Poems for Peace competition – Highly Commended: Jenny O’Gorman

Filed under: Poetry

Poems for Peace Competition: read Jenny O’Gorman's Highly Commended poem.


My to-be mother is sad, as if she were
Waiting on a sandy coast of some vast
Firth of the tide’s tug, & precious
Grains were slipping through her fingers

Cupped around her unborn child,
Never suspecting her baby
Would fall in blood drenched lands
Of war

Or that his life would be a bubbling brook
Until, in a damp outcrop it would come to a glottal

I will carry you my little one
In our boat and across the loch
Through the dancing light of herring below

Letting you know that leading you into this world;
Are the song of a blackbird, the hoofprints of a deer
Both hurrying to meet your newly planted day so near.

You’re an adult now, but barely, I still sit you on the bone
Of my hip, balancing your body with the curl
Of my waist; a tree forked at the base,
Wanting the war won but for you to death defy

I plead with the creatures of war not to howl, sting and cry
Or spiral out of the soil like serpents set to strike
Their twisted, poisoned heads. Armies of old
Are scrawled in their hissing tongues
Like ferns chilled by cemetery mist.

I will watch in horror as conflict loiters against the pale city walls
Set to scatter, maul, burn & blow my child to bits.
Instead of sleep you are tensed low
On a blood defiled bank starting in fright at only gentle
Frogs which bellow like grenades across the valley.

The blackbird & deer; your mum and dad
Are watching close by, bleeding legs like glossy blackberry clots,
We imagine with rebirth what your life would be
Without this,
The crash of our son’s body bringing us back to earth.

Peace needs no goodbye

We wanted you to grow old and carry in a replete
Belly the warm weight of full life’s rain, so your dreams
Could have ebbed and flowed.

Jenny O’Gorman
15 years old
George Watsons College, Edinburgh