The Raven

2015

Winter

I, Him; We.

Tom Lavery, Year 12

It must have been the squeak of my new Enrico Santis on the mysophobicly over-polished vinyl – God they looked good!  The classic all leather lace up and the crocodile skin pattern, you could tell they were Italian! – Or maybe it was the split second of piercing white fluorescent light reflected off the bottle of Botrytis as I pulled it off the rack and placed it, carefully, in the trolley atop the manchego cheese and the other weekly shopping items… He was clearly not from around here; one of them.

I wonder what he was doing.  His warm bare feet leave footsteps of condensation on the cool white floor, a constant reminder of his unnecessary and vexing presence that followed him like a shadow, shrinking slowly yet enduring long enough to be a constant reminder of his presence; even if he was aisles away.  But why was he here?  Why stray so far as to become a disturbance to us?  He must be up to something deceitful.  Here to burgle or beg; to stain the white satin that is this community.  We got ourselves good jobs that paid good money to get here – away from them.

Yet here he was, standing just checkouts away, he and his kind’s persisting continuation, normally existing on the fringes of reality, the peripheral, now so close and so assertive.  His offensive being there a ubiquitous reminder of them: the blatant lack of ambition, his unkempt head of matted hair and pogonotrophy, and the scraggly, disproportionate and notably unbranded clothing, clearly chosen for reasons of comfort and convenience over respectability or social courtesy.  His lack of inhibitions and disregard of edict unambiguously and confidently illustrated to all around through his selection of garments.  His rustic scent an olfactory insult to anyone within a sniff’s range – I am always baffled by this kind: why make the lifestyle choices to live in such squalid circumstances?  Why not make an effort to present themselves in an at-least more tolerable manner?

Whatever I have done, he is looking, watching.  I find myself being scrutinized by two toxic green hoops resting in equilibrium between the soft blue crescents they lay upon and the furrowed brow above, glistening with soft perspiration.  The hairs on the back of my neck perform a standing ovation, saluting his momentary glare.  “Next please.”  We simultaneously move forward one place in our queues.  In his left hand he holds a discount coupon and in his right a basket containing what must be his dinner for the night: orange drink -not juice, drink, eggs – notably not free-range, and a loaf of pre-sliced white bread.  Pitiful.  After all, free-range eggs and actual orange juice would have only cost him another six or seven dollars.  Seven dollars, that’s pocket change!

Tattoos too, he’s covered in them, overt depictions of his and his kind’s inability to logically reason.  Dates, initials and crests stain his sun-tanned skin, each as meaningless as their predecessor.  I keenly assess the flicks, tails and curves of his intricately mosaicked body.  A form of vandalism in itself, his ink stained skin a documentation of the injudicious life he had led.  I find myself particularly intrigued by one blotch of faded black and white, clearly the oldest piece in the collage, it unevenly and indiscriminately seeps out of its original confines and into the surrounding pores.  Resting above his calloused left hand, it forms an imperfect circle; two drops of rain, one white, one black, chasing each other’s tales like dogs playing.

Suddenly I was back thirty years, back to my university days, a class in Chinese philosophy specifically.  Mohism, Taoism, the Naturalists and Professor Callaghan.  Back to a single lecture and a single topic taught in that lecture: the Taoist taijitu of Yin Yang.  The pair of Koi entangled within each other symbolized the natural coexistence of good and bad, Callaghan said.  The colours represented the sun and the moon, the assertive and the submissive, the warm and the cool, male and female, earth and heaven, summer and winter.  They represented the duality of their relationship and their dependency on each other; the two halves that when combined make the whole, without one, the other was futile.

The application of this concept had been lost on me at the time.  But now, as if rays of all-enlightening luminescence have made their way deep into the shadows of misconceptions that once shrouded my superficial mind, it has become clear as crystal.  In a moment of reflexivity my self-entitled placement upon the perch of prejudice was realized to be the ignorant and fruitless mannerism it was.  The preconceptions I had once allowed to dictate my life, and my perception on his, as he stood just checkouts away, now liquefied as the interchangeability of the two, the natural juxtaposition and harmony, parallel and unison, opposition and similitude, of our lives became incontestable.

The Coat

Vaughan Chin, Year 12

Tarnished and fading, lined with dust,

Rows upon rows of lifeless skins

Hanging from hooks, drooping off shoulders.

