Young people are being invited to write poems which will be read out at Liverpool’s Holocaust Memorial Day service.
The theme for this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day is ‘The Power of Words’, and explores how language has been used in the past and the present and the impact that it has on us and those around us.
The competition was launched at the Schools Parliament at Liverpool Town Hall on Tuesday 28 November, with a poem entitled ‘Words’, written and read by Lord Mayor, Cllr Malcolm Kennedy.
Two of the entries submitted by Friday 12 January will be selected to be read out at the civic event on Friday 26 January 2018 at Liverpool Town Hall.
The Lord Mayor said: “Holocaust Memorial Day is not only a time to remember those millions who died in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, but is also a call to action for the present.
“The words we use can be an immense power for good but also evil, so it is essential we stamp out their use to promote hate crime and prejudice.
“We have many talented, articulate and eloquent wordsmiths among our young people and I know that we will receive some powerful and thought-provoking entries.”
A selection of the poems entered will be included in an anthology that will be presented to entrants, schools and libraries in the city.
Liverpool City Council’s lead on Holocaust Memorial Day, Councillor Jeremy Wolfson, a member of the city’s Jewish community, said: “Attendees at the recent HMD planning meeting wanted to do something particularly poignant for 2018, which marks the 10th Anniversary of Liverpool hosting the national event for Holocaust Memorial Day in 2008.
“This poetry competition fits well into this year’s theme ‘The Power of Words.’ It gives our young people an opportunity to reflect on the Holocaust and raise awareness of not only what happened but to try and ensure that the attitudes which led to it are not repeated.
“I would particularly like to thank the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust’s Mandy Penellum, Jeff Dunn, Director of Liverpool Schools’ Parliament and John Gorman from The Scaffold, for their invaluable advice and support in setting up the poetry competition.”
Poems should be submitted to: Jeff Dunn c/o Liverpool Town Hall, High Street, Liverpool, L2 3SW or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Lord Mayor’s poem, written to launch the competition
Words can inflame but Words can be sweet
Words can be pleasant but others may beat
Some words can anger curse or mislead
Emitting from mouths of hard men filled with greed
Words can be false or words can be true
Words form sweet prayers or can curse people too
Words might be smooth drawn from thoughts that would cheat
Spoken by men with minds full of deceit
Words can be prayers or false blessings that curse
Words can make better or words can make worse
Words can surround you with love or with hate
Spoken by men that would anger or bait
Words can give praise yet words can condemn
Flatter or wound, it depends on the men.
Words can bring healing, some others may wound
Words can be deep, shallow, kindly or rude
Words can be wise or the kind that can calm
Covering hurt with a sweet scented balm
Place bits on your tongues they can sing, scare with roars
The choice of your words is entirely yours.