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School Years 7 - 10 Winner Who am I? By Martha Taylor

Johnny Bugeja

Everyday, I wake up in a new body,
It has been like this for as long as I remember.
I'm not really sure who I even am anymore,
But I keep going, for better or for worse.
Who am i? Is a question I ask myself as I look in the mirror.
I do not remember this body,
Today I felt as if I stood the tallest in a crowd,
I feel as if I am on top of the world and no one will be able to bring me down.
I like this body. Will I like it tomorrow?
Today, as I ask myself, who are you?
I think about pulling my skin,
I think about morphing this face away,
Sculpting my features like clay,
Giving myseIf the perfect face,
I cant help but wonder, even then, would I be happy.
Who am I today?
Today I feel perfect.
I am unstoppable.
Not even my own thoughts can bring me down from this high.
Once again, I feel the tallest,
I wonder what it would be like if I was the tallest all the time.
Today I feel small,
I am a mouse, scurrying out of the way of the worlds big shoes,
I feel as if I could disappear and no one would notice.
I feel alone, but I am used to this.
I am not lonely. I am alone, but I am not lonely.
Who are you today? I grin widely at my reflection.
Today I feel alive.
Every little thing makes my skin prickle.
Today I am the crescendo in a piece of classical music.
Today, I am happy I’m here.
How am I today? Is a pleasant change of question.
I think, as I stare at my hands.
I feel as if I have been alive since the worlds creation.
My feet have walked this earth a thousand times.
My knowledge is overbearing.
I am Atlas.
I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders.
I always think I’ll get used to it,
These fee lings that always change,
The feelings that can morph into a hurricane of rage, sadness and fear in seconds.
At times like this, I marvel at the duality of man.
I do not think this world was meant for fragile people.
Some days, though, I am not fragile.
Some days I feel as if I could sit happily and watch the world burn.
And some days I feel as If even a small breeze could blow me away.

Judge Charles Durante's comments
School Years 7-10 Winner: Martha Taylor with Who am I? This long poem defies the modernist requirement that poems should be short and concise. However, its length is in keeping with its content: the speaker is haunted by a sense of the ever-changing nature of the self. The poem is held together by the frequent interrogation: who am I? This is buttressed by the insistent rhythm of ‘today I feel....’ The person undergoes constant change-there are mood swings, feelings of superiority, of inadequacy, of responsibility, ‘I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders’ like a latter-day Atlas.

Some of the images reflect an overpowering sense of hubris, ‘today I am a crescendo in a piece of classical music.’ Then the ego is deflated as it becomes as timid as a mouse, avoiding, in a striking image, ‘the world’s big shoes.’ The poem is evidently the expression of the flux of the modern personality-a Heraclitean fluidity, ‘unstoppable’, moulding itself to different circumstances.

The traditional classifications no longer apply: we are, by turns, introvert, extrovert; sociable, solitary. The paramount question ‘who am I?’ is ultimately unanswerable. We are everything and nothing. That is why we cling to more stable values like God, poetry, love, beauty, family. A very mature poem indeed.

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