[EXCLUSIVE] “Palm Sunday” by C.L. (Second Place Winner—World Poetry Day Competition 2021)

C.L.’s “Palm Sunday”, a poem which recalls the peace and safety they feel under God’s shelter, is the Second Place winner of the World Poetry Day Poetry Competition 2021, initiated by Grassroots Future and co-organised with Cha, Peel Street Poetry, and Spill Stories. Find out more about the competition HERE.

by C.L.

It’s a Palm Sunday in Avenou.
The sun rises early, 
and by seven
its rays hit us like sharp blades.

I arrive with my family
one hour before the service,
joining the crowd 
on our way to the church,
the biggest, holiest place in the area.

I am adorned like a princess,
I wear a long white gown.
My hair is tied with flower-bows
into two ponytails. 

My new high-heel shoes match
my lace ruffle socks.
In my purse I keep my treasures:
lip gloss and a pouch 
with hairpins.

A fanfare of merry songs 
and dance leads the procession.
People arrive like sea near the gate,
swarm like bees on a flower.

We children are asked 
to move to the front,
our parents to the back.

But soon the crowd grows 
like an angry wave, 
pushes to open the gate,
rushes to find the seats in front.

The joyful procession stops.
People step on my feet,
squash me. 

I turn around, breathless,
looking for my parents, calling Mum.
The kids around me cry, shout for help.
I’m drowning 
like St. Peter during the storm.

I wish God could lift me out
and take me straight 
into his House.

And then the Pastor comes,
calms the situation down
and we all get into the hall peacefully.

The service starts.
Senior Pastor James preaches, 
reads the Bible, delivers his sermon.
His words are a miracle.

I am no longer scared.
I am reborn again.

Anne Cheng reads “Palm Sunday”:


C.L. is from Togo, West Africa and has been in Hong Kong for five years as a refugee. She keeps herself busy throughout the week with many courses offered by Father Franco Mella’s charity (Painting, History, German, Spanish, English, Cantonese, Computer, Mandarin, Guitar, Philosophy, Kiswahili, Poetry, Creative Writing, Handicraft, Italian). In addition to her love of writing, her favourite activities are ballet dance and baking.

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