The Grand-Prize Poems:
First – Justin Campbell, Grade 11
The Locked Box
peace is a locked box, with the key thrown away
without it, our minds, our hearts left astray.
we must find it together, not on our own
connected together, the map will be shown
this map is your heart, your soul and emotion
stay focused and calm, and keep your devotion
soon it will be found, once you becomes we
stay true and hold strong, my friend, you will see
no more of this violence, these shadows, this shame
don’t point a finger—we are all to acknowledge the blame
once we have found it, together, as one
we will be a family, as bright as the sun
hold the key high, hand and hand
to find the box empty, nothing but sand
confusion arises but soon fades away
and then it’s established, and together we’ll stay
peace was found on the journey to discover the key
we have omitted the me and have discovered the we.
Second – Caleb Parkhouse, Grade 3
Peace is a leaf
Gliding through the sky,
As the birds sing a song
In the forest trees.
Peace is the wind,
Blowing in my face.
I take a deep breath,
And my body fills with joy.
Peace is a sunny day.
When a dark day comes and then the sun shines on
by Eva van Loon
History’s most terrible incident of war, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, happened over sixty years ago. The survivors, as they near the ends of their lives, caution us never to forget, and to teach our children to remember. Thus it seems especially poignant to receive in one of this year’s peace-poem-competition packets a translation of a poem by a Japanese international student in Grade 11 at Brooks School, Megumi Oketani:
“Haywa” is peace in Japanese
We swore peace after atomic bombs were released
Our future is babies
We smile more after the fighting ceased
Open a window in my mind
Your love will always bring a smile to my face
People’s happiness comes around like the wind
Under the same sky, joy will not be erased
Our minds must stay as open as the sky
Above Earth’s troubles, we should remain
Do not let the darkness fill our eyes
We cannot be consumed with pain
Our mother is the Earth
We are held as babies in their mothers’ arms
It is warm like a hearth
Even during a disturbance, stay calm
Hopefully, I can attain my good feeling
To bring peace in this world, we will be at ease
Unconsciously, we always seek healing
Yes, for Haywa and peace
There is much wisdom in Megumi’s words: reverence for the planet that bears us like a mother, the refusal to be overwhelmed by pain, sorrow or revenge, the focus on smiling, on children, on healing. Like Megumi, many of our young poets seem to have recovered the lost key to that “locked box” of peace. The anthology is dedicated to them, and to their future. For Haywa, and for peace.