Jimmy, by Deborah Thwaites

Jimmy, by East Sussex based poet Deborah Thwaites, was chosen in joint Fourth Place in our 2021 Open Competition by judge Rishi Dastidar.

This is what Rishi had to say about Deborah’s poem:

‘Jimmy’ by Deborah Thwaites is a morality tale of a mother trying, on Sports Day, to try to introduce her son to the fact that life is not fair: “’Everyone cheats in this world Jimmy it’s / dog eat dog out there.’” And yet Jimmy discovers himself – and maybe even happiness – in rejecting this deal. It’s an English Cool Hand Luke if you will, and the poem pulls off the enviable trick of being simple, relatable and funny.


It was sports day when he lost his faith,

put down his spoon and ate his egg.

His mother had boiled it that morning-

‘Everyone cheats in this world Jimmy, it’s

dog eat dog out there.’

So, Jimmy sat on the grass and peeled his egg,

flecks of shell sprinkled on his bare legs.

The other children laughed as they ran by

and pointed ‘ahahaha look at Jimmy!’

but he didn’t care.

He lay on the grass and looked at the clouds float by

and picked out shapes,

and pushed that whole boiled egg into his mouth,

closed his eyes

and knew that the world was different now.

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