Tag Archives: Wadadli Pen winner


By Kohylah Piper

Cover design by Ariel Dunnah.

Cover design by Ariel Dunnah.

While walking through the city,
have you ever heard that sound?
A slight echo of a distant memory
rushing deep from underground.
The shuffle of our busy feet
manages to mask the wail
of the coral shell
pressed to the lips of a princely rebel
who from freedom came,
and for it,
whose life was laid.

When driving through the country side,
have you ever just happened to see,
the transient shapes and forms of hands that laboured so we could dare to dream?
The rolling hills and valleys low
have immortalized their will,
in textured folds breathing life
into their greatest hope…
Yet we ignore them still.

When you look across the ocean,
standing on bricks of time,
found on windy summits in the south east
picturesque against Atlantic tides,
have you ever felt the descent of shadows,
gathering slowly under the sun’s calm shine?
Of those who first uttered “Wa’ladli”
the precursor to national pride.
They first said “Our own”
This land.
Yours and mine.

Yet sometimes it seems as if it weren’t true,
as if we’ve forgotten those times,
as if we deem them as unreal,
as hallucinations of an imaginative mind.

For not many have heard that coral shell,
taken long ago from our seas,
very few have been compelled to listen
to its emotive drone in entirety.
Very few have seen the portraits
of those callused hands that bled,
whose eyes watch us fiercely, angry now,
for mocking what that love and sacrifice meant.

Not many have felt those shadows
of those unnamed, true discoverers from long before
who stood united chanting “Wa’ladli”
This land.
Our own.
Mine and yours.

So sometimes it seems as if it weren’t true,
as if we’ve forgotten those times,
as if we deem them as unreal,
as hallucinations of an imaginative mind.

For many will be born, will grow,
and will surely die,
without having found
that this rock of pink sands,
trade winds and gentle lands,
of clear seas and oceans combined,
of hidden wealth and strength by design,
of unexplored potential
that blindly reaps what we sow;
this rock…
that cannot grow,
until we decide to grow.

For many will be born,
and many will grow, and die
not realizing our reflection is found,
beneath our own busy feet;
all the while,
Fragile, yet unyielding.
Hallowed ground.

KPiperAuthor’s bio: Kohylah Piper’s Hallowed Ground was adjudged the top entry in the 18 to 35 age category of the 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge and the second best entry overall in the 2014 Wadadli Pen Challenge.  She recently completed her Medical University education in Cuba. She writes “Apart from medicine, I’ve always been passionate about writing, and I do so in my spare time, but inspiration comes in bursts, instead of the steady flow that I would love. Needless to say, the entries are examples of such moments. Other than writing, I enjoy listening and creating music, and going on nature walks.”

About the artist: Ariel Dunnah, born on May 24th, 1995 is a short story writer and past award-recipient of the Wadadli Pen Competition (2012 for Angela’s Baby and Every Rose Has Its Thorns, which won her second and first 13 to 17 and second overall). Passionate about the arts, besides fictional writing, she enjoys composing and reading poetry, dancing, and has obtained both practical and theoretical qualifications for up to Grade 4 Piano in Trinity Guildhall Examinations.

Copyright of the story belongs to the author and copyright of the art work belongs to the artist; so, no stealing.

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Sand painted toes

And salty tongues,

A blood red sunset stains the sky pink,

Yet the days reach no end.

And with a brilliant spark

The sun fuses with the distant horizon.

The spray of the angry waves,

Christens us as we clamber the rocks.

With seaweed hugging our ankles,

And the salted mist possessing our souls.

The torn nets and fading footprints

Calmly remind us of who we used to be.

The crash of the waves rings its own music,

Calling us to become one with its song.

Chilling and familiar,

That’s what the evening brings.

Dry, rotten coconuts scatter the beach,

And the breeze feels strange as it holds us.

Eyes wide open as we taste the view

So in time we are almost happy.

We want nothing,

We have nothing,

Yet the sun is ours;

Still the sea is ours.

And the sand has not forgotten us;

Though we had forgotten ourselves.

