Thursday, 6 December 2012

Writers' Forum Poetry Contest (September-October 2012): Winning Entries

Winner: Dr. Naina Dey, Assistant Professor (Dept. of English) at Maharaja Manindra Chandra College, Kolkata under the University of Calcutta. She is a critic, translator, reviewer and creative writer and her works appear in esteemed newspapers, books and academic journals. She has authored books of critical essays on Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Christopher Marlowe’s Edward the Second, and has edited Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own (published by The Book World, Kolkata). She regularly writes for The Statesman. She was awarded the “Excellence in World Poetry Award, 2009” by the International Poets Academy, Chennai in 2009. She was invited to be a member of a team of Indian writers (below 45) to be felicitated jointly by Sahitya Akademi and Visva-Bharati University on the occasion of the 150th birth centenary of Rabindranath Tagore in December, 2010. She has been anthologized in Roots and Wings : An Anthology of Indian Women Writing in English, Kerala. 


There was a time when birds had tongues
A time of singing brooks and whistling trees
Those were my dragon days.

As I sat misty-eyed on the edge of my Peter-Pan dreams
I felt the first prick of desire the harbinger of mortality
Bringing with it my monthly pains
Pains that grew tentacles
Climbing uterine walls, perforating the heart
With fears and grievances
Blind suckers deaf to my whimpers
As I hung suspended in the well of death.

It has taken days, months, years
For my desires to become opaque, immovable
A burden to be carried to a distant oasis
Save for a momentary shower, a flash of some miracle happening in another world
A perennial slogging, a perennial wait
A perennial solitude till the last breath.

Honourable Mention: Mr. Glenn Andrew Barr, United Kingdom
He recently attained a Merit for his Masters Degree in Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth, England.


Every day I sit in blood,

Awaiting that eternal thud.

Skin-suit burns so deeply strong,

Silky fear and deathly song.

Tried in vain to leave this place,

Bodies scream and tear at space.

People I have seen before,

Show me life I can’t ignore.

Soul echoes born within a storm.

I hear their fear,

I can’t get near.

Would I want to?

Get away from me.

Blood soaks a hidden glove,

Fear the other me!

Nothing here is born of love.

Hate from now will help me learn,

Just how much a heart can burn.

Honourable Mention: Ms. Minu Varghese, Lecturer in English, College of Applied Sciences, Dhanuvachapuram. She is a bilingual writer and translator. Her poetry has appeared in journals and anthologies, and her translation of a Finnish children's book (from English to Malayalam) is scheduled to be published in early 2013.  


Chaos and confusion.
Muffled groans deafening.
Sighs and screams mingle.
Fire and fumes subside.
Foul smell and ashes remain.

Soul captures the fire and immolates the self.
The inflamed spirit crushes up the body;
unbearable pain and angst,
endurance becomes impossible.

Pride melts, ego shatters,
pains reveal their horrid countenances,
helplessness team up with vulnerability,
strength and determination give way
to inertia and  incapacitation.

Honourable Mention: Mr. Mohammad Zahid comes from a small but beautiful town, Anantnag in Kashmir. He is a Banker by profession and has been writing poetry since last fifteen years. His poems, ‘The Addict’s Lament’, ‘Posterity Prays’, ‘Panacea’ and ‘The Crimson Dusk’ have been selected as Editor’s Favourite Poems in International Library of Poetry Florida USA. He has also been published by Jammu & Kashmir Academy of Art Culture & Languages.  His poetry also features on the poetry website Muse India where his work has been richly reviewed by the fellow poets. His poem 'Amante Egare' has been awarded Special Mention Prize in the Unison Publications-Reliance Time Out Poetry Awards in Bangalore in 2011. The poet also features in TIMESCAPES a collection of poems by 33 Indian poets released by Unisun Publications and Reliance Timeout.   

The Voice of Silence 

There are moments when I hear 

An inaudible silence in its aphonic tone

When someone speaks to me

And there is none around save me.

The words are harsh, sarcastic

Which purge me down to my soul

And lay me bare before some unseen mirror

Where I see my infirmities, naked,

Like scars scathing and raw

And my nostrils fill with a stench

Whilst some secret scalpel dissects me

I gasp for breath

As this asphyxiation pulls me out of the reverie

…….am I my own foe?

Writers' Forum Flash Fiction Contest (September-October 2012) : Winning Entries

Winner: Barry Charman, an English born writer, currently living in North West London. He is a past winner of the London Writers Competition "Promis Prize.” He has had short stories published in a Smashwords anthology, Flash Fiction World, Microhorror and has a blog on He is currently working on a children's novel and an adult novel, and is looking for an agent.


