Schools Poetry Competition

Showcasing the winners of the Schools Poetry Competition 2020

Presented by the Centre for New Writing and Creative Manchester, the Schools Poetry Competition 2020 was themed around Climate Change, and four Manchester schools participated. Here we showcase the winning poems from each school.

Pupils from Whalley Range High School, Levenshulme High School, The East Manchester Academy and Burnage Academy participated in this year's Schools Poetry Competition.

One overall school prize and several year group prizes were awarded to pupils from each school.

Overall School Winners

Whalley Range High School

And What We Thought Was Life by Jallah Lalzoy

And what we thought was life,

was us living a false dream.

The skies had raged while the sun kept rising,

in her pathway we would melt and bathe

as the thoughtless drops of litter ran,

from the open spaces of our shaded hands,

it only took two pulses,

for the Earth to tear and burn.

And amongst her ashes,

life was about to fade.


While the world shut its doors.

Closing her eyes on our past chaos,

my Lungs opened to a fresh flow of tranquil air.

In this locked silence i found the meaning of life.

I began walking, embracing each step of clean cement,

and the beauty of birdsong rebirthed,

in a quieter and lighter Earth.

Levenshulme High School

Climate Change by Teeba Ali

As I slowly orbit,

Around this wounded planet,

I listen to the humans,

Every problem they unearth,

Financial problems,

What dress to wear,

I hear the crisis ‘climate change’,

They treat it like nothing,

I see the world changing,

Bursting at the streams,

Why don’t they open their eyes?

The ice caps are melting,

Sea levels are rising,

Animals are suffering,

I watch as species,

Slowly die.

Time is running out,

The earth is crippling,

I know the problems aren’t easy,

A virus has come:

They lock their doors,

They freak and flap,

They sit sadly beside their hearths.

I am the one who controls the tides,

The light and night,

The order of the year,

And the lengths of the day,

I am the moon and have no voice,

There is nothing more I can do.

The future lies with you.

The East Manchester Academy

Seasons For The Future by Sama Sameer

Summer is dancing in the rays of the Sun, 

Summer is getting your hair wet by a garden hose and having fun with everyone, 

Summer is yellow fitted shirts and being half asleep at the end of class, 

Summer is a lifetime of happiness spent lounging around in a dewy stretch of grass. 


Winter is hot chocolates by a fire at the end of a long day, 

Winter is fireworks with family and laughing the cold away, 

Winter is short days and long nights that hold adventure, 

Winter is an icy palace that we all look forward to venture. 


Spring is blossom trees marking the pavement with their colour, 

Spring is the laughing face of children bathed in gold holding hands with their mother, 

Spring is flowers sprouting up from beneath, 

Spring is the trees making an entrance after being shielded and discreet. 


Autumn is the golden brown tint on the street made by the fallen leaves, 

Autumn is the hint of pumpkin spice against a sweater, 

Autumn is the tug of a hoodie that’s warm and soft like a feather. 


“The seasons come and go,” they say, 

“They never change,”

“So why does everything feel so out of place?” I say, 

In sixty years time I don’t want to live in a season-less world where my grandchildren ask, 

“What was Summer like? 

Was it like the poems that everyone used to write? 

Did it have a cool breeze that lifted the bottom of your hair? 

Did the sunlight lift your souls as it wafted through the air? 

Was Winter magical in its own way?

Did everyone take the icy wonderland for granted all those days? 

Was Spring really as floral as they said it was? 

Did flowers brush against your ankles as you ran through the fields? 

Did the dew from the grass kiss against your heels? 

Was autumn really covered in leaves? 

Did they sweep down from the trees and onto the street? 

Did everyone crunch against them with their feet? 

I want to know, because I’ll never ever see. 

I want to know what the seasons brought, 

Because now none of us can see them properly, 

It’s all distraught.” 

The future is being accepted to be a reality, 

When in actuality it’s just a profanity, 

Why are we refusing to make a change? 

When the time comes we are the only ones to blame. 


