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©2020 by The America Library of Poetry.

2002 "Reflections of Youth"

Student Poetry Contest

Division Winners

Division I
(grades 4-5)

I Am Liberty
by Cheyenne Miller-Bond

I extend my torch high above New York Harbor
To show the world that I represent hope, freedom, and justice for mankind
My flame symbolizes freedom that is stronger than the lightning
Which shatters the darkness in one’s sky
This light of freedom offers hope from bondage, which has enslaved people with fear
I am a gift from France to friends in America
Representing beauty, self-confidence, love, and freedom
I remained proud and tall, as the smoke from September 11th’s terrorism attack
Threateningly drifted past my face
People felt strength and encouragement as they saw me still standing
Offering hope, and a new start to the hearts of grieving and fearful Americans
Who were tempted to despair

 

Poem Copyright © 2002 by Cheyenne Miller-Bond

I Do Love You
by Kelsey Schrank

 

My heart is like a river
Flowing with love for you
My spirit is like a bird
Gliding on your loving wings
My knowledge is like a seed
Planted and nourished by you
Your hugs are like a shelter
Protecting me from storms of rage
Your kisses are like great roses
Planted on my cheeks
How I love you cannot be explained
But one thing stands true
I do love you

-Dedicated to Mommy and Daddy

Poem Copyright © 2002 by Kelsey Schrank

Division II
(grades 6-7)

The Tree
by Chris Bohnhoff

“I have a carpet of velvet ferns.  I have no walls; the forest my home
No rules govern my life; I’m free, as free as a bird” said the tree
“The sky is mine, my path divine
I soar, I swoop to infinity,” said the swiftly buzzing bee
“My roof is my own, a thatch of woven needles
I have no dues, no dates to see.  No animal compares to me.”
“You cannot move, you’re anchored fast
Just watching, oh, ’t would be a bore, while bees can fly forevermore.”
“But nay,” explained the patient tree.  “For my sides are ragged with age
And each day has brought to me, sights unseen by busy bees
I hear the wind blow swift and free, the river sings melodically
Each weathered scratch that you can see marks a new discovery.”
The scoffing bee, away has flown; the wise old tree lets out a moan
“That poor bee never will have known the things I cherish for my own.”

Poem Copyright © 2002 by Chris Bohnhoff

 

In Your Shadow
by Leah Flake

Your friends think of you as some sort of goddess
I just happen to look a little like you
You’re the creative one who wrote that essay
I have the same mother as you
You’re the girl whose hair was green
I sleep in the room next to you
You get to graduate a year early
I’ll be hurt most when you do
You can go to any college you want to
I once argued with you over the front seat
You’re the artist with the camera
I used to play games with you in the basement
You have a job, and make your own money
I remember when you begged our parents for an allowance
You’ll be someone great one day
I know some of your darkest secrets
You’ve inspired people to be what they can be
I was the first one who listened
You’re everything I want to be
But I’m just your little sister

Poem Copyright © 2002 by Leah Flake

 

Division III
(grades 8-9)

I Got a Good Grade
by Heidi Marie Owen

Mommy, mommy I got a good grade!  I got an A!
Mommy, aren’t you proud?
You show no happiness
I got a good grade!  Shouldn’t you be proud?
But all you ever do is push me away
What do you want?  I try so hard
I know you were only 16 when you had me
I know you didn’t want me, but mommy, I still try hard; I still love you
Mommy, please show me some love… just a little
Mommy I need you!  I’m calling out to you
I got a good grade; aren’t you even a little happy?
Aren’t you even a little proud?
I did it all by myself; never had anyone’s help
Never asked you, even if I needed it
I’ve never asked you for anything
So why mommy, why?  Why don’t you love me?
Mommy, mommy, I got a good grade
I did it for you!
Don’t you love me a little for that?

Poem Copyright © 2002 by Heidi Marie Owen

 

Division IV
(grades 10-12)

Memphis
by Emily C. McLemore

I traveled south and east to Tennessee with family in the month of June
When I was hardly more than nine, and I recall the black man at the drug store
Who lowered his eyes submissively to the steaming pavement
As I watched him with curiosity from the backseat of my mother’s white station wagon
His worn skin and coarse black hair shining with perspiration in the high midday sun
He rubbed his unshaven chin, the stubble dense and graying
With large, leathery hands, his fingernails caked with dirt

In the evening, after the sun had set
My stepsister and I chased the glow of fireflies, dancing lights in the darkness
The warm air swirling heavily around our bare legs and arms, thick with mosquitoes 
Sweat, glistening on our faces and throats like sweetened moonwater
While the shadows of two little colored girls without shoes
Their feet covered with reddened dust from the dirt road, their dark hair in braids
Watched us from the road, and ate dime store candy

Poem Copyright © 2002 by Emily C. McLemore

 

Babysitting
by Stacey Berendt

Gazing at the baby boy
Screaming in my arms
Warm tears are streaming
Down his cheeks
Falling on my right shoulder
I stroke his trembling back
While he cries for his mom
And the song “Close to You”
Begins to play in my head
Suddenly he stops
The only sound
Is my humming
And his little nose
Rhythmically breathing in and out
His sea blue eyes
Are now closed
And his wispy light blonde hair
Is laying gently across his forehead
Gazing at the baby boy
Sleeping in my arms

Poem Copyright © 2002 by Stacey Berendt