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2014 Student Poetry Contest

Division Winners

Division I
(grades 3-5)


by Bridgette Rupp




and caramel streaks

race across the immense beach,

scattering sand behind them,

galloping with the wind,

spreading across the sand in the open, empty night.

Only the sound of hooves against the warm earth

in the humid, summer night

fills the air around the sweaty beasts.

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Bridgette Rupp



by Linnea Geenen

Tapping against the glass,

tears fall from the sky,

as a river of sadness overflows.

The clouds cannot contain their sorrow.

Blanketing the world in darkness,

the sky lights up,

as screams echo through the air.

Dark gray turns to black.

Anger bursts forth,

as the clouds breathe out,

loud as a lion's roar.

The storm goes on.

The screaming softens,

to a moan,

and tears flow out again.

There is one last sniff ...

Then silence.

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Linnea Geenen


My Heavenly Mother

by Mary Esposito

The sun

Waves her dancing limbs

Sheltering my planet

And showering warmth

Upon the frigid corners

Of the world.

I bask in her glory

Absorbing her presence

Observing her radiance

Like an angel from Heaven.

The sun lifts me up

And cradles me in

Her rays of hope and light.

My heavenly mother

Always watching over me

In her golden kingdom bright.

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Mary Esposito

 Division II
(grades 6-7)


by Ann Zhang

In a disgraced and polluted city

near the old orphanage, where he grew up

the old man lives in half a cardboard box and as they walk by they taunt him;

tease his muddied clothes, the crooked way he walks

Their words become the wood to the fire of his suffering

But my dear, burning takes time, and he lives, not dead but dying

No one knows the old man’s name they blow smoke into the air and explode with laughter around him

they shatter bottles of alcohol against the sidewalks

But despite their wretched doings, the old man gives

He gives every last bit of his life and pours it into those around him

He fills the empty hearts of the children, when their father is drunk in the cellar

and their mother ran off to some boyfriend’s party

He expects nothing in return for his tender deeds

The old man makes us wonder why we, those who have so much

cry in vain over such lesser things, so blind and ignorant

and those with empty pockets have fuller hearts

and love with more honesty than we could ever buy

Today, I think wistfully of the old man

as I throw a bitter rose onto his grave

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Ann Zhang



by Allison Regenwether

He was disgusting;

His nails grotesque and long as they raked through my hair;

His breath horrid as he breathed down my neck;

Close your eyes;

take a deep breath;

Open those eyes, but he’s still there;

He’s always there;

Always waiting, always watching;

Ready to pounce at any second;

Whispering as I shake;

Persuading me to quit;

To join him;

It would be easy, oh, easy would be nice;

His voice dripped with malign as his words grew;


Louder in my head;

I step forward;

His voice fades;

I clear my throat, I feel proud;

But he’s always there, always watching.

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Allison Regenwether


by Eleanor Wikstrom

Past windows of filth where light struggles to breach

On a floor where hatred and turned heads

have bred cruel markings of 'the greater good'

Lies a woman under the deep sleep of oppression.

Ubiquitous on her skin is a barcode that lets the others know she's hopeless

In her dreams she calls out to the family she's lost

and wonders how she can get them back.

She remembers the forks in the road for opportunity

that were always closed when she reached them

A taunt that turned into bullying, bullying that turned into reality,

reality that turned into a dream.

The belaying rope snapped before she could reach the top

Hidden, like a diseased child, she awaits for a time to escape her bounds

Reveal her ferocious roar, a roar of injustice, lost chances, and a leader's fear.

To regain what she lost in a land where all the doors are closed

Possibility a Heaven that she will reach.

A woman, the unwanted meal of the justice system

Phosphorescent, shuddering with anticipation, smelling eternity Prophecy.

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Eleanor Wikstrom


Division III
(grades 8-9)


by Veronica Enierga

She was built upon concrete, compacted sand

The gilded metropolis with all its secrets hidden within flashing lights

Look stark naked to the penetrating eye,

Perversity, lingered in the dark alleys smelling like must and lust alike, the similarities

It lingered, the heavy perfumes that covered the city

Blocking God’s golden whips of fire that burned the clothes right off her,

Leaving her bare to stand before judgment, like Eve and Pandora before her

She let her streets run rampant, as if willingly, seducingly

Letting the poisons she calls wings burn through her veins, charring her to her roots

Now she stands in rubble, grotesque disfigured glass

No angels guard her gates of entrance, but all leave willingly

Alone, the metropolis cried displaying her atrocities to purify under the golden sun-

It was instant, leaving nothing but ash and dust in her place

Simply she disappeared, as if Death had not kissed her but consumed her with all her sins

Leaving nothing to grow but a single blooming 'shroom,

Gray, standing for nothing but for humanity in its most savage form.

