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Award Winning German Poem

Mother Tongue, Other Tongue is a multilingual poetry competition run by Routes into Languages, which celebrates cultural diversity and the many languages currently spoken in schools across the UK. Other Tongue entries are an original poem written in a language that is not the first language spoken by the person writing it.

We are delighted to say that Year 12 Cardinal Newman student, Jessica Wilson, has won in the Northwest section of the competition, with her poem in German about a mother separated by the Berlin Wall from her child. The poem is inspired by a real-life event which Jess read about in an article in The Guardian.

Studying the Berlin Wall is a key part of the A-Level German course in Year 13, so this will stand her in good stead for her studies next year too.

There were a record number of entries this year, but due to the CONVID-19 pandemic, the celebration event at Manchester University will not take place. There will, however, be an anthology to showcase the winning poems and Jessica’s poem will have a place in that. Congratulations Jessica.

Die Mauer

Mauern sind notwendig,

Notwendig, um draußen von drinnen oder Zimmer vom Zimmer zu trennen.

Nicht jede Mauer ist notwendig,

Eine Mauer, die Mauer, dass Mutter vom Kind getrennt hat?

Wie kann eine Welt, in einer Nacht, eine andere werden?

Die Mauer war hoch,

Sie hat auf die Leute herabgesehen, wie ein Mobber, das größte Kind auf dem Spielplatz.

Sie hat sich hoffnungslos und allein gefühlt.

Der Stacheldraht. Der Wachturm. Kummer

Eine große Mauer über ihrem Herz


Berlin. Der Kinderspielplatz, der größte in der Welt.

Ein Spielplatz für die Supermächte,

Nur ein Spielplatz.

Prahlen. Angeberei. Meins ist besser!

Mit dem Leben der Menschen spielen,

Wie das egal war, wie Kinder.

Vielleicht, in einer anderen Welt,

Wenn die Spannungen nicht zu weit gegangen wäre,

Sie hätten seine Hand gehaltenen


Was Überreste?

Nach dem Tag des Mauerfalls.

Nur verworfene Backsteine, Stacheldraht, die jetzt keine Macht haben. Leere Wachtürme

Eine Wolke des Glücks.

Lacheln. Liebe. Wiedervereinigung.

Aber auch,

Gibt es einen Junge, einen Sohn, der das Aussehen von seiner Mutter nicht kennt.


Walls are necessary,

Necessary to separate inside from outside, or room from room,

Not every wall is necessary,

A wall, the wall, that separated mother from child?

How can one world, in one night, become another?

The wall was high,

It looked down on the people, like a bully, the biggest child in the playground.

She felt hopeless and alone.

The barbed wire. The watchtowers. Heartbreak.

A huge wall across her heart.


Berlin. The children’s playground, the biggest in the world.

A playground for the superpowers,

Only a playground.

Boasting. Showing off. Mine is better!

Playing with people‘s lives,

Like it didn’t matter, like children.

Perhaps in another world,

If the tensions hadn’t gone too far,

She would have held his hand.


What remains?

After the day the wall fell,

Only discarded bricks, barbed wire, that now had no power. Empty watchtowers.

A cloud of happiness.

Laughter. Love. Reunification.

But also,

There is a boy, a son, who doesn’t know the sight of his mother.


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