Marked by nought but unattainable figures

 

And a glorious label; once visioned

Bathes in gilded light the profound splendour:

A bastion of eminence heralding

An exalted presence among the meek

 

Verdant eyes allured with rabid envy,

Blind to the years laboriously spent,

Mind only for the prize: Surely ‘twas forged

From veritable lies?  That lie far beneath

 

The petty crime of claiming one’s just rewards,

Filching the surface of a plundered hoard

Built by those whose needs cry to stoppered ears,

The stench of their sweat and tears a brand erased,

Forgotten.

 

Now all that remain is the emerald light,

Reason faded, guilt neglected,

Sustaining that ravenous hunger,

Bound by neither virtue nor sin.

Waiting in an Airport

James Richards-Adlam, Year 9

Waiting in an airport is so boring

If you have nothing to do then it’s even worse

Sometimes it can feel like a curse

Especially when you can see excited tourists expecting to have fun

And you can only sit and listen to the constant chat of following the sun.

 

But every now and then there is an announcement,

You are suddenly filled with hope, thinking you are about to go

But you are bitterly disappointed to hear that it is another flight, so

You sigh as you slump back into your seat

You haven’t showered for two days and you feel like rotting meat.

 

You look for something to do, but there is nothing

Except for staring at the wall or the ceiling

Wishing you had just gone on a road trip.

 

After hours and hours and hours of waiting for that announcement

The announcement that sounded the end of the worst period of your entire life

The best possible thing you think you could hear

And then you hear it, a monotonous boring female voice calling you to your flight

You stand up, grab your bags and walk swiftly.

Off-Stump

Leigh Ryan, Year 11

The change rooms are alive.  Everyone on the team is bouncing and resisting running out and onto the field.  Everyone is yelling and going crazy, getting pumped up for the game against a team – a team that we are most likely going to lose against, but that’s just my opinion.  I am a new addition to the team, coming in at a height of 198cm and a weight of 89kg.  I feel as if I am respected in the team because of my size and I have only just arrived!  We form into our groups, bowlers on the left side of the change room next to the wall which read “VB – Australia’s Number 1 Beer” and the batters go on the right, next to the batting nets.  I go with the bowlers, really not knowing what a massive game this is going to be and how important it is to win.

The bowling coach, Craig McDermott, comes in to quickly give us a rundown of what to do and where to position the fielders.  “Alright boys, now we know that India has a strong batting line-up, but we have to look at the key players.  Virat Kohli is the main one – in the last three matches against us, he has made big scores of 89, 99 and 132, so it will be good to knock him out early with the home crowd behind us.”  He blabs on for another five minutes about stuff that I already know.  Typical me, I get distracted by the Gatorade bottles and he catches me off-guard.  “James!  I know you’re new to the team and I have been working on your technique for the last six months, but how do you intend knocking the opposition’s stumps over?” says McDermott.

Looking quite excited to be a part of the Number One ranked bowling group in the world, I say, “Look, Mr McDermott, I’m feeling quite excited and nervous at the same time, but I won’t let that get to me.  I intend on repeatedly bowling on the top of off-stump at the right length of seven metres from the base of the stumps.”

He agrees, nods his head and gives us all a little “Good luck.”  I gulp down the rest of my Orange Ice Gatorade and finish up tightening my spikes.

“You’ve got first nut,” says Clarke, the team captain.  I feel as if I have been rewarded with praise from the captain, as not many new bowlers on their first game get first nut.  The team huddles up at the top of the race.  I can clearly see the concrete where it meets with the edge of the stands.  We slowly start to walk down the runway.  The sweet cracks of the spikes on the concrete floor echo down and onto the ground.

“This is it,” says the only player I really know from the team – Mitchell – and gives me a small tap on the backside, which is a little gesture every player does in the team.

I am leading the team out, surprisingly, onto my home field.  I can hear the crowd chanting my name.  I take my glasses from my neck and put them on.  As we get a few steps from the end of the runway and onto the field, I can see the crowd over the other side of the ground.  I take a deep breath and walk out onto the edge of the grass.  I take a 360° turn and scoot across the crowd to take it all in.  They are all cheering and waving, hoping I will see them and wave back.

I suddenly stop and see my family; they are all crying in happiness and clapping.  I blow them a kiss and give a little thank you to God.  The atmosphere is so breathtaking and amazing that I already see two men throwing a beer at each other and the game hasn’t even started.

