A MORETONHAMPSTEAD schoolgirl was runner-up in a national poetry competition to mark the centenary of the birth of Sir John Betjeman. Sarah Stewart-Watson?s entry was chosen from more than 2,500 by poet laureate Andrew Motion. For homework, while she was at Moretonhampstead Primary School, the 11-year-old had to write about her favourite place. She chose Trevose Head in Cornwall. Sarah. whose poem was entitled ?The Cliff?, now attends South Dartmoor Community College at Ashburton. Betjeman spent holidays at Trebetherick in North Cornwall and was later buried there after his death in 1984. He was poet laureate for 12 years. His poems captured Cornish life in a unique way and many events have been taking place across the region to mark the centenary of his birth. The Cliff by Sarah Stewart-Watson Where the pink thrift Bursts out from the bristly grass, Where the jagged rocks cut the smooth surface of the sea, As is stretches out to the darkened islands, With the sun dipping behind, its orange rays exploding around them; In the light of the setting sun a cove is uncovered, Its treasures revealed as the oyster catchers with their orange beaks go home. The one-footed gull takes off to escape the incoming tide, The fulmars settle into the cliffs that fall into the sea.

A wave of salty sea air crashes over you as you sit there. A great black-backed gull rises, Its sharp eye looking for something to eat. Its hard cry pierces the cold air. Some more circle like vultures. They too are looking for food to feed their hungry chicks. If you take a step back you can hear the skylark?s song. Out to sea a fishing boat is bobbing up and down in time with the waves.

Flashing out from the cliff comes a falcon. Speeding up through the air currents Its pointed wing tips seeming hardly to move. When it sees what it is looking for - a pigeon It folds up its wings and dives. Before it hits it starts to spin Catching its prey in the air with its talons Then trying not to let go Then within a second it?s gone into the rock.

People walking by, not knowing, not caring, Maybe thinking it?s a kestrel. The falcon is so secretive you?d be lucky to see it once in a lifetime Let alone once a day But when you finally catch a glimpse it?s worth it. You see the rock that looks like a face. Well it?s just to the right and up a bit. It?s there! It?s there