on to


I told the man to tell Beau Jack that I was honored.

have you heard of him?

he was a prizefighter.

many men box but he was a fighter, a terror,

a champion.

Beau Jack.

the chills still

run up and down my spine.

you just can’t know how good it feels to

hear from him.

(Charles Bukowski, Slouching toward Nirvana)

After all of the administrative work, all the organizational exertion shared between numerous staff and faculty of EDB, HKAGE, and HKBU, after all of the logistic labour, we do, we must, all know how good it feels to hear from our young, local Hong Kong champions, the ones collected in this anthology.

It is, it was, all-too-easy for my colleagues Dr Tammy Ho and Dr Jason Lee and myself to forget, to overlook, the words, the works, the efforts, the autographs, of the local students we had never heard of, while we travailed to organize our numerous workshops and interviews and activities. The prize, whilst in the hectic midst of our collective HKBPA programme coordination, was merely the deadline.

Or, so I shortsightedly envisioned it, anyway.

Lost to me, at least, in the institutional paper trail, were the very people, the very fighters, now published herein. The voices of tomorrow—some celebratory, some saddened, some nostalgic, some whimsical, some playful, some critical, some cynical, all reflective—that we, our spines sometimes chilled up and down, get to hear from, get to learn from, get to feel with, today.



An honour of equal magnitude for me was the chance to meet most of the students printed in this volume. I had the opportunity to sit down with them. To talk. To question. And best of all: to listen. And not just listen to their poetry—but also to the narratives surrounding and contextualizing their creative works. What strikes me most, what makes me feel most good, and as a correlative result most bad, most badly, is the shift in tone, is the loss of wonder, is the boom of wariness, that readers will witness in the bulk of writers who have transitioned from primary to secondary school.

Certainly, much of this alteration in writerly tone and readerly mood has to do with the distinctive themes provided to students of varied age groups. Equally affecting, these variations in tone also bespeak how young adults cultivate their own senses of personal identity, of social critique and of institutional ennui. The time constraints and social pressures plaguing Hong Kong students are anything but clandestine. To hear students articulate the various pressures placed upon them, and to evoke these gravities in diverse creative, critical and empathetic ways, is to my mind a testament to how each one of them, like boxer Beau Jack, too is a fighter.

Even to submit a poem to HKBPA 2015-16 is an act of courage, and concomitantly, not to mention counterintuitively, one that also adds yet another item to their already outsized schoolwork burdens. This is precisely why the work collected here highlights my (and probably your) sense of animadversion vis-à-vis student life, student lives, in Hong Kong. Paradoxically, however, it is the very systems that Hong Kong students critique that equip these selfsame students with the necessary means to critique these systems. One student published here at once playfully and seriously describes the busy-ness of her daily life:

After piano, comes ballet, Spin and turn nonstop all day.

On the ground my tiptoes lay,

Sore and stinging but what can I say?

She closes her poetic apostrophe on modern youth culture ironically:

When would she ever let me complain?

I can do nothing—not even explain.

The final rhetorical question and resignation to her interlocutor prove ironical precisely because this student has now explained. Poetry has permitted her, poetry permits her, to speak. To have a voice. To be heard.

The late, great Muhammad Ali (1942-2016), who could “float like a butterfly and sting like a bee,” the prizefighter of international repute, the activist of universal celebrity, delivered a commencement address to Harvard University’s class of 1975.

Predictably, a number of the assembled students called upon the world heavyweight boxing champion, known as the “Louisville Lip” because of his gift of the gab, because of his competence at crafting couplets, to provide a poem on the spot. After little hesitation, Ali rewarded his audience, and all of posterity, with: “Me. We.”

This collection privileges multiple young Hong Kong voices. You’ll see and hear merriment and lament, contentment and resentment and love and loss. You’ll feel all


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 3

of these in equal measure. And this is the point of poetry. It humanizes us. It exposes us. It makes us us. It is us. We need narratives. We need to share these narratives.

Poetry differentiates us. Poetry assembles us. It allows us to see how others see. To feel what others feel. Poetry has the connective, empathetic ability to transmute, for a time at least, every me into a we, every we into a me.

Dr Jason S Polley Associate Professor

Department of English Language & Literature Hong Kong Baptist University




Mr Chan Pui Tin, Chief Curriculum Development Officer, Gifted Education Section, Curriculum Development Institute, Education Bureau

Honourable Guests, Budding Poets, Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen.

I am delighted to welcome you to this ceremony of the Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16. I am sure that you are looking forward to our award winners’ recitals and exchanges that will follow today.

The English poet and lexicographer, Samuel Johnson, said:

Poetry is the art of uniting pleasure with truth.

Can anyone really know “the truth”?

Is truth subject to human interpretation?

The power of questions never ends in the answers we could seek, but in endless thought-provoking questions it can generate. It is creativity. I would like to share with you some possible further questions:

If there is hardly anyone who can really know “the truth”, how can we at least know MORE about it?

If truth is subject to human interpretation, how can we be sure that the truth is true in truth?

How would you respond to questions like these, living in this 21st century?

I am not attempting to give you a definite answer, but I have a good one to tell: If we wish to contribute to the wellbeing of this century, we should live with a “poetic”


We are born to be “poetic”, truthfully speaking. We cannot deny it because examples are everywhere:

a) A four-year-old whispered in her working mother’s ear at bedtime one night, “Mummy, do you know you are a fish?” “Why?” “You are a fish that I have to catch till night every day”.

b) A father shouted at his running child in the field, “Hey son, stay focused, patience is the key to scoring!”

c) There must be at least once in a teacher’s lifetime that they say this:

“learning is a marathon”.


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d) Have you thought of this at a graduation ceremony: “Graduation is MY turning point but the graduation speech is not”!

e) Or even more, you might turn out to be like a poet writing a complaint poem as you find your favourite popcorn out of stock on the shelf in a supermarket. Your poem might be like this:1

I write to offer congratulations On a truly impressive achievement:

Selling us salted popcorn sensations.

Yet this praise is not without bereavement.

I found no real solace to my upset

When I went to the shelf popcorn sits on And just found the lump in my throat you get When something you love is there, then it’s gone.

I live in St Andrews, thus the issue:

“No plans to restock,” you said with a sigh.

So answer this, or hand me a tissue:

Have I [B]utterkist my true love goodbye?

Let this be a dream. Restock when I wake.

I live with salt in my wounded heartbreak.

f) And poetically enough, you would never imagine that a poetic reply would come to you! It might read:

Alas dear ladies your woes are continued, The popcorn in question has been discontinued At least from St Andrews in old Market Street, As nobody wanted to buy this sweet treat.

