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2016 Winter Edition

Student Poetry Contest 
Division Winners

Division I
(grades 3-5)

My Pencil Is a Dancer
by Camille Ollard

She dances

twirling and swirling,

across the milk white paper,

her stage.

To me, a sentence.

To her, a dance

twirling, swirling, circling, flowing

with the music.

Scratch, scratch,

the sound of her bright red shoes.

Her flowing dress

like a bloomed daffodil.

At the end of every dance

she takes one last step

leaving behind one small dot.

She pauses

then floats up to join her fellow dancers

wearing identical yellow dresses.


ready to view the next show. 

Poem Copyright © 2016 by Camille Ollard


by Siena Lee

Heatedly dancing up and down,
Its orange light flickering up and over the shadows.
Pushing away darkness with a soft yet fierce glow,
Warmth flowing from its twirling flames.
Gray clouds puff up from its irritated crackling.
It burns down, extinguishing to become embers …
Only remnants of its once harsh temper.

Poem Copyright © 2016 by Siena Lee


Sister's Song
by Talayla Kieper

Through the glass I see you,
Such tiny little hands.
I cannot reach to touch you,
For this I was banned.
Mommy says they make you sleep a lot,
In order to get strong. 
Your little lungs do not work,
So to you I sing this song.
“Rest little brother,
Don’t you make a peep.
I want you to get better,
So please get your sleep.
I’ll stand by your side,
In the day or night.
Whispering soft songs,
So you will not be fright.
When your eyes open up,
You will finally see.
Your big sister waiting,
To give you your teddy.”

Poem Copyright © 2016 by Talayla Kieper


Division II
(grades 6-7)

The Sea
by Alexander Ashman

The sea is that of a thousand swans
Drinking upon the billows
From her lips, she brews a frothy bliss
Rest your head into her pillow
Her hair ripples in the breeze
Her eyes are knowing and plain
She’s experienced joy and laughter
But suffering just the same
You can hear her emerald giggle
In the caw of midnight gulls
Her lullabies soothe the sky
To sleep, as well as wooden hulls
You can tell her all your secrets,
Whisper them in her ear
She grins and flips her moistened hair
As daylight disappears
“Good night!” she cries to the setting sun
She puts the world at ease
“To bed,” she says with a flashing wink
“There’s another day to seize.”

Poem Copyright © 2016 by Alexander Ashman


by Isabel Yates

Hope is a wildfire
starting in the barren lands of melancholy and despair.
Something sparks: a flicker of faith, an ember of promise.
It could extinguish, never to return.
Or it could ignite, casting light on the darkness of desperation
and filling the emptiness of rejection.
The once small spark, now a wildfire,
spreading through the vast regions of our minds
and enveloping all traces of loss,
till all that is left is hope:
a wildfire of hope

Poem Copyright © 2016 by Isabel Yates


by Julia McNairy

Autumn swoops in
in a gorgeous gossamer gown
filled with colors as deep and dark as the sea
as merry and happy as a July sun
she casually waltzes by
knowing the world sighs and wonders at her beauty
Then with a gust of wind and a flourish
she strips the leaves from their branches
to decorate the cold earth
in the colors that reflect
the feeling of summer coming to a close
And as she departs
her work finished
knowing she will have to wait until next year
to be glorified and beloved by all the beauty lovers
in this cold cruel world
she sends the first frost
as her last effort
to let them shiver and quake
to know she will be back next year.


Poem Copyright © 2016 by Julia McNairy


Division III
(grades 8-9)

She Still Has Scars
by Ariana Williams

Her tears are censored
She's frozen
As she hides behind her mascara
And the lies
The lies they told her
She repeats them
It's her hope
False dreams tied around her wrists
Like rope
Like rope they lead her
Leaving marks
Thin red lines
Traced around her hips and arms
Which she hides
She soothes my worry
Sisterly and brave
"I'll live. I'm here.
I'm not afraid."

