Father and Daughter, a poem by Emma Jones

Emma Jones, a Year 12 student at Tintern Grammar, has won ISV's Student Poetry Competition 2021 in the Years 11-12 category for her poem, Father and Daughter. Here, she recites her winning poem.

Emma Jones, a Year 12 student at Tintern Grammar, has won ISV’s Student Poetry Competition 2021 in the Years 11-12 category for her poem, Father and Daughter.

The competition, part of our Arts Learning Festival, was open to students from all school sectors, and attracted some 350 entries.

This is what the judges said about Emma’s poem:

An utterly gorgeous sensory journey through childhood with a stunning collection of images.

You can watch Emma read the poem in the video below, and read it for yourself, along with the students awarded honourable mentions in the category for their outstanding work.

Here are the winners in other categories:

Prep-Year 2: Mia Mastroianni, a Year 2 student at St. Margaret’s Berwick Grammar School  for her poem, Max.

Years 3-4: Ariana Fais, a Year 3 student at Elwood Primary School, for her poem, The Wolves of the Night.

Years 5-6: Grace Sudjono, a Year 6 student at Harkaway Hills College, for her poem, Awaiting Spring.

Years 7-8: Nechama Davis, a Year 8 student at Beth Rivkah Ladies College, for her poem, Dancing with Tempestas.

Years 9-10: Melis Benli, a Year 10 student at Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School, for her poem, Lighting the Fire.

You can also find full result details and view Deputy Premier and Minister for Education James Merlino here, and in the news section of the Arts Learning Festival website

Father and Daughter, by Emma Jones

My gentle father

with what must’ve taken extraordinary patience,

used to turn the pages of the book,

one by one.

The curved edges of his voice,

smoothed away by years

of living in southern England,

used to drift me to sleep.

The elocution that is so distinctively his.

Every rise and fall of his tone

made my eyelids

drop a little further.

Sometimes when he was away

we would make recordings of his voice,

so that I could listen

and miss him just a little less.

The audio occasionally

interrupted, with a giggle

or a question I thought was clever,

from when I couldn’t keep quiet any longer.

He didn’t mind when I interrupted,

and he still doesn’t now.

That infinite patience

never wavering.

Eventually our voices started to alternate,

as I began to string

first syllables,

then whole words together.

‘Read it again Emsly’ he used to say.

Over and over,

the same little books with pretty little storylines

that had fairies and heroes and talking animals.

‘Now read it backwards, word for word’.

Over and over,

back and forth,

until my words were as smooth as his.

Gruelling as his methods were,

I am grudgingly grateful,

for it is clearly an essential skill

to be able to recite ‘The Three Little Pigs’ backwards.

Only joking.

My gentle father

still calls me Emsly.

A nickname intertwined

with memories of his colourful words

staining the ceiling above me

into intricate patterns

of endless adventures.

Honourable mentions

A Mindless Stride through the Rain
Meri Hayes
, Year 11,
Good Shepherd College

If I think of what to write
Michaella Curtis-Morris, Year 11,
Bayside Christian College

Tempt rue
Quinn Franklin, Year 11, Flinders Christian Community College

Birds of Bruce’s Su’Birb’ia
Sarina Davidson, Year 11, Genazzano FCJ College

Catching the Train
Niamh Ryan, Year 11, Genazzano FCJ College

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