Congratulations to Gill Learner, winner of Hampshire County Council’s ‘100 words for 100 years’ competition.
The competition was inspired by the Imperial War Museum’s Centena project, which commissioned 100 writers to write 100 words about the First World War. Entries could be a poem, letter or short story of exactly 100 words in length.
No-one knows which hospital but family history
had it on the Isle of Wight. A shaded-glass back door,
rotting wooden steps, five of them, all nip-waisted crispness.
One’s my aunt, Adelaide Marie, always known as ‘Bob’.
Scarcely seventeen, inside the starched half-halo
of her cap, she grins.
Home and belovéd piano
left behind in Chandler’s Ford, she joined the VADs.
Ever the tomboy, she must have struggled to keep
that floor-length apron clean, those stiff cuffs white.
I imagine her singing softly as she scrubbed bedpans
in the sluice, mopped between beds, smiled comfort.
But she never spoke of it.
The 100 Words for 100 Years booklet which features all the winners’ and runners’ up entries. A limited number of printed copies will be available at Hampshire libraries. The highly commended entries will be featured on our library website.