When Grade 9 St. Peter High School student Ava Butts entered a Royal Canadian Legion Remembrance poetry contest last year, her hope was that her poem, “A Mother’s Cry”, might win the local branch competition. Little did she know it would end up being selected as the best poem at the district, zone and province levels, making it all the way to the national level.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ava didn’t find out her poem won at the provincial level until she received a letter from the Legion National Foundation in July, notifying her that her poem had not only won the provincial competition, but it had placed second in the intermediate category for stu-dents in Grade 7, 8 and 9 across Canada.
Although she didn’t win the national competition, Ava was over the moon when she found out that her poem had won second place honours, especially considering it is only the second poem she has ever written.
Ava drew inspiration for her poem after visiting the Vimy Memorial during a family trip to Europe and hearing about what life was like in the trenches and on the battlefield for Canada’s soldiers.
Ava received a $500 cheque for finishing second, which she generously donated to the Orléans Legion.
“I saw on the news that the Legion was suffering financially because of COVID so I wanted to donate it back to them because they need it more that I do,” says Ava, who got a chance to do so while practicing proper physical distancing and a face mask during a recent visit to Branch 632.
A Mother's Cry
A mother’s cry is something you never want to hear
For it draws people near
This mother’s cry was out of fear
Because her son enlisted in the war and may disappear
As they drive to the train station, the mother
has something dear to say
Oh son I love you so much now please
don’t go away
She hugs him tightly and tells him her love
for him is profound
But she knows he must go to keep his
country safe and sound
The letters he sends are too few and too
She can tell war is tearing him apart
She longs to hug him in a blanket of love
And remind him that God is watching
over him from up above
Time passes and a man in uniform stands at her door
Holding a red and white flag in a triangular fold
His face is somber, his body stoic
The news he bears was that her son was heroic
I’m sorry to tell you, your son was in the battle in No Man’s Land
She squeezes with pain her husband’s hand
She knows death has come to her son so dear
And slowly fall the silent tears
She hopes that with his last breath
He knew he was loved, his soul at rest
The grief she feels is real and deep
This is the bitter price of war and fighting for peace
And though, years later, she is honoured with the
Memorial Silver Cross
All she can think about is the son she lost
And all the other soldiers who have died
Up in heaven they can hear their mothers’ cries
For mothers whose sons have been lost
Fighting for Canada at all cost
Remember their sacrifice so we can be free
Remember so history doesn’t repeat
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