Joe Robinsmith didn't envy the judges their job in selecting the best written tributes to veterans.
It might have been the Maple Ridge writer's brainchild to create an annual Remembrance Day poetry contest, then invite submissions from throughout the Lower Mainland.
But he was grateful not to have to be a judge, critiquing the 80-plus poems that were submitted in the second annual Honouring Our Veterans poetry contest held in conjunction with The TIMES.
"The judges had a very hard time in choosing the finalists this year," Robinsmith said, prior to a special poetry reading held at The ACT on Remembrance Day afternoon.
After the Remembrance ceremonies in Maple Ridge's Memorial Peace Park, about 50 patriots of various ages gathered in the lobby of The ACT to read and/or listen to some of the contestants' entries, and to learn who won.
"The calibre of poetry for the most part was outstanding," Robinsmith said.
The competition was divided into three age categories.
First prize in the children (five to 12 years old) category came from Webster's Corners Elementary student Emily Knudsen, who brought judges to tears with her prose .
"The poem by Emily Knudsen. it made the point and made every person who read it cry. Emotion, not length is a much more powerful tool," said Robinsmith.
There was only one teen entry, earning Elizabeth Szalajko a first-place prize.
And in the adult division (19 years and older) Susan McLeod of New Westminster took first.
All the poems will be published on The TIMES website in the coming week, at www.mrtimes.com.