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Student Poetry Competition 2021: Years 9-10

Melis Benli, a Year 10 student at Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School, has won ISV’s Student Poetry Competition 2021 in the Years 9-10 category for her poem, Lighting the Fire.

The competition, part of our Arts Learning Festival, was open to students from all school sectors, and attracted some 350 entries.

 

Watch Melis read the poem in the video below, and read it for yourself, along with the students awarded honourable mentions in the category for their outstanding work.

 

What did the judges say?

“A consistent and compelling voice as each new reading reveals much to consider.”

Lighting the Fire, by Melis Benli

What is the difference between childhood and adulthood?
A few years ago, I would have said innocence to maturation,
but I am afraid that it does not stop there.
Today, we are not the same as yesterday,
the world seems to cause disorientation,
and it’s not fair.
Fear of wasting potential,
fear of missing out,
fear of not being enough.
Many don’t know left from right,
right from wrong.
We are being treated like sheep,
rather than unique individuals.
The talented artist is dropping out of school
for failing her science classes.
The soccer player is experiencing depression
for being forced into a businessman.
And yet again we are being struggled into the same mould.
So, what is the difference between
childhood and adulthood?
Do we all get where we want to be?
Is she wrong for doodling in chemistry?
Can it be taught
for a student to fly?
And yet again we are being struggled into the same mould.
It is not for learning,
but passing your grade,
that’s what’s important nowadays.
Will I fail?
Will I pass?
Why does it matter?
Why should a mere grading determine
your whole life?
Why should fire be watered?
Surely, it’s not mistaken for a rose.
And yet again we are being struggled into the same mould.
Preparing for adulthood,
That fire should be added fuel,
That flower should be given water.
Not the opposite,
Because then,
That fire won’t dance,
That flower won’t bloom,
We are alive and we should live,
And yet again we are being struggled into the same mould.

Years 9-10: Honourable mentions
  • Humairah Bhamji, Year 9, Al Taqwa College – Lost in Sorrow
  • Zara Coupar, Year 9, Christian College Geelong – Joy
  • Samara -E Ferdous, Year 9, Al-Taqwa College – Drowning Ember

Watch other winning poems in this year’s Student Poetry Competition.

 

You can also find full results and view the winning poems on The Parents Website.