much of her time near Gunnedah at her family’s property. The overarching purpose for the awards is to get kids writing poetry. The resources page at The Dorothea Mackellar website www.dorothea. com.au has an invaluable series of ‘how to get started writing’ pieces by writers who have been or are involved with the awards. They are some of Australia’s best so a visit to the site is worth it, if only to gain some insight into their creative processes.
Senior Secondary Merry Li Presbyterian Ladies’ College, Peppermint Grove WA Junior Secondary Beth Downing Campbell High School, Campbell ACT Upper Primary Salina Ai Able Education Australia College, Eastwood NSW Lower Primary Holly Grainger St Michael’s Collegiate School, Hobart Tas Learning Assistance And Special Education, Secondary Josiah Toft Wycliffe Christian School, Warrimoo NSW Learning Assistance And Special Education, Primary Dergam Salah Redeemer Baptist School, North Parramatta NSW Community Relations Commission Award Alexander Maloof and Rhys Halkidis Trinity Preparatory School, Strathfield NSW ET
Merry Li An afternoon spent at 39 Mandowie Road In the back room of our old house, in front of glass walls saturated by sunlight, sat my father’s desk. On it, a computer monitor and a keyboard with the a, s, f, j, backspace and return keys eroded to shiny plastic. On the other side of the glass my mother watered her fig tree, with the fingery branches that bled white sap, and the furry leaves that would have made very prickly undergarments. Snaking the hose under the handprints of shade, she plucked the figs with a twist of the wrist, handed them to us, heavy with rain and impregnated by the seed of summer. We tore them in half, squeezing from the little hole at the bottom, revealing the flesh: pink-tipped, perfectly, artfully graduated to white. Fig flesh, I thought, was like the alveoli of lungs that I had seen illustrated in the faded watercolours of Dorling Kindersley’s The Human Body. The alveoli came off so easily, we slipped our tongues and teeth between the soft rind and bitter skin, white blood dripping into the webs of our fingers until we were left with seeds between our teeth and two halves of a heart-shaped shell. When the mosquitoes came, my mother slapping at her bare arms, we hurtled through the sliding doors. On my father’s lap, our faces white in the Microsoft glow, I pulled at the levers of his office chair and pointed at the graph of Fig1 on the screen. My father explained that it meant ‘Figure 1’, and explained to me the nature of science.
Dergam Salah Fear He is unaware that he is the prey, Stalking him is a silent killer Ready to pounce the beast waits, In an instant he attacks, Fear’s dagger-like claws tear at his throat, His heart racing, His skin wet, The battle is on. Feeling the shock of the surprise, Feeling the beast’s breath on his cheek, The strength of his muscles on his neck, The predator never gives up. But the prey is also determined, To win the battle. Drawing strength of a source so deep, With shoulders squared, He rises from almost certain death, To win the battle.
Josiah Toft Dancer’s Feet The spring of floor boards Under lightning feet The graceful movement Of a dancer’s feet Flying high In crazy leaps Amazing strength In a dancer’s feet Impressive balance In dizzying turns, The swiftly moving Dancer’s feet Ballet turnout And graceful technique The inspiring and poise Of a dancer’s feet
Education Today – Term 4 2012