Younger, Braver Souls by Kyle Hardy
2018 finalist: Grades 10 to 12 category
Kyle Hardy is a finalist of the 2018 Shakespeare Selfie Student Writing Challenge. This annual writing competition challenges students to write a soliloquy or monologue in the voice of a Shakespearean character based on a prominent news, pop culture or current affairs event from the last year (April 2017 to April 2018).
Hardy, who attends J.L. Ilsley High School in Halifax, N.S., wrote about the deadly mass shootings in the U.S. and calls for stricter gun control laws from the perspective of Julius Caesar's Cassius.
This is Hardy's third year in a row on the shortlist. In 2017, he was shortlisted for the piece Wolves in Civil Clothing.
Why friends this be a vicious plight
Much alike to that of a sadder age
For who could look upon these days and say
We have buried savagery for good?
There are some times that alike to torches burn
Bright and long through history's darkness
Be they as they may, for good or for ill,
These times cast shadows upon moments hence.
When that they speak of us and of these times
In nations brave and new and yet unfounded
Shall we let these times be coloured by blood?
For if not us then who will wash away
The stains of violence cast upon these times?
Upon what meat doth these our leaders feed
That they are now so cruelly grown?
Oh, though we might cry out, forget not the
Lowly and powerless souls in thy chase
It falls upon cotton-stuffed ears girded to
Hear not of the good siren of progress.
Oh nation thou art shamed, thou hast lost thy
Shows of good love and those kinder aspects
By which thou were once so well distinguished.
But this is not a problem to be solved
By Cassius' dagger and ready hand, no
For blood will only beget blood, this has
My long years and many failings instructed.
Thus from wizened hand doth Cassius now throw
Revolution's torch; hold it aloft
Let it light your way you younger, braver souls.
The thunder of your footfall felt, not heard
In ours the beating hearts of those who look
Upon, until with with you we bear as one.