First Place Winners of the Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Contest for Canadian Youth

Jesus Never Worked at the Mustard Seed

“The shaking, the terrible shaking
when it’s time to quit.”
— after Patrick Lane

Come December the inside rim of Liam’s baseball cap
is always lined with battery-powered Christmas lights.

He hopes passersby will drop him a toonie
for being festive,
for the joy of reading the Lord’s words in red.

Bundled in a fox-fur hunting hat and hoody
half his size, a poorly rolled cigarette dangling from his lips
that he has forgotten
is even there.

Outside the Bay Centre, patiently in his mind,
he paces Douglas and Pandora,
bush-green khakis swaying in the wind an inch and a half
above his ankles,
legs frail, arms all tracks and faded tattoos,
a lesion or two still bleeding from times
he missed a vein.

Beneath his translucent skin
lies the only map he knows: a rib cage
ready to collapse
until he heats the spoon, slams a rig and waits
for the vomiting, the shaking,
the terrible shaking
when it’s once again time to quit.

Jesus Never Worked at the Mustard Seed was submitted by Adam Marsh, a Grade 12 student at St. Michael’s University School in Victoria, British Columbia. It was awarded first place in the Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Contest for Canadian Youth Senior Category.

______________________________

Hatchlings

I almost fell into the nest when I first saw it
a swarming ecosystem coming to life beneath my feet
and all I could do was shiver

You, seeing the way the camera shook in my hands,
offered me the jacket you had slung over your shoulders
as we set out that morning

In return I offered you a peck on the cheek,
as we watched the hatchlings crack out of their casings,
crawl with purpose forwards,
and fling themselves unwarily into the awaiting sea.

Hatchlings was submitted by Tegwyn Anne Huhges, a Grade 9 student at Lisgar Collegiate Institute in Ottawa, Ontario. It was awarded first place in the Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Contest for Canadian Youth Junior Category.
______________________________

Each year, the League of Canadian Poets invites Canadian youth to participate in its Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Contest for Canadian Youth. The contest is named in honour Jessamy Stursberg and “her lifelong love of poetry,” who passed away in 2008; she is the late wife of journalist and author Peter Stursberg. This annual national contest celebrates and fosters the immense poetic talent of young poets in Canada, and is juried each year by two panels of esteemed Canadian poets, given the difficult task of selecting the winners and honorable mentions in the Junior (Grades 7-9) and Senior (Grade 9-12) categories.

This year’s Jessamy Stursberg Poetry Contest for Youth winners and honourary mentions will also be announced during Young Poets’ Week. First, second and third prize winners will receive cash prizes, and will be published in Re:verse, the LCP’s youth driven on-line e-zine, Re:verse is located on the http://www.youngpoets.ca website.

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