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This poem by Janita Clamp won First Prize in the poem category for the 2017 show – ironically, for a poem which was all about how difficult it was to please the judges!

The Flower and Produce Show

I was proud of my beans and cried, ‘What ho!

I’ll put them in the flower and produce show.’

Six plump, green pods were brought to the tent,

Five were straight and one was bent.

It was my first time, I did not know

The rules of the flower and produce show.

Seventeen years on and those beans are history,

But the judges’ ways remain a mystery.

I picked four herbs and put them in a pot

But the label with their names? Oops! I forgot.

Parsley, thyme, rosemary and sage –

Why must these be written on a page?

My sweet pea stems are far too short;

My strawberries have developed warts;

My courgettes are great – but different sizes…

None of the above will win me prizes.

I had a bash at arranging flowers –

Surely that’s within my powers?

I carried my vase to the show marquee,

Saw the competition, and decided to flee.

My scones are flat. My jam’s too thick.

My brownies burnt. My bread? A brick.

I was going to enter my sloe gin

But drank it for Dutch courage on the way in.

Every year I hope and pray

That a coloured card will come my way;

My entries look much like all the rest,

But someone else’s is always best.

This time I’m digging with my pen

(No harm in a literary reference now and then).

Each word is nurtured, no rhyme is fudged,

My poem is ready to be judged.

Yet despite this catalogue of woe,

My faith, my hope, my ‘have a go’

Remain undaunted because, you know,

I love the flower and produce show.

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