I don’t want to live in a half-world, 

A world not everyone got to experience the greatness of, 

A world that is unfair and a world that is sick, 

We can rise against climate change and give it a kick, 

We can keep the world that we love healthy, 

And we can make the future generations happy. 

Burnage Academy

I Am The Nature by Abdullah Qaftan

I am the nature

I am the ground

I am the ocean

I am the sky


Like a human

I need care

Be aware before you lose your care


Enjoy the sun

Enjoy the beach

Silver moon, golden grass 

All it turns black and white


I need care like you and them

Give me my care and I’ll give you your

Take it back before I leave


No nature means No bees and trees

No nature means No salty water

No nature means No hard ground


Buzzing ocean and gentle waves

Creeping steadily towards shore

Filling holes in sand with hope


Close your eye

And put your hand on your heart

Breathe the breeze

Silence is deep

Then you will be able to survive with me


Whalley Range High School

Year 8 Winner

The Thieves by Aisha Mohamad

The world is getting hotter and hotter

Day after day

But do you ever wonder

How this came to be?

Glaciers are melting

Sea levels are rising 

Rainforests are dying 

Wildlife is scrambling


Cars, trains, buses and planes

These are the things we use every day

Clouds of carbon dioxide fill the air

Animals are left dying in despair

Lots and lots of gruesome deaths

Will this ever really end?

What is the point in all of this

When your great, great, great grandkids 

May never exist


Our factories are working

Toxins emitting

The ozone is evaporating

And we won't stop adding 

Chemicals in what we are trying to breathe 

Our future has been stolen 

And it is our fault

We are the thieves

Year 9 Winner

It's Winter, You Know by Innaya Adnan

Your lungs are tied to your limbs like cantaloupe flesh 

The air intoxicating you 

Your pace is slow 

You are too terrified to die, and only hope survival listens 

Only you can see,  

the air, it's red 

And upon the ground 

Are white and yellow daises 

You peer up, at the sky 

Its winter you know 

It should be frosty, cold and hailing 

And fluttering with flakes of snow. 

It’s winter, didn’t you know?

Year 10 Winner

A Voice Left To Haunt by Waad Fellag

Sirens ring again.

There the city burns            the city screeches, screams for help.

This mirrors a kangaroo which is swimming in her own cries of despair

as she fights for her last breaths, beneath masses of smoke, from the burning of fossil fuels to electricity in your homes.

The earth is warming                  ‘nonsense’           as they say

but there a voice urges from the centre of the smoke


a voice of a child  echoing forcefully in the radar of the smoke


an echo caused by a child’s anger,

an echo that leaves the ears to bleed,

an echo bouncing of the haunting choices

of the past.

Now the smoke blurs the vision of humanity

and forcefully retreats the memories of the mistakes

that were sentenced to be forgotten           forever.

But this child here is left alone

But this child here is left to become free,



     once upon a time …

within ruins of a world meant to be home

as owners  left this place which once named

but now it’s all lost in age and dragon smoke…


Smoke quickly begins in filling her lungs, the kangaroo desperate of survival as she unable to let go of her life to humanity’s mistakes, as she is buried beneath masses of smoke

from the burning of fossil fuels to electricity in your home.


One other place, far to remember

the child’s anger reaches a forgotten, forged memory

This awakes the ocean that was betrayed, battled, broken           for its treasures

And then the sea begins to kick         mercilessly

on those who betrayed the right they had

The sea is thirsty for what is left                  and fearing the extinction by the existence of a drought.

An extinction like the sea’s past, forgotten friends.

An extinction of the sea

which was here before humanity ,             more than millennium years

of history within the sea

to be lost in a few decades

if not less.


The kangaroo begins to give up

as she loses hope.

The agony and pain she had for years

from the deforestation of her home to continues attempts of survival from the forest fires

all just disappear               as she remembers her origins and doubts that she will  be the last to suffer

but hopes that the next may be          tougher…


 A child’s echo, eternally echoing

In the radar of smoke

A voice left to haunt,

Left to haunt humanity

 of what was left of the



Levenshulme High School

Year 7 Winner

Are You Prepared? by Dania Al-Sukkar

Your home is in danger,

and it's all because of you,

I'll spread this word

until I turn blue,

I will search far and I will search wide, for

people who put their own issues aside,

for our home is dying, bushes are frying, the clouds are crying...but the people are denying...