The product in question is not one they chase, Just when on offer, as limited space

A decision was taken though not in great haste, To de-list this item ’cos it ended in waste.

However dear ladies, please dry your tears, We’ll still sell your popcorn for many more years The only thing is that you may need to travel, To find your true love for this tale to unravel.

Your favourite popcorn is waiting for you, Across the Tay River, no really it’s true!

Our product is stocked in both Perth and Dundee, And I’ve found a way you can have it for free!

Please smile again ’cos the sun’s coming out, You don’t have to worry you’ll not go without,

1 Source: http://www.thedailytouch.com/sean/two-students-wrote-a-poem-to-tesco-and-their- response-was-excellent/



We know it’s been stressful, we know it’s been hard, But you can still buy your popcorn, here’s a £10 giftcard.

We, human beings, are born to be poetic, regardless of whether we are as poetic as poets. Thinking like a poet encourages us to access, or even, build more windows to the knowledge, technology and expertise of the modern world as we embrace the diversity of cultures across nations in this century. We appreciate Audre Lorde’s insights about poetry:

Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.

It is our hope that, as the Ongoing Renewal of the School Curriculum advocates, the Hong Kong Budding Poets Award will encourage our students to face our future with a creative mind-set which certainly includes a poetic dimension.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our colleagues at The Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education and Hong Kong Baptist University, and all the judges who make this award such a success. I congratulate all teachers, parents and budding poets.

Stay poetic. Thank you.


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 7

Professor Terry Yip, Acting Head, Department of English Language and Literature, Hong Kong Baptist University

Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much for being here today. It is my immense pleasure to welcome you all to the prize-giving ceremony of the Hong Kong Budding Poets Award for English Poetry. This year has been a great success indeed: one hundred and twenty six local schools in total participated in the programme and we received nearly one thousand four hundred poems for the contest. About sixty of these will be collected in an anthology and published later this year. I had a chance to read a number of the selected pieces and found them both beautiful and inspiring.

I would like to thank the Education Bureau and the Academy for Gifted Education for their professional support and for commissioning the Department of English Language and Literature at Hong Kong Baptist University to run the Budding Poets Award programme together this year. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the Hong Kong Government for continuing to value the significance of promoting and nurturing the literary arts, especially the writing of poetry, in our young students.

This year, the adjudicators for the award come from a wide range of backgrounds.

We have schoolteachers, award-winning and internationally recognised poets, professional writers, organisers of regular poetry readings and events in the city, and lastly, teaching professionals from several local higher education institutions such as City University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, the Institute of Education, and Shue Yan University. To them, I owe my thanks. And the fact that the adjudicators come from these diverse places and milieus testifies to the concerted effort of all of us to achieve one goal: the promotion of poetry writing in Hong Kong. Of course, I would also like to thank the teachers who actively and untiringly encouraged their students to participate in the programme, as well as the budding student poets themselves, who generously and courageously shared their writing with us.

It is indeed very important to cultivate creativity among young people in Hong Kong so that the city remains a vibrant and multi-faceted society. We at Baptist University are very honoured to have the opportunity to take part in this meaningful process of spreading and nurturing creativity in local schools. The English Department in Baptist University has a long tradition of being active in the local writing community. Several of our teaching staff are practicing poets themselves, who lend their expertise and experience in the running of this year’s Budding Poets Award programme.

This year, a number of the themes for the contest are about Hong Kong, our beloved city. For example, “My Neighbourhood”, “Culture”, “Nostalgia”, “Public Places”,

“Local Myth and History”, “Exploring Hong Kong” and “Heritage and Conservation”. These topics were carefully chosen so as to remind us that poetry need not be lofty and unreachable. Rather, it can be written on subjects very relevant to our life, our culture, and the place we all live. As the American poet, novelist and literary critic Robert Penn Warren once said, “How do poems grow?

They grow out of your life”. I hope the young writers in the audience today will



continue to grow poetry out of their lives, their own experience, their reading and, of course, their own imagination.

On that note, I would like to wish you all the best and thank you all for coming. And I would urge all of you writing poetry to keep at it; I wish you the best of luck for the future.

Thank you!


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 9

Ms Lee Yuen Ha Joanne, Curriculum Manager, The Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education

Honourable Guests, Principals, Teachers, Budding Poets, Ladies and Gentlemen.

It’s my great pleasure to welcome you to this Prize-giving Ceremony for Hong Kong Budding Poets Award 2015/2016. I am delighted to report that this year a hundred and twenty-six primary and secondary schools have participated in this competition, and we received over a thousand three hundred and eighty entries.

Thank you all for your active participation that has made the competition a success.

This year is the eleventh year since the Hong Kong Budding Poets Award’s launch in 2005. This is the second year that The Hong Kong Academy for Gifted Education co-organised the competition with the Gifted Education Section of the Education Bureau, and the first year we commissioned Hong Kong Baptist University to administer the competition.

The objectives of the Hong Kong Budding Poets Award are to give students the opportunity to strive for excellence in the use of language and literature, and also to develop students’ creative abilities. Poetry is an excellent tool to promote creativity because the expressive boundaries of poetry are unlimited. You can play with words and break with conventions. Poetry expresses our happiness, desires, regrets and aspirations. Poetry is important as it provides us with an outlet for surging emotions.

I am really pleased to see our students make use of this competition as a platform to express their creative minds, distinctive observations, passions and dreams through poetry writing.

The success of the competition depends on the concerted efforts made by different parties in the past nine months.

Let me take this opportunity to express our gratitude to all the judges who provided us with professional input and spent huge amounts of time reviewing over a thousand poems. Your support contributes greatly to the success of the competition.

We would also like to give our thanks to the school principals for your encouragement to your students, and the teachers who guided their students through the competition process. We should definitely continue to work together to promote poetry writing and creativity in Hong Kong.

Also, we would like to thank Hong Kong Baptist University for their professional support throughout the competition. We really appreciate that.

Last but not least, I’d like to thank all the budding poets for your participation, your love for poetry, and congratulate all of you on your outstanding performances. Wish you all every success in your studies, and good luck with your poetry writing in the future. Thank you.




Bonnie Tse Ying Wa College

Claire Leung Ying Wa Primary School

Dorothy Li Gifted Education Section, Curriculum Development Institute, Education Bureau

Helen Wong United Christian College (Kowloon East) Jennifer Tang TWGHs Lui Yun Choy Memorial College Jerry Chui Carmel Divine Grace Foundation

Secondary School

Jinny Chok The Hong Kong Chinese Women’s Club Hioe Tjo Yoeng Primary School

Michael Wong Heung To Middle School (Tin Shui Wai) Nina Yau Diocesan Girls’ Junior School

Norris Lai Ying Wa College

Stella Sun Ma On Shan Methodist Primary School

Canadian poet Akin Jeje’s works have been featured in Canada and Hong Kong. He is currently a NET at Emmanuel Primary School, Kowloon in To Kwa Wan.

