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November 30, 2021

Poets launch free book exchange

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Steve Hord, Mark Watson, Robert Gibson and Sumari Geitz at the opening of the community free book exchange and poetry installation at Santos in Mullumbimby. Photo Jeff 'leaves of grass' Dawson.
Steve Hord, Mark Watson, Robert Gibson and Sumari Geitz at the opening of the community free book exchange and poetry installation at Santos in Mullumbimby. Photo Jeff ‘leaves of grass’ Dawson.

The winners of the ‘ballad of beauty’ poetry competition celebrating why both visitors and locals ‘treasure this land of Byron Shire’ were announced and the first community mini-library and free book exchange was launched at Santos in Mullumbimby this morning. The poems have been put up as a permanent installation in the windows at Santos Organics in Mullumbimby above the new book exchange. The competition was sponsored jointly by The Echo, Santos Organics and Bay FM. 

‘It has been really nice for us to engage with the community to create the feel and look of the store,’ said Paul Crebar, communications and events manager at Santos Organics.

First prize for the 30+ category went to Mark Watson from Billinudgel who wrote his poem at 2am in the morning.

‘I was over the moon at winning,’ said Mark.

‘I suffer from Asperger’s syndrome. When you have this you have severe anxiety and I use writing poetry to eliminate the chatter in my mind. I find it a wonderful tool to control anxiety and quieten the mind.’

Sumari Geitz cutting the ribbon outside Santos Organics in Mullumbimby. Photo Aslan Shand.
Sumari Geitz cutting the ribbon outside Santos Organics in Mullumbimby. Photo Aslan Shand.

The red ribbon to open the library and the poetry installation was cut by the youngest winner there Sumari Geitz from Wilsons Creek who came equal first with Bella Griffiths from Brunswick Heads in the 12–18 year old category.

‘It was fun,’ said Sumari.

‘I sometimes just write poetry for fun.’

First prize for the 18–30 year category went to Steve Hord from Billinudgel who felt blessed by the win.

Other winners included 92 year old Ruth Fox from Brunswick Heads who had her neighbour, Fay Pattern, read her poem on her behalf as she is iff travelling and Robert Gibson who is a long time member of the writers at The Rails in Byron.

The poets read their poems out to the gathering and were each given a sunflower representing the beauty of their poems by Paul.

‘The book shelves are half full and we want people to give a book, take a book and share a book,’ he continued.

Some of the winning poems

First prize in the 30+ year group, Mark Watson, Billinudgel:

The Spirit of Byron Shire,

Natures treasure chest.

Golden beaches, sacred bush,

Allows the should to rest.

Majestic cape greets waking sun;

the crystal energy;

Serendipity envelops you,

with ancient synergy,

Ruminating minstrels play,

abstract music flows;

Soulful sounds, ocean blues,

awakens inner glows.

The Baribun will come,

the Jagi Mahmi sees,

the smile you wear;

of joy and ecstasy.

Bundjablung language: Baribun – Dream; Jagi – Sacred; Mahmi – Mother.

Winner first prize for 12–18 years old, Sumari Geitz, Wilsons Creek:

I love all the people in the Byron Shire.

As you walk down the street you can

hear whistles,

and people telling riddles about thistles,

that usually end up in pickles!

You can cuddle cute babies,

and play the flute to the daisies.

You can spot yellow cars,

and follow the stars.

But what touches me the most

is all the happy faces.

Head down to Santos in Mullumbimby to enjoy the chance to read the lovely poems about the beauty and spirit of the Byron Shire and exchange a book.

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