The ground is big and the grass is looking nice and green.  We, as a team, cross the boundary rope and smell the grass and the atmosphere.  We all get around each other and start getting into the batsmen.  The umpires enter the field and take their positions.  I take a quick scoot over the pitch and analyse the area where I have to bowl; the pitch is very grassy in areas and looks suitable enough for my bowling.

I walk back to my mark and receive the red Kookaburra ball from the umpire.  I take one look at the field and approve to the captain and he gives me a thumbs-up.  I quickly shine the Kookaburra side of the ball on the back of my right thigh and take a deep breath.  As I steam in and up to the crease for my first ball, I let it loose at an astonishing 149km/h.  The ball dashes over a piece of grass on a good length of seven metres and a good line of top-of-off-stump.  It hits the bails and I bowl a good ball.  This is when I know the game is just starting.

Behind the Veil

Vaughan Chin, Year 12

Behind the veil a blameless face awaits,

Her joyful eyes betrayed by knowing fear

Of the impending tirade.  Steeling tears

Against futile deluges, lest they gloat

Mockingly hearing the uncontrolled sobs,

Scarcely concealed by modest covering.

 

Gazes flicker to the distinctive veil,

Interest rapidly becoming scorn,

Its shimmer reflecting tales of terror,

Flooding thoughts with the blood of senseless deaths:

Shootings, bombings, murders and beheadings.

Fury incites a zealous righteousness

To fight for freedom, enslaving the weak

 

In shackles of despair, publicly lashed

By flaming tongues of sinister intent

And intransigent threats, savagely fired;

Witnesses’ unease passively distant.

 

Suffering in silence without solace,

Isolated from civilisation,

Severed inside.

Torn at the very roots,

Beliefs shaken by uncertainty.

Burnt with anger.

 

Anger towards those who defile faith’s name,

Anger towards those who see no difference

In the innocent tears behind the veil.

Soccer

Michael Warnock, Year 9

Stadium overcrowded by fans
Cheering, waving and clapping their hands

Players on the field, ready to start
The whistle blows, it pumps up their hearts

Dribbling the ball and kicking it high

How beautiful the ball travels in the sky
Into the centre and still it goes strong
Pass received and the player runs long

There he goes, for his opponent’s goal
He dribbles through everyone; he’s on a roll

He smashes the ball and curves it by
The keeper dives far and high

The goalie misses, the ball’s in the net
All the fans cheering, they won their bet

The winners jump for joy, that goal was a must
The opponents leave in sadness and disgust

 

These players are strong and world class,

They play all year long on the rich green grass

Play with heart, even if you have a shocker
That’s how to play the true game of soccer.

The Act

Campbell Williamson, Year 12

It’s late and pleasantly quiet.  From the corner of my eye I can see a row of drooping photographs, which observe and quietly judge me from the cream walls of the ‘family’ room.  Warmth reaches from the fireplace to the space’s loneliest corners followed closely by the high-pitched crackle of twigs.  I lean on my elbows at the dining room table and flip through a program of my Father’s latest show.  He will be home soon, bringing with him a bloated account of the day’s events.  I drop the program to the floor and retreat into my mind’s thoughts, notions and dreams.

I am suddenly removed from my private world by the clanging of a plate as it is placed heavily on the wooden dining room table.  I remain still as my father scurries around organising his late evening supper and adjusting his thinning hair in a comb over, a ritual I have come to know well over my lifetime.

I slowly raise my head and am confronted by a yellow stain on his white shirtsleeve, and the cold sore on his top lip that has been his companion for the past week.  A strand of grey hair gracefully dances onto the tabletop.  I consider his face and realise it lacks any truly distinctive features, other than the aforementioned cold sore and another adornment to his bottom lip – a half eaten baked bean.

I can’t look him in the eyes, so I decide to stare at the wooden table and count the number of divots.  The fire retreats as a chilling air arrives and sits in the seat opposite me.  I can hear more twigs snap in the fireplace now blocked from view behind my father.

Aaah at last the ritual rolls out as expected.  Father begins the nightly reciting of the day’s events as though they were lines in his play.  He seems oblivious or unconcerned with the fact that the only members of the household that seemed to care were the hanging pictures, his only audience.

