Peer Review by ajamwal (United States)

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By: PalmLeaf

PROMPT: On Courage

The first day we met
You greeted me in black and white 
Heads of hair cropped short
And socks an inch above the ankles
“Discipline” was the first word you taught me
“Respect” the second, 
“Order” the third,
And we were not allowed to suggest a fourth
When change came, it came with lightning 
And set us ablaze with color 
Wash away the black shoes, and make way for sandals and new minds
We shouldn’t be enemies, you and I
The first day we met 
We played in iron-fenced sandboxes 
Unearthing knowledge  
That had been hidden for us to find
We made a hole in the fence
Just big enough to climb through 
Now I can unearth useless knowledge 
If I want to 
Let us defy the frames and borders
That push us to stand against each other 
It’s time for a change
For a streak of color
To wash away the past 
And set us on a path
Towards a frameless future 
Author’s Note: This poem is a hat tip to a very famous private school in Thailand. Recently, this school has been gaining a lot of attention from the media for breaking from tradition and defying national norms by allowing its students to dress in their own clothes instead of a uniform once a week, if they want to. The school also offers a very diverse selection of electives  (which are already uncommon in Thai schools to begin with) for high schoolers and is gradually reforming its curriculum to become more “student-centered”, focusing on happiness rather than order and uniformity. This is a pretty big deal in my country because the Thai education system is known to be very restrictive and unfriendly towards any “divergences from the norm”. The changes this school has made are very small steps for now, but I’m really glad to see them and I hope this will bring about a new future for Thai students!

Peer Review

Overall, I think the whole poem was very courageous, but I really like Stanza 3 the most I think.

I feel as of someone has broken the boundaries and opened new limits.

Reviewer Comments

I am not very good at reviewing poetry, so sorry if I misunderstood things, because I am really bad at poetry myself. Other than that, the concept!! How did you come up with this idea!! I think the concept you chose for this poem was AMAZING. Keep up the AMAZING work, I really love your work and I can read it over and over again. Thank you!!