Paper Cranes

Poetry for Peace Contest

The Poetry for Peace contest was held from 15 September until 14 October 2011. The winners were anounced at a ceremony at UN headquarters in New York.

Below is one of the contest entries.

"Burn Child Burn"

Burn child burn
Pain is the only way you'll learn
I begged you to lay your sins to the pyre
Only to watch as you fell into the fire
Now I can smell it
Try as I may
I cannot repel it
We're trapped in dismay

See the words will never be enough
When the story's all over you
Written in black and blue
Left to decipher what the blood read
The drought has been hard on us
So we quench our thirst in the crimson rivers
Drowning to the inconsolable wailing of sirens

Burn child burn
Pain is the only way you'll learn
Extinguish the flames in a hail of bullets
Reign on me oh great oppressor
Applaud our sin
The money, diamonds, guns and ammunition - even us, we are all possessions
"Africa must wake up", "We need leaders", we are used to these professions
But we are the children of fury and smoke
The embellishments of measured strokes
The fading embers of a heritage fire
The cockroaches buried in shells
Bleeding lead
Back on back
Black on black
Sweat carressing their skin
There's no tonic to this gin
Stained machetes
Ready to mince them out into spagetti

Burn child burn
Pain is the only way you'll learn

I need a little a support
I need a little resistance
So plant the seed
And cut the weeds
Tow your tomorrow
Sow your sorrow
Directed by the compass
Remember all who've come past
Remain as compost

Burn child burn
Pain is the only way you'll learn
Burn child burn
Burn and never learn


— Qaqambile Q. Mapukata
 

 


All Poems Submitted to the Contest

 

Paper Cranes