Are you prepared to allow-

what we know now- as the amazon rainforest to soon become the amazon desert?

Are you prepared to wake up and see,

the ocean surrounding your bed...water reaching knee?


Are you prepared to look up at the sky-

searching for a single star,

but choking on the poisonous gas pulling your tie-

and you say that's bizarre?

Well hon, you've been warned and told what to do

but you just denied and didn't think through...


So are you prepared?


Are you prepared to accept the fact that it was your did this...the earth is dying because of you?

But most importantly ,are you prepared to have something to do?

Are you prepared to stand up for the rights of this place-

despite the tough times and problems you face?


You ask, 'How can one person make a difference?'

'What difference can one make?'

 To that I reply, 'At least each person can fix their mistake!'


Your home was in danger,

all because of you,

I'll spread this word-until I turn blue,

I will search far and I will search wide,

for people like you...who put their own issues aside, for

our home was dying, the bushes were frying, the clouds were crying but at least the people are trying!!!

 Year 8 Winner

A Land We Once Had by Rawan El-Reyes

I once lived in a land,

A land with clear skies, pristine waters and endless greenery,

Huge fields filled with daisies and tulips;

Waking up to robins’ songs and nightingales’ chimes.


We had a great responsibility, our land,

She was our gift that we didn’t handle with care;

Covered the skies with black clouds and the waters with bags,

Yet we never appreciated what we had.


For us the charts were never clear,

Continued hunting for rhinos, bears, seals and deer,

The amount of papers we earned were never delighting,

As we carelessly watched the numbers lower and lower year by year.


We destroyed for our supposedly worthful papers,

Took over nature with our countless inventions;

Finally cut off mother nature’s last vein,

I mean… most of us had good intentions?


Little did we know these papers weren’t edible,

Tried to live normally but it simply wasn’t liveable,

We acted recklessly towards the signs,

And that’s when we realised, it was the end of our line.


There was a land we once had,

A land with clear skies, pristine waters and endless greenery,

Huge fields filled with daisies and tulips,

Until we came and buried it under layers of ash and grime.

Year 10 Winner

The Villain by Tasneem Ahmad

We sleep in complete and utter tranquillity,

while the water bottle on our bedsides chuckle malevolently,

We unwrap our bread and toast until brown,

while turtles are consumed by plastic all around,

 unable to breathe, they make their last sounds.

Beach holidays on islands,

We lay content and in peace,

While island sized debris float about our seas.

Joyous, we flaunt our new cars,

the emission of CO2 leaves our ozone layer sparse.

We search for the culprit,

Who every day we walk past,

Baffled and confused are we,

As we look in the mirror and still cannot see,

The villain here is in fact me.

Everyone one of us has a part in the earth’s great defeat,

The people we love and the people we greet,

It is us, there is no denying we are the villain and the cheat.


Burnage Academy

Year 7 Winner

Untitled by Abed Jammoul

Thank you for the stories read

As I laid cozy in my bed.

Thanks for your enlightenment

To solve the mysteries life had sent.

Thank you for the cures and care

When sickness caught me unaware.

Thank you for tucking me in tight

And kisses on my head, "Good night."


Your life I loved has run its course,

For time will take us all by force.

Your love for me, not kept inside,

And no conditions were applied.

I've got feelings, no language describes,

I watched her eyes; I felt her vibes.

Like the sun she was, she shines then disappears,

In the darkness everyone feared.


And at night we all dropped our tears.

Like the sun she was, she's not always here but her traces are everywhere...

Her lights made my trees grow...

Her look made my day brighten up

If she wasn’t next to me, I would frighten up

Without her my rivers wouldn’t have flown...

Her rays made my flowers flourish

Without her where am I supposed to go?!