“Well,” he says in his fabricated, husky, English tone as he strokes his non-existent beard.  He takes a long dramatic breath as the pictures anxiously await his next word.  “I woke up early and went to rehearsals … I had lunch and went to another rehearsal and I had to make a call to Dave, which, of course, I did … during rehearsals.”  I wonder how many times he could use the word rehearsal in a sentence.  His personal best was four but he had equalled that on several occasions.  He begins to rub his hands together with great vigour despite the fact that he must be absorbing all heat generated from the fire.  The resulting sounds make it seem as though he is applauding himself for such a fascinating recount.  “How was school?” he asks.

I am caught off guard as no one usually shows any interest in my activities.  “School was great.  I’m beginning to wonder if Year 12 Science really is any harder than the year before.  It’s still interesting but…” I trail off.  I have a feeling this indiscretion will be forgotten with silence.  I look back at the table unwilling to meet my father’s gaze.  I busy myself by once again counting the divots in the table hoping that my father will again refocus his attention on himself.  “But the best… most important part of your day was Theatre,” corrects my father.  I notice that the baked bean on his bottom lip has now been joined by a friend or is it a twin?

I take a large swig of water from my glass before promptly pouring myself another.  “Maybe not… Maybe the best, most important part of my day was Science,” I mumble to myself.

He theatrically pushes his plate to the floor smearing baked beans over the carpet.  “Brian,” he states in a deliberate tone, his Australian accent returning in anger as he alters his posture for the role he is about to play.  “We’ve been through this.  We are theatre folk.  Your great grandfather was an actor and your grandfather was a director and I am an understudy.  You are living in our house and you will live by our rules, which means you will act and you will sing and you will enjoy it.”  He gestures toward the pictures, which seem to nod in agreement as one of the inhabitants on his lip flies across the room.

“But I want to be a dentist,” I stammer, in a very non-thespian manner.

This time he stands high, shoulders rigid, breath slow and calms his voice.  He tells me that there is no greater dishonour than becoming a dentist and that I can leave his house now if that is the road I wish to follow.  He finally threatens that I will not get to see any more of his productions.  Once again he acknowledges the excited crowd of photos and rubs his hands together.  I stare at his freshly shined shoes.  I can muster no further response as I return to the comfort of my mind, trying to entertain my secret thoughts, notions and dreams.  I can faintly hear the cheers and applause from behind me as the pictures, enthralled by the drama of the situation give a standing ovation.  The curtains close around me.

Hope River

Connor Meerwald, Year 11

Meekatharra, a town that still isn’t sure where it sits on the rungs that make up the ladder that is society – much like me within my family.  This is where I grew up, being told by my mother, a Yamatji, that, “one day you’ll be taller than them poor ’scuses for trees we got round ’ere,” an idea that fascinated me until I did one day grow taller than the shrubs, and could see the town all around me.

The town, if you could even call it that, was a persuasive argument in itself that I did not belong out here.  So, to occupy myself somewhat I would sit in the shade of the dark trees around the sparkling trickle that is Hope River, and read whatever books I managed to find in neighbours’ houses while they were at the mines.  Occasionally, I would be found with books, to which my father, his white skin blackened by the coating of dust he received every day at the mine, would tell me with a sneer, “Reading ain’t a thing for a boy your age; ya don’t needa read to mine gold”.  Father would then make me return my books to their sometimes illiterate owners, who would jeer and shout abuse. “Half caste rat!” Mr Alexander the town mayor bellowed aggressively.  Once the books were safe from being read, their owners would put them on display on their shelves, like lawyers filling their shelves with case books, as if literacy, or faux literacy in some cases, elevated their status in this ever backwards town.  Once I had returned all the books, my father would thank me before beating me with an old dusty pickaxe handle until I could no longer feel my backside.  My mother once tried intervening, “You’ll kill the youngen if ya keep up like that!” and she ended up worse off than me.

Years later, on the night of my seventeenth birthday, when I had received no gifts but the first proper rain in seven months, I walked home from the pub to find my father with a red fist and my mother with a black eye.  This came as a result of my mother spending a portion of her grocery money buying me a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, which my father held incredulously in his hand.  “You!” my father shouted at me, his voice a snarl, colder than the air-conditioned pub, “How dare you!”  Before my father could cross the room to me, I grabbed my cricket bat which was leaning on the doorframe and hit him on the left temple for a six.

