Previous Competitions

Ver Poets Open Competition 2018 Results

First PrizeMushrooms by Emma Simon

Second Prize: The Shunter by Howard Wright

Third Prize: Dawn to Dusk by Alan George

Highly Commended:

  • Buzz Pollination by Eve Jackson
  • Meltwater by Juliet Troy
  • Dead heat by Alan George
  • Fantastic Voyage by Jacqueline Pemberton


  • October by Jeff Skinner
  • High Rise by Stephen Devereux
  • Tinnitus by Howard Wright
  • This by Mark Totterdell


  • New Fruit by Jacqueline Pemberton
  • Life’s Laundry by Catherine Edmunds
  • What if by Janet Hatherley
  • Crackle-glazed Moon by Helen Overell
  • Ending by Roger Iredale
  • Host by Jo Peters
  • Mafeking Street by Stephen Devereux
  • Flight of the Magnolia by Sandra Galton
  • Blackberry Season by Howard Wright
  • Net curtains by Fokkina McDonnell
  • From the exhibition catalogue by Robin Muers
  • Gold Umbrella by Juliet Troy
  • Winter Withering by Doreen Hinchliffe
  • Clinging on in the badlands by Steve Pottinger
  • Scales from your eyes by John Prior
  • Stepping onto Tracks by Eva Hopper
  • Not Just Wolves by Emma Simon
  • Walking On Water… by Emma Simon
  • If Shadows Could be Severed by Paul Helliwell
  • ‘Joy once fled does not return’ by Grahaeme Barrasford Young
  • Smudge by Dominic James
  • Sat Nav Pilgrimage by Jim Green 
  • The Day by Jim Green
  • After The Argument by Christopher Delaney
  • Vincent i.m.1959-1983 by Christopher Delaney

Our competition anthology, The Ver Prize 2018, includes all of the above poems and Adrian Buckner’s report. All those included will receive a copy. Further copies can be ordered by sending a cheque for £4 (plus £1 p&p), made payable to Ver Poets, to 181 Sandridge Road, St Albans, Herts, AL1 4AH.

Ver Poets Members’ Ten-Liners Competition 2017 Results

First PrizeThe goblin under the stairs by Daphne Schiller

Joint Second Prize: Perspective by David Van-Cauter

Joint Second Prize: Pastorale by Kevin Maynard

Highly Commended:

  • A Waiting Room by Selwyn Veater
  • Poem by Terry Jones
  • Red Kytes over Home Farm by Anna Avebury
  • A Penny for the Guy by Bill Holloway


  • Feeling Blue by Sylvia Banham
  • If I wanted to by Chris Delaney
  • Ten Liners by Alan George
  • Odour of New Baby by David Mark Williams

Ver Poets Members’ Summer Competition 2017 Results

First Prize: 45 Deg C by Kaye Lee

Second Prize: Summer at Jackie’s by Daphne Schiller

Third Prize: If You Lose Your Way by Bill Holloway


  • It is August by Beliz McKenzie
  • Light of the shore by Patricia McCaw
  • Heat by Valerie Morton
  • August by Valerie Morton
  • Silences by Selwyn Veater
  • Sloshing About in Memories by Selwyn Veater
  • Assault by A C Clarke
  • Be Tempted by David Jones
  • Midsummer, Lake Macquarie by David Jones

Open Competition First Prize
Emma Simon

They take their vow of silence seriously.
Absorb the crunch of leaf litter, the creak
of rotting trunks into their hooded caps.

All plants know quietness, but mushrooms feed
on it. They suck all calm, all sense of ease
from autumn evenings, mulch it to monkish hush.

They practise stillness: gills unfluttered
by the breeze. No silky petal swish.
Their very noiselessness seems held in check

deliberately. Mouths buttoned up. Their thoughts
sprout in the darkness, take pale shapes
of mothwing whiteness, like shadows on a scan.

They know it’s will not words which gives prayer
power. Stood circled, smooth heads bowed
together, morph into things we cannot say.

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Open Competition Second Prize
The Shunter
Howard Wright

She can only sleep when the town sleeps,
with no other thought intruding, content
the engines and carriages are making
tracks until the break of morning.

She can only dream when the town dreams,
the shunter telling her to be at peace.
The town is dreaming of other towns
it was once in love with, and sleeps.


 She can only sleep if the town sleeps,
and the shunter is busy, crossing points,
clanking, joining up and lining up
trains for the early morning.

She can only dream if the town dreams
and the world goes on, uninterrupted.
She covers up, happy to share the dream
of the town and shunter, and sleeps.

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Open Competition Third Prize
Dawn to Dusk
Alan George

The early worm outstrips the bird,
slithering under leaf carpets of sayings –
no more than a mulch of silent words –
I swallow those on the tip of my tongue.

On the awayday coach I dream of spires;
sandstone stairs wear soft foot curves.
The river bed changes from mud to stones.
What small part of my hopes flow here?

At noon the market stalls for want of trade.
I pass the church where the relic’s toe
has been kissed away by dead pilgrims,
but not by me, or not today  – I turn away.

The city that chose me becomes a maze;
I once knew the quick route home; is it here?
Now back in my furrow, pull the tilth over my head
and bury the day in the sleep of the dead.

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