BIO: Remembrance earned Antigua Girls High School student Asha Graham third place in the 13 to 17 age category of the 2013 Wadadli Pen Challenge. Her other entry, Revelations Tonight, a short story, won her not only the category Bio_pic[1]but the overall prize. Asha’s been writing since age 10 and is a “wishful thinker” who dreams of being a future bestselling author. Our verdict: her success in this year’s challenge marks her as one to watch…clearly, with talent like this, the bestseller list could very well be in her future if she keeps reading, keeps dreaming, and keeps layering skills unto her remarkable talent. 

Please respect the writer’s copyright; do not use or alter without permission.

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She turned around quickly. Her messy hair caressed the form of her neck. Her hair, it was red, juicy orange red like how I imagined the flames of hell after Mama read the dreaded book of Revelations when I was little. It always seemed to rub against the side of her distinct jawline when she talked, that being only when. The girl never spoke much, at least not to us, Mama said she thought she was better than us folks but I could never believe it. I always sat at the window, well-hidden by the curtains, next to Granny’s picture and watched her as she walked past our house to hers. She fascinated me not only because of her oddly shaped face or her sunburnt tangle of hair I daren’t call curls, but because she stood out like white on a black background.

‘What did you say?’ she asked softly. I had never heard her speak before, but her voice barely above a whisper hit me like a sudden drizzle on a sunny summer day. Her hazel eyes flickered upwards to my face as I let mine hit the ground.

‘The time,’ I repeated. She looked at her watch.

‘A quarter past twelve’

‘T-Thank you’

‘You’re welcome’

I looked up at her face to catch a last glance before she quickly turned around and continued her stroll to her house. It was then I realized that for the months that I had hidden behind that window, truly hiding behind myself that I had never really observed her slight features fully. I noticed way more in that glance than I had ever around anyone else. I saw her eyes flittered like a wounded butterfly, still picking up every movement; the sparse freckles that spread from the bridge of her nose to her tan cheeks, her trembling lips that spread to show a faint flash of teeth and the small scar planted on her otherwise perfect chin. Though her beauty did not depend on symmetry no amount of side glances and sneaky glimpses could ever fully capture it; however no matter how full the view it could never be devoured at once.

Mama wondered why I didn’t touch my dinner that night, why I just stared out of the window when she called me to help her peel potatoes, why I sang while watering her half-dead roses in the whole-dead backyard she called a garden but she wouldn’t understand. She never seemed to understand anything I wished she would, or she just never cared enough to give a good answer, it was always a ‘Dats life, boy!’ or the more popular ‘I ain’t got no time fo’ your curiosity, chile!’ Now I wasn’t prepared for her shrugs or careless answers so I somehow promised myself to gather the courage to probably ask the girl the date this time. She never walked past our house that day or any other day after that.

The old village gossip Miss Esma claimed she moved to the better half of town, some rumored she was getting married to a politician’s son. I was reassured of two things that day: I lived in the worse part of town and I was no politician’s son (Mama’s daily reminder about how much I was like ‘ma fadda’ had me quite sure.) I was just some nineteen year old boy who still lived with his Mama, who sat at the louvered window by the black-and-white picture of some stern, old lady and watched the passersby, just another lonely boy who never knew the time.

Life just went by after that day. But I never forgot her; every time I read the book of Revelations she came to mind, yes, the girl with the hell-flames hair.

‘Johnny you by de damn window again? Hurry up chile we reading Revelations tonight.’

But I was content.

Bio_pic[1]BIO: “Love should be differentiated from enchantment” Asha Graham writes in her notes appended to this story; a statement marking the 15-year-old winner in the 2013 Wadadli Pen Challenge 13 to 17 age category and overall winner as an old soul. Graham attends Antigua Girls High School and says she “enjoys listening to music, eating and listening to music while eating.” She’s been writing since age 10 and dreams of being a future bestselling author. Our verdict: hey, she was tapped as the best in show for this year’s Wadadli Pen, plus her poem Remembrance also earned her third place in the 13 to 17 age category…clearly, with talent like this, the bestseller list could be much more than “wishful think(ing)”  if she keeps reading, keeps dreaming, and keeps layering skills unto her remarkable talent. 

Please respect the writer’s copyright and do not repost, use, or alter without permission.

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