Fighting Words 2021: A poem by Louí Montague (16), Coláiste Feirste, Belfast, Co Antrim

Belfast. Photograph: iStock


I pop my head out the window
and gaze at the infamous yellow cranes,
That are subtly hidden
Tucked away by the luscious green trees
of Ormeau park,

Blocking the view
are old raggedy flags
that drape depressingly from the lamp posts
Constantly reminding us of our violent past

I take in my surroundings,
I notice the maze of towering terraced houses
That stretch to the horizon

I take a deep slow ataractic breath
But it's disturbed,
the pitter patter of life echoes through these narrow streets


At first glance it may seem eerily quiet
Almost barren, destitute of life
But if you listen closely
You can hear the unseen world of Belfast

I can hear the clapping of wings over head
The joyous melodic choir of chirping
Coming from all directions

It's truly beautiful and serene
Yet everyone is missing it
They're all in their beds
Unaware of nature's tranquil beauty

The animals seem to live together in harmony
In a peaceful co-existing bliss
Respectful of all life,
No matter their species
Maybe we should take a page from their book!

However it's a damp dull morning,
The sky has taken its typical grey form
I forgot to mention that it's five o'clock
You might be thinking to yourself
I'm up early

Louí Montague

But to the contrary
I'm actually up rather late
It's been another sleepless night
See life is about perspective.
One person's early
Is another's late

why can't we be like the animals
Be respectful of each other's perspectives
Understand one another
No matter creed nor religion

As humans we often regard ourselves
As being intelligent or as a higher life form than a simple animal
Well they seem to have it figured it out
I mean when's the last time you saw a badger rioting
Or a dog throwing petrol bombs

We're both made of the same stuff
Blood is blood
And skin is skin
respect is respect
And compassion is human,

so if you think as a species
we're smarter than an animal,
Then don't discriminate on someone's
Colour, religion or creed
Nor someone's background

We're all made of the same star dust
Formed from million if not billions of years ago,
To me that's more beautiful than any black bird singing in the dead of night!

Fighting Words is an Irish charity that helps children and adults to develop their creative writing skills. This is part of their annual publication with The Irish Times