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Winner of SGGS National Poetry Competition

Lily Yang’s poem Epistemological Vitality Wins SGGS National Poetry Day Competition

“Truth evades mortal reaches…truth seems unattainable…out of grasp” (Lily Yang)

2019’s apposite theme for National Poetry Day was Truth. SGGS students were invited to submit poetic compositions inspired by this idea. Poems flooded in with words describing pupils’ ‘truth’ about: the environment, friendship, work, families, love and science. Judged by Sixth form Students Jess Bassil and Evelyn Byrne ( and assisted by Ms Litterick) the entries were deemed to be outstanding proving how the poetic word is a vibrant conduit for young people’s intense feelings about the world around and within them.

All entrants received house points and treats with the year group winners being awarded small gifts. Overall winner, Year 11’s Lily Yang, topped the bill with her shattering rumination on apples, ambrosia, angels and… truth.

Lily said, "I am very excited to to have won the school poetry competition, and to apply for Warwickshire's young poet laureate; as a result I have gained more confidence in my work."

Below is a note regarding 'Epistemological Vitality'

Poet's note: Although this poem (like truth) has a plethora of subjective interpretations, as the writer, I tried to incorporate religious semantics, science, storytelling, and a slight social commentary. Overall, I think the message is that the truth can be twisted and/or truth has many facets.


Epistemological vitality

by Lily Yang


An immutable, immortal angel

A constant, an answer


It is not the bird that sings the sweetest, loudest, nor the meekest,

Nor the warrior that fought the bravest, for the longest, nor the greatest

It’s not the tree that grows the tallest, broadest, nor the strongest.


It’s the tree that not one soul’s senses detected fell

At the heart of a forest.



Our mortal perceptions both hinder and kindle

the search; In the broadest sense, it cannot exist:

Somewhere, there will be an exception;

A rebel against rules.,;


Truth evades mortal reaches

The more we lust for a taste of pure ambrosia

from the Holy Grail, the more it distorts,

defying pre-defined principles, metamorphosing

into a woman.


Truth seems unattainable;

An objective, absolute certainty.

(But how can I say that with conviction?)


Truth, like freedom, justice, will, hope, time- are ideals

crafted by inexplicable circumstance.

Just out of our grasp, we, the slaves,

topple again to the ground



Like an apple:


A bird pecks at it, devouring sumptuous flesh

Then takes flight, rising in the air;

It is shot through the breast by a cruel invention

(Ironic that feathers fly to pierce their kin)

And the hot, vermillion blood that seeps


Matches the lustre of that plentiful orb

that grew from the tree from a seed

deposited by a bird, buried in the soil

a century ago

it sprouted and grew

into something unique and new


Fruit and flower quietly adorned the tree that not a soul heard,

saw, nor experienced

Falling, its great roots outstretched, claw-like, petrified…

It is an endless cycle

Of relentless torture.

Truth is pain


But it also the light

we strive so hard to touch, to bathe in, the glory

that inevitably blinds us.

Instead of purifying, it corrupts innocent minds.

Society is not the truth.


… And though mother nature slowly covers the evidence- with

moss, fern, vine, shrub, bud, soil, seed, hue-

it rolls away

as a bird alights


And life returns

To the glade bathed

in twi-light.



The SGGS National Poetry Day Winners

Year 7

Alice Williams



Brooke Beech



Aparajita Gupta



Camille Tissut



Lily Yang – Overall Winner


Sixth Form

Evelyn Byrne