Age categories 7 – 10, 11 -14 & 15 -18
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The rainbow tree – By Nathen Dineth Tibenderana aged 8
A long, long time ago, there lived a five year old child. His name was James. He lived with his nosy older brother, mum and dad. One day he was eating a rainbow coloured berry from a rainbow coloured tree. When he finished it, he dug a hole with his grandfather’s battered old spade. He put the seed in and covered it back up.
Years and years passed by – only when he was 100 did it bloom. It was shaped like an ordinary palm tree but had rainbow coloured leaves and berries on it. Then again, his grandson ate a berry from the rainbow tree. He planted the seed in a hole he dug with his great, great grandfather’s battered old spade. And the tradition yet continues.
Life in a Cherry Seed – By Priscilla Nethmi Tibenderana aged 10
Short, slender branches scrambled out of the small, spindly trunk. Luscious green leaves sprouted out from the crooks in the dear little tree as one ruby red cherry emerged from all the thriving leaves!
Seasons passed and the sweet, little sapling grew into something quite splendid! The sunny season of summer had given it all the sunbeams it wished for. The rainy days of winter gave it enough hydration it could desire; the crisp days of spring gave birth to all the wonderful creatures who helped the tree bloom.
So, by the time April came, the weak, dainty sapling had flourished into a picturesque sight. The walnut brown trunk had grown several feet from the ground and stood strong and sturdy. Crimson cherries grasped tight onto the long, elegant branches which swayed gently in the cool breeze. Emerald green leaves hung like curtains from the branches.
Streaks of colour flit through the sky. as beautiful as an angel and yet as fast as a pixie. Colours shining, the Blue jay stops at the tree and tilts his head looking baffled. Then, plucks a blushing cherry off a branch. The bird adjusts it comfortably in its shining beak then glides off into the sunset, over hills, soaring past mountains and through forests where it drops the cherry and swoops off into the distance until it is nothing but a spark in the sun.
Years pass and the cherry grows to be strong and beautiful as her mother who continues to scatter her precious babies who help tell her story. The story of one marvelous circle of life indeed!
The Seasons – By Imogen Clements aged 12
Winter. I love winter. Snowflakes adorned my branches, like the evergreen trees in the homes around me that were decorated with lights. Snow fell heavily all that night. In the morning, the weak sunlight, fighting through the thick clouds, began to melt the flakes resting on my bows.
I was sad to see the snow leave, but happy to see all the snowdrops sprouting under my branches, and overjoyed to see my own leaves return. The sun was back again, warming up my highest branches to my lowest roots. Spring was back! There was hope in the air. Eventually the frosty chill left and all that remained was a fresh smell of earth and new blossom. The birds returned, built their nests, and had their babies in my branches. When the mother birds went to find food, I would look after the chicks and try and protect them from falling. I would sing to them, letting them know that their mothers would be home soon.
And just like that it was summer. The snowdrops were gone, the baby birds grown up and the daffodils and tulips had outstayed their welcome. The bluebells that had peppered my trunk and wound in between my roots were gone, leaving me feeling exposed and slightly lonely. The sun was hotter and around for longer, my leaves full and green, soaking up the sun. Days stretched, children came and went, tied swings to my branches, climbed and munched on sandwiches in my bows and devoured strawberries while leaning on my trunk. The quiet ones slept or read, the loud ones played or shouted and laughed. One little boy once fell asleep in my roots; I cuddled him close and protected him, until his mother came. Just like I did with the birds in spring.
Then summer passed and took the children with it. All the children were at school, and I was lonely. My leaves changed colours beautifully, but there was no one there to see them. I was left with my leaves in a pile at my roots and I felt odd and exposed, just like last year, and the year before, and the year before that. Autumn, it robs me off my leaves right before I need them most, for winter. And then the cold winds took my leaves away, like nothing ever happened.
The cold returns, making me miss my leaves. And all the animals, the squirrels that nested on my trunk, the birds that sang early in the mornings, the deer that trotted by. The snow fell, Christmas came and went. The children returned and made snowmen and went sledging, they didn’t climb me, but laughed and talked to each other. A girl brought me a scarf one day and tied it around my lowest branch, making me feel loved. Winter. I love winter.
My Cat – By Holly Rose Brown aged 13
In the shadows lurks,
A cry just for me,
Heard around the house,
Cutting through the silence,
Up on the bed,
Whack on the ear,
Stroke my hair,
Shout in the face,
Pushed off the bed,
This is only for me.
Heirloom – By Jazmine Brett aged 17
Grandmother’s hands are wrinkled but turned soft with the vanilla scented hand cream she used to keep them supple. She clasped mine in her own. My skin is a shade lighter than grandmother’s and lack her wrinkles, and instead there was dirt under my fingernails that the freedom of youth prevailed.
Her smile was soft, but her brown eyes cast a contrasting sadness over her features, the dark remembrance of a bad night’s sleep ghosting underneath with a virulence she could not rid.
My own eyes were shut, shoulders slumped as tears threatened to spill from them, like they were trapped inside me. Since mother had died, I had refused to let a single tear slip down my cheeks, instead remaining strong, as to help my father get through his loss and grief before I could think about dealing with mine. I was the lady of the house now and as so, it was my duty to look after him.
The pad of grandmother’s thumb stroked my hand. The soft and gentle touch felt maternal enough to soothe the hole in my heart which mother had left and caused a lump to rise in my throat. I squeezed my eyes closed tighter than they were before.
“I have something to gift you with,” Grandmother said. Her voice was rough with age but the sound of it still tasted like sweet honey in my mouth. She pulled her hand away from mine, leaning slightly to pull a box from the pocket in her apron and flipping the lid open.
I peered in and saw the necklace I was so familiar with from memories of it resting upon mother’s neck. I let out a soft gasp of surprise. “I gifted this to your mother on the day of her wedding,” Grandmother told me, “As did my mother on the day of hers. Now she is gone, the necklace is yours.” Grandmother lifted the jewellery out of the box and I shifted my hair out of the way so that she could fasten the clasp of it more easily. It was only then that I finally let a tear fall down my cheeks.
I often wore the necklace as I matured, but once I found a husband of my own and bore his children, I chose to tuck it away, as to make it a surprise for my own daughter on her wedding day. Grandmother had long since passed when that day finally came, as had my father, but my husbands’ family was large, so it plugged the hole of loneliness that loss left. I gifted the necklace to her on the night before she was to be wed, and told her the story grandmother had told me, all those years before.
My daughter knew about the fleeting light of my mother’s presence in my life, so agreed to wear it in remembrance of her memory and to honour of our family, just as the generations that came before her had done also.