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CHECC Poetry Comp 2021


Well-known member
This is the thread for entries for the CHECC Poetry competition 2021, for which the incredible Tony Seddon will be one of the judges.
Best poem will win 10 nights at the Mineries (Shepton club hut) for their club.

Because this is the first year for the CHECC poetry competition, the theme is the very broad category of: caving.
As long as it's caving related, it will pass. Make me laugh; make me cry; if you can do both at the same time that's even better!
All entries will go into the CHECC Anthology 2021.

Deadline 26th November.


Well-known member
A_Northerner said:
Can we submit poetry we've already written, or should it be written specifically for the competition?

As long as it's related to student caving in some way, and you're a member of a student caving club, I don't care. So yes, feel free to share any pre-existing specimens!


Well-known member
Some haikus, on behalf of Musc

I approach the pitch
To prepare my descender
Arse, I dropped my stop

Karstic summons
The limestone beckons
The sunlight blinds my poor eyes
The caves call me home


New member
The Squeeze has been Squoze

Written about my experience in the Cheese Press at Long Churn cave as a stocky guy wearing too many layers.

I stop for a minute, wedged in, time to exhale
Compared to the cave I am small, diminutive in scale
Stuck here I feel humbled by the walls of rock
My inflated ego melts away like Dali?s clock

In the narrow crawl space, my introspection at its peak
Strong rocks formed under pressure, yet here I feel so weak
Committed, I will not be stuck here, I will get through
Remain calm keep moving, this is all I need to do

Slowly I move, guided every inch by my friends
Minutes pass, now near the exit my mood transcends
Screams of elation, followed by a few expletives too
A fear conquered, a challenge complete, a passion new

On the other side of the Long Churn Cheese press
High fives from my crew alleviated all my stress
I reminisce on my squeeze experience from my high rise flat
Glad I wore brown trousers was the main takeaway from that

B. Tyson 2021 (University of Leeds)


Well-known member
This is Sea Fever a soof (I am far too old to enter the competition):

The dig

I must go down to the dig again,
That lonely hole in the woods,
Where the mud sticks and the draught chills
And skip hauling numbs the brain

I must go down to the dig again,
It?s eating into my head
Where the air flows and the spoil heap grows
And the boulders feel like lead

That bloody crawl with the snagging rock
Driving into my hide,
And the haul tray  sticks and then it spills
When I pass the squeeze on my side.

I must go down to the dig again
To that obstinate stalagmite floor
Where the dust flies and gets in my eyes
As the drill chews into its core

The poking stick and the length of cord
The det wires tied neatly on
The light is red the button pressed
And we wait for a distant roar

What drives us on you may very well ask
Are the dreams of what lies beyond
Of crystal floors and sculpted halls
And  a streamway roaring on and on.



Active member
A_Northerner said:
Can we submit poetry we've already written, or should it be written specifically for the competition?


I assume this is what you're referring to. Jack  :LOL:

I won't copy the poem over as it mostly refers to my behind but if you want a good laugh then follow the link


Active member
There once was a man from Blaenavon
Who said oh twll din pob saison!
But too late for him
The SWCC let them in
Now they've all got second homes in Port Eynon


Active member
pwhole said:
No more ropes and no traverses,
No free-climbs, so nothing worse is

That couplet nearly got the raised eyebrows, but just scraped through  :sneaky:

I was directly referencing Chaucer so I had to include some shit rhymes and enjambments on purpose. Honest.


New member
'Rare it is to Pause'
Jenny Brook, RUCC

Rare it is to pause,
With friends, with kin,
Rare it is to pause,
And let the nature in.

?Why do you go caving??
People around me ask,
they imagine holes in the ground
but really, there?s caverns vast

and waterfalls, from way up high ?
I describe the colour of the rocks:
cream and pink, like marble
polished floor that time forgot.

..And scores of pointy boulders too, of course,
lots of crawling on gravel ?
but also smooth, winding passageways
from centuries of water travel.

?Why do you go caving??
Because its with the people that I love.
Whether indoors playing board games,
or out exploring, in hats and gloves.

Because rare it is to pause,
and halt the overthinking;
to listen to the caves
and let the nature in- oh

rare it is, to pause,
with friends, with kin,
rare it is to pause,
and let the nature in.


New member
The Night Before Checcmass

It was the night before Checcmas
and all through the land.
Not a cave club was sleeping and had drinks in hand.

They were planning their costumes,
find a theme that fits right,
and planning how they'd come off
by the end of the night.

It was the night before Checcmas
and from Plymouth to Notts.
You couldn't find booze
In any of the shops.
Srts kits were counted, and all the kit cleaned.
For the first time in years the oversuits gleamed.

On the night before Checcmas,
Deep deep underground.
The caves where preparing for the long weekend planned.
They they smoothed their main streamways and watered their sumps
because they knew in a few days
they'd be filled up by punters,
and leaders, and those inbetween
because checc is a place that we all wish to be.

Pete Worth - Adventure and Expo Plymouth


Active member
Part one of two for the Aberystwyth entries for this year.  One of the first years turns out to be a sodding try-hard and wrote 2  :yucky:

Caving (the serious poem)


It?s heating broken, condensation on the windshield smeared with a cloth, knees jammed together in the backseat, napping away hangovers.
It?s passing hills rearing up, the ridges like knuckles, the hunched spine of a giant pushing up through the earth,
It?s a long walk over moorland and stumbling with a tackle sack and sheep in the distance like scattered grains of rice.
It?s a blue canvas and then clouds with infinite texture, the strokes of an oil painter, and then it?s being too cold to admire them, hiding faces from the wind.
It?s walking past Darren with a curled lip and pointing at orange, electric, blossoming fungi,
It?s sketchy climbs and tiny doors with keys and quarries rising steeply from nowhere,
It?s long grass and damp ferns and scrawny trees and then dark, and stale air.


