Jamie See

A Love Symphony to the World

uncountable specks of embers

Better off than Guatemalan women,
War rape survivors, coping with trauma.
Better off than naïve, Columbian girls;
Those recruited as soldiers, dauntless and brave,
But behind closed doors, always preyed as sex slaves.
Better off than the girls in Bangladesh.
Precious and worthy and fifteen, like me,
Wear not uniforms, instead wedding sarees.
But at least they have husbands and families;
Yet clearly, they are children, simply not ladies.

Stop whining in your high-pitched squeal.
You’re better off than them. Don’t be a diva.
Close your legs. Wear dresses not skirts.
Put on make-up. Look ladylike and presentable.
But no tank tops. They make you a whore.

Don’t go into politics. You’re a girl.
Don’t tell me you will fight for women’s rights.
You can study, vote, drive, go on maternity leaves.
Tell me what else do you think you need?
You’re so self-entitled. Never be a feminist.

When being ‘feminist’ becomes an insult,
When being a ‘girl’ means not to speak out.
Clutching onto virtues of hope and justice,
Guided hand in hand through this dark abyss,
We will never be silenced nor extinguished.

scattered separate, weak and powerless

How long does it take to realise
Not everyone is white, skinny, tall,
With long legs and full breasts.
How long does it take to conceive
‘Almond-shaped’ eyes are not
Invitations to be labelled as Chinks.

How long does it take to apprehend
The cruelty shown by a casual remark ‘
Were your parents once slaves?’

Does it take the genocide of six million Jews,
Or the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Myanmar,
To discover appearances and beliefs
Are nothing but masquerades kept up?

Or does it take a masquerade ball
With our identities hidden by masks;
To relive without judgement,
To relearn we are human?

Ignited with shared passion

secrets hidden
worries piling up
and hushed whispers
of anxiety: voices echoing
louder and louder constantly.
smiles stretched on faces and
it is so, so effortless to pretend
everything is alright and you are
happy. No one could envision tears
streaming down in the shower every
evening and pillows damp with teardrops
every night. No one hears the pleas behind
the pretty visage screaming and shrieking for
help. Notice the eyes emptied with no happiness,
no hope and no life. Sweatshirts, hoodies, sleeves hide
battle scars. They cover the body you starved to achieve too.
most afraid at nights and when alone, of the hands, the body,
most importantly the brain. It threatens and menaces the entire
existence. ‘you wear a false smile that does not reach your eyes too?
you are an unpaid, skilled, two-faced actor too? Same. What a small world.’

Rising from ashes


Lace your fingers through mine.
Written in the stars; with time we align.

World War One murdered 75 million
World War Two killed 85 million
Stalin’s regime exterminated 20 million
The Great Leap Forward destroyed 45 million
These are not statistics made up by Satan
But innocent lives, wiped out without reason.
These are the downfalls of humanity, listen,
We still are collectively hurting, as a victim.

Piece by piece, communities repair,
Learning to hold each other tighter, I swear.
Pain never stops, the world is still impaired

Especially right now, COVID-19 everywhere.
It terrifies us – the infamous lack of Medicare.
Will this end. I wonder – are you just as scared.
Do not be afraid. Our hearts will heal together
Evidenced by the challenges faced here and there.

There is love in the lullaby sung to a wailing infant.
There is love in the handshake when two hands collide.
There is love in the steps taken in order to reach home.
There is love in the smile of the neighbour down the road.
There is love in the way the wind caressed and kissed many faces.
There is love in the tears of a father in his daughter’s wedding.
There is love in the music listened on the way to work.
There is love in the mundane moments if we are willing to love.

You are a broken angel I have met on earth.
Heal with me; we await a rebirth.

hand in hand like phoenixes


I want to be able to tell my children
That the 36% of the world
No longer have to live in poverty.

I want to be able to tell my children
That the 25% of the world
Now can access adequate sanitation.

I want to be able to tell my children
That there is no need to worry about
The horrors of World War Three emerging.

I want to be able to tell my children
That the sea turtles, tigers and leopards
Exist in books and in reality.

I want to be able to tell my children
That their futures will not be limited
Because of many superficial reasons

I want to be able to tell my children
That the education they receive
Is universal, not birth lottery.

I want to be able to tell my children
That the society is accepting of
Boys liking boys and girls liking girls.

I want to be able to tell my children
That their mental health matters
Just as much as their physical health.

I want to be able to tell my children
That the world cares for every one of them
And is highly capable of loving them.

And if I cannot tell this to the future generation
And show them the green mountains and the cerulean oceans.
At least I want to be able to tell my children,
I once fought for their world without any hesitation.
together we will rise and we will love


This passionate and well researched poem stayed in my mind long after I read these words – just as the best poems should!  Kerry Hudson, Orwell Youth Prize Judge

‘A Love Symphony to the World’ is a junior Orwell Youth Prize 2020 Runner Up, responding to the theme ‘The Future We Want’.