‘Seeds’ by Laura Pugh, Age 16, Year 11, Mercia School

Can you see the bars over there? The breathless ghost of a wall, no. But you can feel them. The
unspoken segregation between what is ours and theirs. The rigid desire to possess cutting away at our
land, domination and greed and the people who fall victim in the places in between. Not just the
people, the animals, the farms. We can lie, we can say the land over here and over there is the same.
But it is not. Over there, there are no guns, no curfews, no pain. Over there, the people have colour. We
do not exist to them. We cannot reach them, only watch. Watch them hire people like us to work their
land, watch them parade in their luxurious bedlam of a civilisation. Watch them turn on their televisions
in the evening and the empty little tear that coldly trails their face when they hear about life over here.
We could choose not to watch this unmotivated, disconnected show of empathy. But we cannot. The
space between us and them is so tangibly untouchable. So distantly close. Miles away in distance, but
immeasurably far in terms of everything else. We cannot help but to wonder why we were born on this
side of the border, why we do not deserve what they have. Is it our fault we are here? If we are being
punished. What are we being punished for? My family hopes to go over to their side one day, to live the
lives we have seen them live. But I do not think we would be better over there. I have seen people like
us, people we knew who have defected, they wanted more, but they still slave away in farms and work
themselves to death, they just work for them, not for us. They take our people, people who fled there
for help, and destroy us, break us. The land is different over there, lives are different over there. But not
for us, for us, it is all the same.

I like to watch the flowers in the spring, the weeds. They mercilessly sprawl across the borders and
create fragile bridges between us and them. The flowers that do not belong anywhere but where they
are. The one thing that is not ours and is not theirs. And those flowers, the flowers that bridge the gap.
Those flowers get more astonishingly beautiful every year. Because they do not belong in a world with
borders, because they belong to themselves, and no one else. If we were but flowers, how easy, how
simple it would be, to fix this divided land, to spread seeds in the wind and sow the ground, stitching us
all back together. Alas, if we were but flowers.