James Beattie's poem, 'Pevensey Beach', won the Year 9 Leonardo 2013 prize.
As waves broke against the bow of the boat,
As I stared into the sea’s mists,
The wooden planks groaned and the oars splashed
Only fuelling my anticipation.
My heart raced as I drew my sword
Admiring the finely-honed blade.
I knew the mist would soon turn red
As we approached the shores of Pevensey Beach.
The beach soon slipped into the surly white curls
As the dunes of sand slowly revealed themselves.
The tranquil waves lapped against the sides of the boats
Disturbed only by our oars as we slid onto the sand.
And at that moment the sounds of thousands of boots
Upon sand flooded the air around me
And we left the safety of our boats
As our eyes scanned the dunes of Pevensey Beach.
The crash of the waves and of our metal armour plates
Was the only sound that greeted us then.
No cry of the Saxons to start a blood fuelled rampage
On this tranquil yet hostile land.
Then a tidal wave of our men charged up the dunes
But were met with no reply
For there were none of Great Harold’s army
To defend the conquered Pevensey Beach.
And slowly the wispy curls disappeared
Along with the boats and soldiers.
No noise apart from the waves bombarded my ears.
Nor the colliding of armoured steel plates.
My mind’s imagination switched off the fantasy
Of being a Norman foot soldier invading Britain
As I sat on the sand of Pevensey Beach.