Megan Young Poetry Prize Winner Announced

Winning Poem

green tomatoes

Ayshe-Mira Yashin wins Megan Young poetry prize

A poem about green tomatoes has won the Megan Young Poetry Prize. The winner, Ayshe-Mira Yashin, aged 14, is a pupil at the Stephen Perse Foundation school in Cambridge.

The award was launched in 2014, in memory of my daughter, Megan Young, who was a pupil at the school and who died aged 32, four months after being diagnosed with cancer. Megan was an  equine veterinary surgeon, but she was also a poet having expressed herself through her poetry throughout her life.

A new generation of poets

It gave me great pleasure to listen to this new generation of young poets reading their work at the prize-giving ceremony, demonstrating such a depth of thought combined with the ability to express those thoughts in a way which reached out to others. So young and so talented. That is something at which to marvel and be glad.

This is Ayshe-Mira’s poem.

Green Tomatoes

today, we ate green tomatoes.

we don’t usually eat green tomatoes

we usually eat red ones

but she likes to try new things

because she’s looking for something

she’s missing, something she

hasn’t tried yet.

 

today, we ate green tomatoes.

in this new city, we usually eat red ones

but four years ago in a city lined in alder

they were green, like they were today

and she misses where she was four years ago

but green tomatoes

cannot lift you off your feet

or swirl you back through time.

 

today, we ate green tomatoes

because we couldn’t get them

back home, so liking them would mean

liking something previously absent

liking them would not mean

forgetting someone no longer present.

 

today, we ate green tomatoes

and they tasted a lot like red ones

they were cold, fresh, subtle –

I’d had them before, but

they didn’t taste familiar.

The competition was judged by Cambridge poets Claudine Toutongi and Gaynor Clements. The runners-up were Priya Babla with Waste Paper Basket and Elena Rowe with Antarctica Midwinter Sun.


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