Spiritual poetry competition
The Religious Studies department ran a competition this term for the best poems on spiritual themes, giving pupils a chance to make links between their subjects and reflect on important moral and religious issues in a creative way.
Pupils had to write on one of three themes: “Where is God?”, “Love your enemy” and “The meaning of life”. There were prizes for the Lower School, Middle School and Sixth Form. Amazon tokens were given as prizes in the hope that pupils will seek out more to read (and not just spend it on downloading music!). More prizes were allocated for years in which there was an abundance of entries.
There were over fifty entries in total and it was hard for the judges to pick the best in some categories. The winning entries were read out in church for the whole school to hear, and can be found below.
Head of Religious Studies
Love Your Enemy (Jacob Browne, Year 7)
“Love your enemy” I hear them call
We are human after all.
Feelings of love, pain and pride,
Moments of pain and loss stab me inside.
How do I love, when my hate is so strong?
Is it my enemy who is right or wrong?
Or is it I that is wrong or right,
Should I, do I, put up a fight?
We have the same feelings, we breathe the same air
What good is hatred when the battles not fair.
It’s about give and take, but first you must give
Life brings happiness, joy and peace
For each of those feelings we find a release.
The two collide
We hope for peace worldwide.
Where is God? (Harrison Kilminster, Year 7)
W: Where is God?
H: He is right behind you.
E: Everywhere is where God resides.
R: Robins and Wrens let him sleep in their nests.
E: Even in your school or home.
I: Inside your hearts is where he is most.
S: So open your mind and let him in.
G: God is where?
O: On your bed.
D: Don’t think for a minute that he isn’t there
Where is God? (Alice Robinson, Year 8, overall winner)
When the pain and suffering goes unheard,
And death is to have the final word,
We search our minds though our thoughts are blurred,
And ask ourselves,
Where is God?
When hope is lost and oblivion creeps in,
And everyone wonders what is their sin,
We're tempted to allow evil to win,
And ask ourselves,
Where is God?
When we're sucked into the abyss and life is dead,
And it seems all that was good has fled,
We are filled with nothing except cold dread,
And ask ourselves,
Where is God?
We search and search and haven't found,
We're bound to the earth and are slowly drowned,
Surely God will make a sound,
While we wait here stuck on the ground
Can he hear us?
Is he there?
Is it too much fuss?
Does he even care?
How can we love the enemy? (Ben Pearson, Year 8)
The fury of the gun never ceases,
Everyday we are forced through eternal hell in order to win a useless war,
Their faces fill with anger as they raise their guns and charge,
Next to me my best friend falls,
I find myself in an abyss of anger and turn upon my friend’s killer,
A stream of death tools scream as they hurl towards the murderer,
He collapses onto the ground with a scream of pain that pierced the sky,
I look at him as the light drains from his eyes,
And then he is gone,
I look around and see many like him sprawled on the battlefield lying in pools of their own mud stained blood,
The bodies of my army are trampled under foot as a fresh wave of the enemy unleash their guns upon us,
A phrase my mother once told me circulates in my mind,
Love your enemy,
How could I love these foul urchins that murdered all of those I loved,
How can anyone forgive them for what they have done?
There is nothing as far from the truth as that saying,
I do not love the enemy,
I hate them,
Suddenly, as if a bright light shines on me from the heavens, I turn and look at my own army,
What is the difference between them and us?
Aside from the colour of our uniforms not a single thing,
How can I blame them for everything that has happened to me when the same thing has happened to them?
There is no escaping the fact that I will never love them,
But at least I can forgive them for their sins.
The Meaning of Life (Sophie Watson, Year 9)
What's it to you?
What’s it to them?
Everyone has their own opinion.
42, is that it?
But is it really that simple?
How can you be sure?
Does anybody know?
How would you find out?
So many questions,
Not enough answers.
Not enough for me anyway.
So I am going to try to put it into words,
In a simple rhyming verse.
Is it in that smile,
that lights up your day?
Winning the lottery,
Having your way.
Is it the smaller things that matter?
Whatever they may be?
All those questions and answers,
And how they sit with me?
Do we need to know the answers,
to know them all for certain,
Will it matter so much at the end,
At the fall of the final curtain?
Are our meanings the same?
symmetrical, in a mirror,
Do we strive for the same?
This is something to consider.
I think we rely on others.
Their influence and effect.
Like a web of meaning,
Bonded to not disconnect. I can’t answer all those questions
Those answers I will never know,
I never was a great thinker.
I am no Plato.
But the meaning of life,
Is the reason why I am here,
The thing that keeps me going,
To banish the anger and fear.
The love and the joy,
The happiness and hope,
The friendships and family,
The reason to cope.
However big or small,
religious or not,
important or unimportant,
What matters, a lot.
The Meaning of Life (Hattie Dunn, Year 9)
Many often wonder “why we are here”
Everyone has an idea
A person can do so much to help themselves and others
Never give up and strive to do your best
In everything there is beauty, help others to see it
No one knows all the answers to God’s requests
Get stuck into life’s challenges
Offer to others who are in need
Follow your dreams
Live life to the full
It doesn’t last forever
Feelings can change towards one another or last for an
Where Is He? (Yasmin Tenk, Year 10)
They say he’s all around us,
But we don’t see him anywhere,
We spend our mornings, day and night,
Searching for him throughout the world.
We’ve cut down the trees,
Was he hiding there?
We’re draining the water,
Was he swimming there?
We’re dropping bombs on others’ homes,
Was he resting there?
We’re killing our enemies, and innocents too,
Was he one of them?
We pollute the air we’re given,
Was he breathing that?
We’re destroying everything we’ve been given,
Will he still love us?
Despite everything we’re doing,
We know he’s still around.
Hidden within ourselves,
Until our hearts no longer sound.
Where is God, Our Lord? (Alice Chadwick, Lower Sixth)
My life has passed by in a blur,
But still you have not appeared.
My whole life I’ve been waiting,
watching, hoping. Nothing.
I look around me and wonder
How everything came to be.
I was raised on the belief that you are everywhere,
But how do we know?
The thought of you is a comfort,
Especially if you’re right beside me. But
how can we tell? Do you even exist?
I pray every day. For forgiveness and out of love.
People question my sanity-the non-believers.
I do not judge them being having doubts-there is no proof after all.
I guess it depends on your own conscience
to decide where our Father is. We may never know
but that doesn’t matter. All that matters is
that everyone accepts that He may exist,
even if nobody ever sees Him.
I look at the clouds and a thought flickers
Right across my brain.
Where are you God? Are you there?
I hope so.
[Pictured above, four of the competition winners: Ben Pearson, Harrison Kilminster, Alice Chadwick and Yasmin Tenk]