Friday 23 March 2012

Cayfest Poetry Competition

The Cayman National Cultural Foundation each year puts on a series of cultural events to entertain and educate Caymanians and the general public at large. Events cross a broad range of artistic endeavours, from music, to photography, to story tellings, to drama, to song writing, to artwork, to writing, and more.

For several years Caymanians and residents alike were invited to enter a short story competition and a poetry competition. Members of the Writer's Circle have taken great interest in these competitions and have achieved some good results. Unfortunately, the CNCF no longer holds poetry or short story competitions as part of the Cayfest cultural celebrations. In 2006, and again in 2008, the first place prize in poetry went to a member of the group. In 2009 the third place prize again went to a member of the group. Here are the three prize winning poems:


The roots
of my ancestors
in this ground
are strong.
They pulsate
with the rhythms
of time,
and the pounding
of surf
on the ironshore.

The air I breathe
is thick with
salt sea breezes
and sweat,
and horizons…
The blood in my veins
empties into the
Mangrove swamps,
and the fish feed.

Gentle eyes
gaze down on me:
my children will know,
I will teach them.
We will add our verse
to the song.

There was time
to dream.
To live each full day
and to know
one’s place
in creation.

my imagination.

Old photographs, and names;
their shadows grow thin,
but I fight to

I am not welcome here, now…
but the sea, the sun, and the sand
recognize me,
and you in me.
I feel it
in the waters
of the ocean.
And I dip
in their

By: H.M. Peter Westin
First-place for poetry, April 2006.

The Death of a Father.

A heavy and a deep
aching sadness
overwhelms me...
tears well
and thoughts
come cascading
drenching me in

The weight of my feet
the eternal length
of each day,
and the violence of
my heart pounding
are almost too much;
a void
fills me
and begins to
crush me,
sucking the life spring
from within.
I stop

But I sense his presence
the gaze of his eyes
that survey my
He wants me
to know, and
I know,
that he is
and happy.

Kyrie Eleison.

By: H.M. Peter Westin
First-place for poetry, April 2008

Miss Carnival
(for MLP)

I come from a place
With too much space
On the edge of the Indian Ocean
Where many people are stuck like islands.
Your voice calls me like a melody,
“Morning neighbour…”

I live on a small island
In the western Caribbean
With too little space
Where people collide like icebergs.
Your voice captures everyone who hears it,
“And we’re not going home…”

You invited me to your eye-land
And your daughters took me in
Teasing me, burnt, freckled skin in volcano splendour,
To them alone, I became “Miss Carnival”.
Every word you say soothes like a lullaby,
“Till the morning light…”

We got up before the sun
Before the roosters in their red finery,
To wear glitter and sequins and sparkles and feathers;
To jump and dance; jump and wave; jump and laugh.
I heard your voice echoing around me in the crowd
And you held my hand to keep me safe.

My eyes were sore from looking,
Jump and eye,
My nose shook from the rhythm,
Jump and wave,
My lips burned from the pepper sauce,
Jump and taste,
My thighs ached from the jumping;
Jump and dance,
It felt so real, so loving,
Jump and live,
Your voice is your heart,
Jump and laugh,
And your heart is what makes all who know you
Your brother and sister,
Jump and life.

By: C. Pilgrim
Third-place for poetry, April 2009

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