Lying in dust she dreams, once she stood on concrete-

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Veronica Enierga




by Olivia Loehr

My hands move across the lines of yours, young on old, soft on scarred

I know these hands, they've played ‘go-fish’ and bandaged knobby knees

I know these hands, but I never really knew,

how these hands carried a young man's dreams

how they trembled when your father yelled, as you hid them in the pockets of your jeans

how the ring threatened to slip from your moist palms as you bent down on one knee

how your fingers shook as you held your daughter for the first time

how the sun beat down upon your back as you lay the bricks, to make a home

Every crease of your skin shows the strength it took to build a home,

to stay, and the courage summoned to leave, leave it all behind

To bury your broken dreams with the dirt of the land you loved

To begin again in a place of new language and new labels.

These hands, picking your pride off the ground

Scrubbing floors and painting walls

These hands carrying dreams, for your children, of your children

My hands, so small, so frail, rest in yours, so strong, so still I hold this legacy,

I hold my dreams, hands full with the promise of what waits for me

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Olivia Loehr


The Battle (A Dedication To My Mother)

by Emily Kosker

She enters the ring ready to fight

The battle will be tough, but she has God on her side

Determined and ready she gives the first swing

And with a powerful blow she knocks it down

But it bounces back up; it hits her hard

She stumbles a moment but doesn’t quit

Though tired and weary, she battles on

A warrior against a cancerous foe

She fights for her family; she fights for her life

We, the spectators, are all on her side

Looking at me, she gives a fearless wink

Then summoning all that’s left of her strength

There it is; the knockout blow;

This one is just for me

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Emily Kosker


Division IV
(grades 10-12)

Home Alone

by Brittany Loveless

Damp wooden planks lie staggered across the floorboard,

bent rusty nails keeping them in place.

she hides in the corner leaning; holding up what's left of the wall,

and it pushes back; holding up what's left of her.

hunched over with her knees molded to her chest, huge sobs rack her body,

taking over, like an irregular heartbeat.

gripping the picture, she'd do anything to go back to that picture,

that picture, no matter how it makes her mind scream in agony

torn along the edges, the slightly faded image marked in fingerprints,

covers up the deception of an 'All-American' family.

posed ... with quiet smiles plastered onto their silhouettes,

showcasing pearly white teeth, painfully positioned next to each other.

artificial laughter, suspended, in the air, in that moment,

to cover up the hushed lies that are so clear now that there's nothing else to see.

Strength drained from remembering the nightmare,

she regrets letting the weeds of lies grow out of the picture

and tangle in her reality … too late, once again.

The fire, thirsting for fuel, doesn't always get rid of the wood in the process of burning,

but scars it, scorches it, and then pushes it to the side

leaving a smoky reminder of what it never was.

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Brittany Loveless


Bombay Slum Evening

by Shaloni Pinto

The old woman sits wobbling the child on her venerable frame.

Her paper hands cover the child's portly fists in a warm embrace

as she croons an age-old lullaby midst the russet red dust coating

the barren roads and the skeleton remains of a town,

now exuberant with hued and crowded tents.

The evening sunset sinks, trailing the woman's chair and animating her shadows

which fall into haze of angled rubble and uncharacteristic putrescence that envelops the pair.

The  child gazes at the crinkled face of the woman,

warbling in tones only known to harmony of their off-pitch voices.

The blur of daylight combined with the screaming children and desperate parents

has assuaged to despondence visible in the yearning looks of the meager children,

who with bones sharply protruding from their bodies,

lay their heads on their mothers laps' dreading the days to come.

The nimbleness of the lullaby seems to escape the constricting air,

the mass of growing shadows, the rubble of an exhausted town

till all who are packed in clusters of weary masses attune their ears to hear

the nearest concept of a foreign notion named


Poem Copyright © 2014 by Shaloni Pinto



by Evan Fishburn

There she is, over there, the one outfitted in the artless gown

made of cotton, and the lace apron made of cambric – see her?

The one with the paperbound book balanced delicately on her knee,

with a good head on her shoulders and a pristine Bachelors in English framed on her apartment wall?

Yeah, that one, with the wispy white hair and limbs – thin and frail –

and the pallid skin and mellifluous features so delicate they look sketched on this very afternoon;

the one who wants to write for the – Times and get swept away by the success of her own anonymity,

and live in the city, and pass the Sunday markets

and buy a parcel of sweet rolls and honeydew and chrysanthemums (even though she's allergic);

she wants to stroll past the tuileries in April, wearing those designer shoes by –,

and pose for the flashing cameras in her mind …

See her hands tremble as she turns a page?

And her head turn toward the women entering from across the room?

She isn't like them, tied down to a reputation or a man who sells stocks.

No, she'd rather embark on an expedition of an extravagance worth keeping.

She'd rather be the nameless face, reading, alone, afraid to lose it all.

Poem Copyright © 2014 by Evan Fishburn

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