Andrew S Guthrie’s book of poetry Alphabet was released in Proverse Hong Kong in April 2015. His cultural history Paul’s Records was released by Blacksmith Books in October 2015.

Betty Bownath is an English Literature teacher and poet from New Zealand. She is also a keen debating coach and adjudicator, and currently teaches at The YWCA Hioe Tjo Yoeng College.

Blair Reeve trub schnots for foggle because the ignawsious are krupt in boondoggle and snobozy slydewhize pugrexly hornswoggle. His new book Greta von Gerbil &

Her Really Large Lexicon comes out September 2016.

Celia Claase’s book of philosophical essays and poetry The Layers Between won the 2014 International Proverse Prize. Her poetry also features in journals and anthologies. She is an ESL teacher.

Chris Song is a poet, editor and literary translator based in Hong Kong. He works at the Centre for Humanities Research, Lingnan U.


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 11

Colin Cavendish-Jones studied Classics at Magdalen College, Oxford and worked as an international lawyer before returning to academia and completing a PhD on Oscar Wilde and Nihilist philosophy.

Collier Nogues is the author of The Ground I Stand on Is Not My Ground (Drunken Boat, 2015) and On the Other Side, Blue (Four Way, 2011). She is the 2016 Writer-in- Residence at Lingnan U and a PhD Fellow at HKU.

David McKirdy is a poet and longtime Hong Kong resident; he has two poetry collections, Accidental Occidental and Ancestral Worship. He organises local literary events.

Elbert Siu Ping Lee lives in Hong Kong and is the author of the book of poetry Rain on the Pacific Coast (2013). He teaches at Upper Iowa University, Hong Kong Campus.

Gillian Bickley, HKBU Honorary University Affiliate, editor and publisher, is a well- published and prize-winning poet, and for many years an adjudicator at the HKSM&SA annual festival.

Heidi Yu Huang holds a PhD degree in Transcultural Studies (Lyon). She teaches for HKBU after her post-doctoral research in world literature at CUHK.

Henrik Hoeg runs and emcees Peel Street Poetry, a weekly open mic in Hong Kong.

In 2016 he published his first book, Irreverent Poems for Pretentious People, with Proverse Publishing.

Jason E H Lee currently lectures in English Literature at HKBU. He has published in the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong and his first collection of poems was a runner- up in the Melita Hume Prize (2012).

Jason S Polley is associate professor of English at HKBU, where he teaches poststructuralism, postmodernism, literary journalism and graphic novels.

Lo Mei Wa received degrees in Philosophy from CUHK and Leiden University. Her works have appeared in Guernica, Cha: An Asia Literary Journal and Atarvic Poetry.

Melanie Ho is a writer from Ottawa, Canada. She is currently an MA student in Creative Writing at Oxford.

Michael Tsang obtained his PhD from the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at Warwick, with a sociocultural thesis on Hong Kong English writing.

Michelle Chan is a lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature Hong Kong Shue Yan University. She teaches Western poetry, drama and children's literature.

Mio Debnam is a writer/editor and Regional Advisor of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. She is the author of several books and stories and articles for children and adults.



Nashua Gallagher is a Sri-Lankan born poet who lives, works, and writes in Hong Kong. She co-founded the weekly open-mic sessions Peel Street Poetry in 2005 and has been active in the Hong Kong literary scene from a young age.

Piera Chen is a travel writer and sometime poet, who has published a dozen books under the Lonely Planet title. She has a BA in literature from Pomona College and an MA from HKU.

Polly Ho Sai Fung is the host and organiser of the Kubrick Poetry Society. She has encountered many talented local and international poets since 2007.

Robert Kiely teaches at Hong Kong Shue Yan University. His writing can be found in Hix Eros, York Literary Review, Cambridge Literary Review and The Parish Review.

Sreedhevi Iyer has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize for her literary work. Her work has appeared in several literary journals the world over. She has also guest edited Drunken Boat's Hong Kong Special Folio and Asian Cha’s March 2016 issue.

Suzzie Sauer has been teaching Drama internationally for 12 years, and currently teaches at the Canadian International School of Hong Kong.

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is founding co-editor of Cha: An Asian Literary Journal and assistant professor at HKBU. She won Hong Kong’s 2015 Young Artist Award in Literary Arts.

Vanessa Man Yi Wong gained an MA in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. She was the Assistant Manager at Hong Kong International Literary Festival, and is also a freelance translator specializing in arts, culture and cinema.

Viki Holmes is a Hong Kong based poet, and teacher-librarian with ESF International Kindergarten Tsing Yi. Her solo collection miss moon’s class was published by Chameleon Press in 2008.


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Arthur Leung is an associate editor for Asian Cha and a regular performer of his poetry. He was a winner of the 2008 Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition.

Eddie Tay is an associate professor at CUHK, where he teaches courses on creative writing, children’s literature and poetry. His recent poetry and street photography collection is entitled Dreaming Cities. His poetry collection The Mental Lives of Cities won the Singapore Literature Prize.

Jason E H Lee currently lectures in English Literature at HKBU. He has published in the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong and his first collection of poems was a runner- up in the Melita Hume Prize (2012).

Jason S Polley is associate professor of English at HKBU, where he teaches poststructuralism, postmodernism, literary journalism and graphic novels.

Justin Hill’s fiction has won the Somerset Maugham Award, Betty Trask Award, and Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. Having spent most of his adult life in China and Hong Kong, he now teaches Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University.

Martin Alexander is a poet, writer and long-time Hongkonger. He was a trustee of the UK’s Poetry Society, and is editor-in-chief of the Asia Literary Review.

Nicholas Wong is the author of Crevasse (2015) and winner of a Lambda Literary Award.

Shirley Geok-lin Lim is University of California Santa Barbara Research Professor, recipient of a Commonwealth Poetry Prize, Asia Week Short Story prize and two American Book Awards. She was English Chair Professor at HKU.

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a founding co-editor of Asian Cha and an assistant professor at HKBU. She won Hong Kong’s 2015 Young Artist Award in Literary Arts.





Wong Man Ying

St Stephen’s Girls’ Primary School Theme: Nature

The Faces of Nature

Have you heard of Mother Nature?

From her come all the creatures.

Her hair is a spectacular waterfall,

Her dress made of rainbow, flowers, trees and all.

She lends us sunset when dusk comes,

And grants us air as fragrant as cherry blossoms.

