Dear Mr. Khaled Mattawa,

Mr. Khaled, I read and listened to your poem “Ecclesiastes.” It… scared me, honestly, but in a way that hopefully grows me. It made me realize how lucky I am to be surrounded by people I can trust and who I know care for me.

Isolation and distrust are two terrifying things people face every day, and you addressed them accurately and beautifully. The way you use repetition (especially in the phrase “the trick/the rule”) strikes a chord with me personally. Repetition is very evocative for me, the natural rhythm of it, and you use it incredibly well to set up the idea that these terrible things that you describe in your poem happen constantly. That they never stop happening, that it is a normal occurrence.

I am only fourteen, and I am probably still extremely idealistic, so when I see things like your poem—things that remind me that there is still evil in this world, that there are things that I can not always control to make the world better, that there are things outside of my power—it hurts deeply. It makes me feel slightly disillusioned with the idea of positivity and kindness. But then the poem helps ignite me beyond that, to make sure my fears don’t occur in real life for others.

Fear sometimes resides in my heart. Fear sometimes resides in everybody’s heart. You were so adeptly able to create fear and hope and dashing of hope and all of those things merging in a few short phrases. I am amazed, honestly. Poetry doesn’t come naturally to me. The way that you’re able to command language mesmerizes me. I want to read every single word and absorb it so it sticks with me forever.

I looked up more of your poems. This one was not enough for me. I loved them. How are you able to think of so many different terms for the same word? I can’t go two minutes without using the word “amazing” somehow. You write of hope and of despair, of good and evil. You cover such a wide base and you can make anything sound of the utmost importance, which is powerful.

Ultimately, even when they sometimes frighten me, your words are inspiring. Not only in the creative sense, but in the demonstrative sense. I want to live out my life in a way that will be the exact opposite of this poem. To be trustworthy, to have people believe that I’m not going to ruin their life as soon as they turn their back. One day, I think I’ll be able to do that, to live with empathy.

Thank you and most sincerely,

Grade 8
Huntsville, AL

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