Hawaii Forgiveness Project

Poetry of Forgiveness Awards
Winning Entries, 2006

presented at
International Forgiveness Day in Hawai'i
August 6, 2006

Gold Medal:

Prisoner No More
Paula Reger
free verse, 29 lines

trying so hard to keep me captive
burdening me with trouble and pain
tearing at my heart strings
never letting up on me
but i was strong enough
taught myself how to forgive and let it all go
i also learned its okay to cry,
had to understand where you were
and realize it doesn't mean you're bad or wrong
able to find peace within once more
stop my selfishness and pity
i see the wheel now and how it turns
trying to control me
clouding my thoughts
i laugh now
i'm on to the game
grown much wiser
rising up and above
i feel the anger and fury
of fate and destiny
now that they know
i can overcome them and prevail
still trying desperately
to hold the darkness over my head
but they can't follow me anymore
or weaken my spirit or soul.

when someone hurts us, especially when you love that person but they dont love you back or even want love in their life, you go through stages of hurt, at least i do, first you're so mad at the person, and you get mad at them and try to convince them that they should see things your way and that your way is the right way to think, but when we do that we are being selfish and not thinking things from the other persons perspective and where they're at in their life. 

and you have to force yourself to try and understand the other person, which can be very hard and sometimes we dont want to do that, cause i think it's easier to stay mad then it is to forgive people.

Paula Reger

Silver Medal:

Jack Randall
Six Triad verses with rhyming of the last word of each triad

MesSages - our world is full of them,
Spilling forth, tantalizing -
Beckoning us… to embrace their game.

The subtle ones most give me pause,
For they peer deeply into life's intention;
Forgiveness - or just some other aim.

Sifted, sorted, ordered, and distilled,
A mottled tapestry that moves me -
Forgiveness in any form is still the same?

Was this poetic rendering an opportunity to pause?
Sent to me through the airwaves of intention
Bits destined to attract and build a flame!

Singe my sinking soul… intently to myself
Engage my spirit and cause me to seek this truth,
Deep within my mottled bag, I yearn to stake my claim.

MesSage – forgive; MesSage - forgive
Vanilla packaging, addressed, and ready to be delivered,
Send it away to all who need to blame.


This poem came to me as I was sorting out some conflicting themes in my life. Choosing to pay attention and listen to forgiveness opportunities bring clarity and peace. Passing the message on may be the answer for others as the forgiveness message coming to me was.

Jack Randall

Bronze Medal:

The First Poem
Lament to the Spirit of War
circa 2300 B.C.

You hack everything down in battle...
You slice away the land and
charge disguised as a raging storm,
growl as a roaring hurricane,
yell like a tempest yells,
thunder, rage, roar, and drum,
expel evil winds!

Your feet are filled with anxiety!
Like a fiery monster
you fill the land with poison.

As a rage from the sky,
you growl over the earth,
and trees and bushes collapse before you.

You're like blood rushing down a mountain,
Spirit of hate, greed and anger,
dominator of heaven and earth!

Your fire wafts over our tribe,
mounted on a beast,
with indomitable commands, you decide all fate.
You triumph over all our rites.
Who can fathom you?

Introduction, by Michael North

The first written work that we know of, signed by an individual known to history, is a poem about war, written by Enheduanna, daughter of King Sargon and priestess of Ur in what is now south-central Iraq.

The prize money for this award will be donated to Amnesty International (USA), our guests today -- for their global work in addressing the causes of war and injustice.

This is her poem, which calls out to us today for forgiveness.

In ancient Sumeria in 2300 BC, writing was still largely known only to priests and tax collectors. Scriptures, stories, lists and tax records were kept on clay cylinders and tablets, and not signed by any individual author.


photo: Kaneohe Sunset, courtesy Chris Spezzano


© copyright 2006, Hawai'i Forgiveness Project
and by each individual artist