Megan Grant
Newaygo High School, Grade 11
“Abandoning the Trenches”

Fight fire
With fire

Or take my hand?

Grit our teeth
Clench our fists
Plug our ears
Close off our minds
And shut everyone who disagrees


Not just hear-

Turn away

Or turn a new page?

The world’s afire
With the burning passions
Of men

The sky is clouded
With the smoke of our discord

Our world stained
With the soot of our indecision

Our heated animosity
Melts the cool refuge of friendship

Love is a memory
Far too distant to count on
It’s okay to hate your neighbor
If you pray to your god every night

Olive branches burn before us
We turn away
Hands empty.
Hearts empty.

While we wait in stagnant slumber
For someone to break
Before we bend
Vultures are congregating

Days are coming where our vacillation
has real consequences
Where the atmosphere is heavy
And islands are swallowed whole

Incited hatred is amassing
Falling off
Only to concentrate into a greater mass
Vast as an ocean wave

Deep enough to drink,
Real enough
to drown us
Like the first great flood

Is derelict

Knee deep in quagmire we made
Engulfed completely by the trenches we’ve labored upon

Muddy anger
And bloody bullets
Litter a political battlefield
Do we even know why we’re so angry anymore?

We sit in our foxholes
And fire upon our brothers

Would you rather
Kill your brother
Or admit you’re wrong?

If everyone burns everyone
With the calefaction of our hatred
Aren’t we all on fire?

If nothing else
Could we not use
The heat of our passions
To solder
New, great compromise?

Work together for a total recall
on hatred and bigotry?

Could we not
Use our ardor for change
To foster a better future for everyone?

But we look different!
It changes nothing.

We feel
We hurt
We live
We die
We love

We love
We love
We love.
Are we really that different?

We don’t speak the same language!
Every language has a word for love.

Te amo.
Je t’aime.
사랑해- Saranghae.
Я люблю тебя- Ya tebya liubliu.
我爱你- Wo ai ni.

Our beliefs are too different!
We are never
too different to love one another.

We aren’t born
To give in to the instincts of nature

Humans are sentient
We have the capacity for great things
If we work together.

Why act like a mindless creature
If you are better than one?

Why yell and carry on
If you can learn beautiful things
If you

We are given ears to listen

Mouths to speak truths
Free of passion

eyes to view
The souls of our brethren

And hands
To hold.

Boundless possibilities
Bloom before us

After all:

Flowers grow best
From ashes

Friendships grow strongest
From adversity

Compromise is grown
From forgiveness

Progress is dependent
Upon civility.

The soil we spring from
does not change the human hearts
That beat within our chests
Nor the love
That flows ebulliently
From our souls

We aren’t that different.

If we are so devoted to our own ideas
Can we not
Shift the devotion-
if only slightly-
If it’s in the interest of mankind’s wellbeing?

For, If nothing else,
We are men

We have common ground

If I cross no-man’s land,
Will you take my olive branch?

Will you hold my hand?

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