After that, my father never touched me or my mother again; he would merely spend all his time either at work or at the pub.  He would occasionally stumble in late at night, and take whatever food, drinks and money he could find – “This is my family and my house, and I can take what I damn well want,” he would drunkenly mumble.  On my twenty-first birthday, my mother gave me all the money she had hidden for my education over the duration of her marriage, and told me to go to Perth.  “Leave this ’ole of a place and never look back”.

I never saw my mother again, or my father, or Meekatharra.  I lived a hard life initially Perth, as many do as Aboriginals from remote communities.  But no matter how many nights I slept rough, no matter how many nights without food I went, the hardest part was people’s attitude towards me.  Whenever I stepped onto a train carriage, women would clutch more tightly their purses; whenever I walked past people’s cars they would lock their doors, as if the colour of my skin deeply corrupted my soul.  I finally managed to get a job, working the register at a McDonalds in Ellenbrook.  At the end of every day the manager would pocket some of the days earnings, and my co-worker Tim, who refused to call me anything but “boongy” would walk out with pockets lined with money, but it was me who at the end of every shift was patted down and had every nook and cranny investigated – as if the manager wanted to find me stealing to prove a personal vendetta, or win a bet.

In 2008 a smart white man apologised to me for his people’s treatment of my kind in the past, as if it would repair the damage done like a splint and prevent damage being done in the future like a vaccine.  I had to walk home from work that day, as my bus driver had refused to split a five dollar note, “Do I look like a bank to you?” he said incredulously, before letting Tim ride for free because he had forgotten to bring change from the till.  On the walk home I was spat on by a man with a Sea Shepherd jacket which read, “They can’t save themselves”.

I got home that night and made myself dinner, a dark economy steak, well past its use by date, topped with béarnaise sauce, and watched people like me on the news who had tears of happiness, as if they were finally free of the artificial social burden that is being born an Aboriginal.  I turned off the television and spread the white béarnaise sauce over my steak, in a futile attempt to improve its flavour and appearance.

Examination Answer – Composing Section

David Honey, Year 12

Only once the last tree has been chopped, the last ocean sucked dry, and the last fish … fished will we realise that we cannot eat Early-access Steam Games, or Netflix, or even Myer’s gift cards for that matter.

These days we live in an era of instant gratification, an age where the consumer is always right and questions pertaining to our plans for the future are always left unanswered.  And why not?  We are going through a technological Renaissance Period, where our Michelangelos are 30-something men living in their Mom’s basement and our Da Vincis are fat cats living the lives of kings in their penthouse suites, whilst their grubby fingers slide your money into the undergarments of numerous women, I assume.  And frankly, we’re fine with this because we barely look past our own phones when it comes to questioning how we manage to live the way we do.

Let’s look at our technology, firstly.

Most of the stuff is built to BREAK!

Most of us are AWARE of this!

Most of us don’t care.

There was a time where we built things to last nuclear winters; nowadays technology lasts slightly more than your warranty period at best.  Apple is notorious for their implementation of planned obsolescence yet they’re still one of the richest companies on earth.  We are throwing away money just as much as we’re throwing away finite resources, and the fact that we barely raise a finger in protest is frankly disappointing.

But the cloud of capitalism looms over more than just our technology – no sir.  It is a plague that consumes many of the facets of everyday life, such as how we see ourselves.  Dove, a company known for its numerous beauty products, has been known recently for its advertisements that encourage recognising your own beauty without makeup.  What you may not know is that Dove is owned by the Mega-Corporation ‘Unilever’ – a company that also owns several other popular brands, including Lynx.  In case you forgot, Lynx is known for its numerous advertisements for men’s deodorant, which in several instances have featured women being objectified and ‘glammed up’ for us men.  The truth is that most companies don’t care about you, how you define beauty, or any other seemingly superficial aspect of your lives.  All they care about is the amount of cash in your wallet, and all we care about is how soon we can get it.  If we truly weren’t the sheeple in this example, wouldn’t we have done something about sweat shops by now?  We’ve known about them for decades and yet we’re still going to buy Apple Watches when they come out.

It’s as if we’re walking a plank with our eyes wide open; we can see where we’re headed but we keep on going.

Be Yourself

Ethan Lundie-Jenkins, Year 9

Live your life

Do what you want

Be yourself.

 

Create things others can’t

Don’t make others create you

Be yourself.

 

Imagine further than ever before

Before others take your imagination away

Be yourself.

 

Life may be challenging

But don’t challenge your life

Be yourself.

 

Live your dreams

Not dream your life

Be yourself.

 

Don’t try to be like someone else

Try to let others be like you

Be yourself.

 

Don’t let your future create you

Create your future

Be yourself.

 

Don’t allow others to influence you

But influence those around you

Be yourself.

The Ottoman Savage

Hamish de la Hunty, Year 12

The heat pierced through the beating waves as they tumbled to and fro against the granite rocks below.  Its crimson glow radiated past the shore amidst the broken timber, the loose bodies, the shattered hull that now collided lifelessly into the cliff with the oncoming surf.  I felt the warmth of the sea recede as I watched the sun slip behind the curtain of the horizon.  The hot red tinge of the water remained, however, and as I felt the sudden gust of the night’s howls, I breathed, finally, and pressed my hands against the concrete of the barrier.  The scene was familiar, and encapsulated a memory that seemed recurrent, eternal.  I heard triumphant calls echo in the winds, deafening to the savage ear that now sunk into a liquid coffin.  I looked down at the men that remained, shaking closed fists in the air and dancing in a way that seemed almost manic.  Our formations were dissolved and spreading, with soldiers of Venice now splashing in the blood-tainted water, washing their faces with it, relishing the finality of a battle that had lasted weeks.

There was a whisper in the air.  It was weakened, grasping for life, breaking through the barrier of the gulls and the soldiers.  I turned my head in its direction, along the eastern end of the coast.  There, in a crater that had formed in the early bombardments, lay a figure that moved only once, but enough to convey the shape of a man in pain.  I turned towards the camp to see our soldiers laughing as they devoured boar meat.  They sat around a fire that illuminated the blackened trees surrounding them.  In their celebrations, they had not heard the whisper.  Under cover of darkness, I left the solitude of the cliff’s end and made my way down the slope leading to the coast, the granules of sand crushing under my boots.  The whisper became an audible groan, a struggle to lift oneself from its position of weakness, a desperate cry for safety.  Coming into view, I could see the man clothed in a janissary uniform that at one time must have been elegant and beautiful.  It now was as shredded and ashen as the crater in which the Turk lay.

He heard the shift of sand as I stepped closer and rolled over to face me.  His scarred face was full of malice, but his eyes revealed only desolation.  The Turk had been trying to crawl his way to a small boat that had drifted ashore with the countless bodies of the fallen.  Here was my enemy, defeated, now appearing to question if there was any mercy in the world as he eyed the hand resting on the hilt of my sword.  In a show of defiance he reached for his scimitar, which had been thrown aside by the blast.  As he stretched a hand out to it, he winced with pain and collapsed, exhausted.  The Turk was broken, and it was clear that there was little fight left in him after the battle finished.  There would be no justice in killing him, an action to be expected of a General.  I knelt at his side, and spoke quietly, yet with urgency in the knowledge that the soldiers would grow suspicious of my allegiance in aiding an enemy.

“My name is Othello.  How long have you lain here?”

The Turk sighed in response, but did not speak.  His stare drifted behind me and his breathing intensified, eyes widening.

“Othello!” a voice boomed from behind me, carrying with it an authority and distaste that I knew only too well.  I turned and faced the lieutenant.

“Giovanni,” I said, stepping forward so as to block his view of the Turk, “I had thought you were amongst the celebrations.  What brings you here?”

Giovanni breathed heavily, as if straining against his reddening face, “I saw a black spot in my vision and followed it east, only to find it collaborating with the devil!” He drew his sword, which gleamed in the haze of the lights from the camp, and beckoned me to stand aside.

“I remind you, lieutenant, that I am in charge.  This broken man lies here a victim of war, and I merely sought to mend the wounds which we have caused.”

“Which we have caused?  Might I remind you, General,” he spat, “that he is a Turk, and as such should face the penalty for bringing war to this shore.  If you have any honour, you would cut this man’s throat and be done with it.”

“He is no threat.  Let us find him a drink to cool his scorched throat, and food to fuel his strength.  We must show them that the Venetians know a victory from defeat.”

