A group of youth from three neighbourhoods in the west end of Toronto gathered one February weekend to reflect on how they could contribute to the spiritual and material advancement of their community, particularly by nurturing the younger generation. Together they studied materials that provided them with spiritual insights, knowledge, skills and concepts to empower them as they began to walk a path of service. The weekend had an artistic component, and a number of the youth, inspired by their study, chose to participate in a writing workshop. They decided to write on the theme of sacrifice. Each youth, many of them first-time writers, wrote a poem. The poems were shared together as a collective work. This is their piece.

This is the sound
The sound of my beating heart
Faster and faster
The fire is burning
What should I do now?
There he is again
My heart feels this sharp pain
I must stop this now

A bird flutters by,
The smell of roses fill my nostrils
Mama’s pie is in the oven
My heart stops beating like a train
Mama comes over and whispers in my ear
“I love you more than anything in this world”
All is calm, the sun comes out
My eyes close
All is well

I wake up, with bloodshot eyes
I tremble with such force
The world around me moves
Step by step
Makes a loud sound in my head
This time the pain is more sharp
I stare down upon the cause
A grind of desire creeps slowly on my face
My hand rises beyond the sky
Such force will soon follow next
A dove passes by
It rests on my hand
So soft so pure
Desire leaves my soul
My hear has stopped completely
My eyes close without corruption
For the first time, and the last
The dove talks to me…
And I understand it

A constant battle
Between these conflicting thoughts
You hold the power

Peace, lighting up the world around us
War, the blooming cloud of darkness that will vanish one day
Love, the shining star giving the hope, the hope that one day there will be unity
Hatred, the image that appears to be dark in the hope that it will brighten with hope,
love and peace

Open mouths, glaring streaks
Hearts that die, it’s not too late

Thoughts arise from ash to gold
Glimmering suns of hopes too old

Mountains crumble, rocks to dust
A universe is open, our hearts rejoice

Thought like radio waves
Crackling through consciousness
Spilling out of mouths
In shapes of words
Blue, white and black

Impulses that run
Through veins and nerves
Moving bones and muscle
Forward and back
As paths are walked and choices made

Thoughts colour the world
And decide our fate
They create realities
That either can shine with love and joy
Or hurt with shadow and hate
Love like speed of light
It has always been stronger

I thought of a place that I love
And found my feet taking me there
I thought of a thing I meant to do
And found my hands going to the task
I thought of hate and war and sorrow
And thought the thought wouldn’t matter
I found a thought of peace and love
And discovered the power of the latter