But sometimes our Mother has a temper, She shouts and out comes the stormy weather.

She blows hurricanes and tsunamis at us, If we misbehave or betray her trust.

She stomps her feet on the ground,

And an earthquake shakes the entire town.

The beautiful queen has secrets herself.

So Mother, are there aliens, fairies or elves?

The Great Unknown hides the truth, Shaking her head when we ask for proof.

What’s at the end of the massive universe?

Is it something good, bad or worse?

But now I wonder, where is she now?

Has she disappeared? To where and how?

Is she hiding under bricks and cement?

Is she scared without a friend?

I think it’s time we follow her tracks, Find her, save her and welcome her back.

Adjudicators’ comments

In terms of figures of speech, especially personification, similes and metaphors, this poem is strong. Its diction is clear, its imagery vivid. The fact that it also has an important environmental message only enhances the power of this piece.

For a young poet the piece demonstrates some sensitive thought. Excellent work.

This is an interesting poem that makes the reader think about environmental concerns by personifying Nature as a mother who’s been made by humanity to flee her children and must be persuaded to return. The topic and theme are well-worn,


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 15

but the poet has added a freshness to it that will make the reader or listener see things differently. Half rhymes like ‘comes/blossoms’, ‘herself/elves’ and

‘cement/friend’ are a little awkward, but ‘truth/proof’ is much stronger and stands out as a memorable epigram. This is a promising piece—and I love the rhythm of the second half of the last line, which bounces along to the poem’s key word and ends the piece with a really strong sense of completion.



First Runner-up Wong Sik Chi

St Stephen’s Girls’ Primary School Theme: A Beautiful Memory The Blessing of the Sky

Last year my close friend joined the stars In the frozen night sky

To honour her death I came afar With tear-bedimmed eyes

I mourned, grief-ridden, for all year I wouldn’t do a thing

My grades slipped down, I didn’t care I'd lost what I held dear

On New Year’s Eve, my parents advised I should start moving on

I was to wake afore sunrise And follow them outside

I woke next morning before the sun They led me somewhere

But when we reached our destination It was breathtaking

On a cliff over foam-capped waves Was a heavenly sight

The crescent moon began to fade Pink and gold streaked the sky

A ball of flames slowly rose Lighting up the world

Turning the sea’s turquoise robe Into a rainbow

My parents exchanged a blissful look We all turned to the sun

Tendrils of pure warmth and hope Were radiating off our hearts I saw my friend’s face in the sky She smiled and waved at me

She said there’s no need to mourn or cry I'm always there for you

The past is just the opening bars Pursue your lifelong dream

Carve your name into the huge stars Be the weak’s supporting beam


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 17

I won’t forsake this life of mine I replied tearfully

Then with a final blessing and goodbye She faded forever

Adjudicators’ comments

A very well written poem, with images coherently and vividly employed. It tells a beautiful story, syntactically competent and musically sensitive. I love the ending, where the speaker’s friend’s fading forever paradoxically makes this beautiful memory exist forever.

I like the development in the poem, its emotional intensity and honesty; it does what it should do: emotional expression.



Second Runner-up Berry Natalie Jane

Marymount Primary School Theme: Emotions

Love and Loss

I remember her last breath, before she was claimed by death.

Closing her glassy blue-green eyes, Hearing her family’s soft cries.

I shot for the sky and tried to fly Ready to give up and say goodbye To my dreams, then she came along And taught me what was right and wrong.

I finally stopped falling down, No longer remained on the ground.

Went straight up and flew really far Beyond the sun and touched the stars.

What I’d give to see her smile One more time, just for a while.

I want to hear her voice and laugh, But it will never be enough.

My heart is beating a long foot race, Wet tears are dripping down my face.

Here I am with my broken heart, Left alone to grieve in the dark.

Adjudicators’ comments

A very strong and emotive poem. One can feel the grief of the writer, and it reads beautifully.

This is a moving and inspirational poem, with good use of rhyme, a strong sense of loss and a clear determination in the speaker to remember his or her mentor and make her spirit proud. It’s interesting that the woman is not identified as either a mother or daughter, and the speaker might be either a male or female. That helps make the poem appeal to all ages and either sex. It gets too close to cliché in the first line of stanza two—these are two over-used images—but the poet does develop them with some success. ‘Touch the stars’ is also a cliché. Tears are always wet and though the last two lines are structurally sound, they undermine the positive strength of the rest of the poem. Did the poet mean to show that although people struggle to rise above sorrow with achievement, the agony isn’t diminished? If so, the contrast might have been strongly shown by better use of the first two lines of the last stanza to show this contrast. Neat use of enjambment in stanza two:


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 19

‘goodbye/To my dreams’: a great technique preventing obvious rhymes from dominating the poem!



Third Runner-up Tang Lok Yee

Diocesan Girls’ Junior School Theme: Nature

Red velvet spreading over the blue lagoon, Blue tears sparkling under the red blood moon,

Cherry blossoms decorating Christmas in Washington, Mikania fragrance tantalizing in late autumn.

Red murderer committing crime far and near, Weird blue tears come year after year,

Spring now comes before winter, Yet summer lingers till late November.

Has nature gone out of control?

Or has man come to the end of the road?

World Climate Summit just set the goal.

Nature can now rest and regrow.

Adjudicators’ comments

Efficient, surprising and original. I like that the ‘World Climate Summit’ is left towards the end, forcing the reader back to the beginning to re-read the poem.

I hope the poet’s optimism will turn out to be justified! The poet created in the poem a topsy-turvy world of clashing colours and seasons out of sync. The images in the first stanza are striking and original, and I like the way the poet has intensified the incongruity of the colours in unlikely situations. The second line of the poem is the most visually vivid and effective and, with the first, it sets the scene really powerfully—we have a very strong picture, and we’re waiting to see what it means.

However, I don’t feel that the last two lines of the poem really have the poetic strength to beat the first two. Again, the second half of the second stanza is a bit bland and factual, while the first two lines of that stanza are visually strong--even if they’re not as factually true as lines three and four of the stanza, they carry a far stronger sense of the world being in a chaotic state. Word and image choice are very promising in this poem.


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 21


Chan Chung Man

SKH Lee Shiu Keung Primary School Theme: Emotions

My Friends of Emotions

In my emotional world, I have four friends.

They stand by me and our friendship never ends!

Happy is an adorable angel, She makes me smile and cheerful.

Wow! She is dancing gracefully in the bright sunlight!

She is an elegant rose which brings a beautiful sight.

Sadness is an aloof genie,

He hugs me only when I feel lonely.

Oops! He is walking alone to the lonely mountain!

You come across him when you are heartbroken.

