Year 12 Student Safah Ahmed Wins Second Prize In Prestigious Poetry Competition

Everyone at The NCS would like to send a huge message of congratulations to Year 12 student Safah Ahmed who won second prize in the prestigious Tower Poetry competition with her poem “Accent” at a prize giving in Oxford yesterday (April 20th).

Tower Poetry exists to encourage and challenge everyone who reads or writes poetry. Funded by a generous bequest to Christ Church, University of Oxford, by the late Christopher Tower, the aims of Tower Poetry are clear: to stimulate an enjoyment and critical appreciation of poetry, particularly among young people in education and to challenge people to write their own poetry.

You can read Safah’s poem below:

 

Accent

When they arrived,
Baba held her hand while she
cut off her tongue and sewed on
a new one.

He trained her voice to give in
to new rules,
and let the vowels distort themselves –
mutate like cancer cells
and lie.

She wondered if they’d notice –
and if they did would they invite her in
to one of their
interrogation rooms,
and would it be black –
and blue

she’d spent too long in a room like this,
where footsteps sounded like thunderstorms –
or was it thunderstorms
sounded like footsteps –
their steps were always so loud,

and their shoes were black like the sky
she could see out of the corner of her
blue black eye –

but it wasn’t her eyes they wanted,
it was her tongue.
So she kept her lips closed.
Hid the needlework behind blue veins
and white teeth –
played dumb to play civilized,
played dumb to play alive.

But her words were lined up
like dominoes,
and dominoes were made to fall,
so she stood waiting,
with a hurricane in her mouth,
wondering how long it would take
for them to give
her away.



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