2022 Student Poetry Contest
Division Winners

Division I
(grades 3-5)

Shattered
by Chayale Grossbaum

A teen is on her phone
on Instagram and Facebook.
Her pointer finger tapping at each letter
bright letters and bright apps.
Taps hard on Instagram, fast videos.
TikTok dances.
WhatsApp.
Twitter.
Taps more and more.
Texting each friend.
Calling each number.
Everyone is in touch constantly.
Suddenly, the phone drops.
The phone shatters.
Sobbing is heard.
She is clicking on pink sparkling phone
on prickly glass pieces.
Amazon $100 spent.
She quickly presses "Buy now".
She's back to her shattering routine of a life.

Poem Copyright © 2022 by Chayale Grossbaum

 

Out of Darkness
by Sierra Lemon

During the long 3 years battling depression and dark
Staying in lonely bubbles with nobody to see and nothing to do
The world became black and white with nothing in sight
Only seeing my friends on some glitchy camera
This crown wearing virus spread across the world like a brush fire
It burned down businesses and melted our way of life
I felt it would go on forever
How I wished everything could go back to normal
When I got back to school there was a glimmer of light
I saw smiles peeking from behind masks
We met outside and played sports again
All the colors of the world began to return
Now without masks my friends return to play at my house
Businesses return and spirits boom
I travel and soak up the warmness of light
Life has returned and I feel happy

Poem Copyright © 2022 by Sierra Lemon

Getting Through the Journey
by Makenna Patterson

Cancer brings small
roller coasters
time of worry, fear,
then love.
Peaceful music and spilling feelings
soft candle flames flicker
sometimes being angry at God
"Why is this our path?"
There will always be light
in the darkest skies.
One wave,
one hug,
one smile,
can make a huge difference.

Poem Copyright © 2022 by Makenna Patterson

 

 

Division II
(grades 6-7)

The Feast
by Jax Dunn

At the window, in the back
Sat a faint, but golden speck.
Body with eight legs, and sharp, powerful fangs,
Swinging back and forth on a thin, silver thread.
And down it climbed to meet its feast.
Down a long, winding strand of silk.
There, it bound its prey,
And under the opalescent moon in the warm night air,
they began to sway.
Faster and faster, the Caterpillar squirmed.
It struggled in the net, as if crying for help,
but it was to no avail.
So I observed the two,
with keen, and watchful eye.
And as I witnessed, the dominance of the inevitable spider,
It left me with curiosity.
What is power, that one mere mortal, decides the fate of another?
As if held in the palm of its hand
I imagined the caterpillar pleading for mercy,
But the Spider's only reply was: "No."

Poem Copyright © 2022 by Jax Dunn

 

The Year of Rain
by Rose Long

The pounding of water slaps on the concrete
I look out my dirt-stained window
and race the droplets of rain
A flood of light bolts through the house
and a boom as loud as a cannon
fills my chest
like the drums in a marching band
I'm unfazed by the explosion of feelings
as if it were never there
the house leans dangerously at the wispy hands of the wind
staring at the cars moving left to right outside
where I cannot go
The sounds and feelings that fill my body
the wind that could knock an elephant off its feet
the isolation of the outside world
has trudged on
for one full year

Poem Copyright © 2022 by Rose Long

 

Sun
by Masen Odell

She blazes brilliant on all the land,
Scorching deserts, burning sand.
Her talons scream
Clasping greedily
Amber eyes all fiery
She claws her way through open sky
A metaphor
For truth versus lie.
The ice beneath her shifts
And crawls
She watches silently atop mountain walls
Glowering down on what befalls.
Reflective off the snow and sea,
She glimmers in brilliant dignity,
Streaming beauteous rays
Of longevity.
She watches down
On all she reigns
'Til the twilight
Takes over again.

Poem Copyright © 2022 by Masen Odell

 

Division III
(grades 8-9)

Biscuits and Jam
by Ella Stevenson

It can all be fixed with biscuits and jam,
Every wet and dripping tear and every word that struck too deep
With that small, ethereal ritual the world is sewn together once more,
the tapestry complete
The lethargic reaching out to the jar,
the slow maneuver of the shining silver knife into the
Deep red jam dotted with crunchy seeds,
softly squelching and then unhurriedly
Smeared, blanketing the soft and airy biscuit
Perfectly simple, profoundly insignificant, gapingly trivial
And the quiet act leaves me breathless,
as the bread swims through the air towards my watering mouth
And the silence ... it hugs me, guards me
and the wars and blood outside me fall into oblivion
And my thoughts drift outside of me, and I have found it
Life, love, joy, peace, right here, at this table placed in a worn-out kitchen
With a simple biscuit and sticky sweet jam
Maybe just maybe
Once we all find our biscuits and jam, our scintilla of joy
We can commune together,
partaking of this small, hushed offering from life itself
And all be part of each other once more