Anger is a furious monster,

He is hiding in a dangerous volcano.

Oh! He is controlling you to scold others!

He builds a wall between you and your peers.

Fright is a chicken-hearted girl, She always thinks everything will fail.

Ah! She is standing and trembling over there.

She reminds me to handle everything with care.

If people ask me, “Who is your best friend?”

I will answer, “All of them!”

Adjudicators’ comments

The poem shows four typical emotions through personification with fair use of rhyme. Specific words like adorable to describe happy are appreciated in making this seem like a poetic version of the movie Inside Out. I like the allegorical play; and the idea of four friends in four emotions.

This is a lovely performance poem, spontaneous and musical. It is purposeful with clearly conveyed ideas, personifying the four basic human emotions in an embracing manner. The third stanza (on sadness) is the weakest though, because of the repeated qualifier lonely/alone.



Merit Ho Evelyn

Diocesan Girls’ Junior School Theme: Nature

The Colours of Earth Eggs hatch into fluffy balls, Flowers sprout and lambs call.

Yellow buds like drops of gold, Encased in silky emerald folds.

Fat red grins with small black teeth, Aquamarine waves over coral reefs.

Sprawled on sand like lazy pigs, People drink, swig after swig.

Graceful dancers twirl and twirl, Golden leaves slowly swirl.

Pumpkins like an orange pot, Soft and sweet or fiery hot.

Jack Frost casts a nasty spell, Frozen ice inside the well.

Icicles like silver pins,

Tinkling keys in the whistling wind,

Four seasons swiftly go,

Leaving smiles and tears and woes.

Adjudicators’ comments

Vivid imagery is used in the writing of seasons. The writer is able to capture the key features of each season, though their perception and emotion of the seasons is not always clearly conveyed.

I appreciate the attention to the imagery and the consistent tone. I also note the ambitious attempt at a consistent rhyme scheme.


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 23


Lee Sze Ying

Good Hope Primary School cum Kindergarten Theme: A Beautiful Memory

An Extraordinary Memory

The big, old clock had just struck nine, For me, it’s time for bed.

After, my mother came into my room, And kissed me a sweet goodnight.

I closed my eyes and dreamed away, Inquisitive, curious and wondering.

Thinking what I’d dream of tonight, And it gave me something amazing.

At first I landed on a fluffy cloud, And saw its vibrant pink.

I took an enormous, gigantic bite, It tasted like a strawberry drink.

After I gobbled up the pleasant cloud, I glided down a candy cane,

Then landed on something that moved.

I looked down and it was a chocolate train.

I took a seat which was topped with candies, The scent was incredibly sweet.

I looked out of the colorful window, And heard a toffee canary tweet.

Outside I saw a bunch of trees, Only they were made from lollipops.

There was also an ice cream mountain, Showered with heavenly, delicious gumdrops.

Next we passed a lemonade waterfall, It created attractive and dreamy bubbles.

I caught one and floated on air, Humming lovely, cheerful tunes.

Suddenly there was a strong gust of wind, It woke me up, it was all a dream.

I opened my eyes unwillingly, And saw a soft morning beam.

Adjudicators’ comments

An incredibly rich and vivid poem. An excellent piece of work. Fantastic recounting.



I enjoyed the imagery—this can only come from a child. I certainly appreciate the use of form here. There is a strong and effective beginning and end to the poem.


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 25


Tam Cheuk Yin Ashley

St Paul’s Co-educational College Primary School Theme: Nature

That is How Each Year Must Go Spring has come, the cold is gone, Leaving us a bright green lawn.

The grass, once hidden in slushy snow, Sing their praises like a springtime show, To God above in heaven smiling,

“There’s nothing like the big sun shining.”

The ground is warm, the sun ablaze, It’s a time for sunny days.

The bees abuzz that chance to pass, May see me snoozing on the grass.

The tree leaves soon turn brown-yellow, And fall down on the magnificent meadow.

The air is soft and crisp and cool, The squirrels have an acorn duel.

Feel the winter coming on, Hear it in the cracking trees.

Note the cold and quivering wind, Snapping sharply at their leaves.

The last is done, the next is here, As it is in every year.

Spring, Sunshine, Autumn, Snow, That is how each year must go.

Adjudicators’ comments

A very interesting and original poem. The nice iambic rhythm shows maturity and proficiency in the English language. Nice shift of perspective to how bees watch ‘me’

on the grass. The squirrels’ duel is very imaginative imagery. The imperatives in the stanza on winter are used effectively. The poem can profit from paying more attention to regularity. The rhyme scheme for winter is different from the others, but there is little reason to be so. The spring stanza also has six lines, instead of the four of the others. Moreover, ‘springtime’ in ‘like a springtime show’ (4) is perhaps redundant, and ‘big sun’ also sounds like a summer image rather than a spring one.

In the penultimate line, ‘sunshine’ and ‘snow’ are representative of summer and winter respectively, and perhaps the same should be done for ‘spring’ and ‘autumn’;

‘autumn’ can also be replaced by something that starts with ‘s’ to enhance the alliteration effect. Overall, very well done!



This is a beautiful poem with subtle depiction of nature in detail. It is a landscape painting of the four seasons. It has reached the readers using the five senses, colour, smell, touch, taste and sound. It has rhyming pairs skillfully constructed. The ending note is strong and uplifting. Diction in great variety. It replaces winter with snow which is unconventional and very refreshing. It strikes another image for the reader. It is beautiful!

A very solid treatment of the subject. Some vivid and interesting details and language. To improve this, I’d like less formulaic imagery, and more specific details.


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 27


Tan Charlotte

Heep Yunn Primary School Theme: A Beautiful Memory A Memory of a Dream The golden sand,

Falling gently out of my hand

I still remember the dream of the beach My family and I having a juicy peach.

I ran into the deep blue sea

Clear water splashing over my knees A baby dolphin swam towards me And we played together merrily.

How I wish my dream will not end As I had made a dolphin friend

Too hard to leave my beautiful dream, But I heard my mother scream.

She shook me awake in an awful way I reluctantly left my comfy space Forcing my dream out of my head

And went to eat my toasted brown bread.

Adjudicators’ comments

This poem describes an amazing dream in the sea. It mentions the five senses and creates a joyful image. The ending is the awakening from the dream, sadly but vividly.

A nicely crafted poem, in which the fairytale-like dream is portrayed in contrast with mundane reality. I enjoy the turn near the end of the third stanza, where ‘dream’

rhymes fully and ironically with ‘scream’. Images are very vividly employed.




Uchimoto Natasha

Diocesan Girls’ Junior School Theme: Nature

The Immense Wild

The cheetahs are prowling, here and there, The monkeys are cleaning their dark wavy hair.

