Drowning by Saskia Nitika Coossa
2019 finalist: Grade 7 to 9 category
Saskia Nitika Coossa is a finalist of the 2019 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 2018 to April 2019).
Coossa, who attends Caledon East Public School in Bolton, Ont., wrote about the Easter weekend bombings in Sri Lanka and shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand from the perspective of Macbeth's Banquo.
O'er sumptuous seas and splendid skies
Where emerald grass sways in sweet breeze,
And suns drip rays of golden honey,
Lies a molten lake of slaughtered blood.
They cry 'tis naught but a tragedy
And turn moist, swollen eyes
Away from the massacre,
Away from the overflowing red.
Hath they drowned for nothing, I ask?
For when bullets kissed skin
And filched their mortal coil,
When tears watered graves
And mixed with inky ashes,
No light broke through the darkness.
Why doth thee choose eternal pleasure
O'er thy fellow man?
Why doth thee take matters of the heavens'
Into thy own hands?
Why doth thee steal others' lives
For such arcane reality?
Then, I ask, are those wounded souls worth it?
Thou hast pulled words out of
One God's mouth and used them
As weapons against another.
Thou hast worshipped one
With enough zeal to kill
The worshipper of another.
Again, I ask, are those buried souls worth it?
O, these abhorrent thieves,
Who pilfered the lush fruit of life
Before it was ripe.
Ne'er did one see such mutilation of morality,
Such ignorance of others' perspective.
Finally, I ask, are those mourning souls worth it?
Oftentimes belief becomes
The sole occupant of one's mind,
Taking over the helm and
Sailing toward the jagged rocks.
But thee must learn the ways of peace,
Of mending hate without a dagger.
Morph this blade into
The echo of spoken word,
The scratchings of pen on paper,
And the whispered apology of compassion.
Take that lake of blood
And chisel it eternal in thy mind.
For thee can use these tidings
So we shalt build a glowing future.