Poetry Festival will be held:

Saturday, April 27, 2024

2022 Winner


You stand in the middle of a crowded town

The air is filled with the scent of hard dung and sweat

You see a young man, limbs being torn apart

And hear his screams piercing the wind like a rusty knife

Some cheer, others stand silently still, but all go about their day the same way

This has happened for centuries and will continue to happen for many more.

Numb to the bloodshed around us


You sail across the sea to a new world

There is much adventure to be had

Conquering the Aztec, Inca, and Maya

Finding mountains and lakes of gold and silver

You build a city made of bones and force the survivors to watch and serve

You raise your children on the same soil basted in forced blood and sweat of the enslaved

You force those taken from their homes and across the sea to work endlessly

You whip and tear people limb from limb

This happens for many more centuries

The trauma being passed down and growing

Numb to the pain around us


You live in the modern day

A time when there are no problems

Or at least better than before

Slavery and segregation had died out many years ago

You know that the meat you eat is processed by a million immigrants being paid barely a penny

You know your clothes are made from the sweat and muscle of both innocent and guilty prisoners taken straight off the street

The newest type of enslavement

But you choose to look away

Not out of hate or malice, but of an ancient fear

A fear that was caused by centuries of pain and bloodshed

Rather than act we chose fight, fly or freeze

You don’t need to start a movement, but instead choose to see

See that hurt part inside of you

And tell it that it’s loved and does not have to fear anymore

We are numb to the others around us


Alex Harry

Parkmont School

Grade: 11