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Secret Places
Hidden Treasures / 11

Local students show off their literary stuff in the 2017 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 2017 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 2017, “Secret Places, Hidden Treasures” 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

Greta Gutierrez

Home

Our land, our home
Your land, your home
So bright and full of riches, unknown to those who sail from afar
You come here on your wooden toys, your egos big yet fragile
A hidden place, a secret
Only those who dare to seek find comfort in the natural beauty of its fine soil
Spirits guide the way, books so foreign it is only through the tongue of man that the mind is
clear of its path.

Our land, a treasure that shines like gold so bright it is the Sun,
Desired from near and far, gravity radiates towards its centre
Only the richest appreciate its divine beauty,
The poor seek more than it can provide
Our land like Treasure Island, yet only the “savages” treat it like the holy being it is
The only savages are those who massacre a people and their culture
You call it assimilation
We call it cultural genocide
Civilise us into a civilization that cannot stand to be civil
Where the only item to trade is each other’s greed

We will not be assimilated into carbon copies of your expectations
We will not erase ourselves from the narrative because you deem us irrelevant
We are to be heard beyond the silence you are so used to hearing

Resources wasted on the greedy rather than the needy
People wishing the soil would overturn and the world would be anew,
But time has caused it to go askew and the paved roads only reach a dead end
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but the beauty has been lost through blinded vision

This sinkhole of a world as black as the coal you burn,
The ashes and smoke that grow from the pit of despair you now call home
You thirst for the water you have poisoned, desperately hoping the grey murk will submerge
and a crystal blue will arise
But when will it be our time to say you were wrong
That civilization doesn’t start with destruction
That culture isn’t an opinion it’s a fact,
It has long existed before you,
You don’t know our history, our ancestry

You think that a page in your holy textbooks does us justice, while you fight to keep your own
history alive out of fear of disappearance,
Yet you say nothing when it is exactly that which you have done to our people

We are reserved on Reserves, living by your untimely rules
Our youth is solving the equation of the statistics that define them,
Wanting to be something more than a number,
More than a decimal place you can round to the nearest percent
Our land is a treasure you can no longer exploit,
You are pirates sailing the high seas finding a treasure you didn’t know you wanted,
“X” marks the spot, but only when you can find the map leading a way beyond the corruption
you have created
Our land is a treasure not to be shared by those who stand to exploit it
Our land was a secret place; a treasure cherished, not a trophy to be placed on a mantle
A notch on your belts that you seem to think makes you superior to those that provided your
foundation

We are not furs left to hang to dry in the sun
We are not bark to be stripped and left exposed
We are not the catchers of your dreams
The calluses on our hands are the proof of our existence
The laughter lines and crows-feet of our elders like pieces of a puzzle
The building blocks clueing you in to what we’ve become

Our women are our treasures, not secrets for you to keep
The truth will reveal itself eventually,
But be warned our anger is not unwarranted
Our voices will be heard
We will not be unprovoked
We are sending smoke signals to warn you of the cloudy words that have escaped your
mouths
You were only searching for gold, but you came upon so much more
We welcomed you into our home,
We didn’t ask you to wipe your feet or remove your shoes
And with that you left your footsteps across our land,
Your fingerprints upon our treasures
Your titles upon us
You wrote yourselves in, and pushed us out

We will forever be our own treasure in our own secret place we call home.

Bouton S'inscrire à l'infolettre – WestmountMag.caImage: “Vanquished” by Emily Carr

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