Poetry competition preserves moments and prompts action

As part of their written tasks in Tasmania, students composed poetry as they observed their environments.

“Create an original work of poetry to describe your connection to Palawa Country. Share the tales, triumphs and traumas intrinsic to this place. What has it seen? What does it know? How can we conserve and celebrate the natural environment, the culture, the history and the emotion of this land?”

The School applauds all applicants for their reflective and expressive SAGE 2018 poetry competition submissions. Congratulations to Ryan Kitchin for his winning poem, and special mention to Amelie Kenney and Allegra Welsh for their works, below:

The War Rages On by Ryan Kitchin

No noise, just sound.
The wind slowly flows through my hands.
The birds sing like angels from the clouds.
The peace remains but slowly,
The war is continuing.

Surrounded by the bright green grass.
Slowly seeping through bright yellow moss
Stands the fiercest tree, for as long as the eye can see,
She conducts the sweet symphony of the sea.
But the war is coming to land.

The tree stands twenty feet high,
With a million limbs reaching far and wide.
Its wisdom comes from years of sight,
And its branches hold on with all their might.
But the war is coming for her.

Standing on the edge of the coast,
The rocks there would surely know her the most.
Her loyal soldiers, whether rough or smooth,
Put up a ferocious defence.
But the rocks are beginning to tire.

The water slowly ripples through the sea,
The perfect soldiers one by one,
Jumping on, hissing at these loyal soldiers,
Slowly sinking these tormented rocks,
And the sea is winning the war.

Surely, the water will win this war,
Eroding the soil where this great tree stands,
Exposing the cracked bare branches,
And attacking these loyal soldiers,
But the tree is continuing to fight.

So here we are now,
With the water raging on,
Causing irreversible damage along the coast.
But the tree stands strong and the rocks stand with it.
The war isn’t over, not quite yet.

Iron to Rust by Amelie Kenney

My boot snaps.
The bones
Of a grandfather gum

Lines crossed.
My breath muffles
The cries
Of a babbling brook.
Voice lost.
My fingers quash

The moss
In its fearless pursuit.
Growth’s cost,
My eyes catch
The wombat
In its secretive journey.
My presence changes
The environment
As oxygen causes iron
To rust.
My touch damages
Natures’ essence
But can its hurt be lessened?
It must.

I Have Changed by Allegra Welsh

I have changed.
Like this land has changed.
Like this land has shifted and shaped itself from what it once was to a shadow of its former self.

A shadow cast by the building blocks placed upon it by those who do not belong here.
I have changed like the rivers that have been replaced with roads.
The waters once raced and now they lie still.
Streets waiting for the silver arrows of rain that echo remnants of the lakes.
I have changed.
Like the sea has changed.
Like the sea has changed from a once unstoppable force rid of sickly poisons,
To icy wetness containing pretty human venom.
Glass shards washing ashore like tiny stars.
I have changed.
Like the changes the Earth can never undo.
We must change.
I will change.
I have changed.

We thank Kirli Saunders and The Red Room for their content, design, and judging of the poetry competition for the 2018 Writing the Island.