Eagles soaring in the sky,

Hunting for supper, “Caww!” they cry.

In the lake, oh yes you'll see,

Gangs of amphibians guzzling their tea.

Termites are lurking, chewing on wood, Lizards leave their tails for good.

Please do not go there, if you're a child, For you may be eaten, out in the wild.

Hyenas are screeching and laughing, Here and there, sly wolves are howling.

Rumbles of anger, the great mighty roar, Could it be an uncontrollable boar?

Vultures are swooping high and low Rattlesnakes hissing, to and fro.

Lions are stalking in the grass, Walk away, back up slowly, alas!

Please do NOT go there, if you’re a child, For you will be eaten, out in the wild.

Adjudicators’ comments

An original poem with a message befitting the age of a talented young poet—in fact, perhaps not even an adult should be out in the wild! The images are vividly communicated with the use of strong diction and well-controlled rhythm and rhyming.

The poem can improve by having a tighter stanza structure. Do the two stanzas serve the same purpose? If both stanzas are about how dangerous wild animals are, why do we need two stanzas? How about categorising the animals into several stanzas, to give the poetic form some meaning?

This is a scary wilderness! Lots of different animals. Enjoyed the small changes in sentences that alter the force of the lines.

Nice use of repetition; some clever play—termites, lizards—showing original imagination!


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 29

Commendation Au Oscar

Ying Wa Primary School Theme: A Beautiful Memory Memory Rises

As I stared at the eyes of my friend blankly Memories kept replaying continuously Palettes of tunes flooded into my mind Refreshing my brain from behind

The scorching sun emanated warmth to beyond Embracing the land as if sharing a bond

The sparkling butterflies glistened in the sunlight Rainbow of colours shimmered from dark to bright

A smile shone filled with pride With a truthful friend side by side

Sweat was rolling down our cheeks so red Without any plausible sign of dread

Dashing across the green fields

As a magical connection gradually builds Our souls soared up into the endless sky And galloped on the clouds up high

Lying in beds of flowers

We stayed still for several hours As aromas wafted into my nose A bond in our hearts arose and flowed

Overlooking the spectacular view on a hill Nothing budged except for the chill Holding hands as we chimed a rhyme Lost in the tracks of time

The scene was interfered with As a white and pale face appeared Embracing me for the very last time He reluctantly said goodbye...

As I stared at the eyes of my dead friend

It whirled me into galaxies hard to comprehend Then an image started to bloom like a flower Engraved in the universe, a hidden treasure

We were seen chasing each other

In such harmony as if I were his brother Smiles were seen through my damp eyes As my courage and sense gradually rises



Though my friend has left me forever

There will always be an endless gleaming river Flowing gently in our hearts

Reflecting our memory as it once again starts

Adjudicators’ comments Fresh expressions presented.

The poet has worked hard to develop their poem and ideas, and to use rhyme and rhythm, though I think some of the rhymes chosen push the piece in awkward directions. This really doesn’t work with ‘beyond/bond’, ‘interfered/appeared’ and

‘red/dread’, for instance. However, the sense of loss comes across strongly and though I would have liked a clearer sense of who the people are in the poem, the poet has tried to show how the memory is both beautiful and sad. I’d suggest using free verse instead of rhymed poetry, freeing the poet to concentrate on choosing powerful words and images.


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 31


Cheung Hay Ching Eleanor Marymount Primary School Theme: Nature

The Wardrobe of the Charming Garden I am the Charming Garden,

Nature’s fairest maiden,

My wardrobe is full of brightly colorful outfits, I change according to seasons when I see fit.

It is January,

The snowflakes make me shivery.

Secret snowfall at night,

When I awake I am in all white.

The flimsy, fluffy and feathery coat is soft to touch, It gleams in the winter sun, is a delight so much.

It is April,

Everyone is now playful.

I wake up all fauna and flora,

All my clothes become technicolour.

I slip on green blouses, sleeved with yellow iris, And put on bonnets made from scarlet roses.

Daffodils deck my shirts, And daisies line my skirt.

I wear perfume of primrose sweet With scattered petals on my feet.

It is July,

The busiest season has now arrived.

I put on a velvet gown in green, Transforming into the queen.

Shimmering showers at a flick of my wand, Fruits grow ripe by my command.

Yellow mangoes and red apples are bountiful, Orange oranges and colorful berries are beautiful.

Birds and butterflies rest on my dress, My summer dress is best of the best!

It is October,

My new clothes mean the year is soon over!

My clothes look like they’re on fire,

As they have turned red, orange and yellow with my desire.

I wear a crown of glistening golden leaves,

Dresses embroidered with smoky chestnuts and ruby pomegranates.

I am the Charming Garden, God made me His color’s warden,



Year after year I change clothes like a fashion parade,

Giving you spectators splendid variety and joyful sight without delay.

Adjudicators’ comments

The poem is full of fruits of different variety. It touches on the reader’s visual, olfactory, taste senses. It paints a colourful and fruitful garden. It is also cleverly rhythmic with rhyming pairs. The choice of diction is wide and complex. There is an original use of word combination such as ‘Orange oranges’ and ‘My summer dress is best of the best’! The overall tone of the poem is delightful, and echoes well with the theme. It is a magical poem!

This is a lively and energetic poem, full of colour and life. The poet has structured it well according to the seasons. The poet plays on the notion of a fashion show with

‘wardrobe’ in the first stanza, develops the idea of dressing up for each season and finishes neatly in the last stanza with ‘fashion parade’. I like the strong declaration in the first two lines, and the idea at the end of the poem that the garden has been made responsible by God is striking. The poet has chosen to describe nature in human terms, as though it were a woman concerned only with beauty and fashion—and the fact that the poet has left out winter altogether prevents them from showing the contrasts that the idea of the seasons invites. The poet has worked hard with rhyme:

this is less successful at the end of the first stanza, and in ‘fire/desire’, fire is an autumnal colour, but desire is associated more with spring. In the last two lines of the third stanza, ‘sweet/feet’ is a beautiful couplet and conveys the qualities of spring very well. Elsewhere, some of the image choices are contrived: ‘best of the best’

really doesn’t tell us anything and it seems as though the poet was struggling for a rhyme with ‘dress’. (‘Caress’?) Though I regret that the poet didn’t include winter, this is a vivid and energetic poem.


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 33

Commendation Chiu Cheuk Him Carl

Shak Chung Shan Memorial Catholic Primary School Theme: Public Places

The Bus Terminal When I see the number 6, I remember...

Many people as long as a snake Driving me crazy every day.

