The Innocents

Geraldton Guardian
Award recipients in the 2016 Randolph Stow Young Writers Awards at the presentation evening.
Camera IconAward recipients in the 2016 Randolph Stow Young Writers Awards at the presentation evening. Credit: Anita Kirkbright, The Geraldton Guardian

Rosie-Ann Bogumil’s winning Upper Secondary Poetry entry in the Geraldton Regional Library’s 2016 Randolph Stow Young Writers’ Awards. Rosie-Ann represents Geraldton Grammar School.

The children that played on the streets were young,

Young and carefree.

But there’s a word for that;

It’s called naivety.

Their cheeks glow in the light, from lilting lanterns

That are strung,

Between roughly paved streets

And coloured houses, they hung.

Pristine powdered faces, of pink and gold geishas,

White, like clouds from the sky.

A sky that quickly darkens,

A shadow dropping in on the sly.

Clouds now lay, burnt and broken. A susurrus

Of limb against limb.

Others, carbon shadows,

Linger on Dante’s rim.

A Little Boy ploughed through the ground, forming

Ordered cornrows

For battered bodies to slide,

Chests, blooming red roses.

The harmonious sounds of cries,

And of sobs,

Slowly petered away, as did the childhood

They robbed.

Innocents lay, or stand, or collapse; waiting,

Like pins to be struck.

A Fat Man topples them all,

A stroke of poor luck.

Corpses claw across shattered ground, breaths,

Heavy and ragged.

Far away, where children still played,

No thoughts were of the haggard.

Thoughts were only of two sleek beasts, that tore

Through two cities,

And the victory it brought,

And sailors kissing pretties.

Thoughts were only of the peace, won

Through war’s cessation.

Nobody thought for a second,

What of our condemnation?

No thoughts turned to the children, not playing. Nor

To the skies, not blue.

Because there’s a word for that too;

It’s called taboo.

* Copies of the 2016 winners booklet can be purchased from Geraldton Regional Library for $12.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails