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©2020 by The America Library of Poetry.

2013 Student Poetry Contest

Division Winners

Division I
(grades 3-5)

The Magician
by Molly Schuh

His cape is the open galaxy
Free with stars for all to see
His wand is a lightning bolt
With booming thunder that never grows old
His black top hat is magical
Filled with comets that are wonderful
His playing cards are constellations
Seen flying through our observations
His juggling balls are the planets and on them you can see
Soaring above the Earth and clouds, flying, is me

 

Poem Copyright © 2013 by Molly Schuh

Sun Over War
by Daniel Penney

 

The sun sets over the fierce battle,
not paying mind to the praying of warriors
fallen below on the scorched soil,
which went from calm, sunny meadow
to fierce, bloody battle.
Unique, beautiful flowers
crunched to dust by retreating soldiers' boots,
and the never-ending hail fire of artillery
creating this wretched place.
The soldiers curse,
some pray,
some weep for longing of their loved ones.
But some are driven by fiery anger,
wishing not to mourn friends and family alike,
but to avenge them.
Both the mourners and avengers wish for this conflict to end,
as the sun watches over.

Poem Copyright © 2013 by Daniel Penney

 

Winter In My Country ...
by Sanjana Mendon

On a cold winter morning
I stared out my window
Rocky mountains were snuggled
With a white blanket of snow
Crystal snowflakes fell lightly
On my porch
The sun peaked timidly
Behind the puffy clouds
Slowly and slowly taking time
The sun came out
Melting the snow
Leaving puddles of icy water
Around the house
How beautiful it is
Living in my country

Poem Copyright © 2013 by Sanjana Mendon

 

 

Division II
(grades 6-7)

The Gardener
by Hallet Thalheimer

 He sits on a stone, the gardener
Hands ungloved, feeling airy loam beneath his fingers
Shaping it into something
Diverse. Effervescent. Exotic
He takes dirt, transforms it into aloes, cedars
Tall and imposing, menacing yet beautiful
Strong
From tidy rows spring lettuce, kale, Swiss chard
From a wild scattering, dandelions and apples
From the young girl, sunflowers vibrant and upturned
From the elderly, cabbage and peas
The sailor tends to his Brussels and beans, The aeronaut, his date-palms.
The widow, thyme, oregano, a sprig of rosemary
Just one minute acorn forms an oak. Just one trivial cone grows a pine
A gardener must linger, be persistent. Tend to his plot
Must water. Must aspire. Must trust
I am a gardener

Poem Copyright © 2013 by Hallet Thalheimer

 

Freedom Flag
by Ekemini Nkanta

 A colored canvas
speckled with stars
lined with the colors of freedom,
waving in a silent sense of justice.
Even as the towers tumble
and the bombs explode,
it continues to stand
eternally free.
We confess in a pledge
of never-wavering allegiance,
and with hands over our hearts
we remember what it represents
and the liberty it promises.
Maybe,
in a more peaceful world,
we can fly among its stars
and sail across its stripes.

Poem Copyright © 2013 by Ekemini Nkanta

 

Autumn Mirage
by Raelyn Whitney

Countless beads of amber
shot through with brazen gold
pinned to broad stalks of bronze
'til set free by the cold.
'neath the orange canopy
but o'er earth and stone
a dusky pool fills the grove
with a forest of its own.
It seems to be in summer
but darker, deeper hues
like a sliver of another world
a mirror we see through.
Its trunks are dark, and almost black
its leaves, a midnight green
but as I watch, the image fades
again an autumn screen.

Poem Copyright © 2013 by Raelyn Whitney

 

Division III
(grades 8-9)

The Beholder 
by Bri Lewis

Messily spray painted eyesores full of hate and vulgarity
Cover the decrepit buildings
Tiny, rundown houses are full of poor families
With never enough food on the table
And parents who are never home
Children play on fields now overrun with weeds and tall grass
Schools with barely any books and students who don't care enough to notice
Pathetic teachers who never really wanted this job, teach the few
Students who are naïve enough to think they've got a shot at escape
The stink of all the garbage on the streets
The worst part of town
Colorful depictions of social injustice displayed across large brick canvases
Small homes with big families and just enough love to go around
And parents who work extra hard around the clock
Children play on
Dedicated teachers who make up for a lack of materials with a love of the job
And instill a thirst for knowledge and a belief that anything is possible
In the students who will work at it
The smell of hard work and belief and hope
The best part of town
The same part of town

