Backfield Sunrise – Jaia Harris (age 10; Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
Divine – E Wen Wong (age 15; Christchurch, New Zealand)
[Untitled] – Bryn Hill (age 14; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Te Moana – Grace Newman Holt (age 09; Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
[Untitled] – Reva Hunter (age 09; Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
tiny things – Jack MacKay (age 10; Christchurch, New Zealand
[Untitled] – Graeme Campbell (age 14; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Eiffel at Dusk – Chloe van der Ree (age 13; Christchurch, New Zealand)
The Mountains of Moon – Tom Nalder (age 09; Christchurch, New Zealand)
An island at night on Jokijärvi – Elisa Holmstrom (age 05; Tanga, Tanzania)
Cry of the Lions – Hannah Withers (age 09; Christchurch, New Zealand)
[Untitled] – Lila Collins (age 09; Sunshine Coast, Australia)
Italia! – Ava Deeley and Marina Haynes (ages 12 and 12; San Blas Islands, Panama and Secret Harbour, Grenada)
[Untitled] – Bethany Webb (age 10; Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
The Scrapyard – Harry Waddington (age 13; Christchurch, New Zealand)
[Untitled] – Griffin Wittwer (age 10; Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
Scouting Flanders Fields – Joshua Persico (age 13; Christchurch, New Zealand)
[Untitled] – Max Heuze (age 10; Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
The Onu – Theo Cooling (age 10; Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
Fȗr Beethoven – Sparsh Johri (age 13; San Jose, California, United States)
Entwined – Monica Koster (age 15; Christcurch, New Zealand)
[Untitled] – Maeva Fe’ao (age 09; Rarotonga, Cook Islands)
Fire in Winter – Xanthe McElroy (age 11; Christchurch, New Zealand)
Tree of Life – Jana Heise (age 13; Richards Bay, South Africa)
Though Sometimes We Burn – Kailani M. Clarke (age 17; Centreville, Maryland, United States)
Backfield Sunrise – Jaia Harris
Jaia Harris is ten years old, and lives in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
Divine – E Wen Wong
Steam ascends into the air,
like the Hogwarts train
approaching platform 9 and 3/4.
Gazing at the chips,
we have the prying eyes
Fireballs of impatience
linger in our stomachs,
our fingers shaking with temptation.
The edge of a chip grappled,
gone in a millisecond.
Chips made to savour,
salt licked meticulously
from our hands.
E Wen Wong is fifteen years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.
[Untitled] – Bryn Hill
Bryn Hill is fourteen years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Te Moana – Grace Newman Holt
She calls me into her arms
I let her take me
The colossal waves
Draw me beneath the sea
I’m gasping for breath
The waves send me back
Smashing on the soft sand bed
I have been set free
Waves build before me
Mist like a thousand diamonds
One by one they fall
Te Moana’s beauty
Can hold you and let you go
The ocean calls me
Grace Newman Holt is nine years old, and lives in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
[Untitled] – Reva Hunter
Reva Hunter is nine years old, and lives in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
tiny things – Jack MacKay
ants creeping in between cracks
of an old house
cookie crumbs sticking
to stinky feet
clear lego spuds
sucked up by a vacuum cleaner
rattle, tap, ping
pins fallen on the ground
right side up
one letter words,
speck, spider, molecule
Jack MacKay is ten years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.
[Untitled] – Graeme Campbell
Graeme Campbell is fourteen years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Eiffel At Dusk – Chloe van der Ree
Chloe van der Ree is thirteen years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.
The Mountains of Moon – Tom Nalder
The moon is protected
by layers of dusty rock.
When it is very dark
the moon comes into the sky
and shines like the sun.
You can’t buy the moon.
On the moon the telephone
is connected to earth
so I can call Mr Money.
Mr Money tells me
the earth is inside
a bottle. I pour
a glass of earth
so I can have
enough money to buy grapes.
Tom Nalder is nine years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.
An island at night on Jokijärvi – Elisa Holmstrom
Elisa Holmstrom is five years old, and lives in Tanga, Tanzania.
Cry of the Lions – Hannah Withers
I stand here with my pride
And we’re all about to hide
With these new animals killing us
We must do what we can
I’m worried about what would happen if we all ran
We’re planning on what to do
But we need to think it through
I stand here with my pride
But we need to leave
We just need to heave our heavy hearts
Hannah Withers is nine years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.
