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2015 Student Poetry Contest

Division Winners

  Division I
(grades 3-5)

Illustrated City Flower
by Joya Breinholt

 The fringed leaves
Of the Japanese maple tree
Are familiar to the little girl
Her auburn brown eyes
Are captured by
An explosion of pink gypsy blossoms
The ticking of the clock
Is as audible as
Old airplane parts
Rusting and rusting
Over centuries and centuries
In the illusion of the sun

Poem Copyright © 2015 by Joya Breinholt


Elephants Running
by Samantha Cake 

At first only raindrops in the distance,
Then a ravenous thunderstorm ranting,
It evolves into boulders falling from the sky.
Elephants are running.
With fire in their hearts burning,
They stampede over the dry earth.
Dark eyes with compassion inlaid,
Focused on the rising sun,
Running and running towards the light.
Muscles flexing with stunning force,
Creating a tsunami of dust
That comes swirling down.
The mighty beasts tear across the savannah,
Blazing a trail in their wake,
Proving that nature is strong with determination.
Shaking the mighty earth,
Changing the future to come,
Feeling freedom blow across their foreheads.
Loving the world for what it is while running.

Poem Copyright © 2015 by Samantha Cake


Born To Fly
by Kaleb Caraway 

The time has come for mama to teach her young eaglet how to fly,
Easing him near the edge, she encourages him to try.
As he looks at the world below, fear and doubt arise,
Looking for assurance, he searches his mother's eyes.
Mother gently pushes him, her pride she can't deny,
This is your day, my child, you were born to fly.
You were born, you were born to fly,
On the wind of my spirit, you will soar above the sky. 
Stretch your wings, now is the time,
You are ready, you were born to fly.

Poem Copyright © 2015 by Kaleb Caraway


Division II
(grades 6-7)

by Fisher Boyd 

Maybe I do stay up late 'till my eyes shut on their own,
Reading, sometimes a book for the eighteenth time.
So what if I care about my grades
And they're above average
I'm proud of it
So, go ahead and shout,"Nerd!"
Across the hallway at me
I'll wear it as a title
And I'll be proud of it!
Wow, you stumped me
I still can't figure out
Why you would think that a word that I find complementing
Would be used 
As ammunition,
As an insult
Why would you think of it as a degrading put-down
For I find it as an honor
To carry around a badge that tells people that I am eccentric and smart.
But honestly,
I prefer,"Geek."

Poem Copyright © 2015 by Fisher Boyd


by Elaine Yang


Our secret battlefield was in my brother's room, no adults allowed.
The door was closed, the blinds shut tight, all the lights were off.
We huffed and we puffed 
as we pushed the beds into the farthest corners of the room.
Big, heavy comforters hid the beds from sight,
Propped up by pillows and cold bed frames standing guard.
Pillows were stepping stones carving paths around booby traps,
Stuffed animals were hostages shivering beneath the covers.
Huddled under a big green blanket, we would formulate a plan of attack together.
We would peek out at the enemy base to find the chinks in their armor.
As we wrapped our invisibility cloaks around ourselves 
and wished each other luck,
We would hear the enemy's thunderous cry, "To victory!"
All of a sudden,
The enemy was upon us, furiously tickling us, and whipping away the blankets.
We would glare fiercely at your brother marching,
Across the trampled path of pillows,
Carrying the freed hostages above his head like trophies.
My brother would lift the edge of their blue blanket, 
allowing him to enter their camp.
Your brother would sweep inside, blue cape trailing behind.
You and I would lie limply on the bed, silently watching the ceremony,
Defeated for the moment, but craving revenge.

Poem Copyright © 2015 by Elaine Yang


Falling Into Life
by Gillian Perrotta


The leaf slowly drifts down from the brightly lit tree,
It's colors a deep red, and fiery orange. 
I imagine that I am that leaf,
So beautiful, so graceful. 
Like a ballerina, twirling and leaping, 
I dance my way through the air. 
Each gust of wind, each new path I take,
A new experience, I gain knowledge. 
By the end of my breathtaking ride, 
I am like a wise old soul. 
While I am turning brown, and wrinkling on the outside,
I am full of wisdom, and bold colors, and joy. 
At the end of my journey, 
I am old, but I am new. 
I'm not just another green leaf on the tree, 
Or another brown haired, green eyed girl in the world. 
I am unique, just like the blazing leaf I catch in my palm. 
Its life is almost over, 
and a promising green bud will soon take its place on the tree. 
I stuff the leaf in my pocket, and continue walking down the forest path. 
While its journey has ended, mine has just begun.

