Throughout the month of September, Brampton Library youth volunteers have focused on Truth and Reconciliation issues. They have read books, watched films, and discussed the tragedies that have occurred. We are grateful for their passion and commitment and pleased to share their poems here:
The Unmasked Truth
by Adiba Hoque
On the 30th of September,
We come together and remember,
The awful things that have been done,
To the young kids who had not seen their families for the longest time,
We thought it was acceptable until we knew it was a crime,
Stripping their culture from their heart and their mind,
As we remember those residential schools on Orange Shirt Day,
We also remember the deep scars they have welded into Indigenous people’s lives
Lost Words: The Silent Genocide
by Harmit Saini:
I lost my speech
You snatched it from me
Years of being silenced and unvoiced;
The language I spoke was a taboo and forbidden
Eventually lost with time
It was taken from me;
Today; I speak like you
I interact like you
I do you
I am you!
I speak one language out here
and another language at home
However, I fantasize about one language,
One language only.
My mother tongue.
The one that prevails
My heritage and family roots.
Sands of change
by Binaisha Dhillon
(Told in first person)
Sea of sand,
Sands of time,
I walk on these sands alongside all of you,
Yet my feet burn with each step.
Beneath these sandy shores, buried far out of sight, lay burning embers.
It seems as though only my people and I feel these embers on this journey of life we as humans share.
Some of us stopped walking,
They sat down and with them stayed their stories and gifts.
I nor anyone else on these shores will ever learn their history.
These embers may continue to burn my feet but I won’t stop walking.
I won’t stop until the sea can cool these embers so that my people may not suffer in silence anymore,
I will walk so no more stories and traditions are lost to the pain and suffering caused by these hidden embers,
I will walk on until the sands of time bring us change.
by Janvi Paul
Every child matters
To honour we must hear the stories that’ll make your heart shatter
Taken from their families and homes
Only to be shoved into the dark unknown
The government thought of this as a victory
The unknown is known throughout history…
As residential schools
Cruel afternoons filled with abuse.
It really is a reality
That the indigenous children suffered brutality.
They are true warriors
Having to see the horror, torture and slaughter
Safety there was a bluff
Their eyes have seen more than enough
Making it hard to sleep
They lie in bed with eyes that weep
And as they rise from their bitter beds
Another day they have to face with never ending dread.
More than 600 children found dead
The tears their families must’ve shed
All unmarked graves
Bodies hidden for decades.
An apology isn’t enough to show regret
So, after all that lets not forget
Their culture is beautiful, stolen and deep
As a community we were weak
For those children and families we should’ve stood together in unity
To help protect their identity
To honour the indigenous children’s battles
Speak up about what’s right because every child matters.
A Broken Record
by Fatima Ahmed :
His tears dashed down his face leaving streaks marring his innocence
His childhood was lost to time the moment he stepped foot into the wretched halls of that school
Each soul altering step he took through those halls took him further from the angelic boy he once was, yet to be tainted with the monstrosities of the land he called home, and closer to the man he one day would be
A man lost to the perils of grief, mourning a childhood he never had
It drew closer day by day
Moment by moment
He stood paralyzed as they took his very essence
"Beat the Indian out of the boy," they said
He fears he may have lost the boy to the beating along the way
For the man that stood before him was barely that
A shattered relic
A recollection of travesties perpetrated against his people
A broken record loved once, but now and henceforth lost to the perils of humanity and its woes
The Search for a Forgotten Boy
by Krupa Dave
As “78” stands under the towering ceiling of the dormitory,
There’s no feeling other than imprisonment that confines them in.
An unfamiliar memory of a boy locked in his mind like a repository,
Amidst the cries, he tries to recall him –
His consciousness hangs on to the swirls and echoes of a lost and forgotten world.
As the ghost of memories visit his dreams, he can’t help but ponder -
The whispers of a native tongue as they unfurl,
A joyous family in the distance laughs yonder.
The last embrace the boy shared with his mother before he was taken captive.
The smell of campfires, wood and home felt distant yet so familiar.
As he looks in the mirror, he doesn’t seem to recognize a reflection so adaptive.
The boy’s once long hair, ghost of a smile, and spirit had never looked so conciliar.
“78” puts his head down to grieve the boy.
Did he bury him somewhere inside of him?
The long-lost forgotten boy.
The boy who once went by a name, not a number.