[Untitled] – Lila Collins
Lila Collins is nine years old, and lives in Sunshine Coast, Australia.
Italia! – Ava Deeley and Marina Haynes
Ava Deeley is twelve years old, and lives in San Blas Islands, Panama. Marina Haynes is twelve years old, and lives in Secret Harbour, Grenada.
[Untitled] – Bethany Webb
Bethany Webb is ten years old, and lives in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
The Scrapyard – Harry Waddington
An old desert road
Littered with stones
Thrown from the wheels of trucks long passed
The scrapyard rests
Silent and deserted
Sheets of metal
Their faces marred by time
Never to be used
Old chains lock the fence
Once as strong as granite
Now falling at a slight touch
An old office crouches in the corner
Its windows dusty
Its furniture crumbling
A car’s corpse sleeps
On a bed of old bolts
The paint destroyed
Replaced by the orange flakes of rust
An old water bowl
For a dog long gone
A splash of blue and green
Showing the visitors
“Daryl Was Here”
Harry Waddington is thirteen years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.
[Untitled] – Griffin Wittwer
Griffin Wittwer is ten years old, and lives in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
Scouting Flanders Fields – Joshua Persico
Because they strap a gas mask on him lined with rabbit fur
He believes he is going on a rabbit hunt
He believes he will run across Flanders Fields brushing by poppies
Barking down holes to first expose the furry enemy then attack
He imagines the fear in their glassy eyes
Instead he smells fear in the trenches in Flanders Fields
He hears the cocking of guns and the releasing of safety catches
He sees the fallen soldiers and smells the scent of fresh wounds
He’ll never forget their eyes
Joshua Persico is thirteen years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.
[Untitled] – Max Heuze
Max Heuze is ten years old, and lives in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
The Onu – Theo Cooling
Theo Cooling is ten years old, and lives in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
Fȗr Beethoven – Sparsh Johri
The Sonata in E major echoed off the nondescript walls of the room, as Ludwig van Beethoven played in concentration. The hardwood floor was masked by a thick layer of dust, music notebooks, and papers. A glass chandelier hung low from the ceiling, swaying to the four-four time of the first movement.
I found myself thinking about what another great musician had prophesied. I remembered Mozart’s words like they were said yesterday: “He will give the world something worth listening to.” Certainly, as Beethoven’s favorite piano, I could attest to that. He was a musical genius, balancing his commitment to form with astonishing creativity.
My thoughts were interrupted as he abruptly took his fingers off my keys and rubbed his hair. With a dissatisfied expression, he muttered, “No, no, that’s not right.” Ludwig experimented with a different series of notes, shaking his head each time. Finally, the perfect melody came to him, and, brightening up, he wrote the correction over the previous notes, further smearing the already blackened paper. This was how our day functioned. Sometimes a patron would ask him to perform a symphony; sometimes his day was free. However he passed the day, music was the center of his life.
One day, Ludwig came down with a serious illness. It started with some coughing and headaches. However, it soon became severe. For several weeks, he was bedridden and weak. Fortunately, he recovered, and was able to resume his normal routine rather quickly.
A couple of months later, Ludwig came home with red eyes and an upset expression. After his performance, he had not heard the applause of the crowd and left abruptly. Later, his patron, the Count of Vienpolis, asked, “Why did you leave?”
“I compose for those who appreciate me and my music, not ungrateful cavemen in fancy attire,” retorted Ludwig in an icy tone.
Sparks of anger blazed from the count’s eyes. “How dare you speak like that to your betters! The applause was thunderous! Are you deaf? Leave this place immediately!”
Ludwig was too stunned to give a final scathing reply, or do anything except comply. As he signaled a carriage and rode home, he felt the words cut into him like a blade. Are you deaf? The next day, he called a doctor. The man was very tall and thin, and had short, black hair, a beaky nose, and a serious demeanor. After an examination, the doctor confirmed Ludwig’s worst suspicions.
“Your hearing is indeed subpar. At your present rate of deterioration, you shall become totally deaf in…”
By then, Ludwig had tuned out. He stared ahead, oblivious to almost all but the privacy of his own thoughts. Like a man in a daze, he paid the doctor and showed him out.
