Congratulations to Grace Lee who has won Victoria University of Wellington's International Institute of Modern Letters (IIML) National Schools Poetry award. Senior secondary students from throughout New Zealand entered the competition, and Grace's poem Eileithyia was the winner chosen from the ten finalists. Judges said they were drawn to the poem's "gusto and exuberant music of its lines and imagery".
Her belly is effervescent-
explosive with life bursting forth,
the buttons on her blouse hanging on
by straining threads.
Dewy green fields run on for miles in her womb;
blood-roses bloom from veins, cords,
saltwater, and steam with life.
Passion breathes hotly into the greenhouse
and it grows - it grows.
She's a furnace. Snow melts at her feet,
the buried daisies stir,
stand close to her and feel the heat radiating
from the fire of her goddess-stomach.
Her swollen feet blossom from an old earth.
They sing to her, the stones,
to the serpents twining,
to the moon-rabbits kicking in the meadows,
and she glows.
She cruises by, a juggernaut,
parting the seas
her hips sway to the ghost of hymns
sung on the banks of the Euphrates.
She carries a dynasty with her;
her skin strains over a family -
three hearts, six kidneys.
Spring draws near, and the first cries with it.