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YOUR WINDOW TO THE COMMUNITY
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2011
FOR PALMERSTON NORTH
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Winning way with words
By JUDITH LACY
How she did it: Ellanor
Babbage with her
planning for the winning
poem in Manawatu
Association young adult
Photo: LEILANI HATCH
Short Story, judged by Dame Fiona Kidman
Open: 1st: No Such Thing as a Magic Bull, Joanne James; 2nd: Seeing Lou
Reed, Julia Kinsella; 3rd: Sweetheart, Tony Chapelle
Young Adult: 1st: Catch Smoke, Beth Rust; 2nd: Spy Mission, Jasmine
Luo; 3rd: Tall Poppies, Lydia Whyte
Poetry, judged by Dr Bryan Walpert
Open: 1st: When we watched movies, Tim Upperton; 2nd: The Fossil,Jo
Young Adult: 1st: Remember Me, Ellanor Babbage; 2nd: Lotus, Hang
Age and time flow through Ellanor
Babbage s story as neatly as the
young poet s words evoke images.
At just 10 she has won the young
adult poetry section of the Mana-
watu Women Writers Association s
Bronwyn Tate Memorial Short
Story and Poetry Competition.
For the purposes of the annual
competition a young adult is anyone
under 18, making Ellanor s achieve-
ment even more remarkable.
Ellanor did not put her age on her
entry, Remember Me.
Judge Bryan Walpert said Ellan-
or s poem caught him from the start
with its unusual descriptions of a
door that has no song and an
interior where it s dusk all the
The poem seems written from
the point of view of a house, and it
works at that level. But the speaker
could easily be a person, and most of
the lines would apply I m filled with
rust . A surprising, contemplative
poem that takes its time.
Ellanor wrote the poem as part of
a class exercise set by her teacher
Trish Molloy at Tiritea School. Mrs
Molloy had recently visited a house
near Nelson which belonged to her
great great grandfather, now used
for storing hay, and showed her
pupils a picture as inspiration.
Using the teacher-supplied work-
sheet, Ellanor brainstormed words
about the house under four cat-
egories: emotions/feelings, exper-
and description -- looks, smells,
feels, sounds like.
Her original poem was longer, but
had to be abridged to 25 lines.
In term two Ellanor was told she
has the reading age of a 14-year-old.
She is part of Tiritea s enhancement
reading group taken by Claire Law-
rence. Each day for 30 minutes the
five children discuss books by a
range of authors.
Ellanor s mum often suggests
books for her daughter to read, a
recent recommendation was Over
Sea, Under Stone.
I attempted it and I found it
If Ellanor refuses to read a book
her mother thinks her daughter
should try, she says remember
Harry Potter .
One day there were no books left
in Ellanor s house to read so she
picked up a Harry Potter.
It was completely new to me and
I just didn t like the look of it.
When I m asked to give my
favourite book I just get stuck
because there s a huge list.
Ellanor s family does not have a
television, not so much a philosophi-
cal decision but as practical one as
there is so little room.
Next year Ellanor is off to inter-
mediate. While apprehensive about
the move from a country school to a
large city school, she has an attitude
that should help her make the tran-
sition. I don t try to be mean to
anyone because that is just an
excuse for them to hate you.
Ellanor won $250 for her poem
which she will use to pay for a horse
trekking lesson and the trek. She
also wants to buy clothes, stationery
and, of course, books.
Ellanor s classroom is Kauri, in
the original Tiritea schoolroom built
in 1895. Another Tiritea room she
draws inspiration from is the
school s library where she is work-
ing towards her silver librarian s
certificate. On the door of the school
library is written: Room for Clever
By Ellanor Babbage
My poor door it s gone that was
three years ago, now it has no
It s dusk all the time in here.
No where is safe from the sad-
ness that seeps everywhere.
Whenever I see a light it is like
a glimmer of life.
My sitting room is full of dust
that fills the air and chokes the
Some say there s an uncomfort-
able silence that follows you.
Yet others say there s a ghost.
It always feels like someone s
I wish. Oh! So many things.
To have fun.
To quiver not in the wind.
But instead, I m full of sadness.
Sometimes I hate everyone.
Sometimes I feel glad.
My mood is unpredictable.
I feel light headed most of the
My paint peels.
I m filled with rust.
I look like I feel, abandoned.
I smell musty.
I don t feel like living anymore.
The song of the birds never
Only the sun setting brings me
It s time I was gone from this
Even I know that.
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