The judges said:
Classic balladry in style, this poem establishes a strong sense of imagery, which catches the reader’s eye and lingers in the mind.
Hope in a Whistle By Haelie Roberts
The sky was fresh, the landscape too, the dew was on the ground
The sun was slowly creeping from the east.
A world of beauty wakening up from slumbering all night round
Sounds of life heard never to be ceased.
Then high up in the crimson sky, a bird of prey appeared
Something like an eagle to be seen.
A whistling kite flew swiftly, though as one meant to be feared
Soaring from the ranges to ravine.
He circled low above the brush, keenly seeking for
Dormant prey just waiting to be spied.
Circling still, he whistled out, a single piercing lure
‘Teeee-ti-tiiii’ he cried.
Then his beady eye caught sight of movement down below
He caught the passing breeze to make descent.
Plunging in a headlong dive he gained the bush plateau
A spiralling ball of menace on the scent.
Talons wide, his wings now spread he hovered just above
Then plunged and took his prey in swift surprise.
His talons closed on furry frame, he caught it by the scruff
There was no time to utter any cries.
Bird tensed its grip on squirming quest and caught the wind’s updraft
Triumphantly, he mounted for the crest.
His cunning eye rove peak to pile, seeking out the craft
Tucked away inside a homely cleft.
From a distance watchful eyes regarded all ago
A boy, intent on catching every act.
Often up before the sun appeared and out to see each show
He saw the kites’ performance most exact.
His interest was in birds of prey; he studied them with zeal
His entire life depended on this form.
It was he alone who gazed on them; observing to the meal
And wrote and marked down routine to un-norm.
Since he was just a toddling child, he loved to hear them call
His family shared the interest of his youth.
But then the day of fate did come and tragedy did fall
Leaving him alone to face the truth.
His mother gone, his father too, he fought to stay alive
While uncles, aunts and cousins fussed around.
They shipped him off to Dad’s aged bro to learn to tend to hives
Though never giving him a little ground.
He’d found a chance to be himself when Uncle Jesse said
“We’ll go a –watching for them birds you like.”
They waited still until they saw kites soaring from the head
Of the rugged cliff tops so alike.
Then he’d heard a high-pitched sound, a whistle so unique
The fire started in his heart anew.
“Teeeee-ti-tiiiiii!” he had that day heard shrieked
From the creature fully in his view.
And still he loved to hear them call; they gave him hope afresh
Telling him the past was now behind.
He now had thought to look ahead; and one that would refresh
His sorrow stricken body and his mind.
There was one thing that was hope to him; the call of freedom fire
Still burned strong and never would go out.
“There’s hope in a whistle, a whistle I say, a hope that’s still rising higher.”
“You can still live your life, though in sorrow or strife, just keep hope in your heart today.”