2019 Creatrix Prize Winners

2019 Poetry Haiku Winners

Judges: Coral Carter, Rose van Son, Gary De Piazzi


busy subway
the stillness
of a beggar

Rachel Sutcliffe                                  Creatrix 44



abandoned mine–
a green shoot
in the tailings

Cynthia Rowe                                      Creatrix 45



empty bowls side by side the sisters’ laughter

Elaine Wilburt                                     Creatrix 45

folding the map
my childhood town
fits my palm

Debbi Antebi                                     Creatrix 45



old kimono unstitched
another woman’s life
taken apart

Candy Gordon                        Creatrix 44.        WA


oncology ward
laughter mingles
with beeping machines

Marilyn Humbert. Australia   Creatrix 43.        NSW


2019 Poetry Prize Winners

Judges; Peter Jeffery OAM, Christine della Vedova and Leonard James


Carnaby’s by Kevin Gillam                                         Creatrix 44


For Geoff by Allan Padgett                                          Creatrix 42


A Gift from Broken Shadows by Mike Pedrana          Creatrix 42

Remembering Morrie by Norma Schwind                  Creatrix 42


A Last Song by Mike Greenacre                                  Creatrix 42

Of Wine and Peacocks by Flora Smith                        Creatrix 42



The two collaborating judges that helped the regular CREATRIX CO-ORDINATOR judge the CREATRIX PRIZE 2018/19 were two of the Perth Poetry Club’s MCs for the Saturday session at the MOON CAFE namely Christine della Vedova and Leonard James, who are familiar with most of the long-listed contestants who have also read at The MOON Cafe.

From a probable field of 240 poems submitted and published, the field was limited to a long list of 30.by the CREATRIX editorial staff. In the past this longlist based on the quarters often meant that prominent poets had sometimes as many as three poems featured, but this year because of the club ethic that is the basis of CREATRIX we selected 30 separate individual poets for the first cull. These in turn, when reviewed by the contest judges created a second round of some 15 poems and individuals to be considered for the final 6 places.

To the awards then in ascending order with pertinent comments made by any one of the three judges as follows.


The reader is drunk on its rich tones and distracted by its flamboyant display, a social and emotional poem both genuine and sincere, it measures for signs and significance, as well as the seen and the unseen.


As this wide-ranging poem travels from London to country WA, images and nostalgia tumble over each other. The reader is invited to hover just outside the family circle and view a scene of great intimacy and poignant regret.


In the almost larrikin cynical talk of casual hard labouring spartan men this poem asks how closely are we bonded with our fellow workers when modern working life has no intimacy of sharing, nor lifetime security provision. The poem beautifully reminds us of the challenges faced by the disabled, the underdog misfits and the casually outcast, amongst our more fortunate selves,”


More real than real, this poem sheds light on a hidden narrative behind each image and non-image, weighting heavy with the socioeconomic. Its focus of attention perhaps exists as a question, not how the world shapes a boxer, but if it should? Quoting from the poem; “The grey sharp hate outside the violent walls of his childhood,” and; “he has won the fight!”


The question of who shall ‘Guard the Guardians’ which is being currently asked of the Church and Welfare authorities, undergoing daily revelations of child abuse is passionately, savagely, and ironically addressed in this poem. It comes from a lifetime mateship, in the last caring days of the poet for his dying friend, torn from his mother, and then traumatised by the exploitation and sexual abuse throughout his institutional childhood and later life, by those who were supposed to be protecting him.


In this age of new branding West Australian tourism, a different iconic creature is being mooted so rather than the colonial settler black swan, the cuddly quokka is being suggested But just as worthy of a claim are the black Carnaby cockatoos that for most of us presage rain and splits the sky, the figs, the pine cones apart with their whirling squadrons and voracious beaks. And just as dominant is Kevin Gillam’s scoop of the CREATRIX FIRST PRIZE AWARD two years running with its unanimous Judge’s choice from the second round.

In a diction close to Gerald Manley Hopkin’s WINDHOVER, the poet builds up a tempo from the first cloud scuffed day to the murder of silence, with the cockatoo’s cries now having a can opener’s urgency. They carouse and goad each other on and perhaps hint at an ominous disregard, whereby if humans ceased to exist of what matter are humans to black cockatoos. Destined by God perhaps their relentless extinction is a warning to that same fate for we profligate humans seem determined to visit on them.




a cloud scuffed March day goes down among
Salmon Gums, though above the asbestos fence, bouganvillea

and grape are birthing, weighed down by plum coloured
trumpets and myriads of green baubles. closer by,

from some die-back ridden tuart and maze of fig limbs,
shredding then dropping their excitement over their shoulders,

the black cockatoos murder silence. their cries now have the
same can-opener urgency they had this morning,

and roosting after a day in flight they hold in their throats
the cacophony of now. for them, though the light at sunset

and dawn are of equal intensity, there is a turning earth,
a rising friction. out of the sky they drop,

an unruly squadron, carousing and goading each other on.
just as gum blossoms fill the March air with their scent,

the black cockatoos fill the air with their screeching,
heralding rain, and hinting, perhaps, at something

more ominous. and if humans ceased to exist –
of what matter are humans to black cockatoos? –

there might be one less fig to thieve, one more eon
in which to plunder. if they are God’s work

then the hands are steady and skilled, evolution, and the
production line smooth, proven, fate, and there has been

no twist. though we’ve caged, shot, driven them to near extinction,
they are not ours, and their raucous cries the sound of reason

Kevin Gillam

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For Geoff 

Steal me from a place called home
rip me from family I didn’t
grow time to know
tear me from a mother’s arms I hardly felt
ship me fearful to sunstruck
bastard shores of a foreign land
11,232 nautical miles from home
fingerprint me
shove me in back of a truck –
hand me to them.
O, the oranges and sunshine are unbearable.

