Robert Burns Poetry Competition 2019-2020 - Youth winners

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images
Youth winners from the Robert Burns Poetry Competition 2020.

1st place Poppy Henderson, Columba College, with “The Bonny Fields o’ Heather”

2nd place Neve Darlington, Queens High School, with “Sea of Green”

3rd place Megan Pritchard, Bayfield High School, with “Ted”

Highly Commended Emma Kinney, Columba College, with “Ode Tae a Thistle”

Highly Commended Jack Peter Hollis-Wilson, Bayfield High School, with “From (Rocket) Ship to Sky…”



The bonny fields o’ heather
Sway gently in the breeze
My large feet crunch the delicate wee flowers under them
I fill me lungs wi’ th’ fresh air of the delicate golden dawn
And wish tha’ the peace an’ beauty would ne’er end
I can hear the plovers calling to each other,
The souls of young mothers
Who died giving birth tae their bairns
Runnin’ around their nests
Searchin’ fer another bairn tha’ they willnae find
The ice-cold wa’er skips over the stones o’ the burn
Tinklin’ like the bit o’ an impatient gelding
Th’ wa’er runs down the burn teasin’ the midges
As it hops an’ skips o’er the rocks
An’ carries wi’ it the salmon down intae the loch
Down in th’ loch I can see the smooth heads o’ selkies
Gliding through th’ dark wa’er as though it were velvet
I stand hypnotized by their fluid movements through th’ wa’er until they dive
and disappear intae their underwa’er home
I stand abruptly an’ make me way back up tae th’ stables
To begin breaking in the devil o’ a stallion Donas

-  By Poppy Henderson, Columba College



Ode tae a thistle
The truth is ye are na a flower,
E'en thouch ye snoke nor sweet but sour,
Rememberit symbolically for graciousness an nobility,
Ye show this a yer best ability,
For a prickly weit thon juist somehow grew,
Thare is na other word tae describe ye,
Coverit A shades o purple an evergreen,
Makes ye bricht tae be clearly seen,
Bi the folks thon belong A yer toun,
Ye are are a tradition thon has come around,
Consistently ye bow yer heads tae show respect,
Because this is whit the villagers expect,
Whan ye are droopin yer head,
An ye stem is hangin on bi a thread,
The sun turns ye golden brown,
But another ane o appears oot o the ground.

- By Emma Kinney, Columba College


(English Version)

Are you off to the stars
You towering spire
With fire coming from hell itself
The stars move aside
As you pierce the sky
As if they're in the way of royalty
Let me go
Into the stars
Where class is but a word, not a rank
Where everyone is equally free
No one is judged on where they come from
Only on where they go
Frae th spire ay fire tae th een in th skies
(Scottish Version)
Ur ye aff tae th' stars
yoo towerin' spire with fire
comin' frae heel itself
the stars move aside
as ye pierce th' lift
as if they're in th' way ay royalty.
Lit me gang
In tae th' stars
Whaur class is but a wuid, nae a renk
whaur a' fowk is equally free
no a body is judged oan whaur they come frae
only oan whaur they gang.

- By Jack Peter Hollis-Wilson, Bayfield High School

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