Gytha te Nijenhuis, a 17-year-old from the Frisian town of Surhuisterveen, will read her poem aloud during the national Remembrance of the Dead ceremony at the Dam in Amsterdam.
During the annual remembrance ceremony, which is broadcast on national television, one secondary school student is chosen to read his or her poem aloud. The best poem is selected during a national competition, and Gytha was this year’s winner.
The Leeuwarder Courant reports that Gytha wrote the poem during a workshop at her school, Beyers Naudé Gymnasium in Leeuwarden. Gytha recalls that it only took her about 15 minutes to write the poem and never expected that it would win. Her parents were not even aware that Gytha was taking part in the competition.
Gytha’s naturally flowing words impressed the jury at de Kanselarij in Leeuwarden, and she hopes that the nation will feel the same on 4 May.
Below is a translation of the poem:
We would prefer to forget
That dusty crate in the attic,
To hide the scars;
But you can’t let it go
Still make a sound;
So many words,
Yet it cannot be described
For some, it is engraved in their memories
For others, it is something they are taught
The events from long ago
Live on in us
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