But this is the journey start to school, I was willing to wait in

This sardine pool.

People wait and go.

Buses come and load.

Time flies like water flows.

From my home,

Lai Chi Kok, Sham Shui Po to Mong Kok, It's marvellous to be in school.

From the final bell,

Mong Kok, Sham Shui Po, and back to Lai Chi Kok, With my friends, to and fro.

When I see the number 6, I will always remember...

Adjudicators’ comments

A very mature poem on the bus journey to and from school. There is some very good use of literary devices, such as varying line lengths, partial rhymes, and good imagery. They complement the couplets smartly placed at the start and the end of the poem, bracketing the details of bus journeys and elevating it to a thoughtful, pensive feeling. The poem can benefit from having a stanza structure—for example, the three short, crisp lines in the middle (‘People wait...water flows’) can form a separate stanza, in order to give the poem a slight twist in rhythm and breathing.

Beware, also, of the odd use of past tense ‘was willing’ while the rest of the poem is in the present. Overall, this is a very good poem. Well done!

The poet selects the bus terminal as a ‘public place’ which sets the context of the poem, unfolding further with images like school, buses and places (Lai Chi Kok/

Mong Kok) which are public places as well that form the poet’s community. The idea is quite interesting yet the narration sounds a bit flat with repetitive elements. The past tense in line 6 stands out rather curiously.

Good descriptions, I particularly liked ‘this sardine pool’. The poet could probably leave off the last line and it might be nice to see something of the number 6 bus...!



Commendation Lam Pak Yu

Diocesan Girls’ Junior School Theme: Nature


Nature is a magician,

who makes all plants mature.

She unleashes her power, to make the sky cry,

or covers the land with colourful powder.

Nature is an artist,

who makes beautiful paintings.

Without a brush or a piece of paper, she still makes the picture breathtaking.

Nature is a zookeeper,

who takes care of all kinds of animals.

She trains them to play around which fills people with joy.

Nature is a beauty,

who provides happiness to man.

Adjudicator’s comments

Some really lovely work here, fantastic figures of speech, and confident use of metaphor. The last stanza seems to lose confidence a little, however—if the poet is making stanzas which have a consistent structure and repetition, they might consider making them all the same number of lines too.


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 35

Commendation Ma Annette

Diocesan Girls’ Junior School Theme: Nature

A Wondrous Sight

As I walk through the barren land I am faced with a cold I cannot stand Stinging like a blade of a knife, I brace As the wind blows against my face

I ponder and breathe in this indescribable scene More beautiful than anything I have ever seen White meadows stretch out as far as the eye sees A blanket of fluffy snow covers the pine trees Wispy clouds fill the sky like a tuft of cotton Suddenly, all sad memories are forgotten A frozen lake resembles a mirror

As Christmas time comes nearer

The sun rises and the ice shines under the light This stunning wonder goes on until the night Snowploughs rumble and hum, creating a symphony Branches rattle and the two create a peaceful harmony.

The Northern Lights fade and snow falls Covering roofs and the tops of walls The wind, now a gentle breeze, blows I'm just sad that winter comes and goes!

Adjudicators’ comments

This is a fluent, articulate, vivid and assured poem. The poet has written confidently and, particularly in the first stanza, has controlled beautifully many of the aspects of poetic technique. I think the rhythm might be improved in the last line of the stanza with ‘As the wind blows hard against my face’, and in the previous line I think a full stop instead of a comma would make the sense clear. Avoid words like

‘indescribable’—not a terrific thing for a poet to confess to! There is promising descriptive writing here, though the very last line might have been stronger. I think the poet’s point is that once winter comes, it goes too soon, and this might have been expressed more precisely.



Commendation Ma Yat Hang Lukas

Diocesan Boys’ School (Primary Division) Theme: Emotions


T’is the night of spooky Halloween, Children were giggling away merrily.

Wearing my daunting ghost costume, I whirled around with them gaily.

Alas, I became very angry,

When my sister stole my prized toy.

I couldn't help hollering and screaming at her, I felt overwhelmed with fury instead of joy.

Then a tingle of sadness came over me, As the relentless rain began to fall.

We couldn’t go out anymore,

But could only listen to a bird’s distant call.

It was midnight, drafty and intimidating, While we visited the haunted house.

Petrified that there could be a ghost,

Thus I dared not enter, as timid as a mouse.

“Yikes! There’s a cockroach!”

Was all I could hear.

I turned away in utter disgust,

While the hideous pest scampered near.

Adjudicators’ comments

A very well-constructed and written poem with an original theme. The poem was so vivid as to almost arise from a film. Great usage of vocabulary. The rhyme scheme isn’t perfect, but otherwise the writing is excellent, and “Halloween” tells a good story with a nice surprise at the end.

Through the event of Halloween, the poet has gone through all the emotions in one night.

There’s a clear narrative here—I appreciate the storytelling ability. There’s also a consistency to the form that I appreciate.

This is an energetic and mischievous poem about the timidity of the speaker when they want to be bold on Halloween. The speaker begins with confidence boosted by their costume, but is easily daunted by a sister, the rain, the haunted house and the cockroach, in spite of anger, hollering and screams. Impotent fury! The humour in the poem comes out of this, and the last two lines strongly show the speaker’s


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 37

revulsion. The poet handles rhyme fairly well, but ‘fall/call’ makes me wonder if they included the bird just to complete the rhyme! It seems a bit out of place, especially at night. Might it have been an owl? The toy is also a bit strange, and gives the impression that it’s there to rhyme with joy. Be careful too with clichés—

‘timid as a mouse’ is too old and over-used! That said, the tone of the poem is carefully set, and the poet is obviously more aware of the situation than the character who speaks.



Commendation Poon Cheuk Kei

St Stephen’s Girls’ Primary School Theme: My Neighbourhood My Neck of the Woods

Chewing gum stains are a terrible eyesore And litter on the streets makes me roar.

People smoking pollute the air

And emissions from cars are a nightmare.

Deafening traffic can be heard

With the morning chorus from cacophonous birds.

Busy roads are all around us

Full of commuters squeezing onto a bus.

Majestic mountains can be seen, Beautiful with many shades of green.

Little animals all in trees

Surrounding hikers climbing in twos and threes Colourful buildings everywhere

Have balconies with plants here and there.

Work people are rushing home at night While neon lights are flashing bright.

Churches and temples all around Where different faiths can all be found.

Hymns of praise for the Lord above And prayers to show our Gods our love.

Colonial schools as old as the hills,

Modern schools as new as spring daffodils.

Students’ faces look like pieces of art Telling us what they feel in their hearts.

