A NEW POEM FOR SLOUGH
HOME Slough are thrilled to announce Elizabeth Uter’s poem ‘Slough Homecoming’ the winner of our ‘Bring Your Own Future’ poetry competition.
‘Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough…’ with the opening lines of John Betjeman’s 1937 poem still casting a shadow over the literary representation of Slough, HOME Slough called out to the public to take control of their town’s future and write their own poem for Slough.
On 21 March at Empoword’s special spoken word event to celebrate World Poetry Day, judge Antosh Wojcik announced the winner and runners up for the competition, which saw over 140 entries from all ages.
The competition was open to all age groups divided and into three categories, under 12 years old; 13-18 years old; and over 18’s. The winning entry was awarded to Elizabeth Uter for her ode to Slough ‘Slough Homecoming’, with runners up Amrah Janoofar, Salma Ail and Amaan Javed.
All these fantastic poems will be preserved in print in a commemorative ‘Bring Your Own Future’ book, to come out this summer.
Slough Homecoming by Elizabeth Uter
You are the place that birthed me.
You are the tireless streets my Mum totters
around in high heels when eight month’s pregnant.
You are the place where her waters break.
You are the police racing in their cars
like excited girls - the whole road - their nightclub.
You are the taste of first light
when I awake and leave the birth chamber with my mother.
You are the nurses who love me in the incubation room
when I arrive a month too early.
You are the arms that take me out, rock and walk me to sleep.
You are the silence that greets my mother when she looks for me,
countless steps, to and fro, ward after ward until she finds
the Matron who says,
‘she’s lovely enough to steal away!”
You are the concern in my mother’s eyes
each time I hold my breath a second too long
or cough as if my heart is bursting from my infant’s chest.
You are the days when I cannot remember because
I have no words yet, no teeth, when I dribble.
You are the roads the white perambulator
traverses as my mother pushes me along in her travels.
You are the smell of smoke from my father’s cigarette
as he leans in to chuck me under the chin and watch me gurgle.
You are the sound of a soother I suck in my mouth.
You are the rattle that lullabies me to sleep.
You are the warmth of a comfort blanket
wrapping me up safe in your ‘new town’s’ arms.
You are Chalvey Road when I come home from the hospital.
You are the corner where our house nestles, in this snug-bug suburb.
You are the thrown up asparagus and colic-filled nights.
You are the burped up baby food that slips from my lips.
You are the neighbours who coo when Mum shows me off.
You are the cupboard my brother locks me in -
not wanting me to exist when I am nine months old.
You are the flour that spills over me
as I drum against the dark door and push it open.
You are the disappointment on his face when I am ‘found.’
You are the Father Christmas whose lap I sit in - at Santa’s
Christmas Grotto - at eighteen months as I stare hard into the camera.
You are the two policemen who bring my brother home
when he is a toddler, lost in the Queensmere Shopping Centre.
You are a many-splendoured cobweb of streets, people, cultures,
meshing together celebrating history, life, heritage.
You are the F.C Rebels, formed way back when in 1890.
You are the corporation hub of Europe - barring Brexit.
You gave me life, first steps, speech and love and for
this you have my gratitude eternally.
Slough My Home Town by Amrah Janoofar
Whatever does come to your mind... when I say ‘Slough?’
Cold rainy days and a small town?
A place that makes everyone frown?
A diverse community?
Found to be filled with unity.
People mixed from black to white?
Within an endless light.
If that is so then all I can say is... ‘How!?’
Slough, the town where I was born and brought up in.
Placed on the map like a tiny pin.
With the respect of numerous religions,
No need for divisions
You see it’s more than just cold rainy days...
Because when the sun does show its colourful rays,
Slough becomes a busy place,
All intertwined like silver lace.
With people here and there,
Mostly in the center and everywhere.
Perhaps at eye catching libraries like ‘The Curve,’
Where people wait to help and serve.
Or to the new built in Ice Rink,
Where people skate with wonders to blink.
Or even walking to the bus stop,
Watching the lady with the lollipop.
Or maybe walking to the train station,
Listening for the smoke and radiation,
Waiting for their destination.
Passing by and helping any near donation.
You see Slough isn’t just a tiny town,
With its crime rates being nothing but low and down.
A safe place for everybody, including you and me,
Outstanding schools not far to see.
Leisure centers, Parks and Factories,
Connecting everyone like double A batteries.
Although we might not get our ideal snow,
The River Thames still does flow.
So maybe Slough isn’t perfect
But so is the world.
Yet we don’t let that affect it.
Hence quit being furled.
And look above the paraphernalia,
Above and beyond Australia.
For there are many phenomenal things to be seen,
Up down and in-between.
All you need to do is step out of that locked door,
And take a step; 1, 2, 3, 4
Slough is my home town.
And I'm proud to wear that crown.
Wrapped with a ribbon left to curl,
Like a diamond connected to a beautiful pearl.
12 & UNDER CATEGORY (JOINT)
Slough by Amaan Javed
You can wear what you want,
Fight for what you see,
We're all equal and that's how it should be.
We will not be segregated, holding hands together,
People are all the same,
We shall be forever.
We can lead like a king or rule lime Gandhi!
If you are from Kenya or Palestine,
France or Germany
We are all the same, on life's journey.
Life is all about love
We were made to be together,
Like pancakes and syrup,
Pen and paper.
Peace is there so now let's use it,
Segregation; we should try to lose it.
So take a look and see beyond this,
Into a life of freedom and justice.
There's No Place Like Home by Salma Ali
What would hhappen if you didn't have a home?
You would be tired, hungry and hopeless
Your life would be a dreadful dome,
And your suffering would be endless.
I am grateful for the home I live in,
Because I can have a cosy lie in,
Every night in bed peacefully,
And wake up in the morning energetically.
Clean clothes to change into,
Warm food to tuck into,
Family members to talk to,
And interesting places to go to.
My home is a place I'd love to be,
It gives me a sense of security,
It's the best place I've ever been in,
There's no better place to live in!