Poetry: Winners of the 2016 Leonardo Competition

Each year, pupils from Years 7-10 enter the Leonardo Poetry competition. This year's theme was 'Human Rights'. The winning poems are presented below:

You Come From by Dulcie Langley (Year 7)

You come from faded clothes and fading hope
Worn thin soled sandals treading over a dusty,
Desolate landscape.
Ragged tents that bear the scars of countless
Batterin'g explosions.

You come from experiences beyond your years
That have etched themselves upon your sunken face
Chiselled cheekbones and deep unfathomable
Brown eyes that yearn for security and peace.

You come from strict regulations and regimes
Robotic people who hold no personality despite their pain
Stripped of their identities by hatred’s merciless hands.

You come from aching stomachs and aching hearts
An unspoken fear of growm’g to care
For those who suffer alongside you
Too vulnerable to offer yourself
To emotion's powerful clutches
Lest they disappear.

All you desire is to speak out
To voice your frustrations
Have the chance to succeed
But your hopes and ambitions for the future are
Discarded by those who hold your happiness

You are told you do not matter
That your characteristics are worthless
Should be forgotten.

Yet you come from the invaluable love of a family
Each hug and kind gesture provides your heart a beat
For without these guiding lights in your day
Your purpose would slip into the surrounding darkness.

Life by John Yu (Year 8)

Life is the water and we are the animals,
It comes and goes like a bright running stream,
Yet we try to catch it and desperately hold on,
Urged to embrace it till the ends of time,
As it runs through our fingertips and flows beyond.

Some refuse to drink from it yet others cannot,
Their chance stolen by those who attack and prey
Yet all cannot drink more than their share
And watch in vain as their life continues to flow
To infinity and the darkness beyond.

Protected and treasured, the most holiest of waters
Hated yet loved, denied yet accepted,
Though blockaded with dams to hinder its progress
As we try to drink it to our desire
We continue oppressed as it flows past our eyes.

The stream of liberty, the stream of salvation,
Unhindered by custody or the restraints of laws,
Fragile compared with the elements of hardship
Yet it becomes a part of all of us, of security and peace
Its beauty unblemished by the hardships it suffers.

The thing we crave so hard to find,
The one thing that we cannot afford to lose
Valued and kept so dear in our hearts:
It is life - the symbol of freedom
It is life - the only one
It is life - the protected and endangered
It is life - the dearest of all.

So Far by Charlotte Allen (Year 9)

Eyes wide staring -
Vacant, listless bearing
the crushing. careless wordsSpoken by hawk-like birds.

They claw, thrash, shriek
Repeating You're a freak.”
They tower over ever tall.
I cry a futile, desperate call.

Like snakes they strike
Oblivious that we're alike
Yet we are, we are
A sleeve for a scar
A mask for a mar
Why must distance be so far?

Insomnia haunts by night
Unshed tears obscured by dim light,
Lost and lonesome wanderer
I am but an unspoken ponderer.

My path is unclear
Forlorn like a deer.
Clutch at wavering trust
Faceless, dull as ashes and dust.

Like snakes they strike
Can they not see we’re alike?
But we are, we are
A sleeve for a scar
A mask for a mar
Why must distance be so far?

My world filled by tones of grey.
Endless. always, every day.
My limitless star-infested sky.
Lonely comfort, content sigh.

Floating as a silver ghost,
Paler, sickiier than most.
Blue tinted quivering lips.
l fade away to horizons like ships.

Like snakes they strike
Knowing we're alike,
But they know, they know,
A sleeve for a scar.
A mask for a mar,
So why is distance still so far?

They Called Us Half-Caste by Eleanor Barber (Year 10)

They called us Half-Caste,
like the way they said vermin,
They said it was for the best,
as they dragged us away from our mothers,
They said they would protect us,
when they locked us in cell-like rooms,
They said they wouldn't hurt us,
after they left dark bruises on our skin,
They said they were right,
as they taught us that we were unnatural,
They said it was the best place for us,
when we sobbed uncontrollably for our mothers,

They said it was work,
after we were sold into slavery,

They said we were ungrateful and disobedient,
when we couldn't do impossible work quotas,
They said we were worthless,
when our backs were shredded by whips,

They said sorry,
after I had lost my childhood,
They said it wouldn't happen again,
as we struggled to find jobs,
They said it was my imagination,
as they took my daughter's son,
They said they were being fair,
when my daughter had to fight to see her son,
They said everyone was now equal,
as they continued to take away our rights,
They still call us Half-Caste,

like the way they say vermin,