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In 2016, St Pancras International played host to the Betjeman Poetry Prize during its launch and winners’ ceremony, as well as a spate of activity on National Poetry Day in partnership with Poet in the City and Maslaha.

The 2016 Betjeman Poetry Prize named Archita Sinha as the winner, out of a shortlist of six young poets from thousands of competitions entries. Archita was also named the second St Pancras Poet Laureate, following Lucy Arnold-Forster.

Poet in the City brought ‘Journeys’ to the station, bringing to life National Poetry Day’s common theme of ‘messages’ through the lens of the Landai – a form of female poetry written in Afghanistan.Throughout the day, visiting poet storytellers visited the station to engage visitors and commuters in immersive poetry experiences using new and old Landai poems, asking the question:"If you could say anything, what would you say?". As evening fell, Bridget MinamoreSabrina MahfouzAnthony Anaxagorou and Benin City brought poetry and music to the station, with work exploring the fundamental right of self-expression.

Today, the newly appointed St Pancras Poet Laureate, Archita Sinha aged 13, has revealed her festive themed poem, The Hologram Tree, which has been inspired by the magnificent Cirque de Soleil Amaluna Christmas tree, which resided in the arcade of St Pancras International, this Christmas.

In her role as St Pancras Poet Laureate, Archita has been commissioned to write three original poems inspired by the architecture and events of St Pancras International. The Hologram Tree, the first in the series, explores the ambience the Amaluna Christmas tree creates in the station and the feels it stirs within passers by.

The Hologram Tree

By Archita Sinha, December 2016

 

I look up into the branches,

The bright lights are shining.

It’s towering above my head-

So much effort for human kind.

 

As the mysterious shapes are uncovered,

Our secrets are shown,

Untold stories are passed

And agreements unrolled.

 

People are walking by,

Talking, eating, laughing and looking.

United in one stare,

In one flicker of an eye.

 

The projections are a comfort,

All the worries forgotten.

Replaced with the love:

The love of hate

Or the love for us

 

Each opinion defines us,

Our definition makes fate,

The fate will show our destiny,

Just like the stories

Which will remain untold.

 

The Cirque du Soleil Amaluna Christmas tree will be displayed in the station until Tuesday 3rd January, so be sure to catch a glimpse next time you are passing through the station, if you haven't already!

To follow Archita's journey as the 2016/7 St Pancras Poet Laureate and to keep up to date with other literary events in the station, keep an eye on the St Pancras station website's Poetry page throughout 2017.

The Betjeman Poetry Prize was founded in 2006 to mark the centenary of the former Poet Laureate John Betjeman's birth. The prize attracts around 3,000 entries per year from across the UK and aims to foster creativity in young people whilst discovering and encouraging the next generation of British poets.

In 2016, the prize ceremony was attended by guest judge Imtiaz Dharker. Imtiaz worked with judges including Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy to whittle down thousands of entries to the shortlisted six. The prize ceremony on the Grand Terrace brought a large audience and was attended by prize patron Joanna Lumley.

THE GRAVE OF IGNOR PREWETT, BY ARCHITA SINHA (12)

This is the grave of Ignor Prewett.

This is a flower 
On the grave of Ignor Prewett.

This is a petal 
Of the elegant flower 
On the grave of Ignor Prewett.

This is a hand 
Which catches the yellow petal 
Of the wind-­‐‑blown flower 
On the grave of Ignor Prewett.

This is a toddler, smiling and looking 
At the tender hand 
Which grasps the delicate petal 
Of the squashed flower 
On the grave of Ignor Prewett.

This is a man 
Remembering the toddler, grinning and peering 
At the warm hand 
Which clutches the silky petal 
Of the rotting flower 
On the grave of Ignor Prewett.

This is a lady 
Who loved the affectionate man 
Who remembered the toddler, beaming and gazing 
At the fat hand 
Which clenches the withering petal 
Of the dead flower 
On the grave of Ignor Prewett.

This is the old man 
Who adored the lady 
Who married the altruistic man 
Who remembered the toddler, smiling and looking 
At the tiny hand 
Which grips the velvety petal 
Of the expired flower 
On the grave of Ignor Prewett.

This is a gravestone 
Of the old man 
Who fell for the forlorn lady 
Who married the benevolent man 
Who remembered the child looking 
At the hand 
Which held the yellowed petal 
Of the lifeless flower 
On the grave of Ignor Prewett. 

GRAVE

By Annie Davison (13)

Now the wind tastes of March 
and rain will patter down, whisper 
doubt like a draping snake.

Now there will be no–noise. 
A mumble like an ill sea 
Just stopping on

These broken cobbles 
And this gate into –

And the wind will 
Reach, fade out, in the saturating air. 
Here where the river races the path, we 
Wither. Fall down now. Pray.

Let me know, where there is loss 
snide honeysuckle will yet wrap its arms 
around the short grassed lawn

MY PLACE

By Beth De La Rey (13)

I sit on the beach 
Waves lap around me softly 
The world slowly stops

FIGURES IN THE BRITISH MUSEUM

By Elspeth Hammick (12)

The sculpture of the king of Benin slowly said, 
While scratching his head, 
“I feel old.” 
The sculpture of the king of Cameroon slowly said, 
“I feel cold.”

They were in a posed position, 
While being watched in the British exhibition. 
The people never stay long, 
They were more attracted to the strong. 
The strong meaning the ones made of bronze, 
Most of them were icons, like us, 
Normally religious ones.

“Where were you crafted, 
before being departed?” 
One questioned. 
“I was carved in Nigeria.” 
The other answered. 
“I was designed in Liberia.” 
The other added.

The intricate figures sleep, 
Their patterns bold and deep. 
Africans by heart. 
“Why did the British steal this art?” 
“Why haven’t the Africans continued this art?”

SANDS AND WAVES

By Jacob Heaton (12)

The sea 
The land. 
The smell, 
Of sand. 
The moon, 
The lights, 
Of shops, 
And flights, 
In the distance, 
In the sky. 
Every day, 
Every night. 
The roar, 
Of the waves, 
Echoing, 
In your brain. 
They wane, 
And fade, 
But remain, 
The same. 
Sunlight, 
Rises high, 
In the background, 
As you ride, 
As you walk. 
As you speak. 
As you talk. 
As you meet, 
Other people, 
In the crowded streets, 
Made of old buildings, 
Made of dreams.  

FOSTER BROTHER

By Sofia Denno (13)

The room upstairs is Jaydon’s 
And he will never see it again. 
His last laugh hangs in the air, 
His last shout, his last glare.

The room upstairs is Jaydon’s 
And it echoes with the past. 
His childish boyish perfume 
From when he sprayed it last.

The room upstairs is Jaydon’s 
That’s his last painting, coming down. 
And the world for a second freezes. 
And the past is a whirlwind of tears.

The room upstairs is Jaydon’s 
And every argument we ever had 
I wish to be forgotten 
For him to know, I love him back.

The room upstairs is Jaydon’s 
But nobody seems to care, 
That the memories we collected, 
Have been let loose into the air.

Find out about the Betjeman Poetry Prize in 2015 and read poems by our inaugural St Pancras Laureate …

Poetry at St Pancras in 2015…