Battle of Edgehill Exhibition: poetry competition

Calling all poets and writers

Two years ago, a small group of volunteers, with the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund, set up a permanent exhibition in St Peter's Church, Radway, in South Warwickshire. The interactive and static displays tell the story of the Battle of Edgehill in October 1642, the first armed conflict of the English Civil War, and describe the impact of the battle on the local community.

To coincide with the anniversary of the battle, and to mark two years of the exhibition and accompanying website battleofedgehillexhibitionradway.org.uk we are holding a poetry competition which will be judged by Clare Mulley a Yorkshire-born poet, journalist and teacher who is Poet in Residence at the Battlefields Trust. We very much hope that you will enter. (How to enter; see below).

Poems should reflect the broad aims of the exhibition, which are two-fold:

  1. To tell the story of the Battle of Edgehill which took place in the fields around Radway in October 1642
  2. To reflect on the impact of such an historic event on the community of this tiny Warwickshire village.

Poems will be judged, and prizes of book tokens given, in four categories:

  1. Children of Primary School age
  2. Secondary School students aged between 11 and 18
  3. Adults, 19 and over
  4. Residents of Radway village.

See below for two very different poems which could act as stimuli for your poem. The first was written by Rudyard Kipling in 1911, the second by Clare Mulley herself in 2016.

EDGEHILL FIGHT
By Rudyard Kipling

Naked and grey the Cotswolds stand.
Beneath the summer sun,
And the stubble fields on either hand
Where Sour and Avon run.
There is no change in the patient land
That has bred us every one.

She should have passed in cloud and fire
And saved us from this sin
Of war--red war--'twixt child and sire,
Household and kith and kin,
In the heart of a sleepy Midland shire,
With the harvest scarcely in.

But there is no change as we meet at last
On the brow-head or the plain,
And the raw astonished ranks stand fast
To slay or to be slain
By the men they knew in the kindly past
That shall never come again--

By the men they met at dance or chase,
In the tavern or the hall,
At the justice bench and the market place,
At the cudgel play or brawl--
Of their own blood and speech and race,
Comrades or neighbours all!

More bitter than death this day must prove
Whichever way it go,
For the brothers of the maids we love
Make ready to lay low
Their sisters' sweethearts, as we move
Against our dearest foe.

Thank Heaven! At last the trumpets peal
Before our strength gives way.
For King or for the Commonweal--
No matter which they say,
The first dry rattle of new-drawn steel
Changes the world today!

THE FACTS OF LIFE
By Clare Mulley

There is nothing between the soul and heaven but air.

There is nothing between the soul and air but bone.

There is nothing between the air and bone but flesh.

There is nothing between the bone and flesh but blood.

There is nothing between the flesh and blood but seconds.

There is nothing between the blood and seconds but metal.

There is nothing between the metal and seconds but your own hand.

How to enter

Poems can be submitted in either handwritten form or electronically. Please note that we cannot return entries, so don't send us the only copy!

1. Handwritten poems should be sent to:-

Battle of Edgehill Poetry Competition
c/o 1 The Green
Radway
Warwick
Warwickshire
CV35 0UG

2. You can email your poems to:-

battleofedgehillexhibitionradway.org.uk

Please note:

Please include your name, chosen category and your contact email address or home address.

The closing date for entries is 22nd September 2017.

Clare Mulley will select the winning entries, and present the prizes at the exhibition site in St Peter's Church, Radway, on Saturday 21st October 2017 at 3pm.

Good luck!