As I’m sure you all know, a while ago I launched a writing competition to demonstrate the power of young people’s words. Now, the results are in and the winning pieces are absolutely incredible. I have received an overwhelming number of amazing stories and poems and I like to profusely thank everyone that entered.
‘The pen is mightier than the sword’ is a well known saying, but I want to make sure that people fully understand it. Youth have the potential to change the world, but instead of doing it through fighting and violence, feelings can be expressed through writing.
Without further ado, I present the winner’s entries with my comments. By the way, this is going to be one long post!
First up we have two Highly Commendable Entries. Number one goes to Mukta @ Born Free. Her writing was really descriptive and I thought the whole idea was lovely. It conveyed a great message too.
Before Your Run Ends
All I heard was the steady thudding of my two feet, the rhythmic beat in which they were touching the ground and lifting among all the others. Perspiration slowly, and nevertheless gently trickled down my forehead, and my knees felt as though they were cracking every time they bent, slowly edging towards snapping into two completely. But the feeling was not of extreme wetness and fatigue, it was of ecstasy. It was pure bliss.
I held my steady, seemingly eternal and never-ending rhythmic pace. I had covered the distance of six kilometers, without once stopping, except for that tragic moment when I realized that my shoelaces had come undone.
And that once when my throat got so dry that I felt it would rip itself apart of intense thirst. My eyes were fixed straight ahead, searching for a goal that I couldn’t see but knew existed. The finish line was far away, but I was aware that there was no way I could reach it if I didn’t keep going.
I shut my eyes, still running, and smiled. I smiled thinking of all the distance I had left to cover and joy that I was yet to feel.
Then I realized that everyone around me was walking. A man in their lot caught my eye, geared with the most magnificent shoes I had ever seen and professional clothing designed for running especially. But he was walking.
He was walking in the most sluggish way, gasping and panting and his wiping sweat off. After he had rubbed his forehead to his content, he just whipped his hand through the air, intending to get riddance from all that wonderful perspiration. ‘Poor sweat…’ I sighed inwardly as I slowly overtook him. And then I heard a sudden sound behind me, emerging from the footsteps of the man I had just crossed. He overtook me, ran as though he were in a race, and then stopped again.
I shook my head and continued, because I knew my marathon was mine. I wasn’t racing anybody. I was running for my happiness and wasn’t trying to prove my worth to anyone but myself. But when I overtook him for the second time, and the third, he did the same thing. That’s when I lost it.
Suddenly, I began feeling very competitive. I wanted to reach the finish before he did, and so my eyes stayed fixed on him instead of my goal. I raised my pace whenever he did, ran fast when he started to walk, and shot him glares whenever he tried to overtake me.
But doing all this was licking up my energy. At last, I was forced to stop running. I was obliged to let go of my pace. My knees were hurting terribly and my head felt very, very heavy. So I walked, walked until I crossed the end line, after which a medal was hastily shoved around my neck. I collapsed on a nearby bench, enraged at myself for what I had done.
The run hadn’t been satisfying in the least. I had let ego take over my senses, resulting in the painful fact that I had tried to get ahead of someone, to stay in the lead, but when I thought of it, how had it helped me at all? It had resulted in me becoming unstable, and that was nowhere close to a good thing.
And that taught me a lesson. There are people in the world like the guy I had seen, people who will try to overtake you on the roots of jealousy, but those ignorant little nincompoops are no reason for you to leave your track. Your life is your road, and you must run it in your own pace. Never try to run faster just because someone is ahead of you, because everyone has their own capabilities and their own speed.
And the only reason for you to run at all is for the happiness you find in it. People may think of their life as a race, but that is a universal lie. Run in the speed you find worthy of running in and in the clothes you find comfortable, because after all…
Life is a road
Full of curves and bends,
You must give it your best
Before your run ends.
Second Highly Commendable Entry Award goes to May @ Forever And Everly. Her poem was just so beautiful and powerful. It was a unique and unusual approach. She is totally deserving and a wonderful writer!
dancing around words you’ll never say,
skidding your fingers across my face.
you cup my chin,
you caress my hair,
you show me how you feel
instead of telling me.
i kept a flower in my room,
the one you tucked into my hair,
telling me how it was beautiful,
my hair was beautiful,
but never once saying that i was beautiful.
a thousand words i said to you,
only ten said back to me.
a thousand times i told you,
zero you told me.
a thousand thoughts haunting me every night,
a thousand smells reminding me of you,
a thousand feelings and dreams of this or that, this and that,
but never did you have a thousand of
you always had less.
you were always less.
but i did not have more.
i was not always more.
i was simply
for you to light the fire.
but sparks never flew,
flames didn’t catch,
the air never grew
and so i stand here today,
wondering what could’ve been,
what might’ve been,
what should’ve been,
tracing a pattern of love across my own face,
and telling myself
a thousand things.
i may have shattered,
but i am not battered.
let me have a thousand thoughts,
while you have none.
it only shows how
could not light the fire
that was already
= how to trace a pattern of love across your own face when love isn’t there
don’t burn the flower that was so beautiful.
Now, we move onto third place. It goes to Lenna @ Sugar Dusted Pages. Her poem was simple and short, but each word just felt so right! It was all about magic and that’s just how it made me feel: magical. It seemed open to anyone’s interpretation and yet it was so defined and elegant.
In stories where raven dust floats on the wind
And spells grant glass wishes and love always wins
The firmament falls and the mist covers me
This magic is one that I only can see.
Second place had to go to Amaris @ Elletrik Writing!! The quality here is just so evident. It is absolutely stunning. The story-telling is magnificent, the ending is perfect. It conjures up a beautiful and emotion filled picture in my mind, forces me to savour each word. From beginning to end, this captivating story had me hooked.
