Student Poetry Competition, Years 9-10, Winner and Honourable Mentions

Haelie Roberts, Year 9, Olivet Christian College, has won the Student Poetry Competition in the Years 9-10 section for her poem, Hope in a Whistle.


This is what the judges said:


Classic balladry in style, this poem establishes a strong sense of imagery, which catches the reader’s eye and lingers in the mind.


You can read Haelie’s poem below, along with the students awarded honourable mentions in the category for their outstanding work.




Hope in a Whistle


By Haelie Roberts


The sky was fresh, the landscape too, the dew was on the ground

The sun was slowly creeping from the east.

A world of beauty wakening up from slumbering all night round

Sounds of life heard never to be ceased.

Then high up in the crimson sky, a bird of prey appeared

Something like an eagle to be seen.

A whistling kite flew swiftly, though as one meant to be feared

 Soaring from the ranges to ravine.


He circled low above the brush, keenly seeking for

Dormant prey just waiting to be spied.

Circling still, he whistled out, a single piercing lure

‘Teeee-ti-tiiii’ he cried.

Then his beady eye caught sight of movement down below

He caught the passing breeze to make descent.

Plunging in a headlong dive he gained the bush plateau

A spiralling ball of menace on the scent.



Talons wide, his wings now spread he hovered just above

Then plunged and took his prey in swift surprise.

His talons closed on furry frame, he caught it by the scruff

There was no time to utter any cries.

Bird tensed its grip on squirming quest and caught the wind’s updraft

Triumphantly, he mounted for the crest.

His cunning eye rove peak to pile, seeking out the craft

Tucked away inside a homely cleft.


From a distance watchful eyes regarded all ago

 A boy, intent on catching every act.

Often up before the sun appeared and out to see each show

He saw the kites’ performance most exact.

His interest was in birds of prey; he studied them with zeal

His entire life depended on this form.

It was he alone who gazed on them; observing to the meal

And wrote and marked down routine to un-norm.


Since he was just a toddling child, he loved to hear them call

His family shared the interest of his youth.

But then the day of fate did come and tragedy did fall

Leaving him alone to face the truth.

His mother gone, his father too, he fought to stay alive

While uncles, aunts and cousins fussed around.

They shipped him off to Dad’s aged bro to learn to tend to hives

Though never giving him a little ground.


He’d found a chance to be himself when Uncle Jesse said

“We’ll go a –watching for them birds you like.”

They waited still until they saw kites soaring from the head

Of the rugged cliff tops so alike.

Then he’d heard a high-pitched sound, a whistle so unique

The fire started in his heart anew.

“Teeeee-ti-tiiiiii!” he had that day heard shrieked

From the creature fully in his view.



And still he loved to hear them call; they gave him hope afresh

Telling him the past was now behind.

He now had thought to look ahead; and one that would refresh

His sorrow stricken body and his mind.

There was one thing that was hope to him; the call of freedom fire

Still burned strong and never would go out.

“There’s hope in a whistle, a whistle I say, a hope that’s still rising higher.”

“You can still live your life, though in sorrow or strife, just keep hope in your heart today.”



Honourable mentions

Tanya Robin, Year 10, Aitken College

When is our one day?

Sharon Zhang, Year 9, Carey Baptist Grammar School

Reminiscing on Lonely

David Dodson, Year 10, Trinity Grammar School

The Sin

Winners in other sections

Prep-Year 2

Winter, by Adele Bilney, Year 2, Ivanhoe Girls’ Grammar School

Years 3-4

Silver Lining, by Mehak Soin, Year 4, Melbourne Girls Grammar

Years 5-6

After the Fire, by Felicity van Rensburg, Year 5, Harkaway Hills College

Years 7-8

Hope, by Ravin Rathnayake, Year 8, Haileybury College Edrington

Years 11-12

Summer Longings, by Derek Villaceran, Year 12, Lilydale High School