SPRING 2023 - COMPETITION WINNERS
Thank you to everyone who entered the Spring 2023 Member’s Competition.
Congratulations to Christopher Williams, Phillip Williams, and Peter Wells whose winning entries are highlighted below.
Christopher Williams, 'Dumped'
1st Prize - $100
They dumped the car that killed my great-uncle,
crushed and broken FC left to rust,
off the track, she oaks sprouting through the empty engine bay.
They were powered by vodka thrill, impetuous youth
searching for substance in an outback hebetude.
They left the dirt corrugations clattering in the inky hours,
hollow eyes vacuous at a dawn they would never see.
Years later, my grandfather took me there, held my hand,
showed me the wreck his brother died in.
What remained? No painted cross, no flowers,
just a crumbling memory wrapped in silence, a superb parrot sentinel.
He might have tasted the red earth thrown through the windscreen,
or sung the song of death with unsung eyes,
none of them survived to tell the story of four mates, a truck
and a wailing herd of cattle,
a dreaming cut short,
sung no more.
Phillip Williams, 'Are You Extending?'
2nd Prize - $75
Are You Extending?
Even now, a decade after she died, my body subconsciously anticipates my Mother’s weekly phone call. I glance at the clock, alert for the trunk call ring-tone. I picture her in the small retirement home unit, clasping the handset to her ear, the gold rings on her finger twinkling under her beloved art deco floor lamp. I always knew it was her because of the ‘beep, beep, beep’ trunk call signal. Our long-standing custom provided a time for us to catch up, exchange news and enquire about the family’s health.
Most of all she yearned connection wanting to hear my voice and to gauge the tone, expression and energy in my conversation. She listened for nuance in my replies to her questions about marriage, fatherhood, employment to reassure her that I was content. Her questions came from a list she’d written during the week on a lined page of an A3 pad, just like her grocery list. I’d hear of her new Bonsai hobby, newcomers to the village who have also have a son in Newcastle and about a rude man with tattoos in a big 4WD who abused her for parking askew at Coles.
I see her sparkling eyes, soft hands and warm smile. Pink lipstick adorns her lips from one of many tubes in her handbag. She has matching nail polish. I smell her Eau de Cologne wafting down the line. I envision her nestled in her favourite chair in front of the family photos with a glass of McWilliam’s semi-sweet sherry. The aroma of roast chicken and butternut pumpkin comes to me. I imagine the small saucepan with green beans and a half cob of corn ready to steam.
Sadly, nothing really changed in her life from week to week except a bus trip to a club, the lunch menu or a rare visit from a friend. The tone of her voice dropped away when she spoke about Dad, about how she missed him since he passed especially around dinner time before the 6pm news. She still talked to him though, kept nattering about the garden, hairdresser or her sister. Her loneliness and growing senility were palpable. As she aged into her late eighties she’d often say,
‘There was something I was going to ask … oh, what was it?’
‘Beep, beep, beep,’ the three minute signal interrupts.
‘I’ll call you during the week,’ I’d say hurriedly, aware that the operator may truncate our chat.
My hollow promise still leaves me guilt ridden. I was selfishly caught up in my own affairs. If only I’d rung, my feelings of remorse would be easier to bear. I shed silent tears as her pleading words haunt me still.
‘When can you visit? I wish we were closer. I miss you all so much.’
‘Are you extending?’ the operator asked.
My internal clock chimes each Sunday at 5.30pm. I pine for her call.
Peter Wells, 'The Yarramalong Girl'
3rd Prize - $50
The Yarramalong Girl
girls tow horse floats behind pristine
German brand four-wheel drives
but this Yarramalong girl
the one I am speaking of
refuses to be so easily defined
she is more of blue wren
than magpie and yes
she rides and shoots
but this Yarramalong girl
is no redneck – she is educated
and believes in climate change
and vaccinating children
she drinks craft beer
and doesn’t care what anyone says
about EL James
and this Yarramalong girl knows
she will not have
her mother’s life
A special mention also goes to the shortlisted entries:
- Diana Pearce, ‘Ancestors‘
- Bronwyn MacRitchie, ‘Backward Glance’
- Kathryn Fry, ‘Beyond the Present’
- Magdalena Ball, ‘Like Paper for Roses’
- Ronald Atilano, ‘Meditation on the Price of Petrol’
- Stephanie Ayres, ‘Night’
- Greg Struck, ‘Old Car’
- Jan Dean, ‘One Auspicious Day’
- Christopher Williams, ‘Street Life waiting for tomorrow’
- Gillian Telford, ‘Surfacing’
- Ellen Shelley, ‘Survival’
- Roshan Lewis, ‘The telephone rang’
- Kerry Gittins, ‘The Witches of Carrickstone Bog’
MEMBER'S WRITING COMPETITION
- Entries close Friday 1st December 2023, 5pm.
- Submit your entries via the form below
- The contest is for members only. Become a member
- Maximum word count: 500 words (poems max 20 lines)
- Max 2 submissions per member
- Winners announced December
First Prize: $100
Second Prize: $75
Third Prize: $50
Winning entries will be published on the Hunter Writers’ Centre website.
Write a piece inspired by one of the quotes or images below
Late on a Sunday afternoon the telephone rang.
― Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book
I’ve always envied people who sleep easily. Their brains must be cleaner, the floorboards of the skull well swept, all the little monsters closed up in a steamer trunk at the foot of the bed.
― David Benioff, City of Thieves
Fear filled her, unbidden.
“What is happening outside?”
— Katherine Arden, The Winter of the Witch
To be a soul of seasons is to burn and bloom, to freeze and melt away with the approaching footsteps of life…
— Jayita Bhattacharjee, Unknown
I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.
— Louisa May Alcott, Little Women
Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Grey