The Humber Bridge Poetry Competition provided a platform for aspiring local poets to showcase their literary talents, crafting short poems that incorporate references to the Humber Bridge.
The competition spanned from August 1st to September 13th, with the winner and runners-up announced on World Poetry Day in October! We partnered with the creative writing department from the University of Hull to choose the top three entries!
1st Place: ‘A Walk Across the Humber’
By David Wilberforce
We cross the bridge
sun sinking in the west
a cold chill wind at our backs
When we turn homewards
heads down leaning in
with the moon rising
and the tide turning
sometimes with the wind in your favour
and the tide with you
it is easier to keep on
than to turn for home
David Wilberforce (pictured below), the winner of the Humber Bridge 2023 Poetry Competition, was originally inspired to write about the Humber bridge when he and his son walked across the bridge during lockdown. He loved his time on the bridge, his spirits lifted by the wind in his hair and the view so much that he never quite wanted the walk to end.
When the chance came to enter the poetry competition, David had a challenge to rewrite his original longer poem into a much shorter version while keeping the essence of his love for the bridge and his walks along it
Here at the Humber Bridge, we don’t profess to be poetry experts so were delighted when Dr Edmund Hurst, Kath McKay and Anna Turner from the Creative Writing Department at Hull University offered to act as judging panel and select the winner. Ed and the team enjoyed the process too, stating ‘It has been a fantastic opportunity to work with local poets and to celebrate that work across one the Humber’s most iconic landmarks’. As an added bonus, Anna, who is a published poet, worked with David to finesse the final poem.
The journey for the poem didn’t stop there, our friends in the Sound Department at Hull Uni offered to record the poem, narrated by David, and create a bespoke piece of music to accompany it. Aaron Green, a Graduate Teaching Assistant worked with David to compose the piece and we think it’s the perfect reflection of David’s description of the ebb and flow of the elements and the Humber.
When asked about David’s experience of the whole competition process he said ‘It was exciting to hear that I was in the top three initially, a lovely surprise, so being the winner and having the chance to record my poem was an added bonus’.
Andrew Arundel, Humber Bridge’s Chief Operating Officer commented, ‘It’s been exciting for all at The Humber Bridge to work alongside the University of Hull on our poetry competition. It was great to read all of the entrants and a massive congratulations to our finalists and David Wilberforce, our winner’.
In addition to people being able to read and hear David’s amazing poem on the website, visitors to the Humber Bridge Country Park will also be able to hear David’s poem via a QR code which will be installed next spring.
Thanks again to everyone who entered the competition and has supported the process.
2nd Place: ‘Humber Bridge’
By Suzanne MacLeod
I closed my eyes, the first time
No head for heights nor stomach for widths
That was before the Bridge became family
The expected geometry
The sky-smile of welcome home
From western arteries
On foot, I was comforted
But terrified at the accessible scale
Of hex nuts, cables, plates
As if drawn together by mortals
With wrenches and guts
3rd Place: ‘Prom Night’
By Miriam Moore
On Hessle foreshore they gather
A giggle of schoolgirls
Because it’s prom night
To a rite of passage
The Humber Bridge the backdrop – a mike drop
For their insta-worthy iconic pose.
The dress is designer, too much eyeliner,
Jewellery’s borrowed, shoes pinching toes
Glamour’s transitory –
I just see their beauty.
These sirens of the estuary.