Poem Copyright © 2013 by Bri Lewis

 

The War of Countries 
by Jane Chen

We are all created under the same sky.
Molded by the same pair of hands,
our breaths all saturated in the same clouds of air,
the feel of our palms indistinguishable to the blind man.
But the ignorant, shallow eyes of the seeing man do not look past the shade of skin;
he is blinded by his sight
and he categorizes us neatly,
on the clearly labeled shelves of the mind.
Carved from ancient wood,
these shelves have forever separated us,
forcing us to subconsciously repeat
the deeply etched words on the lines of our faces.
Foolishly, we fight,
turning our noses up at our kin,
blinded by our differences.
Trapped by our ancestors' judgmental gazes, we try to resist:
Yet, we are all inevitably drawn
into the war of countries.

Poem Copyright © 2013 by Jane Chen

 

His Hands Like Coconut Shell 
by Maya Best

 His hands like coconut shell
With frostbitten fingers wrapped up in holey mittens.
His breath in front of him, disappearing in the winter breeze.
His aging face and wise old eyes.
The battered Styrofoam cup, held, jingling every so often,
In hopes that someone will spare just a little to find something to eat,
Or a new pair of shoes.
The shelter, overflowing with its crumbling walls,
And endless lines of people with nowhere else to go.
Children, cold and small,
Packed into the crowd, eager for a place to sleep, a single meal to eat.
Lost, confused, dreaming ...
Somewhere where jobs are abundant, where money spreads equally.
A place of second chances, starting afresh, mending his mistakes,
Living the life he never had.
Lights fading, stores closing, night approaching.
He clings to his jacket.
His cheeks scorched and stinging, the thump of his heart slowing, forgotten.
The cup stops jingling, the man stops breathing,
All is quiet now.

Poem Copyright © 2013 by Maya Best

 

Division IV
(grades 10-12)

Silver Scars 
by Mary Bertschi

 What she remembers are little sausage fingers,
Galaxies of paint, and glitter, dancing across ivory palms.
Tiny hands grabbing and giving,
All with dirt under nubby nails.
Years etched themselves into
A child’s hands with silver scars
And with each passing season, new lines.
Time flew by and nails grew,
And paint was replaced
By cherry varnish and filed tips,
And she continued to search for
The dirty grubby hands she knew.
New yet familiar hands
Illuminated from behind by the glow from car taillights,
And in the front glowing with light from the rising sun.
The last thing she remembers
Are those hands she grew up with,
And loved,
Trailing out a sad car window
And slowly waving goodbye.

Poem Copyright © 2013 by Mary Bertschi

 

Appassionato 
by Emily Curtin 

Music enraptures this daughter of Eve
Emotion bursting from euphonious note
'tis built and dies with harmony
Mystery in tenuous stroke
Trebling or purely flat
Music proclaims in waves
Pathos, Eros, Lovers' spat
A ruthless villain's rage
In life, in love, in God, in trust
Our lives with music we must equate
Project meaning, our thoughts discussed
Yet with diminuendo its grandeur grows faint
Yes music enraptures this daughter of Eve
It overwhelms with a longing innate.

Poem Copyright © 2013 by Emily Curtin

 

Man Overboard 
by Adriane Tharp

 Amelie was sealed inside herself like a Russian doll,
secrets written in the splinters of her wooden skin.
The people believed that if they shut out the sound,
it would cease to exist,
so eyes were averted from Amelie.
She cried diamonds into a satin pillowcase at dusk
while the moon retraced footprints in pursuit
of a mutual friend they used to know.
Beautiful and sad she scribbled in the sand with her finger.
She fell asleep on the shore to the waning echoes of Sea Foam Sound
and the ghostly awareness that his palm was still protected in hers.
The surf stole beautiful from the sands
and sad was all that remained of Amelie.

Poem Copyright © 2013 by Adriane Tharp