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Young Poet Laureate 2020 Winning Poems

48/52 by Ellie Dart

There was a word,
And the word was sour
with a venomous bite. Divisive.

It’s been sat on your mantlepiece for three years,
Polished by your tongue.
Perhaps you’re murmuring and want
to spit it out. It clogs your mouth.

That day in June we became the 48
and the 52. It cut us.

Now, drink your poison,
Hold the teenager’s knife to your neck and
sing our national anthem like a hymn,
Whilst others weep and pray.

Sovereign thoughts handcuff us,
Chaining us,
Away from embracing those we once called our friends,
Possessed by the word.

We can never identify as unified if we split ourselves
by the opinions of our minds. Nor decimate and saturate
the extremism pumping through veins,
And I see it flowing.

Can’t we remember what used to unite us? Instead,
we build barriers out of the souls of the youth.

The girl who slit her wrists bled out a prophecy
which read: you forgot. But you never asked why,
Only yelled bloodstained words and blamed the other.

Our flame will never stop burning,
But a singular candle never brewed a vehement fire,
Without the wood that fueled it.

And if our future sons and daughters saw this country now,
What would they say?

By Ellie Dart