Tree of Life — Grade 1 student — Pretoria 2012- photo by author

Wait your turn, we tell them,
stand in line,
raise your hand,
use kind words,
make smart choices.

Third grade class community election speeches
running for police chief
Elena says, “You should vote for me because I am brave.
It takes bravery to tell people to make wise choices.”

It takes bravery to tell the adults in the room they’ve got it wrong,
that the emperors parade buck-naked,
the time is already half past now,
and all the fine words don’t add up to anything.

Wait your turn, stand in line.
These don’t ring so true,
when your future dwindles right in front of you,
and wait and see only means wait for me to get mine.

History says,
Apres moi, le deluge,
Let them eat cake,
and, A hard rain is a gonna fall.

The young say,
If you know, then why don’t you act,
what’s holding you back?
You, who have the whole world in your hands.

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