The winner has been announced of a special poetry competition organised by the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce and homeless charity, St Petrocs.

Businesses and individuals from across Cornwall took part in ‘The Poet’s Pen’ project, writing on the theme of ‘Home’, which for most of us over past year has taken on added meaning, transforming them into offices, classrooms and gyms.

Kim Conchie (Cornwall Chamber), Steve Ellis (St Petrocs), Toni Eyriey (Business Cornwall) and Sarah Whipp (Business Clusters) were joined by seasoned poets Amanda Barnsley and Bert Biscoe to select the winners from a broad range of businesses.

After careful consideration, ‘Pieces’ by Isabel Aruna from the University of Exeter was chosen as the competition winner. Margie Ricardo’s poem ‘Home’ came second, while Laura Steen’s ‘Sometimes home’ was third.

Excerpt – first verse of the winning poem:

Pieces by Isabel Aruna

My home is pieces of a puzzle trying to find each other.

I fear that the key to my home is concealed

until I can reconcile the fragmented parts of myself.

They say that home is where the heart is,

so I ask you which home is mine?

Chamber CEO, Kim Conchie, said: “One of the things that has prospered in these terrible times of lockdown is people turning to an artistic or creative outlet to give themselves some mental health support in these tough times.

“We, as a chamber of commerce, and citizens of Cornwall, will be very keen to make sure that the that the writing of poetry alongside all the other wonderful creative things we do in Cornwall is much to be encouraged.”

St Petrocs CEO, Steve Ellis, added: “It has been wonderful to see so many people joining together in this celebration of creativity

Isabel Aruna

, our diverse Cornish businesses community, and our rich identity in Cornwall. The sincerity and honesty of the poetry submissions considering reflections on ‘Home’, a subject so central to St Petrocs, has been humbling. It’s truly been an honour to be working so closely with the Chamber.”

Isabel Aruna was delighted to be chosen as winner. “Thank you so much,” she said: “It’s been an honour for Pieces to be chosen as the winning poem. It has definitely been a journey for me writing it, to discover what home really means to me and the impact it has had on my life, especially this year. Each stanza featured a lot of processing and enabled me to capture what been difficult to put into words.”