After that, he sat in a chair, facing me and his violin. “‘Are you deaf?’” he repeated, over and over again. With a sudden, bitter grin, he turned to the ceiling and screamed, “Yes, I am deaf! I shall lose all that I value!” Ludwig took the violin bow and hurled it across the room, then put his head into his arms and sobbed.
As the years passed, his deafness grew. At home, he played louder and louder. His violin, cello, and I needed to have our strings repaired every month. His anger and anguish found their way into several symphonies and sonatas, and his overall style became more emotional.
His temperament became suspicious and irritable. He distanced himself from his friends and family. Ludwig never shared his feelings, never let anyone else know how he felt inside. He let the feelings fester within him, fueling his resentment against the world. At times, Ludwig would cease playing altogether and leave. Melodies came into his mind more easily now, but it was so hard to project those notes into reality.
His practice time reduced to two hours. He barely spoke now. Finally, all of his depression and stress culminated, on a particularly bad day, when he made thirty big mistakes in as many minutes.
“That’s it!” he yelled. “I dedicate my life to music, and I am cursed with this affliction! Well, then, I shall stop music forever! I shall sell my instruments!” And with three ominous chords, he left.
Three days. Three horrible empty days passed. He didn’t come at all into the music room, even once. The entire mansion was filled with the nothingness of silence. Perhaps he is right, I found myself thinking. Perhaps he will stop creating music. The thought distressed me more than I could convey. We, his instruments, had failed.
On the fourth day, suddenly Ludwig came back, a smile on his face. He didn’t speak a word, but from his expression, I knew that he would never abandon music. It took me some time to understand, but I finally did. Over the three days, the loud absence of music must have made him realize the value of it. Music had been the guiding light through the storms of his father’s tyranny and the escape from the prison of early rejection. Before fame, music was all he had. How could he give it up?
Beethoven never did stop being surly; it was in his nature. However, he never stopped composing. Long after his death, the deaf musician left behind a legacy that changed music, paving the way for the emotion of Romanticism and setting a foundation for the future. He accomplished all this simply by triumphing over his inner demons. No, it went deeper: he changed his destiny instead of letting it define him. On some days, I wonder if it was his pain that made him strong. Was it his loss that added meaning to his life? Maybe. Maybe not. I cannot truly say. Today, I am so badly out of tune that my C sounds like an Ab. My wood is starting to rot, and my strings are almost gone. I have played my part in history, and I hope that I have played it well. I shall soon join Ludwig van Beethoven in the eternal orchestra that plays for all to hear, the music of hope and spirit, music that transcends the elementary restrictions life chooses to place.
Sparsh Johri is thirteen years old, and lives in San Jose, California, United States.
Entwined – Monica Koster
Monica Koster is fifteen years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.
[Untitled] – Maeva Fe’ao
Maeva Fe’ao is nine years old, and lives in Rarotonga, Cook Islands.
Fire in Winter – Xanthe McElroy
the thin arms of pines
are covered in a blanket of white
a lynx attempts a useless camouflage
a flare dances in the reflection of his lustrous eyes
he prances through the thicket
and out into the eyesight of the fiery dancer
hysterical to the winter desert
and into the night sky
he limps away
Xanthe McElroy is eleven years old, and lives in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Tree of Life – Jana Heise
Jana Heise is thirteen years old, and lives in Richards Bay, South Africa.
Though Sometimes We Burn – Kailani M. Clarke
For Chester Bennington
There are days I would give anything
to be changed.
These are the days when all I see are ghosts.
I swallow them.
I catch myself on the nooses
they hang from the ceiling.
These are the days there is broken glass under my palms
and I think I put it there.
But then, harsh and brightly,
my mind is a mirror, reflecting the times before
when I kept my head above the water
and kept myself above my head
and I am grateful to have limbs
a long neck
a loved heart
so I may do it again.
Grateful too for the darkness.
Those flint teeth in me, against whom
I spark fire
which gives me words and colors
which makes the ghosts in my belly scream
and lets those screams come out
Kailani M. Clarke is seventeen years old, and lives in Centreville, Maryland, United States.