For aspiring young poets | Sunday Observer

For aspiring young poets

On the Coast of Coromandel

Where the early pumpkins blow

In the middle of the woods

Lived the Yonghy-Bonghy-Bo

Two old chairs and half a candle

One old jug without a handle...

These were all his wordly goods

In the middle of the woods.....


The much awaited Edward Lear Poetry competition comes round again and is open to all Sri Lankan citizens between the ages 18-30. This is the 3rd consecutive year that it is being held and the prizes are amazing. Entries close on December 16, 2018.

Five poems will be shortlisted which will have to be presented in person and read out to the judges the day before the awards ceremony. The winners will be selected on their creative writing and delivery of their respective poems. On the day of the Awards Ceremony, the finalists have to be present and read their poems once again to the judges and to the audience.

Judging will be worked off between December 20 and January 10, 2019, and according to reports the judges are looking forward to the creative writing in the vein of Edward Lear’s “Nonsensical poems”.

What is important is that the poems carry the lightness and optimism radiated by Edward Lear.

According to the Chairperson Shane Thantirimudalige of the Owl and the Pussycat the competition is being held yearly to promote poetry and literature among the youth in our country.

The prizes offered are Rs. 2 ½ lakhs for the winner, Rs. 1 ½ lakhs for the second prize winner while the third prize winner will be awarded Rs. 75,000. Please visit competition website for further details.

In a spool back Edward Lear was an English artist, illustrator, author and poet renowned for his literary nonsense in poetry and prose, especially his limericks a form that he popularised. It may be unbelievable but Edward Lear suffered from health problems. At the age of six he suffered frequent grand mal epileptic seizures, bronchitis, asthma and in later life partial blindness. Yet he travelled widely and finally settled in Sanremo on the Mediterranean coast at a villa named Villa Tennyson.

Among his other trips he visited Greece and Egypt from 1848-49 and toured the length of India and Ceylon in 1873-75. He produced large quantities of coloured wash drawings in a distinctive style and he nursed a lifelong ambition to illustrate Tennyson’s poems but his vision was never realized.

We’d like to round off Edward Lear’s limerick versatility with another of his amusing poems...

There was an Old Man of Aósta

Who possessed a large Cow but he lost her

But they said “Don’t you see

She rushed up a tree?

You invidious Old Man of Aósta...