Gortahork Youthreach Learner Wins Read DL 2017 Post-Primary Creative Writing Competition

Youthreach Gortahork took part in The Read DL Project again this year, and the Communication classes all read The Breadwinner, which was written by Deborah Ellis. This is a great reading initiative which gets all of Donegal reading together. There was a creative writing competition, with 120 entries in the different categories. Gortahork learner, Alfie Kimmel is the proud winner of first place in the Post-Primary section. A group of staff and students went to the closing Read DL ceremony in LYIT last week to pick up his prize. This will be the first of many creative writing prizes for this talented young man. Below is his piece.

Youthreach is co-funded by the Irish Government, the European Social Fund and the Youth Employment Initiative as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014-2020.

The Ashes to Come

A dark figure walked through what used to be a field of grass, untended and overgrown. Now the field was a mess of ash and brown. Alas there is no life to be found. From vile fumes nature was unprotected and so it has ceased to be. Our world is a carcass, rotting. Even the parasites have nothing to feed upon, no more lives from which to leech. Alone a figure wades through the waste, dressed head to toe in scraps of cloth stitched together with fishing line. There was no other use for such tools, the ocean with murk was green, but not a living weed could be seen. Black with death was our sea once blue with life. Not even in the deepest reaches was there a survivor to be sainted. Oil blackens our waters, thick and tainted.

There are no more houses in which children play. Sent to work in great factories, so the parasites may live another day. Smoke, smog and death from the factories rise. From great chimneys, our damnation leaks. But listen now, our last friend speaks.

Perhaps if a cautious listener had spoken up when death came a’ knocking. Then the parasites our world would not ‘ave killed. I stand here in the ashes of our children’s future. This is a world scorched by war. Tattered and charred by mankind’s ignorance. Our salvation is truly no more.”

Alone is our friend, not because he has lost his way. Because he now sees, Man’s greatest threat is their reflection in our waters once clean. Had he stumbled across another wanderer, to arms they would rush. For this is a hostile place, comradery is a thing long forgotten.

But what is this? No ash falls from the sky. A patch of pure sunlight, shines down from the clouds of disease, the light reveals a wonder. From beyond his round glass eyes, our friend this sees. A lonely pod upon a green stem. An amazing sight, for the world’s end. To his knees our friend does fall gazing at the pod, leaves and all. The pod blossoms into a beautiful flower, in colours our friend has never seen. Tears run down our friend’s cheeks, behind his glass eyes. For something so benign and pure to exist in a world of black and grey, perhaps there is hope… hope for another day.


But is this the first flower, or is it the last…? This is a decision for us in the past.