Poetry Competition Winner 2018

We asked you to submit your biblically-inspired poems on the theme of change to celebrate National Poetry Day. We enjoyed reading all competition entries and are pleased to announce that the winner is Alison Jacobs.

Winning entry


They say the women changed.

It’s true.

Naomi, pleasant to bitter

And back to her old self.

And Ruth, beloved Ruth,

From one of them to one of us.

But me?

I am assumed to stay the same:

Kind, rich and dull.

The first, I only tried

To do some good

For someone so much better.

Rich, yes,

With good luck to be born that way.

Good parents

Who taught me how to bless

And be a blessing.

Dull? I suppose,

Till I was touched by love.

I had not asked

For anything like this.

And now I have it all

And I am happy.

God bless my son,

May he too find a wife

Just like his mother

If there could be another.

Now we are whole,



Let the future come.

Alison Jacobs ​

Alison's poem was inspired by the book of Ruth. Alison wins a copy of Dai Woolridge's Prayers, Texts and Tears.

Special mentions

We enjoyed reading all the poems we received and wanted to a special mention to the work of Bill Birmingham​ and Jennifer Gray. 

A Useful Letter

Dear Philemon I am Paul.
I’m writing you this little letter
I know to meet you would be better
I’m sorry that I cannot call.

I write to ask from you a favour
Knowing you’re a kindly slaver.
In asking you I must be brave
To ask you to release a slave.

When on my travels far from home
As prisoner I arrived in Rome.
And when I needed help it came
By slave, Onesimus by name.

Onesimus his story gave
He said that he had been your slave.
But when he feared you one fine day
He upped and left and ran away.

Like many slaves he fled to Rome
And since he came, it’s been his home.
In Rome he’s altered his behaviour,
Found Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.

His name I understand means useful.
To you he wasn’t very truthful
In fact quite useless proved to be;
But then so useful was to me.

I said to him he must return.
To serve you rightly he must learn.
He’s now become a Christian brother
I beg you treat him as another.

One thing more I’d like to say
Can I remind you if I may?
It’s something that I’m sure you’ll see.
You’re a Christian thanks to me.

I’ve never asked you: May I show
Eternal life to me you owe.
And so Philemon I request
Please take him back, you’ll both be blessed.

Bill Birmingham

Bill's poem was inspired by the book of Philemon

The Sycamore Tree

Have you come down from the Sycamore Tree?

          In the sycamore tree you were able to see

          Whatever you like, but never be seen

          It's cool and shady and quiet and green.

But have you come down from the sycamore tree?


When you come down you must join in the crowd

          It's very unnerving and voices are loud

And people all stare at you, make you feel bowed -

But will you come down from the sycamore tree?


Once you are down, and not shy any more

          ( Because others have felt just as you did before)

          And you find that your feet are both firm on the floor,

You've finally come down from that sycamore tree!


Free to be you and now able to see

That the world is a wonderful place to be.

Jennifer Gray​

Jennifer's poem was inspired by the story of Zaccheus in Luke 19.


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