Nine years young and wide-eyed.  Strange men,
these, the ones that thrash me first –
then rub and suck.
Faith was grounded before the crashing
men were paid to do the bashing.
We hid like mice in rows of oats –
swelling, fertile. Pluckable.

A child migrant with no known dad
guardians absque Misericordia
labelled orphan, defenceless,
chewed over by men with power
and spat out like trash
to limp along alone and sorrowed –
seeking any answer as to the why.

What torture I suffer because of your touch,
your savage otherness –
your penetrating divinity.
The more we hoped –

the more we lost.
The more we prayed –
the more your body fell into mine.

Accountable for nought,
you guaranteed I would be weeping still
some seventy years later,
blazing memories burned
into my whole being
as brands are seared
into the melting skin of bulls.

Sky clouded over, a cumulus
of sexual feasting and brother-fed brutality
in the rape-scalped horrors
of the shivering night.

Thank you soldiers of the cross
for your hammering

Thread me gently to the promised land.

Allan Padgett

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A Gift from Broken Shadows

these childhood streets are scented with a thick odour of poverty.
a kidnapping of littered stains and loitering decay.
colourless houses, dented and thin, teeth
broken fences
as angry dogs bark at their existence.
amid the squeaking and slamming door echo of address,
the unguiding dissolved knots of family
all the out-of-work fathers
are drunk on food money
and the
sagging in bruised silences where
baby hide hungry.

the children with skinny shadows and after-school sag
scooping up day dreams inside swing-less parks
the drunks circle in a smudge of slur and nostalgia under its leafless trees.
the boys chase and
the girls finger sand shapes,
kneeling in a pony tail shadow.

the truant teenagers are all baggy and bling from m.t.v,
tangling together in a pollution of shop lifting smolder on glass bottled
empty corners,

not young girls but angry mothers,
unwashed in loose singlets and stomp,
forcing fatherless prams to agencies for donations and formula.
waiting rooms dim and dank like a wounded dream.

the ones who can beat their drunken fathers have now become men.
running from law or past;
dizzy In their street addictions and
the night life’s
balaclava-tip-toeing theft for want.
their new born babies
a torn photo
inside their empty wallet.

but in here,
amongst the broken shards of poverty street,
begins a small miracle.
sometimes you can hear its repetitive sounds birthing from empty garage.
they are their now,
a thumping of fury and a singing of rope whirring into rhythms whistle.
a young boy in hood and hand wrap,
is catching breath.
in minds eye,
he raises arms,
like one who surrenders,
in his victory;
where mothers tears
are of happiness
and the grey sharp hate outside the violent walls of his childhood
are all silent to the announcers call for the ‘blue corner!’
he has won the fight!
a gift from the broken shadows,
______________________________ another boxer is born.

Mike Pedrana

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Remembering Morrie

Morrie was a funny kid
———— not  bad      just a shilling
short of a quid kid

we joked about him sometimes
———— never to his face though
no hurt intended

used to lope around
———— sometimes on his bike
always on his own

never spoke
———— one way or the other
just a sort of grin       sometimes

about 14 or so
———— Morrie up and left school
got himself a job

general dogsbody job it was
———— down at the soap factory
in North Fremantle

we read it in the Daily News
———— big banner headlines
terrible tragedy the paper said

slipped into a vat of lye
———— fished him out quick
as best they could

just a bag of bones was all
———— poor Morrie
sad to see him go like that

Norma Schwind

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A Last Song

And while you were lying there
propped up in your
hospital bed   as if for a
matinee performance   it must
have been a sudden memory
or something one of us said
that brought it rushing
to your lips:

‘Where did you get that hat?’
you were mouthing the
words I knew so well
from my Uni days Musical –
‘Victoriana’, a song from
the 1930s inside your childhood,
infiltrating your growing years.

I remember how we’d practice
the song – dad on piano
and you joining in
from the kitchen or suddenly
beside us – turning back
the clock, re-living those
East End of London times.

Chris and I performed in the
theatre group at Murdoch
Uni, then as part of a busload
of  travelling entertainers skipping
down to country towns like
wandering minstrels to
Kojonup, to as far as Albany,
joining locals in community
halls and reeling in old timers’
friendship, singing and applause.

And while you were quietly
mouthing those words,
I wish I’d grabbed that
moment and joined you
like so many times
for one last chorus   before
that impenetrable dawn.

Mike Greenacre  

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Of Wine and Peacocks

That summer
she wore the drab of illness
chose to walk where no crowds come.

But one by one
friends came to her door.

First the poet
who taught dancing and kept peacocks
bringing wine and a purple elephant tea cosy.

The gracious Javanese
whose energy and laughter lit up
the house, cleared the dark rooms of pain.

A friend from decades back
loud and thirsting for adventure
in red desert sands
under nights of blazing stars.

The letter from Tasmania
second cousins back from Paris
an email from grey nomad friends
still wandering on beaches.

Last the publisher
needing someone to check proofs.
Take your time, he’d said
knowing it would take months
and point to possibilities she hadn’t seen.

But for now
she looked around and saw
the black dog gone from the verandah.

 Flora Smith

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