Martin O'Neill

Rookie - 12 Points (20-06-1958 / Solihull, Birmingham, England)

What Price Literacy? - Poem by Martin O'Neill

An extraordinary time you have waited
Quiet, in no kind of rush
You must be pleased now that it's over
Your time in the African bush

The grass stalks that rippled around you
The animals passing you by
The fierce yellow sun beating down
From the blue of your African sky.

When you finally burst into flower,
In blossoms of yellow and red
The eight year old girl who unearthed you
Couldn't read the notice that said

Achtung! Minen!

Poet's Notes about The Poem

As an ex-Sapper (HM Royal Engineers) I have a lot of experience of land mines and the devastation they cause, particularly in the old and new war zones of Africa. This is an observation on that legacy.

Comments about What Price Literacy? by Martin O'Neill

  • Gold Star - 37,682 Points Rajnish Manga (12/14/2014 12:40:00 PM)

    Congratulations, Martin, your poem is Today's Special. The poem is impressive mainly because of its emotional content and appeal. Thanks for your notes about the poem. (Report) Reply

    3 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 28,915 Points Kim Barney (12/14/2014 12:03:00 PM)

    Fabulous poem, Martin.
    Also, congratulations for having it chosen as poem of the day on December 14 for three years in a row now! (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 45,332 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (12/14/2014 9:52:00 AM)

    A thought provoking poem and it is nice. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 45,332 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (12/14/2014 9:51:00 AM)

    A thought provoking poem and it is nice. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 6,116 Points Pranab K Chakraborty (12/14/2014 12:12:00 AM)

    Treasure is its simple and lucid expression. The poem penetrate direst to the reader's heart. Small but unique. Thanks for sharing. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 9,262 Points Geetha Jayakumar (12/14/2013 9:14:00 PM)

    Powerful and thought provoking poem. The last line is really sad. Thank you. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 36,824 Points * Sunprincess * (12/14/2013 3:37:00 PM)

    Thanks this is a very good message received...literacy is priceless! (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 12,594 Points Douglas Scotney (12/14/2013 1:52:00 AM)

    spinechilling, martin (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 821 Points Ruth Walters (12/16/2012 1:44:00 PM)

    Totally well done Martin! Brilliant......Ruthie (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 2,513 Points Tony Karas (12/14/2012 10:35:00 AM)

    Totally moving.... left me speechless for a bit. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 4,717 Points Valerie Dohren (12/14/2012 8:38:00 AM)

    A legacy of war, more than sad, dreadful beyond words. Very well written. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 18,509 Points Lyn Paul (12/14/2012 6:37:00 AM)

    Yes sad ending, but the poem is really beautiful. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 70,270 Points Gajanan Mishra (12/14/2012 3:48:00 AM)

    An extra ordinary time you have awaited. good start. thanks. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 126 Points Kelvin Owusu (12/14/2012 1:00:00 AM)

    didn't really understand this piece but it is a good read nicely written (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 2 Points Okoye Charles Chukwudi (6/18/2012 3:56:00 PM)

    I do not get the sounds good and deep...but i cnt still grasp it...pls inbox me with the clue (Report) Reply

  • Silver Star - 4,112 Points Diane Hine (5/13/2012 6:21:00 AM)

    Personifying the mine makes it seem even more cruel, if that's possible. Very moving. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 7 Points Sue S. (4/8/2012 7:47:00 AM)

    I gasped out loud in horror at the last line. I didn't see that coming - but then I guess that was the point. An excellent poem. (Report) Reply

  • Silver Star - 4,076 Points Wahab Abdul (3/19/2012 10:39:00 AM)


  • Rookie - 63 Points John Raubenheimer (2/11/2012 7:33:00 AM)

    Yes a great poem. A powerful, a shocking poem. I believe I've read this before. (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 2,669 Points Elena Sandu (2/7/2012 7:45:00 PM)

    One of the most painful peace manifests I have ever read. You surely know how to manipulate a soul needs, rivers of tears are not enough to wash the sadness brought by dormant mines, what is the use of literacy if we cannot protect the child? Thank you. (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Friday, August 1, 2008

Poem Edited: Friday, December 14, 2012

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