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.


You may not get this straight,
But, it better be voiced before it's late
The time is now, yes, this very time
I am a player;
The podium; my stadium,  my voice; the ball of my game
My voice, the voice of the poor, fatherless, motherless, homeless
The watoto wa mitaani, the sparrows, the kobolo, crying in the wilderness
The voice of  the  disgruntled tax  payer,
the  voice of  the  generation of tomorrow

I play with words.
I use words. I can abuse, bemuse, confuse
Defuse your attention with my words.
By the time I fall into silence
Some heads might be filled with violence
Because of what I can say; the credence of my words
My words; my ammunitions, my head; my arsenal,
I could create a pandemonium, more than Rwanda, 94
But, I create an ambience of utopia, the world of paradise

My life is suffused with words;
 If I sleep, I dream words and
When am Wet, I dry with words.
My words are like fertilizer,
Able to cultivate barren hearts into fertile love,
My words are life, my words; truth.

My words could put together
What guns and ammunitions have put asunder.
 Reunite Benghazi with Tripoli, reconcile Bouake
With Abidjan, rejoin North and South Korea.
My words could ensure there is only one Sudan,
My words have done it before.
My words have brought Germany together.

Indeed, my words have got power,
But do not intend to abuse this power
Like Gadafi, Gbagbo Charles Tailor, Mobutu Sese Seko
Nkuku Ngbendu Wa Za Banga and the rest.
My words; a cry to the master who drinks peace and spit war

Some ask, always they ask, for my identity.
Today I will tell you.
 I am the nephew of the son of the man you call Hassan,
 Yet, I am not an Arabian; neither I'm I an African,
American nor Caribbean.
I am of my words;
My word is truth. Umoja, baakoye, unity, inity;
The enemy of apartheid, segregation, division, confusion

Go, go, run quickly when you hear my words.
La Cote d'Iviore, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya,
Run to your President and advise them to use my words,
Run to your spouse and tell them to hold onto my words,
To your Rev. Father and ask him to use the Bible,
Preach you sermon that will guarantee your life death
After all "man shall not live by bread alone".

Some "brains" tried it, yes, they tried
To get behind my words, but behind
Lies the endless pit of doom,
The pit that will shamefully defame your name:

My words are allusions, allusions to
Martin Luther king, Nelson Mandela, Kofi Annan,
The treaties of Angola, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia, Tripoli
Exponents of my words; peace
Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab, Boko Haram, Maghreb and
A certain NATO, certainly not the solution.

Dear friends, unless we decide to abide in my words,
 We will always stand
Accused, bemused, confused, defused and misused.

— Shadrack Appiah


All Poems Submitted to the Contest


Paper Cranes