Tuesday 24 February 2015
Poppy Turner, an English student from QMUL, recently won the National Local Poem competition for her poem, Learning to Love You (Ode to the Yorkshire Moors), inspired by the area of Yorkshire where she grew up. Poppy was also interviewed on the BBC One programme Countryfile in February. The programme profiled The Stanza Stones Project, which is a series of rocks with verses of the poet Simon Armitage’s written on them dotted over the West Yorkshire moors from Ilkley to Marsden.
Poppy found inspiration for her poem in the Yorkshire moors, which she missed when she started at Queen Mary.
Poppy said: ‘I wrote the poem when I began my studies at the Queen Mary a couple of years ago. I was shocked when I was told I’d won the competition.’
As her prize for winning the competition, Poppy received a cheque for £1,000 and a framed certificate which were both presented to her at Hebden Bridge Library.
Julie Embury, Publications Executive of United Press, who run the National Local poem competition, said: ‘In this annual competition, we aim to encourage people to get involved in expressing themselves through poetry by writing about someone or something from their home town. We felt that Poppy’s poem was beautifully written, gripping and it transported us to the Yorkshire Moors.’
Read Poppy’s poem below:
LEARNING TO LOVE YOU
(ODE TO THE YORKSHIRE MOORS)
Your large expanses form a contrast
To the stark white sky onto which you open yourself.
You are the chair of an exclusive club,
Seat of the heavens,
Home to wild horses, to Cathy and Heathcliff,
Dog walkers, writers, and early risers.
You are beautiful, but unforgiving.
It takes effort to reach your heart,
Tearing the clothes from my hot skin
Only to clutch them tightly again
As the cooling sweat raises goosebumps.
Instead of braving the gradients
I was content to grow restless in the valley,
Awaiting my escape into the big busy world.
But despite myself, I miss you.
I miss the unforgiving wilderness
And the wind shocking the pink into my cheeks.
You’re wild and wily –
You got deep under my skin.
And like a nagging, itching feeling,
You’re calling me home.
(c) Poppy Turner