Turner lives with her husband, Clive, in Brockenhurst in the New Forest in England. She was a secretary in the aircraft industry, then taught shorthand and typing, and spinning and weaving. She is now retired and has more time to devote to her twin passions: poetry and painting. The profits from her poetry collection Out of My Buttefly Mind were donated to the children’s hospices Naomi House and Jacksplace.
John Hegley, who has published many collections of poems for adults and children, including My Dog Is a Carrot, found it tough making the final decision. “There were many happinesses in the poetry I read,” he said, but Auntie Aggie won out in the end. “The opening is very strong and in-drawing. The story flies straight and trusted and there are many incidents of delight – and ‘bum’ and ‘pants’ seemed necessary, not merely decorative,” said Hegley.
“It still remains the case that there are very few outlets for people writing for children, whether it’s poetry or short fiction,” says Will Govan, publisher of the Caterpillar. “It delights us beyond words to be able to bring some of the wonderful poems being written into the light. The calibre of the poems entered into this year’s competition was terrific. So much so that John commended some 12 poems. It’s interesting to see some familiar names among them, but it’s also incredibly exciting to meet new writers we haven’t come across before.”
Poetry Society Member Shauna Darling Robertson was among the Commended poets chosen by John Hegley.
Turner receives €1,000 prize money, and her poem is published in the summer issue of the Caterpillar (available to purchase at thecaterpillarmagazine.com).
by Janet Turner
Auntie Aggie liked an eggie
for her breakfast every day.
Auntie Aggie bought ten chickens,
fed them well so they would lay.
Soon these happy, healthy hens
were laying eggs by nines and tens
and Auntie Aggie began to munch
even more eggs for her lunch.
Although she wasn’t getting thinner
she started eating eggs for dinner.
Then, and this surely wasn’t right,
she drank an eggnog every night.
Auntie Aggie’s nose grew beaky
and her feet grew clawed and freaky.
Both her legs grew short and thin
and feathers grew upon her chin.
Auntie Aggie gave a wail
when she found she’d grown a tail.
Feathers then grew on her tum
and spread behind her to her bum.
Soon, avoiding bathroom showers,
enjoying dust baths among the flowers,
she scratched and clucked, ate worms and ants
and never, ever, wore her pants.
5 June 2017