Winner: Amy Nugent,
Amy Nugent’s poem ‘Treading Water’ is the recipient of a 2020 Newcastle Poetry Competition Young People’s Prize.
Every new day is a leap of faith,
Hope, when you drag through the air
And take the plunge.
But the deep water’s cold and oppressive —
Claws raking up your skin,
Exposing your bones. Leaking blood
So the warmth can leave you too.
Hold your breath to keep it inside
You. Else it’ll be stolen. Poisoned.
Some days each breaking wave is enough to
Overwhelm, the power to tear you from your feet
With unmeasurable force.
If you fight the Tide, you’ll drift
To some paradise of originality. But
To fight is to expect fatal wounds.
Your legs writhe frantically
But it is barely enough to keep your head
Above the water.
Amy Nugent, 17