Beasts of London poetry competition

We challenged students who visited our spectacular Beasts of London experience to get creative. See the inspiring results!

A piece of paper with the title 'Lions' written in pencil above a poem site next to a pencil on a  desk.

Amazing creativity

We had some wonderful entries from schoolchildren.

The challenge

In partnership with the National Literacy Trust, we invited school pupils to imagine and write a tenth episode for our Beasts of London experience in the form of poetry.

The rules

Poems were assessed on their originality, effective use of language and poetic techniques, empathy and emotional connections, and how well they explored historic, contemporary or futuristic concepts linked to London.

You can find all the details here, as well as the terms and conditions.

The judges were:

  • Fay Lant (National Literacy Trust)
  • Adisa Ezeocha (Poet)
  • Dan Shorten (Guildhall School of Music and Drama)
  • Finbarr Whooley (Museum of London)

Due to the number of entries for the Lower KS2 category, we split this into two categories and awarded winners for both Year 3 and Year 4.

The winners

The winning poets were:

Key Stage 1

  • Winner: Olivia (Marlborough Primary School)
  • Runner-up: Kayan (Marlborough Primary School)

Lower Key Stage 2 (Year 3)

  • Winner: Ashley-Jane (City of London School for Girls)
  • Runner-up: Aliyah (Moreland Primary School)

Lower Key Stage 2 (Year 4)

  • Winner: Norah (Orchard Primary School)
  • Runner-up: Lily (City of London School for Girls)

Upper Key Stage 2

  • Winner: Tanisha (Comber Grove Primary School)
  • Runner-up: Carlos (St Helen’s Roman Catholic Primary School)

A celebratory awards event will take place on Friday 7 February at which pupils will perform their poems and receive certificates and prizes.

The poems

We hope you enjoy reading the winning poems!

Upper Key Stage 2 winner

Tanisha, Year 6 Comber Grove Primary School

Squirrel

It’s 2100, I’m all alone,
The trees have been cut down, so I’ve got no home,
Got nowhere to sleep so the streets are my home.

All the other squirrels were killed or trapped,
behind the metal bars of an empty prison,
I gaze up at the stars which the leaves of trees once hid.
While I ran around, sad and neglected, I feel like I’m
trapped in a cage of buildings, which stretch above the clouds.

Every animal has been forced to be tamed, and all of our despair looks the same.
Despair’s in the air, despair’s on the ground, despair’s everywhere I look around.
My heart’s as cold as stone and as solid as a bone.

The branches of trees seemed to wave at me before
they fell to the ground as they were chopped down.
I can’t remember the last time I smiled at the world,
before it frowned at me and turned around.

I’m a squirrel lost and alone,
The trees are no longer my home.


Lower Key Stage 2 (Year 4) winner

Norah, Year 4 Orchard Primary School

The Beast of the Night

I am red and cunning
The responsible one
Who lives a hard life
In the big blue world

I eat what I can find
I am not fussy at all
I find my refreshments in filthy bins

I slink at night
And asleep at day
So if you want to see me
Please do the same

But you don’t want to see us
After all we don’t
You were the thoughtless ones who decided
To take our precious land away

Most people are scared of me
They think I’m bloodthirsty
But that is not true
I’m just a small fox
All alone as I live solemnly in my burrow.


Lower Key Stage 2 (Year 3) winner

Ashley-Jane, Year 3 City of London School for Girls

In the City of London

In the City of London
Creatures roamed the streets
Through the ages the beasts all changed
And so did their great feast

When the Romans were in London
The lions were the kings
The biggest and the strongest
Better than everything
But when the Tudors came to town
The lions had all gone
A new breed of animal had come to take the crown

The greyhounds were the kings now of all the animals
The symbol of Tudor times they are famous because of the king
They are muscular but still you can see their ribs
The pride must begin

Right now in the modern days the corgis are the kings
The cutest and the fluffiest better than everything
The Queen is very fond of corgis and so am I
The sweetest and the beautiful-est of them all.


Key Stage 1 winner

Olivia, Year 2 Marlborough Primary School

Travel plans

If I could go anywhere, here’s what I’d do
I’d pop in the pouch of a kind kangaroo.

I would fly on the wings of a lark
Or I could cling to the tail of a shark.

I would travel on the head of a hairy rat
Or I could sit on the nose of a scary cat.

I would move on the tail of a cute pug
Or I could relax on the back of a slimy slug.

I would stand on the wings of a moth
Or I could lay on the arms of a sleepy sloth.

I would stand on the back of a mooing calf
Or I could lay on the neck of a tall giraffe.


Upper Key Stage 2 runner-up

Carlos, Year 6 St Helen’s Roman Catholic Primary School

The Fox

There are times that by cheeky and crafty
the fox departs his way at night, always
in search of food to fill his poor belly,
he is an expert master in the art of
dissimulation and every day he goes in
search of food, however he does not even find a pinch.

The fox suffers and cries all day
in search of joy and pretends to be
dead when things get complicated,
and every day he dreams of being respected
day after day and with his ears
carefully listening and his tail hidden,
night after night, you can see the
little fox, lonely walking on his own.


Lower key Stage 2 (Year 4) runner-up

Lily, Year 4 City of London School for Girls

Three Beasts of London

The lion roared fierce and strong
It wears a mane gold and long
The striking cat locked up in the Tower
His sharp claws scratched on the stone walls

“Arrrrgghh” the eagle swooped down from the sky
Its giant wings helping it fly
She scanned the city for dormice
But sadly only found a worm

The horses galloped through the fields
Protected by the Romans’ shields
The Romans fed the horses beer
The mighty horses pulled chariots of heavy stone.


Lower Key Stage 2 (Year 3) runner-up

Aliyah, Year 3 Moreland Primary School

Lions

We are the lions, here before YOU.
We may not speak, but we are with you.
For 2000 years we shared this city with you human folk.
Come near us and you’ll feel sorry.
Our beastly lions have lots of fur, to protect our skin.
We will roar very loudly, if you make us very angry.
We are not horses, birds or cats, we are the grand lions.
Don’t think we can’t live in London.


Key Stage 1 runner-up

Kayan, Year 2 Marlborough Primary School

Travel plans

If I could go anywhere, here’s what I’d do
I’d pop in the pouch of a kind kangaroo.

I would ride on the neck of a giraffe
Or I would jump on the back of a calf.

I would hop on the beak of a goose
Or I could stand on the antlers of a moose.

I could swim with a fin of a shark
Or I could balance on the head of a lark.

I could climb on the tail of a fox
Or I would cling to the horns of an ox.

I could hold the wing of a bee
Or I would sit on a leg of a flea.


All that's left to say is a huge thanks to all of the wonderful wordsmiths who entered. We simply loved reading your entries.

Keep on writing and imagining!