Edited by Palak Tewary
As we bid farewell to the year, I’m delighted to present a diverse collection of literary gems exploring the themes of love, hope and the beauty of human connections. Each piece in this Showcase offers a unique perspective on the complex tapestry of life.
When closing the chapter on this year, I hope these words linger in your thoughts, inspiring you to embrace the complexities of life, cherish the connections that bind us and foster a spirit of kindness that transcends boundaries.
Here’s to a new year filled with more stories, more love, more kindness and more shared moments of beauty.
In If I Had Two Lives I love how, in both lives, the common thread of ‘you’ underpins the intricate dance of existence. It’s a lovely piece that asks us to reflect on the complexity of human relationships and what we really want, no matter what life we lead.
If I Had Two Lives
After If I Had Three Lives by Sarah Russell
In one life I’d wear a long dress and a pair of high heels,
I’d walk on stage in all glamour and glitz
And wow all the audience with my beautiful falsetto.
I’d sleep with a different guy every night
Examining how their eyelashes move while they dream.
I’d dream to find you. That special you.
Perhaps until death I’d still be dreaming.
In another life I’d only wear shorts and T-shirts.
I’d gain weight and grow a beer belly but I don’t care.
’Cos I’ve already found you. We’d adopt a child or keep a dog.
Our dog would grow increasingly like us. Old and fat.
If needed, I’d sign the hospital form to withdraw
your life support, as you would do it for me.
We’d hold each other’s hands until darkness absorbed us.
© Hongwei, 2023
Connect with Hongwei on X: @PatrickBao1
Bibliophile invites you into a world where collecting and reading books is more than just losing oneself in the pages of a book.
I have to confess
I’m a bibliophile
I am a right lover of books
They have taken over all the house
In all the cranny’s and all the nooks
Their stacked up all over the place
There’s not much room to move
But I can’t help but
Buy yet another book to read
It’s as if to myself
I have something to prove.
© Donna McCabe, 2023
Connect with Donna on Facebook: @Poemsbydonnamccabe and Instagram: @donnamccabe_
The following poignant tale of The Christmas Present is a heartwarming story of resilience, family and the magic of Christmas. It reminds us that sometimes, the greatest gifts come when we least expect them.
The Christmas Present
December 20th, six am, 11-year-old Jeevan was asleep on the floor of a clay -walled, coconut-thatched simple hut in a small village in Northern Sri Lanka. The boy’s mother, Esther, sat with a heavy heart on the doorstep. Her tearstained face and unkempt hair showed it was another sleepless night. Looking at the jackfruit tree bearing its first fruit since it was planted, she sighed and looked at the calendar with Jesus’s picture. The civil war had ended three months ago. The grafted jackfruit tree was planted by her husband, Yesudas, exactly five years ago. She will never forget that day. That was the last time she had seen him. She could not even give him a funeral.
Christmas meant nothing to her and Jeevan since then. Previously, as a family, they would decorate the Christmas tree and attend the midnight mass. Exactly on this day five years ago, Yesudas had put up the Christmas tree and left for work. He hugged his son and said, “Son, I will be back on Christmas Eve and I promise I will bring a present. Look after your mother and water the tree.”
“Ok Appa” (dad) Jeevan replied.
That was the last time Yesudas was seen.
Five Years Ago
Yesudas passed many military check points as he cycled 24 miles towards the construction site where he worked as a labourer.
Two miles away from his work, he saw three military vehicles coming towards him. Suddenly, there was a deafening explosion and one vehicle was ripped into pieces. The soldiers jumped out of the two remaining vehicles and started shooting randomly. Yesudas fell.
TV news broadcasted that many civilians and six soldiers died in the explosion. On hearing the news, Esther knew it was near the construction site. She fell to the floor and sobbed; she knew the consequences. Disappearance of civilians was the norm; always presumed dead.
Christmas Eve. Yesudas did not return and Esther knew something terrible had happened. With the parish Priest, she visited the army camp for information. They were told many civilians were killed by the crossfire and explosions. The hospital mortuary had unidentified bodies, but Yesudas was not among them. The Priest said, “I’m sorry, my child.” Esther knew she would never find Yesudas.
Life was hard without Yesudas, but at least the Catholic mission helped Esther with a job and Jeevan with education.
Esther and Jeevan returned from the Christmas mass and had breakfast in silence with a veil of sadness surrounding them. Jeevan’s eyes filled up as his mum stroked his hair.
Footsteps were heard outside. They looked at each other. The front door opened. Silhouette of a figure. Her husband’s silhouette. It was Yesudas. Jeevan shouted,“Appa!” He ran and jumped on Yesudas.
Shocked Esther ran and hugged him very tightly. All three were shedding tears. Yesudas had been detained in one of the military camps without inquiry for the last five years and released when the civil war ended.
“I’m sorry, son. I couldn’t get the present.” Yesudas’ voice broke.
“I got the world’s best Christmas present,“ Jeevan replied holding his father tightly.
A huge thud was heard. They turned. The ripened jackfruit had fallen from the tree and spilt open. The yellow segments showed a smiley face, as the aromatic fruity smell filled the air.
© Sebastian Elanko, 2023
Objective Reality takes us on a journey of coming together in a world where differences often divide. This piece celebrates the power of unity, emphasising the importance of shared goals and collective efforts in creating a better tomorrow.
Objective Reality is the space that we all share.
The place we all come together in.
The happenings we can all affirm transpire.
What I do in my day that is recognised in yours.
What happens in your history that also features in mine.
What the sun and the moon witness of our actions as they gaze upon us, even.
By this standard, we build our relationships, our codes and creeds, our perception, even our very identity.
However, when we prescribe to conflicting accounts of reality,
Commit to opposing subjective realities, We build a wall between each other.
We perpetuate division.
Where truths can’t be acknowledged nor conceded to,
When we can’t form cooperation,
Nor progress in debate or converse effectively.
Where we have no agency to affirm someone on the other side of the divide.
Where we can descend into violence and war over who is right and who is wrong,
Who has rights and who has been wronged.
Yet some of us allow ourselves to dream for peace…
Even daring to enforce our subjective views onto others to achieve the uniformity required to reach the peace we seek.
We confuse the people by proclaiming to promote harmony while seeking to subjugate the disharmonious.
But true peace will not come until the objective reality that unites us is given its proper due recognition,
And we humbly adjust our positions accordingly.
© Danny Baxter, 2023
Connect: Instagram @dan_lbbd
And finally, I culminate this showcase with my poem Kindness, We Wear – a gentle reminder that kindness is a garment that we can wear daily, stitching together the fabric of our shared humanity. No matter what it looks like, the little acts we do or can do, illuminate the human experience.
Kindness, We Wear
Smiling at strangers, joyfulness spread
Coffees shared freely with an unknown lad
Notes of thoughtfulness left for weary souls
Volunteering to mend the world’s holes
Doors held open a gesture sincere
Compliments sown like seeds of cheer
Feeding hungry souls with compassion’s grace
Green footsteps placed in an eco-embrace
Encouragements a-plenty – that’s so sweet
Celebrating triumphs making joys complete
Charity’s paths walked with care
Positive vibes in the kindness we wear
© Palak Tewary, 2023
If you’d like to see your writing appear in the Write On! Showcase, please submit your short stories, poetry or novel extracts to: pentoprint.org/get-involved/submit-to-write-on/
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