2021 Student Poetry Contest
Division Winners

Division I
(grades 3-5)

Paper Trail
by Olivia Hong

Bursts of color pepper the skin of my notebook like chickenpox.
They spread throughout the pages like a contagious disease.
There is no cure for my ideas.
Post-It notes, sticky and bright, can lead my mind to recklessly, creative places,
the type you seem to never find a way out of.
Doodles of deer are dangerously close to definitions.
Sketches of the Cheshire cat spying on me, unashamed while I study,
his stares creeping up my back.
And yet, they remind me of things that once were.
Calendars, tests, and schedules indeed.
My life is paved on perfect squares,
yet the road stretches far beyond what I see today.
Eventually, one day, the story ends,
But it may come back with a sequel.
These notes, small and sticky,
shape my life.

Poem Copyright © 2021 by Olivia Hong

 

The Hunt
by Lexi Ferguson

The pride, with a feared reputation, goes out for its meal with strong determination.
Teamwork, a strategic plan, looking for the weakest zebra if they can.
Their cunning strength will help them take down their prey today.
With stealthy footsteps they spread to the left and right,
not letting their prey out of sight.
Their hearts, drums beating fast, while stalking their prey in the tall, tall grass.
Majestic tawny brown coats, patiently waiting for the right time to pounce.
No fear, not even an ounce.
The zebra's ear pricks up in alarm, for it now knows of devastating harm.
It yelps as it gives way to chase, seeing the lion that it does not want to face.
Bounding across the savannah, the leader of the pride pounces at its prey.
In a deadly tussle, the zebra knows it cannot get away.
Each lion played their part that night to be awarded that zebra feast.
For they emerged from the dirt, a successful hunt for these majestic beasts.
From a victorious wrestle they stand, ruling queens of the land.

Poem Copyright © 2021 by Lexi Ferguson

Joshua Tree National Park
by Lillian Atkinson

Barren lands, thirsty for water
Yuccas welcome you forward
Mountains of boulders, begging you to climb
Trails of sand and rock - Stay on the path!
A shining green and pink hummingbird sips a flower's sweet punch
Winding up the scenic paths, wind whispers its song
Sun setting behind purple mountains
Nocturnal creatures awaken from their dens to find their breakfast
Stars wink in the pitch black dome above, filling the desert with calm

Poem Copyright © 2021 by Lillian Atkinson

 

 

Division II
(grades 6-7)

Lakeshore
by Camille Ahart

She sits by the lakeshore
In a lustrous, cornflower dress
Patterned with memories
Of sitting, at rest
Five years later
She dances with the weeds
Watches the flowers and the swirling seeds
Ten years later
Her mind on the future
Wondering if someday
When she'll mature
She'll have family of her own
To love, to nurture
Fifteen years later
The future is hers
She turns away from the flowers
The plants, the birds
The lake she once danced along
But she's all grown up
She's abandoned its song

Poem Copyright © 2021 by Camille Ahart

 

Painting of the Seasons
by Charlotte German

The sun drifting down through the painted sky
Revealing the patterns in the snow
Like an artist's unfinished brushstrokes
The cool blue tones of the winter snow cradle the Earth like a mother
Cradling her child
The mysterious dark green door
Surrounded by an unfinished painting
Draws my eyes to its array of beautiful colors
Tempting me to peek inside
The cold statue's ghostly grieving grey eyes
View her surroundings
As pale pink petals flutter through the wind
Brushing past her still body
The threat of a dreadful storm fills the air
Dew coated flowers squint their eyes towards the morning sun
Blooming into the spring with promises of happiness

Poem Copyright © 2021 by Charlotte German

 

Promise Land
by Gabriel Starr

In a world where immorality is the new normalcy
And cancel culture crushes companies carelessly
As sinful desires are sold as proof of sanity
The new world order is rising, and it's a catastrophe
Here the communists and socialists rise to the top
And your middle-class citizen is left to drop
No one questions the media, we'll all fall inline
Yet our lively hoods are on the firing line
I see this new world order, it's coming from afar
I'm searching for our dictators, look there they are!
It's social media, infecting minds of the young
And hierarchy governments controlling all our fun
But from where does the money come?
This mighty government will tax the fortunate some
But as the rich run out of money, and sink into the sand
Only the poor can fuel this 'Promise Land'
Sitting here now, I struggle with each line,
They don't want me to produce this song of mine
If it was up to them, I would not get my say,
That's why I fear if I'll make it through today.