Shopping, services, centres, super delis, Bustling banks and loaded laundries,

Bakeries brimming with the best brown bread, Massages for muscles and massages for heads.

All kinds of restaurants not too far;

Fast food, Japanese and even bars.

Chinese, Western and Indian treats;

So much delicious food to happily eat!

My neighbourhood has some things terrific, some atrocious, But I wouldn’t move as I love it so much.

Adjudicators’ comments

This is an impressive poem which delineates the vibrant neighborhood of the poet.

Excellent choice of words and precise descriptions. Well-done!

A musical work, demonstrating nicely some technical devices like assonance, alliteration and rhyme. A mosaic of vivid images, yet seems somehow congested in


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 39

this single-stanza poem. There is a sense of social belonging but the positive and negatives elements in the speaker’s community could be better organized in order to lead to a convincing conclusion.

Some interesting ways of describing everyday things. I thought the lines ‘Colonial schools as old as the hills, Modern schools as new as spring daffodils’ particularly interesting.

Good alliteration and use of language though I’d like to see details more specific and particular to the author.



Commendation Poon Matthew

La Salle Primary School Theme: Emotions Fear

Everyone has his unique fear Though most dismiss it with a sneer

Some fear that they cannot achieve their own goals Others fear God does not look after their souls

Remember once when I was small I was afraid of toys that crawl

Whenever I saw them moving Immediately I started crying

As I grew older my fears changed Across grades and medals they ranged Over a critical exam I lost much sleep, Dreams of high marks I dared not keep.

Now I’m going to secondary school Amongst friends I want to be the most cool Fear still lurks in my mind somewhere From such I have learnt to forbear

Some say strength equals valiancy Some say heroes are all mighty

I say that none of these is correct Mere audacity does not gain respect

Like weeds fear may grow and spread, With it I won’t compromise.

Fear intimidates feeble minds,

But conquered on true courage’s rise.

Adjudicators’ comments

The poet has taken great care with rhyme in this poem, and I’m impressed with the ingenuity with which they have tried to keep the sense of the poem in spite of the way rhyme tends to drag a poet away from what they want to say. This often means that the poet ends up changing the direction of the poem to fit the rhyme, instead of the other way around! I think the poet has struggled in places—the rhyme breaks down in the last four lines, and ‘somewhere/forbear’ is contrived—but the sense is otherwise successfully retained throughout. One detail I enjoyed—and I don’t know if this was deliberate!—is ‘all mighty’, where the poet combines the two ideas: on the page it is clear that they’re saying that every hero is mighty, but when the poem is spoken, it sounds like ‘almighty’, and that is quite different! I also like the way the poet has addressed the subject of the poem, showing the fears and apprehensions of a


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 41

student facing secondary school, and conveying with maturity some of the subtleties of the experience of growing up and changing. For future poetry, rhyme should not be used so rigorously—free verse can be just as powerful, and it liberates one from some of the mechanical constraints of form.

A very well-organized poem, starting with a definition of fear, followed by little personal narratives converging convincingly towards a ‘philosophical’ conclusion. A bit too many abstract nouns though. Also, punctuation marks are not consistently deployed.



Commendation Wu Tania

HKBUAS Wong Kam Fai Secondary and Primary School Theme: Nature


The harsh stormy winds Whip the sea into frenzy Will it ever end?

The green grass rustles

And the charming flowers dance As the breeze blows through The giant mountain

Wrapped in its warm green jacket Sneers snidely at us

Beautiful but cold

The knight of winter arrives Beware its harshness

The bright light of hope It arrives every morning To show the new day!

Adjudicators’ comments

This is a commendable effort! The poet demonstrates keen awareness of poetic effects through both sensory and figurative images. Some impressive alliterative lines are used like ‘stormy winds whip the sea’, ‘green grass rustles’ and ‘giant mountain/Wrapped in its warm green jacket’. The balanced images of nature as cruel and kind reflects the reality of life. I like the positive close of ‘hope’, ‘every morning’ ‘to show the new day’.

A thoughtfully written piece that carefully communicates the theme in a pleasing and engaging manner.

The poet has created some strong images here, the strongest of which is the fourth stanza, with the play on words of ‘knight’ and ‘night’ and the warning. However, it’s hard to see a development in the poem. The second and last stanzas are positive, but I’m not sure how the ‘harsh stormy’ winds, the mountain that ‘sneers snidely’ (nice alliteration!) and the ‘beautiful but cold’ winter prepare us to be cheerful in the last stanza, especially when the first one wonders whether the violence of the sea will ever end! Nevertheless, the poet has chosen words carefully to match the mood of each stanza: violence in the first, gentleness in the second, overbearing disdain in the third, and the lovely image I’ve already mentioned of the cold knight in the fourth.

It’s in the final stanza, though, that it seems the poet has hurried to finish the poem.


Hong Kong Budding Poets (English) Award 2015/16 43


Yeung Hei Chit Jaden

Diocesan Boys’ School (Primary Division) Theme: Nature

Missing Ice Palace Playing on my icy palace

Making up some graceful ballads Prancing around in these walls of white Looking at the sky so clear and bright Leaving giant paw prints in the snow Gazing from my palace as auroras glow Relaxing on my icy palace

Pawing in the water for my chilled seal salad Snowballing and swimming with my polar friends Laughter and happiness to no end

Gliding elegantly on the ice

On my beautiful palace I watch the sunrise

Awaking on my icy palace

Not a single piece of ice could be found!

Into the sea my home has melted

The place where I once was safe and sound More ice plummets as I swim away

On a quest to search for my new home today

Searching for my icy palace Is not an easy wish to fulfill

For the next piece of ice shall be miles away And my lost home has left me tired and ill Oh, for how many days will I have to wait?

Until my new white palace comes into view?

Adjudicators’ comments

While this poem has powerful, almost photographic imagery (ie ‘chilled seal salad’) and excellent diction, it could use more punctuation and a slightly improved form.

Nevertheless, this is a very well written piece of work chronicling the life and struggles of a polar bear. Very entertaining.

This is an interesting exploration of global warming through the eyes of a polar bear.

The poet makes the reader guess as to the speaker’s identity, and foreshadows it with ‘paw prints’, paws, the ‘seal salad’ and the ‘polar friends’ until the reader has guessed, though the poet never actually has to use the word ‘bear’! There’s a sad irony in the idea of the ‘icy palace’—it sounds so grand at first, and then we realise that it will melt into nothing, and we worry that the ‘new white palace’ at the end will never appear. There is some vivid writing here and a sense of the ice, cold and water. However, ‘ballads’ is strange, and seems to be there only for the rhyme, as does ‘today’ at the end of the fifth stanza. Rhyme is tricky: if you choose to be bound



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