Westmount Kids Building Bridges / 8
Local students show off their literary stuff in the 2016 McEntyre Writing Competition
Introduction by Wayne Larsen
In what has become an annual tradition in Westmount schools, the McEntyre Writing Competition always attracts a wide variety of thoughtful and creative entries, and the 2016 edition was no exception.
Endowed by the late Peter McEntyre, mayor of Westmount from 1969 to 1971, the competition encourages young writers to express themselves on a designated topic, each designed to get the creative juices flowing. It is coordinated each year by the Westmount Public Library.
In 2016, “Building Bridges” was the topic assigned to students in grades 1 through 11.
Westmount Magazine presents the full texts of the first-place entries in each grade category, as supplied by the Westmount Public Library.
Here we present Grade 11.
ELEVENTH GRADE | FIRST PRIZE | WESTMOUNT HIGH SCHOOL
They are the Green, and we are the Blue,
Once was a bridge between us two.
Now a wall divides our sides,
Each unit making its own strides.
We lived together, long days ago,
The Green served the Blue and were said to be slow.
They tended our fields, our children, our lives
Until their many minds made a revolution rise.
They built a colony that tore masters down
Said no Blue was better, said all Blues should drown.
Threw kindle to fire and fire to us,
Then Greens and Blues knew they had a new purpose.
“You want a war,” that’s what they said.
“You’ll get a war,” hearts filled with lead.
Loser lives across the land
Where other dangers lurk in the sand.
“More enemies to inspire fear
Is what you’ll get if you can’t stand here.”
For weeks, a great chaos ensues;
Gunshots, explosions; lost Greens, lost Blues.
They lie, they sleep, they lie, they kill.
Two sides will never have their fill.
What started this, we forget we know;
Seeds of distrust we tend to sow.
The wars, they ended long ago
But hatred burns from head to toe.
The wall was built, and lest we forget,
The bridge destroyed; we haven’t met
For years, but times we hear their screams.
We know more invaders steal their dreams.
And though their cries will turn our heads,
No prayers for them when in our beds.
Over time, our hate decays
As the Green, adjacent, pays
For a crime they were born with, embedded in skin,
That made their very existence a sin.
And just like that, it was Blue against Blue;
Sympathizers divided population in two;
Those who thought race was a just-world phenomenon,
And those who vouched for our harmony, on and on.
Then one day, Greens tear the wall down.
Brick by brick slowly fall to the ground.
Bare fists tear plaster and cement from its place
And after years apart we see the other race.
They loolc just like you and me
With spouses and children, and eyes that can see
The monster that some are raised to become
When taught that colour shows smart from dumb.
Now all that stands between is a broken bridge
With a line of desperate people standing on the ledge
The ones that we drove from our homes in the past
Their souls endured the pain, but did our hate outlast?
Then a Blue cries out, “What are we doing?
Has anyone thought of the message we’re showing
The poison we expose our children to?
Is there really such a difference between a Green and a Blue?
We all have the same hearts inside ourselves.
If anything, the way we have treated them tells
That we are the wrong ones, we are the fault;
We are the sinners, the ones who assault.
And I know as well as anyone here—
Equality is best for the Greens who stand near.”
Some of us gawk and shuffle our feet
As we all sweat under this judgmental desert heat.
But the silence confirms what we knew all along
As we slowly begin to admit we were wrong.
A Green starts to speak, and we all strain to listen—
It’s the least we can do for these repressed men—
“Brothers and sisters, a new time has come,
And while we’ll never forget the past, or the damage done,
It’s time to begin again and create a new life
One without discrimination, and minimal strife;
Let us rejoice in the harmony we create,
Where forever more, race will not cause us to berate!”
Step by step, brick by brick,
We all work together to make the bridge stick.
Compassion is more contagious than hate,
Assuring us that humanity never comes too late.
And I hope, from this Blue-Green life, that one sees
That the right choice is to help the refugees.
McEntyre Writing Competition 2017
The 2017 edition of the McEntyre Writing Competition is currently underway and the theme is “Secret Places, Hidden Treasures”.
You may compete if you go to school in Westmount (elementary or secondary, grades 1–11), live in Westmount, or are a member of a library in Westmount.
Submit your entry to the Children’s Desk, Westmount Public Library, no later than 9 pm on Friday, April 7, 2017.
To find out how to participate, please visit the Library’s website.
Concours littéraire McEntyre 2017
L’édition 2017 du Concours littéraire McEntyre est en cours et le thème est « Des endroits secrets et des trésors cachés ».
Tous les élèves du primaire (1–6) et du secondaire (1–5) qui fréquentent une école de Westmount, qui sont domiciliés à Westmount ou qui sont abonnés à une bibliothèque de Westmount peuvent participer au concours.
Tous les textes doivent parvenir à la Bibliothèque publique de Westmount avant 21h le vendredi 7 avril 2017.
Pour savoir comment participer, veuillez visiter le site web de la Bibliothèque.