2020 Student Poetry Contest

Division Winners

Division I
(grades 3-5)

Grandmother
by Elizabeth Bijleveld

She sits in the old chair, neglected, discarded in the corner
Her tear-stained cheeks,
Her wispy, ashen hair,
Her sunken, closed eyes,
Her face, blank and expressionless.
Memories, coming and going, are too slippery
for her to grasp.
Grandmother is too frail
to remember.
No scolding, cursing, no tears shed,
Will make her change
Her mind is twisted, she is sad and lonely,
Everything is quiet, oh, so quiet.
But a tinkling laugh breaks through.
A warm shard of joy, through the cold mist that enveloped her.
Grandmother's eyes flutter open,
And see a child, smiling.
Grandmother's eyes crinkle, and her heart fills once again.
Hot, sweet, tears slide down her cheeks.
Honey-like tears, ones that will stay forever

Poem Copyright © 2020 by Elizabeth Bijleveld

 

The Honeybee Highway
by Jordyn Gibbs

In my backyard there stands a hive,
a big white box where honey bees thrive.
Busy bees toiling all day long
striving to bring the nectar home.
They pollinate fields, the flowers, and crops
Then carry the pollen back into the box.
The queen bee is happy and dances a jig
Soon honey will be flowing and the yield will be big
Tall jars of honey cut fresh from the combs
Waiting to be devoured by the people at home
Sweet, sweet honey to spread thick on a bun
Thank you, my bees, for the work you have done.

Poem Copyright © 2020 by Jordyn Gibbs

The World Is Full of Peace
by Benjamin Mallaber

Birds are singing and calling, leaves on trees are falling,
Buds on flowers are growing,
And I am knowing ...
The world is full of peace.
Some things that bring me peace are reading a book, or maybe just to cook,
Or making angels in the snow,
And I know ...
The world is full of peace.
During the hot summer, I can take a cool shower,
or turn the air conditioner up to full power,
Or just go with the flow,
And I'll know ...
The world is full of peace.
Now I'm at the beach, I have ice cream, flavored peach,
The tide comes up high and touches my toe,
And I know ...
The world is full of peace.
Now my cat Buttercup is sunning, and my other cat Marmalade is running,
And I am here to show,
That I know ...
The world is full of peace.

Poem Copyright © 2020 by Benjamin Mallaber

 

 

Division II
(grades 6-7)

Old Master
by Abigail Waldner

Transfixed, I watch,
The Artist
Molding, shaping, forming, planning
He carefully chooses a brush
Worn, but still viable,
Thoughtfully, He starts His creation.
Each stroke true ...
Firm.
Mixtures of vivid colors sweeping across a colorful canvas
He selects a finer brush,
Meticulously starting with the details,
The essence of His painting.
The Artist
Nimble fingers guiding it with strong, precise strokes;
The point of His brush deftly adding the final touches.
He stands back, observing with satisfaction, his masterpiece,
Smiling triumphantly.
He has just created you.

Poem Copyright © 2020 by Abigail Waldner

 

Change
by Emily Bachand

Crisp leaves of swaying oak trees fall delicately to the ground.
Listen to the crack of nuts tumble onto the streets below.
The Harvest moon peeks through the dense clouds.
Bees vigorously prepare for the season ahead.
Fall lingers, soon to be left behind.
Flurries of snow dance in the frosty breeze.
Naked trees yearn for their next bloom.
Wolves howl through the soft, swift winter wind.
Icicles dangle, taunting curious children with their glistening coat.
Winter is awakened.
The subtle scent of flowers weave through the fresh air.
Finally, daffodils poke their heads through the green grass.
Spring showers the world with color and laughter.
Gratitude spreads over land and sea, like wildfire.
Spring is caught at the tips of nature's fingers.
The aroma of lavender fields carries across the countryside.
Distinct taste of ocean salt melts on my tongue.
Large splashes from cannonball contests drench spectators.
Ice cream cones drip at the sight of the radiant summer sun.
Summer dreams, so far away.

Poem Copyright © 2020 by Emily Bachand

 

When Spring Awoke
by Hanah Rahmatullah

When Spring awoke from beneath the frosty ground
And embraced all with her loving arms
The sky was set alight with glimmering sun
Casting forth warmth that lured
The buttercups and daisies sprinkled over the field
Towards it.
Cresting green hills threw off their shadowy bonnets
And the chattering stream bubbled pleasantly in welcome.
Slight zephyrs caressed the pearly waters
And ribboned through trees adorned with emerald sheathes.
Cascades of blushing wisteria brushed the soft grass
Like quick kisses.
Daffodils and irises were enveloped in clouds of their sweet musk
Gazing reprovingly as purple loosestrife
Shook its luxuriant tangled locks vainly.
The painted azure sky looked down fondly upon
The swollen incandescent clouds drifting past,
Vagrant white puffs pregnant with rain.
And Spring
Was happy.