Poem Copyright © 2016 by Ariana Williams


by Noordeep Kaur

THE MOTHER catches herself caressing her stomach, and stops herself quickly,
It's a habit she's gotten used to, and it will not leave her very swiftly.
She looks around forlornly at the room she made for her,
sighing wistfully, for everything she had imagined will never occur.
Perhaps she would've been a Sophia, or maybe even a Rowan,
But now that seems like a right Death has stolen.
THE FATHER stares out the window, with a vacant, desolate stare,
eyes full of broken dreams and unwanted despair.
Without even seeing her, he has memorized her like a prayer,
And if she had decided to stay, he would've raised her with great care.
A teardrop nestles in the corner of his dull, brown eyes,
and he hopes that she knows that he will love her till the day he dies.
THE BROTHER plays quietly, with a petite doll in his hands,
even though he is lost in thought, thinking about other tempting lands.
Lands where there would've been a small girl at his side,
a girl he would've bickered with but still protected from the wild.
Everywhere he looks now, he receives looks of pity and sympathy,
And it’s only because without wanting to, she decided to break their hearts viciously. 
Another soul, another death, another broken family,
For Death this is a normal day, and he continues on grimly.

Poem Copyright © 2016 by Noordeep Kaur


If I Were To Become a Writer
by Tatum Brown 

If I were to become a writer, I'd take after the sky;
tapping deep into the night on my silver typewriter
and pasting every stray line and lyric,
every stanza and stack of dialogue,
every ellipsis,
typed thought,
every memory and punctuation mark
into a nebula of poetry
just for you
to explore with your kaleidoscope
and string my expressions of love

Poem Copyright © 2016 by Tatum Brown


Division IV
(grades 10-12)

A Season For Blueberries
by Wilson Haims

We chewed gum the color of sunsets, wooden stairs rotting beneath us,
The trees seemed a black cityscape across the water.
It was a season for blueberries
A time when things of the same color cluster closely together
A time for a kitchen thick with the aroma of sweet, sticky pies
A time for us not only to be children,
but cowboys with brooms to call horses and our fathers’ broad leather hats
placed hastily atop our small heads.
We were kids–
minds swollen with the prospect of ourselves
as we romped wildly,
barefooted along the rocky shore,
toes sprawling in the late August water.
In the evenings my feet dangled
from our rust-studded dock
like over-ripened blackberries,
bursting with the juice that the sun left behind.
My eyes would always see the warm blush of the sunset as I dreamed,
my feet would feel the gentle clutch of the water,
and my mouth would taste the final fresh winds of the season for blueberries.

Poem Copyright © 2016 by Wilson Haims


Freedom In a Box
by Emily Kombe

Filling out the form,
my hand, the color of "cafe con leche" as my mom says,
hovers indecisively over the African-American box.
"I am Zambian," I whisper to myself
Where the quickest up the curved mango tree gets to suck on its pit,
squatting above the warm compacted earth.
“I am Zambian,” I say again, louder this time
My chest swells with pride, like a lion presenting a kill to its mate
I am powerful and strong like an elephant with full tusks
From the goatskin djembe and vibrantly colored chitenges.
But, I am also German, New English, and Danish.
These and many more simplified down to American.
I am first generation Zambian-American, the first to check 2 boxes on the form.
I am mixed with more than just these two cultures.
I know there isn’t a box that captures all of me
But I wish the box didn’t confine me,
Didn’t decide if I got in or not,
Didn’t decide my race or background,
Didn’t decide me. 
You look at me, and guess I am African-American, the correct box is clear to you.
“Yes,” I say, but I am so much more than just the color of my skin,
so much more than just one box.

Poem Copyright © 2016 by Emily Kombe


by Ashleigh Baker

Is my son here? No.
Is my son here? No.
Is my son here? No.
Where is he then? He is at work.
Every day, I take part in a cruel joke
Deceivingly telling my resident that her son is at work
When her son is actually deceased.
She is my honey, frail, always shaking, with snow white hair
I often find myself wondering what she was like before
Before she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s
She used to be a caregiver, a hard-working woman trying to support her family
Her mind no longer processes
In a journal, she attempts to write - to remember,
but only "and, I, and, then, I wonder" are listed.
She always asks for her son until the sundowning takes place
By this witching hour, she is begging for forgiveness
Her son died in a car wreck - she was driving the car.
Is my son here? No.
He was my baby. I know … he loves you.
Please bring him back …
Honey, he will be back when you are

Poem Copyright © 2016 by Ashleigh Baker

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