At some point, other soldiers had circled around us, with most clamouring behind Giovanni.  Giovanni sniffed loudly, as if a sudden foul smell had been taken up by the wind, and said, “A man sympathizes with his own kind, Othello.  I expected no less of you.”

From the circle of soldiers stepped forward Iago, a shorter man with cropped, auburn hair and stubble.  “You forget yourself!  You have no business accusing our General of such things, lieutenant.  ’Tis why you fail to lead; you cannot show mercy when it is most needed.”

Good Iago, I thought fondly, was placing himself at sword’s end to protect me.  I placed a hand on his shoulder and turned to him, saying, “Enough, Iago, let this conflict be over – ’’

I was interrupted by an outburst from the soldiers as Giovanni exclaimed, “Mercy?”  He grabbed the Turk, who cried out in terror, by the scruff of his uniform like a dog.  The sword briefly vanished from the light of the torches.  I heard in that instant a breath that stuck, clawing at the lungs, gurgling.  Flesh severed end to end, and the breath escaped, finally.  The Turk crumpled to the ground as the sword came into view again, now dripping and shining a deep scarlet.

“Your mercy pools at our feet, Othello,” Giovanni said contemptuously as he sheathed his sword.  The Turk lay still as Giovanni and the other soldiers headed back to the camp.  They argued loudly about the cut of meat that each deserved for the Turkish lives they had taken during the battle.  I remained there with Iago, standing at the body that was wet with its own blood.

For a time, we spoke not a word but merely watched as the waves collapsed at the shoreline, rushing to our feet and draining the pools in the sand.  The changing tide rolled in and tenderly lifted the Turk, returning him to the water to rest.  I felt a chill as gusts of wind guided the body north through the channel.  And then a whisper, as suddenly as that, could be heard some distance away.

Life Aboard a Boat

Jy Kimpton-Plunkett, Year 9

Early one Sunday morning

I wake to see the birds soaring

Above my boat’s mooring

I start the motor and hear her roaring.

 

When I disconnect the mooring

I push the throttle down

Till I hear her start roaring

Wind in my face making me frown.

 

As the boat with the mind of its own

Powered through the waves long postponed

The scent of the salty mist

Kept me on the path of risk.

 

As the day is ending and the sun is setting

I start pulling up fish in my netting

As the end of another day has come

I relax under the sun.

Wedding Rust

Matthew Burns, Year 12

Bound both by metal shining vowels,

As flowers bunched soar through the air

Accompanied by pure white doves

Wind carries them to lands of dreams.

 

Upon return from such lands of dream

The love remains both fair and strong.

Their polished steel reflects the light

Of eyes passion shared both day and night.

 

But time must pass and love does dwindle

Ever slight but surely still… Rust

Breaks… consumes… corrupts the passion

Gazes to stares, brief and doubtful

 

Gems that once reflected clasp their light

Misty, viewing one another’s shoes

Abrasive alloy snapped from cold fingers

Dulled and dented no feeling lingers.

Mornings

James Barr, Year 9

Waking up more tired than when I slept

Out of my bed I leapt

Into the kitchen I strolled

“Eat breakfast,” was what I was told.

My teeth I brush

I’m in such a rush

I don’t care for my hair

As there isn’t much there.

Now I’m getting dressed

But I’m getting more stressed

I lose

Both my shoes

This is making me late

I doubt they will wait.

I run for the car

My school’s not that far

My sister I saw

As she opens the car door

My dad lets out with a roar

“I can’t wait no more!”

My door’s open wide

Into the car I slide

I slip on my socks

As the car door locks

My dad asked why I’m not spry

I just let out a sigh.

My Dog

Max Locke, Year 9

Always there, when I wake up

From the warmness of my bed

Always there, when I come home

From a day at school

Always there, when I call out

From the cave that is my room

Always there, when I am bored

Doing homework or things not meant for me

Always there, when mum tells me to take him for a walk

Wagging his tail with happiness, the opposite of me.

 

Always there, when I am home alone

Following me to wherever I go

Always there, when I am walking around

Right under my feet so that I can trip over him

Always there, when I am sitting down

Either next to me or on my lap

Always there, when I am eating

Doing all his tricks in the hope that I will drop some

Or simply place it in his mouth.

 

That white ball of fluff that cannot smile with his mouth

But does against all odds

Expressing his emotions through his tail

Whether high and fast or low and slow

My little friend who will always be there

No matter what

No matter how late.