Until The Streetlight Turns On
When the front door opened, it’s like walking out of the doctor’s office, or peeling the sticky paper wrapper off of a lollipop. The feeling of released happiness always hung in the air whenever he opened the front door and said “Go outside to play”. And as she dashed out the door, her dad would never fail to call out “Come back home when the streetlight on the corner turns on!” As her skinny legs raced down the cracked sidewalk, Jace would nod to herself. When the sky got dark, the big light on the tar-smeared pole would glow with hazy yellow light, and that was when she knew to go back home.
Jace’s dingy shoes made the tall grass whisper as she walked into the neighbor kids’ yard where she always played with them. She had lots of shoes. Some were sparkly, but her favorites were the ones that were ripped up and stained. Not knowing exactly why, she always chose the shoes with dirty laces. Maybe because the clean shoes didn’t feel right on her feet. Maybe because she never felt as brand-new as the sparkly shoes.
Here in this backyard was where Jace was happiest. Here, she and the three neighbor kids would smear mud on their faces for war paint and two kids would go in the creaky old play fort and be cowboys with stout twigs for guns, and the other two would storm the fort with their best Indian war cries and makeshift bows and arrows that didn’t shoot far. Jace would always play an Indian.
Eventually they would get tired of screaming warfare and sometimes they would make a peace treaty with the cowboys. The Indians would make food and the cowboys would hunt and keep the lions away from the fort.
Armed with brightly-colored sand buckets, Jace and the neighborhood girl Abby would go out foraging for food. Sometimes they stripped stalks from budding bamboo to pound up into green wheat. Other times they would find big bunches of plump yet small sun-ripened berries burdening the branches of some vine or miniature tree. When they found these treasures, the two small girls would fill their buckets with berries and take them back to the fort to mash-up with large rocks to make medicine and jam.
Occasionally, the cowboy scout would spot smoke from hostile Indian campfires in the next neighbor’s yard. Even though Jace tried to convince them that the smoke was from the neighbor’s afternoon cigarette, the cowboys would insist on fleeing the fort and making the arduous trek across the yard to dig defending trenches in the soft dirt in the shade of the fence. After the trenches were dug, the cowboys and Indians would await the attack, armed with sticks and various trowels and spades found in the garden. As the sun got hotter and the kids got sweatier, the Indians would usually decide to attack the cowboys and get it over with. After much dispute about who won the stick-to-stick combat, the battle would end with a truce and the Indians and cowboys sitting peaceably on the back porch eating apples dripping with condensation in the summer heat.
Eventually, after doodling rainbows on the sidewalks with chalk or racing down the streets on battered bikes, the sun would drop behind the rooftops, taking the heat with it and leaving only humidity that clung to skin. That was when the streetlight turned on, beckoning for Jace to come home. While swatting at mosquitoes and inspecting new rips on her faded jeans, Jace would trudge home, sweaty hair clinging to her little face, tired but happy.
To Jace, the streetlight pole seemed to get shorter every year and the light got dimmer. The Indian and cowboy wars were exchanged for a shiny Playstation and the apples for soda pop and Cheetos. However, the neighborhood kids could still never decide on who exactly won the Nintendo wars, and Jace always walked in grimy shoes with a shining streetlight beaconing her home at dusk.
Until one night, when Jace walked out of the neighbor’s house with an almost empty soda can in her hand, and noticed that it was dark, just like every other night. But the streetlight wasn’t on, unlike every other night. With a glance at the dead lightbulb atop the pole, and a remembrance of the growing tension at home, Jace turned down a different street than she had the years before and did not go home that night, or any night in the following year.
The heap of shiny shoes underneath Jace’s bed became dingy as dust gathered on them, just like the despair began to blanket the minds of Jace’s parents. Every night, her dad would open the door to let the dog out, and whenever he said “Go outside to play”, her mom would quietly cry at the painfully familiar words. But soon her dad began to stop repeating the phrase, until everything that reminded him of his little girl was silent.
Dirty shoes tread on the uneven sidewalk. An ancient toad croaked accusingly. The parched grass whispered uncertainly. An old fort smeared with faded berry stains creaked. A front door opened, mingling inside light with outside twilight.
A young female voice asked hesitantly as Jace stood in the doorway, a streetlight gleaming brightly over her shoulder.
The decision of first place was so hard for me. It tore at my soul and nagged at my mind, but the piece that I have chosen is, I know, the right choice. So, I give you the winning poem by Aliuphigh @ Note To My Sanity!!!
When you love to write, the most noble thing you can do is use your passion to try and make a difference, a change. Aliuphigh is doing just that and I commend her for it, I often try to do the same on this blog. So I present her inspired and inspiring poem:
I know what it’s like to be at home, through a little window, watching all of those you know, puttin’ on a show with their happy smiles and their Facebook dials
flaunting their accessorized styles.
It’s not a bad thing, nor was I jealous.
The thing is, I wasn’t even like them.
I wasn’t into bollywood or fanning over made up halalywood
I didn’t care about tv shows of characters that only showed of temporary love
a love that I never wanted for myself.
I felt like sweet water in the dead sea. Never able to mix in, but water all the same.
Maybe it was really me. who was the problem in my dreams
maybe it was me who crushed all my fantasies.
I couldn’t really ever tell why I never got along.
besides the fact that friendship relied on currencies.
I didn’t put a price on friendship.
But that didn’t mean I was free.
in the end, I’m happy to be me.
for the right company.
Congratulations to everyone that was a winner, that’s all the participants as far as I’m concerned. Much appreciated, guys!!! Please leave a comment with your feedback on these magnificent pieces.