Ages 19+ Years: Honourable Mention

Mohammed Abbas Jaffer

Category 19 years & above

Theme – Courageous Choices

Judges’ comments:

A courageous choice in its approach and subject, this modern poem was definitely thought-provoking and a wake-up call for us to stop ignoring certain social issues.


Just got to jump


When he was young, he thought courage only hung in the pages of history,

Etched on cenotaphs and strung high on alams.

He’d never got into any fights, never asked out the girl he’d liked, never stood up for anyone’s rights.

He had, however, once jumped off a wall and grazed his knee.

Ran to his mum, crying, saying, “See.

I told you I’m not brave.”

She’d gazed back and said,

“But you jumped.”


He believed her. For a second, he felt pumped.

Until his dad came home,

Drunk with the idea that courage can be found at the end of a bottle,

In knuckles thumped against rib cages,

In creating mottled bruises, but this rage is

Not courage.


Courage could be found in those around him.

His wife, who wakes up each day to fight the demons in her own home.

His son, who picks himself off the floor and picks up the phone,

Because his mama had always shown him how to

Speak the truth even if your voice shakes.

Stand up even if your body breaks into a thousand shards.

Don’t fear them, fear God, and you’ll flourish, like a star.

You look worried.

Oh, it will be hard and you’ll be left with scars,

But courage is being scared and doing it anyway.

Courage is staying and courage is walking away.

Courage is standing up in court and realising that –

As the years have hurled by –

The bravery you once had, now curled and dry,

Can once again unfurl itself, because valour is like a muscle:

The more you use it, the stronger it gets.

And if you haven’t used it yet, then I guess you’ve just got to jump.

Because what’s comin’ will come and we’ll meet it when it does.


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