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News > Congratulations and Awards > Archie Swanson (1973G) achieves high honours in the AVBOB Poetry Prize

Archie Swanson (1973G) achieves high honours in the AVBOB Poetry Prize

Archie was the runner-up in the English category of the  AVBOB Poetry Competition, which is by far the largest  South African poetry competition both in sponsorship and entries. Read his poem here.

Archie Swanson (1973G)
Archie Swanson (1973G)

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Archie has been announced as the runner-up in the English category of the  AVBOB Poetry Competition, which is by far the largest  South African poetry competition both in sponsorship and entries. There were more than 15,000 poems entered in the English category alone.

Archie's poem was inspired by Pablo Picasso’s famous Guernica, which was painted in protest to the bombing of the ancient Basque capital of Guernica by the Luftwaffe in 1937, during the Spanish Civil War.
 
my guernica
 
the bell of santa maria sounds the alarm
junker and heinkel bombers clatter in
deliver death at 4pm
 
in the street leading down the hill from casa de juntas 50 lie dead
42 more on josefinas hospital floor
aronategui the priest still clutches the child he saved – eyes glazed
a flock of sheep lie scattered in the market place
in flowering fields the hearts of little children stain the ground
machine-gunned down
and in cellars below
snow-white ash of the incinerated
 
ox carts take the dead away
bruegel’s triumph of death has visited guernica today
 
there are no calls from mothers here
or stranglehold of fear
for all are dead
the fathers gone to war
just blind old men to see
and silent deaf to hear
 
what ghastly price this day has wrought
our consciences are burnt away
 
gather the ashes
sweep up the souls
grind charcoal graphite fine in mortar bowls
and mix a bitter paste
that i may paint my guernica
grey on grey and white on black

 
Well done, Archie. We are very proud of you and look forward to hosting some of your poetry readings.

To read more about the competition, click on this link: https://avbobpoetry.co.za/Blog/View/46
 
You'll find Archie on Instagram by clicking here

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