Monday 24 September 2018

Sixth Former’s Poetry Prompts an Invitation to Berlin

A poem written by Upper Sixth student Lia Taylor when she was in Year 11, has won her a trip to Germany and a place at a reception hosted by Sir Sebastian Wood KCMG, British Ambassador to Germany, Wolfgang Schneiderhan, President of Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge (VDK) and the Never Such Innocence organisation.

Never Such Innocence aims to engage children and young people across the world with the centenary of the First World War through poetry, art and song. During this final year of the centenary, the organisation has embarked on a youth-centred UK-German creative arts project called Together. Young people were asked to create messages of hope and unity. The judging panel selected Lia’s poem, ‘Carpe Diem’, as winner of the 14-16 years category.

She and her mother will spend two nights in Berlin from 14 November.

Principal of St Joseph’s College, Mrs Clarke, said, ‘The terrible toll of the First World War and the heroism and poetry it inspired, all hold a strong fascination for our students. Lia’s passionate verses capture a typical youthful rejection of the slaughter and they hold a wonderful message of hope for the future.’

Last term, Lia was one of a large party from St Joseph’s College to visit the WW1 Battlefields together with students from two schools in Northern Ireland – one Catholic and one Protestant. Because the visit happened to occur on the twentieth anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement, the young visitors were invited to take part in a special ceremony at The Peace Village, with guests including a representative of the Belgian King, the Irish Ambassador to Belgium and the Mayor of Messines.

A number of the students spoke, sang and played music – including Lia, who performed Danny Boy on the flute.

Carpe Diem

In these times of peace

With all the triggers calm,

Since the fire has ceased

And the sky’s seen our palms

They speak to us.

In the dead of night

And the hope of day,

Do we hear their plight?

Or ignore what they say?

But still, they speak to us.

We cannot neglect,

And we cannot shy away.

We cannot forget,

Lest we hear the bugles play.

Because still, they speak to us.

There are lessons to learn

On the torture of hate,

There is more love to earn,

And fear to eradicate.

And so, they speak to us.

We can’t stop here,

We can’t give up hope,

We must shape a new world,

One in which we can cope.

This was the beginning

Of a new life for us.

Can you hear them?

Can you hear what they say?

We must pass on their stories,

Let everyone know it,

We must live by their glories,

By the songs of dead poets.

You can hear them. Now,

Heed what they say:

Carpe diem.

Seize the day

Lia Taylor

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