When 15-year-old Simeon Pearman heard about the show, he decided right away that he was going to compete in the first-ever anti-violence competition organised by way of a National Security Ministry initiative.
But little did he know when the judges had made their final decision, that he would place third, out of all of the participants.
He was absolutely delighted but really surprised to learn that the poem he wrote in just two nights, to recite in front of a live audience would put him in the top three in the winner’s circle.
A family member, who was there with his support team said: “There were several very good performances that night. “Simeon wrote the piece when he hear about the show on a Wednesday and by Thursday night he had finished it.”
By the time it was all over, the 15-year-old teenager, who attends Chatmore Academy, was beaming with pride after his performance in the youth anti-violence competition. He recently joined Youth Parliament where he has been appointed as the Sergeant at Arms (feature photo above outside the Sessions House).
The LIVE. LOVE. LIFE. Stop the Violence Competition, held at the Ruth Seaton James Centre for the Performing Arts on November 12th, showcased a full night of youth talent performing live in front of a packed audience.
On reading his poem, entitled ‘What Do You Mean?’, Simeon delves deeper into the harsh realities of gun violence in Bermuda. And it was clear that this young man’s perspective is way beyond his years.
He tackled the subject from a mother’s point of view, and expressed one of the first real questions a mother asks when receiving that fateful phone call, in the very first sentence of his work: “What do you mean my child is dead?”
The poem (see below) goes on to express the massive swirl of emotions and confusion that ensues, when a mother gets the call that will forever change her life, right down to remembering the exact time she got the call, and asked: “What do you mean he’s been shot?”
The poem continues: “This is confusing. I’m baffled right now… Confused isn’t the word, this can’t be… it won’t be… What have I just heard?
“What do you mean I must bury my baby boy? My son, my boy, why God. Words just can’t explain He’s going six feet under but I’ll chant my baby boy’s name.
“Not my child, I said to myself over and over. No luck for him, no four-leaf clover.”
Then he moves on to the next phase of that mother having “to tell the family”.
“My son is gone, I must tell my momma, she’s going to be so torn. Torn into pieces how would she be? I can’t imaging this news coming from me. How can I do this?”
From there, the young poet addresses the many questions a mother may ask herself in the midst of dealing with her family’s brutal tragedy.
“Why didn’t I act, my son is now dead. Was it me, was I wrong Was I at fault? Am I a bad mother? Stop it! Bring that to a halt… But my child is dead!:
The talented young writer also considered the impact of murder on single parent households headed up by women, in the absence of a father figure.
“I loved him. I did my best. I tried to protect him from all the rest. It’s hard to raise a young male by yourself, without his father teaching him about wealth.
“His father was killed in his generation. What does it take to heal this nation?”
The poem ends noting mothers who have lost their only child to gun and gang related violence, and how the lasting legacy of the impact of young Black males killing each other will ultimately affect the children forced to live on without their fathers.
He also referenced how in some cases, the impact is inter-generational in the case of a son, for example in this poem, who lost their father to violence, who was also killed leaving his mother with a grandson without him. And that grandson is left with their “mother to do the same”.
To end the poem, Simeon wrote: “What an awful cycle. What a tragic shame.”
The competition was won by Dellwood Middle school students, West End Warriors placed second and Simeon placed third. Northlands’ Primary School Choir won The People’s Choice award.
Students from more than ten schools participated in the event, including Somerset Primary, West End, Paget Primary, Purvis and CedarBridge Academy.
Plans are now underway to prepare for the adult version of the recent youth talent competition, to be held in February 2018.
What Do You Mean by Simeon Pearman
What do you mean my child is dead?
The one person I sat in labour for and bled.
I want to die, my heart is gone, my love I bury.
My son I mourn.
What do you mean he’s been shot?
I got the call ’round 6:00.
This is confusing. I’m baffled right now…
Confused isn’t the word, this can’t be… it won’t be…
What have I just heard?
What do you mean I must bury my baby boy?
I groomed him with love and grace.
My son, my boy, why God
Couldn’t he just win this race?
He made me so proud.
Words just can’t explain,
He’s going six feet under but I’ll still chant my baby boy’s name.
Not my child, I said to myself over and over.
No luck for him, no four-leaf clover.
What do you mean I have to tell the family?
My son is gone, I must tell my momma, she’s going to be so torn.
Torn into pieces how would she be?
I can’t imagine this news coming from me.
How can I do this?
I have to keep her sane…
35 dead, now one more slain.
Was there something I should have noticed?
Something I should’ve said?
Why didn’t I act, my son is now dead.
Was it me, was I wrong? Was I at fault? Am I a bad mother?
Stop it! Bring that to a halt…
But my child is dead!
What do you mean?
I loved him.
I did my best. I tried to protect him from all the rest.
It’s hard to raise a young male by yourself,
Without his father teaching him about wealth.
His father was killed in his generation,
What does it take to heal this nation?
One good thing that came out of that my son
My baby boy, my only child, my only love, my only true friend, my son.
Will not see his son grow in love and grace just as he did.
Now leaves my grandson without a man as his protector,
Now leaves his child’s mother to do the same.
What an awful cycle.
What a tragic shame.
- Congratulations Simeon!
- Photos provided by Simeon’s family