Some of the 2016 Poetry Competition Entries

Bodices and lace,

Top hats and grace.

Goggles, tweed,

And gentlemanly deeds.

Steam, dreams, And time machines.



Wheels and deals,





Stoke the coke.






Live the dream!


By Shirley. E. Collett

Tick tock

I am a machine of my time
Made only to tick, tock and chime
Built to last many century's not a few
I now spend it in a queue
With no luster of my own
Next to the brilliance of your new throne
The beloved iPhone
Left neglected, rusting, near ruined
No longer strong, functioning and proud
Never to leave the junkyard
Now shall I be allowed
Redundant and cast
I am but a machine of times past

by Amby Clark

I am steampunk!

I am made of metal and wire
I am an electronic in my mind
People give me care
I am old and new
I could have windows
Pockets, sockets and rockets
Inanimate, delicate, sharp
Widgets, digets and illicit etiquettes
I am steampunk! 

by Summer Partridge (aged 9)

Brass Googles

New Imagined
Black Copper Red
Bustles Corsets Hats Petticoats
Guns Clocks Goggles Wings Capes
Feathers Millinary Lace Metal
Cogs Gears Washers
Forgotten Renewed
Steam punk

by Phoenix Partridge (aged 14)



Sailing on the seas of life

My airship flying thru the strife

Cogs turn, Boilers burn

From the heat there's no return

Thru the steam and rising smoke

Surely there is always hope

Tho coal and steel are cold to feel

The heart that builds is what is real

See the clock, take the key

Wind it up, set you free

by John McKeowen



Avast! What manner of device is so devised?

Mayhap for travelling through in time be thus implied?

Foretold, forsooth, by the engineer before he died?

Or just more claptrap, vanquished, doomed, derided and decried.


But lo’, by movement that machine awakes

Will these motions serve to raise the stakes?

Explosive powers of steam ensures it breaks!

Preserve yourselves! Flee now and howl, Godsakes!


Calmness now pervades as one reflects

Embrace the chase accepting all defects

For nothing ventured, nothing self corrects

The gamble ends when Beelzebub collects!


Can more be said to bolster these ideas?

Lest all sink neath the waves to Nemo’s cheers

And reaching now for absinthe, calming fears

No!  Rise once more to soar as darkness clears!



by Derek Cowley 

Prose Poem   The Day of the Train


The Big Men stand, carbon stained hands clutching watches, gold linked to fob pockets across their tight waistcoats.

Tick tick tick, they hear time tocking away, time chaining them to A.G.Price corrugated iron, rusted factory doors.

All are waiting, impatient for the appearance of the Train. Beside them their metal Women, brass buttons, buckles, belts and rings, their bodies laced tightly in, watch the children. The boys with green pocked Meccano sets and Hornby Trains are slotting together tracks, playing in the coal dust. The girls are laying out gold rimmed tea sets on cheap tin trays.

All are waiting, as they must, for the first Train from the Production Line, the Train constructed by their fathers, husbands, lovers, oily engineers, feral Mechanicals all. The workers clutch in their clenched fists, red flags to wave with black words emblazoned on them “Work Will Free You. “They clang their spanners on the wheels of steel and iron. These machine men give a great shout, but the roar of the engine, the hiss of steam, disguises their noise.

Everyone draws back to watch the Train rumble slowly past, clacking its way across the Plains to the distant, waiting City.

Pulling a full load of carriages. Rough pig iron, black cast axles, spades and axes, picks and barrows. Nuts, bolts, screws,  nails, and in revolution of another  future, transistors, capacitors and resistors. Time is coming to the City, with speed, steam, noise. Now there will be many arrivals, many departures.

The Town will hold this day in long memory. A machine world is born.

But the great Train leaves behind, the Town, crouched in the lee of the hills, crouched among the green of trees, under the towers of clouds far out to sea. It leaves the once Mechanical Men who now stand in fertile gardens contemplating their earth stained fingers, their soiled nails, watching the children swim in the reflecting sea, playing in the golden sand. And it leaves behind the women sitting under summer striped umbrellas pouring lingering afternoon teas. Time seems to remain still.

by Peter Brown

Wonder Boy


Stand, Boy,

your feet firmly planted

on the grass

tow hair tucked under

leather flying helmet.

Dress in your best black jacket.


Cinch your trousers

with a metal clasp,

and tie on goggles of red lensed glass.


Now thrust skyward your triumphant fists,

your arms.


Strap on your back a rocket

with large flanged boosters

taken straight from comic books you read.


Prepare for flight from Earth’s clutch,

away, away into the endless night

where you will hear

strange language flowing into your mind,

your ears.


Quasars, light year, geosphere

Ion engine, parsec, trajectory of flight.


These words, Son,

will free you

to other worlds, unimagined space,

a new dawn’s light.



lift up your face,

 to watch these signs

make trails in vapour across your sky,

Boy of this world

and the stars.

by Peter Brown

Engage your gears and compose a poem!


Celebrate the wonderfully uniquely worded world of Steampunk.

Under 18’s     Man and Machines:             A Steampunk Poem.

Over 18’s       Man and Machines:             A Poem for our time.

Judged by Ron Riddell

Ron Riddell has published twenty-one collections of verse and two novels. His verse collection, Leaves of Light was awarded The House of Poetry International Poetry Award for 2005. He is a cofounder of The Wellington International Poetry Festival and taken part in many international literary festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Harbourfront (Canada), El Festival Internacional de Poesia de Medellin (Colombia) and El Encuentro Internacional de Poetas (El Salvador). His new collection of verse, Dance of the Blue Dragonflies, was published this year and he currently divides his time between New Zealand and Colombia.

Information for Entrants

The competition closes on 28th October 2016. Entries are judged blind.

Poems must be the original work of the entrant. Any style or length of poem will be considered.

Prize $150 book voucher


Entries can be submitted by e-mail to:

Send one poem per email, you may enter up to 5 times.

Include your name, address, telephone number, email address, age (if under 18 years), and category to be entered.


All entrants must agree to their name and poem being published in publications, promotional materials and online media produced by Steampunk the Thames, and to be published in any publicity Steampunk the Thames requires.

Entrants agree to grant Steampunk the Thames a perpetual and non-exclusive license to use their entries in all media and entrants will not be entitled to any fee for such use.


No entries received after Deadline will be considered.

Winners only will be notified of their success. The Judge’s decisions will be final, and no correspondence will be entered into.


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