Student Poetry Competition 2023: Years 11 – 12 Winners

Elegance, restraint and a wonderful use of personification underpin the winning Year 11–12 entries in this year’s Student Poetry Competition.

Congratulations to Lotus Das-Hyland (Lauriston Girls’ School), Marianna Mossonidis (Penleigh & Essendon Grammar School), Jasmyn Carr (Penleigh & Essendon Grammar School) and all of those who received honourable mentions.


The competition, part of the Arts Learning Festival, was open to students from all school sectors, and attracted almost 600 entries.

Written poetry winners
‘A poem thoughtfully and viscerally expressed with mature restraint.’
Lotus Das-Hyland, Lauriston Girls' School


My leg-jiggling has reached an all time high.

‘Sheathed in symbolism’ I said in my essay,

as if sibilance could win me favour.

So soft and muted I actively remembered to breathe.

Exhale shaky, and shiver.

A seizure of clenched jaw and useless regret

so I am angry and young,

burning cold through history class

to meet you pessimistic, I’d like to think.

My poems are all the same,

and they don’t care about politics,

epiphanies can only sing so loudly.

Rain starts.

Aching with restraint, keeping myself from you.

As I am always, asking how did I let this happen?

Trees red like blood, red like me, like love.
Are they not the same?

Am I not consumed by you,

as leaves are blotted crimson,

apricot sky folding inwards,
egg yolk sun setting into an envelope.

Their ivy spills over the fence to douse

a postage-stamp backyard in amber.

As my heart threatens, flows and gushes,

burnt deciduous and waving, waiting to fall.

Like a blooming bruise on dull skin,

beauty in injury, my knees at your expense.

There are still beautiful things in pain,

in winter, no – in May.

‘This time one year ago’ I was reading Norwegian Wood,

and wearing the green sweater of a snake,

and feeling her slip out of my grasp.

Watching with contempt from behind.

Now I listen to Coldplay mindlessly

and sit next to her in literature.

A compromise which became forever

may as well have been a choice.

When I mentioned it, she fell silent,

so I comforted you amongst bodies;

sweat like stars against darkened skin

until they said we had kissed.
So I laughed, goosebumps rising,
and the sky opened above me.

‘An accessible poem, carrying strong emotions and a wonderful use of personification.’
‘The Death of The Sun - Part 2’
Marianna Mossonidis, Penleigh & Essendon Grammar School


Little Moon ponders,
Why must I watch
These humans consumed by hate?
They ruin me.
Their cries echo the ghosts of their past.

Poor Little Moon.
Does she not realise that she too is a ghost?
She stalks the world each night,
Not to be seen nor heard.

And when dawn rips through her,
It’s like she was never there to begin with.
Earth’s children were locked away and kept
Under a mask of crimson worshipping eyes.
When the darkness opens its mouth,
the children are blind.

They yearn for the Sun
And finding her in dayspring fairytales
That lull them to sleep, and bring them respite.
Little Moon weeps, for she knows the truth,
That the sun is a tyrannical being, the ruler of all.
Little Moon’s craters and scars
Are handmade by the Sun.
Her embers get snatched on Earth’s breath
And the trees whimper as they all become tiny suns too.
Little Moon watches a stream of vermillion
And purple bloodshed in the sky
Each time the sun sets,
Weighed down by the day’s affairs.
Finally her fiery orange fists can no longer silence the moon
And steal the glory from her.
Little Moon aches,
yet she bathes us in silver each night.
A silent guardian
Protecting us from the creatures of the dark.
Who will watch out for you, Little Moon,
When we’re all sleeping beneath your soft gaze?
The eclipse; the cure.

‘An elegant poem full of simple language yet conveying something profound.’
Jasmyn Carr, Penleigh & Essendon Grammar School



Oh please,

won’t you cry me the ocean?

Penelope, my love, my love

I’ll sail for the stars

in your silver threaded eyes,

as you watched for the heavens above,

You’ve always been good,

you’ve been good to me, my lover

Against my heart, as it bears

on you, and you,

my lover,

my bearing

Take me like a Shrike

And impale me

with your tongue,

hungry like thieves,

yearning for more

cunning words, sharper thorns

to prick at the hands

that want,

‘On to the next,’ you say,

You indelible song bird

of prey

For you, my lover,

Penelope, my love,

Unweave your shroud and

lead me back to your

hallowed ground

A voice, tearing,

screaming at me,

You are not God-chosen,

you are just ordinary.

Penelope, my love,

My lover, Penelope.

Teach me how to sail

through this wine dark sea

You are the beginning

and the end of my

errant conviction

You, the wind,


Me, the voyager,

In my odyssey, in my love

for you,

for the sea

Though my ending is not you,

I would prefer the tender woven words of the Shrike

to pierce my skin

Than the soundless strike in ocean blue ink

from a stranger,

My own kindred kin

I raise my sails

to a fate sealed by

Blind devotion

To you,

To the sea,

My love, my lover,

My Penelope.

Honourable mentions

Written poetry

  • Chloe Davis, Gleneagles Secondary College – ‘The Edge of Adulthood’
  • Maxine Fan, Lauriston Girls’ School – ‘Solidarity’
  • Sofia Floratos, Our Lady of Sion College – ‘Nights’
  • Polly Hara, Sacre Coeur – ‘Snapshot’
  • Astrid Harkin, Our Lady of Sion College – ‘Echoes of Journeys’
  • Malinsa Harshadeva, Penleigh & Essendon Grammar School – ‘Oscillation’
  • Richie Huang, St Leonard’s College – ‘The Journey of Tofu’
  • Melody Kennedy, Plenty Valley Christian College – ‘Hollow Wholeness’
  • Kiara, Geelong Lutheran College – ‘Stream of Tears’
  • Lauren, Tintern Grammar – ‘The Journey through an Anxious Mind’
  • Lachlan Li, Scotch College – ‘Pandora’s Box’
  • Gladys Lim, Home school – ‘Mother and I’
  • Kerenza Martin, Brentwood Secondary College – ‘If’
  • Ruby Muggeridge, St Andrews Christian College – ‘Life is Like a Game of Chess’
  • Anastasia Parker, Ballarat Grammar School – ‘Stale Tracks’
  • Jack Raudys, St Leonard’s College – ‘The Vessel’
  • Grace Thierry, Covenant College – ‘Hold on to that feeling’

Performance poetry

  • Daphne Palis, Covenant College – ‘Road of the Lonely Ones’
  • Rebekah, Covenant College – ‘2093′