Poem Copyright © 2020 by Hanah Rahmatullah

 

Division III
(grades 8-9)

A Dandelion Painted Field
by Rachel Ernst

Preschool class, only 4 years old,
Sarah and I, attached by the hip,
sitting in the field,
A dandelion painted field.
A strand of thoughtfulness,
runs through our heads,
as we start ripping dandelions from their beds.
Giggling, smiling,
grabbing every little tuff on a stem.
Finished the bouquet, proud as could be.
Strutted over to Ms. Shelly,
heads in the clouds, hands in the flowers.
Presented the masterpiece,
She replied, No. I'm allergic.
Those words, like a stab to the heart.
Our smiles were broken, we fell apart.
Maybe she was really allergic.
But then why would she,
be in a field,
a dandelion painted field?

Poem Copyright © 2020 by Rachel Ernst

 

Blue Sweater
by Alexandra Cohen

I think sometimes you are still here.
Your hand is wrinkled and paper thin
For me to hold onto.
Eyes the color of the ocean,
Twinkling in the light.
Your blue sweater,
Frayed and fragile
But it never bothered you.
I wish you were still here so you could have seen me grow.
You had the strength and endurance of a lion;
Fearless.
Your bold, bright, blue eyes comfort me in the darkest of times.
My love for you is a bond never-ending;
Infinity.
I see you as you sit in your blue sweater with your sparkling blue eyes
In your tan chair covered in plastic,
As you sit, you smile,
And it glistens in the light;
Always reflecting off your blue eyes.
I love you to the moon and back.

Poem Copyright © 2020 by Alexandra Cohen

 

I'm Tired
by Samuel Nixon

I'm tired,
Tired of breathing a bitter life.
I'm sick of dangling onto this prosaic day,
Echoing the same pointless tasks,
Hour after hour, day after day.
I'm tired,
Tired of being desolate and numb.
There's a parasite inside,
Gnawing away at anything lasting,
Emptying me out, until I'm gone.
I'm tired,
Tired of rolling about in my bed, screaming,
To the absence of an audience.
Wounded and pained,
Brittle and trapped.
I'm tired,
Maybe I'll get some rest.
The thought of waking,
and reliving the same day,
makes me not want to rise again.

Poem Copyright © 2020 by Samuel Nixon

 

Division IV
(grades 10-12)

A Mother's Eyes
by Claire Qiu

My little girl, small and rosy-cheeked,
Clutches her prized Snow White doll in one chubby hand
And points to a fresh box of waxy crayons with the other.
Tongue slightly out, she bends her curly head over her drawing,
An elaborate construction of stick figures
Boasting crayon curls and marker-rouged lips,
Signed, To Mommy, I Love You. She grows up too quickly -
Trades in her dolls for headphones,
Crayons for blue bubbles of text,
My doting embrace for the arms of a strange boy.
She's not listening, leave her alone,
But Mom, I love him! You just don't understand.
Defiant eyes avoiding my concerned gaze,
Cold shoulders evading my searching touch.
So I sit and let down my graying hair,
Massage the beginnings of arthritis in my dry hands,
And hope that one day she will come running back to me
That despite whatever happens, I raised her all right.

Poem Copyright © 2020 by Claire Qiu

 

Imitation Is the Highest Form of Flattery
by Laurel Harnish

Summer trudged on,
The air heavy, laying its usual burden on their shoulders to carry for but a minute.
The usually cool concrete vengeful to all those who laid their feet on it
The shade of the honeysuckle, sickly sweet
but satisfactory all the same.
Juice running down my fingers, down my chin.
Her fingers far more dexterous than mine,
the soil had not received a single drop of her popsicle,
while the majority of mine had long since planted itself there.
I made short work of the quickly melting ice,
Licking the wooden stick till all I could taste was
the tree it belonged to and the watered-down punchline of a joke.
She took much longer, not chewing and chomping.
"It'd be faster, if you just used your teeth,"
The words coming from my mouth were sticky with artificial cherry flavoring,
laced with the hope she'd give her leftovers to me.
"But then my teeth would be cold," Her tongue blue but the rest of her face clean.
"Oh," A realization bursting forth.
Maybe my teeth get cold too,
Maybe I'm just like her.

Poem Copyright © 2020 by Laurel Harnish

 

Whispers
by Sylvia Woodbury

I hear what they whisper about me,
eyes darkened with hate, tongues spilling sharp words
like syrup from a jug: bare and insistent and creeping.
The silent voices tell me to sharpen up the blades,
to carve poisoned lines into only my mind.
Don't hurt others, no matter what you do, they hiss, sibilant.
Anger is for others to wield against you.
So my mouth instead overflows dust, waste, starry ruin—
when I talk, my words are coated in obscurity and confectionary lies,
iron nails dripping honey so they slide out of my throat.
Quick and frantic, the sugared vowels glint like fool's gold,
nesting beneath the coal-black earth in all the forgotten dark places.
In the end, the oily grease of a thousand honeyed words
coats me in invisibility so that I slip
from conversation to conversation
like a shadow.

Poem Copyright © 2020 by Sylvia Woodbury

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©2020 by The America Library of Poetry.