The tree was sinking, of this they were sure. Far beneath them, they saw the lava churning, and knew the tree was done. They had climbed as high as they could, up the tallest tree they could find, and now they had to stop, and reflect.
  The man whod worked the land was a stout man, who looked at all the fire and thought of the animals that couldnt climb. Above him was the man whod dealt money, sweating in his suit, a uselessness of words tumbling from him as he stared, eyes grotesque, at the base of the tree. Above him was the man whod spoke for God, who tried to finish broken prayers. Gone was his recent superiority, his assuredness assuredly done. His face was pressed to the tree, as if it was taking confession. Last rites given to flesh from wood, and suddenly not the reverse. Above him was the man without portfolio. The man who had talked, as if for all, and only now run out of words. Hed offered everything he had for the chance of salvation. He threw a gold watch, a bulging wallet, into the wastes. He watched as they quickly burned. He divested himself of these things, as if they were poisonous, and recognised as corrupting. 

  Above him was the woman whod taught. She was young, and her hair, tied back practically, revealed green eyes, the last green in all the world. Quiet, she had poured out her bitterness, she had turned out her anger. She had climbed, not to escape, but to catch the breeze a last time. To be in the feeling of a certain calm. To be in the arms of something living as she died.
  The ecstasy of a death that might bring peace.
  Around them were rolling hills of fire. Tumultuous crops of writhing, hissing, steam-snakes. Below, the blackened-red, reddish-black tides licked against the roots of the tree, and it gave thought to its passing. Roots curled, and the tips of leaves quivered, reaching out blindly, and without question.
  The sound of dying had passed. All that remained was the gentle surf of fire. Slowly, the tree gave way at last. The man whod worked the land cried for it, the man whod dealt money screamed now nothing could be bought. The man whod spoke for God begged to be heard, and the man without was silent, dumb. The woman wondered, were they the last to be silenced? Would the silence fill her up? With truth? With echoes? Would she be transformed? Were they to transcend or merely end?
  Down there, a recipe like that from which shed first been cooked, was preparing her answer.
  She tried to sing, a last echo of her world, of its mark, but there were too many songs to remember. So she poured out the songs, and filled herself with the vision. Fire and roar. And above, the birds circling as if they knew of somewhere to land. Somewhere that was or was yet to be.
  And the world wound down, with the sighing of burnt offerings, the slow surrender of pain to grace. And the fire rose higher than any man ever made. Beyond comprehension, as most terrible things are.
  The sort of fire that warms a Gods hearth, or drives a devil out.
  Though such things were beyond knowing, the woman thought, as she passed to other things.
  Fire knows. At the end, fire knew everything. 

Honourable Mention: Mariam Henna Naushad, IV Semester English Copy Editor, Sacred Heart College, Thevara

True Abode

He looked around, a hapless victim of poverty, like a deer searching for better pastures of grass to feed on. Weak from hunger and helpless before the forces of nature, he took refuge from the scorching heat of the sun under a tree at a park near the centre of the town. The busy sounds of the town-life soon began to fade off as he settled into a slumber instigated by the lullaby of the voices around him.

The moon soon took its course over the town, emitting dark shadows around. An eerie silence settled in accompanied with the faint rustling of the leaves, the echoes of the winds and the vicious howls of the wolves. Being in a dilapidated state, it took all the strength within him to find his prey for the night. The houses on North Lane embarked a rich look of sophistication, the kind where families sat down together for quite, elegant dinners served by the butler. The South Lane was the abode of homes rich with love and laughter. The West Lane was the heaven of the poor, trying hard to survive on a meagre income.

His crusade around the city, made him more cynical of life, as the poison of loneliness swirled around his soul. Having eyed around in vain for the safest option, he opted for the house on the North Lane that portrayed the quietness of a tomb. Breaking in with the swiftness of a deer, he quickly devoured over the remains of the food kept inside the refrigerator. When the rumblings in his stomach died down, he looked around fascinated at the wealth of arts and artefacts that made up the house-like-mansion. His mind wandered off for a second with a flicker of hope of fate providing him with a chance of luxurious living.

His own silhouette that constantly followed him around left him feeling frightened and the decision was made to take his leave from the house.  During his attempt to get out, the burglar alarm (a sneaky and luxurious setting of such mansions) suddenly went off and he was caught red handed by the master of the house. After the interrogation by the police, who also indulged happily in hasty beatings, he was sentenced to serve his time in the dark cells of the prison. Looming out large, like a true symbol of hell, it is at this place where the man found his true abode of shelter.