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Poetry competition entry 2018: Birthday poem / Pūroro ā tōna wā Pōneke

August 23, 2018

Birthday Poem

 This is not the first time this poem has been written

And it probably won’t be the last

We all have these memories tucked up inside of us 

I hope one day you will write this poem too

Let your secrets be free 

I want to hear every one of them 

We have all aged

 And lost

 And learnt 

 And broken and grown

 Like trees in a forest

 Tangled, but not to be lost or forgotten just because they are messy 

 To heal, and grow again, we must remember, and to remember we must untangle our own pasts

 Please listen to me untangle mine

 I don’t remember being 5 very much

 I remember the classrooms, being afraid of the other students, that my teddy was my best friend and I loved my mum and dad more than anything in the world. 

 Up to 10 I remember not feeling much towards boys, even when the other kids told me I did. Feeling ashamed of my body.  Kissing my best friend late one night at a sleepover. 

 11-13. Puberty blues. I remember seeing breasts on my chest and not believing they were mine. That I just had a lot of body fat and they’d go away. I remember being teased for being a vegetarian and caring about recycling. Feeling embarrassed about my parents and crying over boys who were mean to me. 

 14 was a special age of its own. 

 Falling to the floor in tears for the first time 

 Tasting death and spitting it back out

 Not knowing how to hold the pain of been given

 15 and 16 were blushed cheeks and crying over girls. being bad at science, getting glasses, moving to a new house and keeping secrets about how sad I was

 17 felt like I was cool

 Had it all sorted 

 Was ready for the world

 But was just hiding under a blanket fort of my own making 

 And was still too scared to let my voice be heard 

 18 was a long year of memories that still don’t fit together, finishing high school, losing one world only to fall apart in the next 

 19 was the first love of winter 

 Finding out how deep my pain runs 

 And learning that love isn’t enough to make someone stay

 We’re almost at 20, I don’t know what she’ll bring

 But I’m ready for joy, warmth and sunshine. And maybe a few other things.

by © Kate Aschoff



Pūroro ā tōna wā Pōneke

I walk around this wet city with bruised wrists and tight cheeks 

Always afraid of being eaten alive 

Sweat pooling in my lower back like a dirty swamp 

These panting breaths holding me close to the ground

Loose change in my bag rattling like my bones do when I think of my time spent with you 

I will teach myself to sit in cafe windows 

I don’t want to be afraid to exist in the city I want born in 

These shaking bones will take up as much space as they need 

And all you will be able to do is watch 

by © Kate Aschoff

From → Competitions

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