Poem Copyright © 2015 by Gillian Perrotta


Division III
(grades 8-9)

by Kyle Macaluso

 Two weeks before,
I told him another story, he sipping his decaf mocha.
On occasion he'd chuckle,
thin lips smirked, blue eyes narrowed, their corners crinkled.
One week before,
steam rose from his mug, its path obstructed by his hanging head.
Once I finished my story, he stood and left,
leaving his drink untouched.
The day before,
he was uncombed and unshaven.
I started my story as he sat, and in exasperation he whipped his head up,
thin lips wavering, blue eyes gone bloodshot, dark circles underneath.
On the day,
his seat was empty.
The day after,
a woman filled his empty seat, she sighing after every gulp of her latte.
I asked if she would like to hear a story.

Poem Copyright © 2015 by Kyle Macaluso


Social Media
by Morgan Dennis 

She has 531 followers who she calls friends
She talks to them online–she's never actually met them
She claims she isn't lonely, but she's always looking down
Down upon the screen of a modern smartphone.
Sharing information to websites and apps,
All online for others to access.
She goes out to dinner with a group of friends
As they sit in silence on their phones, discussions end.
Are they having fun? Well I suppose.
I wouldn't know, their expressions are unknown.
She posted up a photo onto a social website
Faking a smile, hiding her actual state of mind
The photo reached 200 likes,
That is what matters at this time.
As she types "lol" she doesn't crack a smile
Texting is essential–it is part of her lifestyle
She lives in a world
Dependent on electronics
Social media is anything but social
Isn't that ironic?

Poem Copyright © 2015 by Morgan Dennis


by Amanda McNamara 

The tide tirelessly kisses her feet.
Her arm unfurls and dangles,
With no goal to meet.
Powdery velvet sand 
Caresses the fingertips 
Of her elegant hand.
Butterflies of an extravagant blue 
Flirt and flutter lazily by.
Angelic breezes rustle the knowing yew,
Whispering softly in her ear,
"You are freed from worry.
Your struggles are over. God is here."
It took eternity for her to understand
There is no need for anxiety.
God carries us in His hand. 
Peace. Peace. Peace.

Poem Copyright © 2015 by Amanda McNamara


Division IV
(grades 10-12)

Industria and Acedia
by Madison Seabrook

 Diligence flicks her callused finger towards Sloth, 
who slumps amongst a puff of dandelions tickling 
the edges of a pond, his fingers taut with lymph 
that has settled around bones the same way 
clouds seem to bloat over a sharp fragment of moon. 
She tickles, under his chin, stubble like stingers caught 
in skin, yet slick with the oils of a thousand naps.
She dreams they would run and dig for mussels,
laughing as children at those who sermonize
that only one can exist within each body. 
Diligence's yellow fox eyes might only rest 
after an eaglet has taken the first bit of air between his feathers.
Sloth's red clay eyes might only sharpen when she is near.
Sloth in a kaleidoscope does not split into colors, but slides 
to the bottom of the tube. Diligence flickers between
the honeycomb prism, tempting Sloth to come and play.
He who spends his time dreaming that he could invoke her into himself.
She who wishes she could lay her head on his steady chest.

Poem Copyright © 2015 by Madison Seasbrook


To Be a Woman
by Jodi Aleshire 

I am not yours.
My body is not your playground, your temple at which to worship
Keep your smudged fingers off, get your dirtied hands away
My story is not yours to alter, to twist, to rewrite for you alone
Do not tell me I am your Juliet, your Ophelia, Lolita, Rosalyn, Guinevere
I am not here for your eyes.
How do you have the gall to water me down all for your own consumption
I am broken glass sliding down your throat, I am vinegar poisoning your wine
Do not try and soften my edges, smooth my cracks and ridges
Though bent, broken, bloodied, bruised, you tell me I must stay beautiful
I am a woman.
How dare you presume I am soft as silk, smooth as satin
They may tell you I am made of man, from his breath, his bones, his dirt
But honey, that was long ago, now men are made from me
Laced with thorns, but I am not a flower, touch me and I will make you bleed
I am not fragile.
Do not think I am just your sister, your mother, your daughter, your aunt
I will not burn my flesh to provide for you before myself
Hand me the tinder and I will laugh and leave it in my place as I leave
I am not yours to burn and I never was.

Poem Copyright © 2015 by Jodi Aleshire


Tellurian Innocence
by Paulina Camara

 In the blistering days of her youth
Her father would tower over her
Providing her shade while she leaned on him
He would whisper very quietly
Of how she was born for this world
And how this world was born for her
The soft dirt would meet her small feet
As she ran to pluck flowers that called her name
The sun would kiss her delicate shoulders
While the leaves simpered at the brief graze of her skin
When the wind would pick up her father would dance with her
And her twirling would remind the moon of its celestial duties
She held the milky way in her lungs
And the stars in her eyes
And every day as the sun bid farewell
Long, dark outstretched arms awaited her
And she would run and hug her father close
The rough bark scratching her cheek lightly
As sunshine dripped from her hair
And nebulas spilled from her fingertips

Poem Copyright © 2015 by Paulina Camara

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