It?s harnesses and borrowed equipment and clumsy wellies and can I get a breaking crab?
It?s the first drop into nothing, through a gash in the earth, twisting in the air, a lowering pendulum,
It?s animal bones yellow and glistening wet, bats with little clawed feet, looking like stems of some shrivelled cave fruit, with their baggy, leathery wings.
It?s the sudden serenity, neither alive nor lifeless, like nothing bad could ever happen here, but someone else still has to go first, I insist.
It?s sucking in breath and feeling the weight of rock, dense and unforgiving, pressing at one?s back,
It?s the hollow feeling of fear, ballooning in my chest, like my heart is beating alone in my ribcage, beating into empty space, when my elbow knocks the floor in a tight crawl, and the floor rattles, echoing, because the hollowness was real, and I can?t turn back on the thin calcite shelf and-
Then it?s laughter, it?s outstretched hands and help over rifts, ducking under a bedding plane ceiling riddled with straws,
It?s grotesque, bulging stalactites, stained like a smoker?s wall, helictites twirling, tasting the air, tiny tentacles of stone.
It?s a little river gurgling and pure, pure dark, it?s a clamber over square chunks of black rock shot with a lightning-bolt of quartz, edges now smooth,
It?s pockmarked walls and crystal pools and tracing a fossil with the pad of my thumb.
It?s take nothing and leave nothing and stay off Aggy?s riverbed mud, it?s ?don?t break the Trident in OFD like the BBC did that one time? and ?I?m never going caving again?, but knowing I won?t be able to stay away.


It?s emerging to bright sun, fresh air thick, pollen on the wind, prying off helmets and shaking out sweaty hair.
It?s emerging to drizzle, rain smearing mud on palms,
It?s emerging to sundown, sky streaked with pastels and then later a deep red, just a line on the horizon, like someone carved a strip out of Jupiter itself and pasted it messily over the hills.
It?s emerging at night into a chill that bites to the bone, cradling mint tea in numb fingers, stumbling beside the harvest moon, full and large and rising.



Active member
Aaaand the second Aber entry, based on events I can actually recall and I can't figure out if it is complimentary or not  :-\:

Caving (the even more serious poem)

I was lured, I was taken, away from the light,
The promise of caves from a weird troglodyte.
I am young, a mere fresher, could I not have been warned?
My innocence gone, my self respect mourned,

And now I decide to wake up at dawn,
It?s dark outside, my curtains stay drawn,
And we drive for two hours and I?m starting to doubt ?
It can?t be too late, I could simply drop out!

Oh fellow cavers, you know the score,
After one cave, one has to do more,
So I follow the rest like moths to a flame,
The darkness engulfs us ? I must be insane ?

Why, in this place, do we like to hide?
When it?s lovely and sunny and perfect outside?
Why, under layers and layers of stone,
Do we squeeze through tunnels and feel at home?

I can pinpoint the moment, the exact date and time,
Where it was too much and I lost my mind:
A calendar, a challenge, that?s what they said,
And since that day I?ve been wrong in the head.

In a chamber, we stopped, I took a bite of my food
Turned around once. They were entirely nude.
And worse! Because, after that fright,
The treasurer asked me to position the light.

So I saw many things no fresher should see,
All in the name of YOUR charity,
But it?s too late, I?m hooked on this mess
So see you, for caving, this weekend, I guess.


New member
The little old headlamp
(an adaptation of The Little Blue Engine by Shel Silverstein)

The little old headlamp looked down at the mud.
His light was weak, his batteries crud.
He was tired and small, and the cavern was tall,
And his face blushed red as he softly said,
?I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.?

So he started up with a flicker and a strain,
And he glowed and gleamed with might and main.
And deeper he shone, till sunlight was gone,
And his batteries coughed as he whispered soft,
?I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.?

Batteries uncharged and on the head of a fresher
the president forgot to charge them while trying to impress her
the lamp kept up the beam -- even submerged in the stream
And strong and proud he cried out loud,
?I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!?

He was almost through, when ? BANG! OUCH! COCK!
the lamp had been whacked straight into a rock
stuck in pitch black... with no way to see back
while caving always prepare, lest you despair
think ahead, and for your torch bring a spare

-Theo UBSS


New member
Cardiff Caving Poetry Entry CHECC 2021

Silly Fresh

There once were some freshers from Cardiff caving,
Here is a poem about how they?re behaving.

We are on our way to Checc to do some raving,
We hope that none of us will need saving.

James tried to squeeze through the machine with oil,
But Marc?s bag with vomit he did spoil.

On his second degree Sam is becoming a master,
But he?s still found cleaning up James? regurgitated pasta.

Falling asleep in caves that?s Dan,
Peanuts are the enemy of this man.

Little joe any cave he?ll fit through,
He really likes rocks, and he?d probably shag a few.

Another rock licker, here is Chloe,
Play your cards right and she?ll give you a blowey.

Holly is reaching for the sky,
She does astrophysics and climbs oh so high.

Jake the man with the pedo tash,
Stay away from his futon or he?ll give you a rash.

Next is Rosa, and we call her bean bitch,
Everytime she goes out she falls in a ditch.

Sophie is 27, the oldest of the group,
Don?t give her a beer or she?ll do a big poop.

Lily would have won us the squeeze machine,
But she got her nipples pierced, what a fucking queen.


New member
Reading University Caving Club -
Entry from Skadi:

Calling from the most remote places, what we?re looking for is dark, wet and hard;
Artificial sometimes, but the real stuff is better - never let down your guard;
Very dirty, abnormally large or small, but completely functional;
Every one is unconventional, but quite exceptional.