Poem Copyright © 2021 by Gabriel Starr

 

Division III
(grades 8-9)

Siren
by Kirschten Methvin

An intoxicating sound,
whispers on the breeze
Empty promises of a life well lived,
Equipped with sorrows of death.
A thief of love and hope,
dancing across the waves
Lies weaved within her voice,
Sugarcoated and irresistibly sweet.
My heart yearns for more,
But I know this game too well
To fall into sickening sensation,
Destruction is all that will follow.
A battle against temptation,
A desperate fight bound to failure
To become only a myth or tale,
Escaping the grasp of memory.
Beware the games of the sea,
The gods of ocean and sky
And the executioner who sings,
A melody of dreams

Poem Copyright © 2021 by Kirschten Methvin

 

Mist of Morning
by Adelyn Newton

The Mist of Morning hovers o'er the ground
And shrouds dawn in an air of mystery.
Aurora's iv'ry garb, elusive fog
Which holds the early hours in bewitchery.
Not masking darkest deeds of moonless night,
Nor letting noonday's glare pervade the earth,
Not crashing like the waves upon the shore,
But silently accomp'ning morning's birth.
A hint of night yet lingers in the Mist;
Serenity and silence still prevail,
But not for long, for sun will soon burst forth
And make all thoughts of dark to pale.
But Mist was first to mingle with the flow'rs,
The first to give the tranquil lake a kiss,
And first to tenderly caress the ground:
Regard this hazy wanderer, this Mist,
A trav'ler never settling but content,
A time of peaceful solitude and calm,
An ache of loneliness yet blissful beauty:
How lovely is the spirit's dewy balm!

Poem Copyright © 2021 by Adelyn Newton

 

The Map
by Daniel Romsa

Black asphalt,
tanned and worn.
Imperfect gaps.
Edges shorn.
Tire marks
on sundried roads
Proof of the continuous cars that flowed.
Endless length,
and ample width.
The vast stories;
legends and myths.
The bonds made,
bonds broken.
Countless words that have been spoken.
Too many details you can unwrap,
yet another line on the endless map.

Poem Copyright © 2021 by Daniel Romsa

 

Division IV
(grades 10-12)

Growing Up
by Maya Klein

I stained my lips with berries before lipstick,
A smear of sugar and impatience.
We spent summer afternoons, chlorine and juice soiled skin,
Stretched out on your cold bathroom tiles and tangled in the shower curtain,
Where you taught me how to paint my nails so there's no lines or creases,
But I haven't painted them since.
Here in the future,
Curling cuticles and hands that once held yours
Clutch onto memories that dissipate like cotton candy,
Not sure if they were ever really there,
Except for the grenadine stain on my smile.
Steeping in memories, I can watch your eyes from afar,
Bathing and basking in sickly-sweet souvenirs.
Memories like clouds which can ignite into sunset, but also hold bitter rain:
The unforgiving asphalt on those afternoons, igniting my feet and scalding my skin,
Or the dizzying weight of chemicals that meant "growing up".
I'd much rather be draped in summer's golden embrace, in our laughter,
Than this feeble future that I'm sinking in.

Poem Copyright © 2021 by Maya Klein

 

Summer of the Wasps
by Gia Larson

Like all the years before, we share our summer with the wasps.
Sugar-sweet ice cream as a temptation for their appearance,
A wave of the hand and a cry as fuel for their departure.
The banks of mud and drowned dandelion house them best,
Next to the water park with children's-feet-marked asphalt.
There's something calming about their presence, albeit insignificant.
A constant sign of the summer- a reminder of sorts.
A harbinger of humid heat and blinding sun,
Children's cries and mother's exasperation.
As I stare blearily, face wet with sweat and fingers tacky,
They dance among the weeds and water.
Tiny, graceful, dangerous.
The threat of stings keeps me at bay, but even so I feel drawn
Toward their back-and-forth, yellow-black pirouettes.
Thus, when summer ends and the air-conditioning ceases,
I bid them farewell despite the absurdity. 

Poem Copyright © 2021 by Gia Larson

 

Iron
by Sondra Scoggin

My mother would check the heat of the iron,
By gently touching it.
The pads of her fingers,
Long ago worn away by chemicals,
Were not sensitive
like they used to be.
Her tongue, silenced before I was born,
Had lost the sharpness of
a stolen independence.
Her face, wrinkled and weary,
Wore the tear stained
Wails of stifled cries.
But her eyes never lost the glint,
of a thousand words
never to be whispered.
And my father
never knew life
in a wrinkled shirt.

Poem Copyright © 2021 by Sondra Scoggin