Poem Copyright © 2022 by Ella Stevenson

 

Uploading ...
by Isabella Konowicz

Snap. Take it again.
There are circles under my eyes from scrolling in the dark late last night.
Hide them with a fake smile, so at least I will seem like I am happy.
Edit. Brighten everything so you can't see the darkness inside me as I judge myself.
Post. I watch the symbol spin, eyes frozen.
Uploading ... Uploading ... Uploading ...
Wait. What if I hit cancel before I can't?
I should be the only opinion that matters when it comes to being me, but I need their comments. Likes. Views.
To feel like a whole or at least not in pieces.
I am addicted to keeping a streak, to watching a bar fill slowly,
sealing my fate, feeding my hunger, only to leave me wanting more.
Just a few more followers, because people love a pretty face right?
Because I am a pretty face right?
Uploading ... Uploading ... Uploading ...
This lie will always be better than the truth, for I am the truth, and no one wants that.
So I wait for the perfect image of what I must be to appear.
Searching for myself in the frame but finding everything I am not instead.
This is worse than a mirror, for at least that is honest.
Here my fake self creates fake friends who have real problems
so I can't complain about mine.
All I am is a snapshot.
Pixels on a screen trying to be perfect, hoping that this photo is the one that will let me.
Uploaded.

Poem Copyright © 2022 by Isabella Konowicz

 

Pulse
by Lyla King

My heart is in the apple tree
where the sun warmed my face the same way it did the leaves,
Where I belonged to something,
Where wisps of your hair danced with the wind
and a butterfly landed on your nose,
You said my eyes looked unreal out here,
And that made me smile,
that made me breathe out the thorns caught in my lungs,
Glancing at you from across the porch wall,
I never wanted the sun to sink, never wanted your eyes to close,
But the match of the pink in your cheeks
and the pink in the blossoms brought me back,
My heart is where we traveled the town on our skateboards
and swore to buy the house on the corner,
We dreamt of turning it into a bookstore cafe,
My heart is at our picnic spot with your strawberry stained smile,
Where we made flower crowns and danced in our best dresses,
It's in that quiet town where we thought no one else lived,
Where we made pinky promises and wishes on dandelions,
And we climbed your Dad's boat in our jean shorts to reach the cherry tree,
Nothing ever tasted better,
And now I live my life through my memories,
My heart beat with you,
But today they search everywhere for a pulse,

Poem Copyright © 2022 by Lyla King

 

Division IV
(grades 10-12)

The Mirror
by Allison Lange

I knew the pearly glass before I knew my first friend,
Playing dress-up with smudges of lipstick and blushed reveries.
She didn't say much so I made up the words for her,
She tilted my head and sang of the way my skin curved,
Pulling me closer with the hush of advice well-deserved.
I leaned over the sink to look eye to eye with that girl in the glass,
Up close porous and lined and wrong.
Words dripped from her lips like tar that caught in my throat,
Telling me tales of the fairies in the magazine on the counter,
Up close divine and smooth and right.
Until their powder pink cheeks and clumped lashes might as well be a sneer.
She told me she dealt in truths like the boys dealt in go-fish cards,
And I believed her.

Poem Copyright © 2022 by Allison Lange

 

Painter By the Sea
by Pyramid Within

Crusted
Peeling
Blue
His easel adorned with the waves of the curtain's presentation
Paint palettes stacked and scraped clean of their past concoctions
The salty air coats his lips
Two stories down the cobblestone leads no way
but instead cradles the spilled fruit and stumbling families
In three hours collecting checks turns to gathering shells
Spiraling bubblegum
Pale sheets
Brown blemishes
His paint brushes tell nothing of the aching wrists
Tired eyes
The shore and its colored stones
Castles melted to the ankles of laughing toddlers
Sails pulling fishermen away from their catch
Just waves
Their crystallizing reflection
Strings of light flying across their surface
Depths not quite visible but felt
Resting the filbert in the gray waters to soak, he chooses marigold
For no one paints the ocean orange 

Poem Copyright © 2022 by Pyramid Within

 

From Root To Leaf
by Payton Fraser

Do not give me your shiny, new things.
I want something to cherish.
So old, so fragile, so filled with memories,
that even holding it, 
takes me back to you.
The off-white pages of a gardening book
somehow remind me of who I used to be.
Afterall—our handwriting is the same.
Smells of antiques and old keepsakes
flash me back to a time:
older, wiser, different.
Now when I smell these again,
I remember that I'm still a part of you.
I know we've never met,
but I, a vessel of the goodness and love you held, still remain.
One day, I too will pass down
old gardening books, antiques, keepsakes, and the way I write the letter y
and we shall meet at last and talk
about everything we used to be,
just as in the fall the root once again meets the leaf.

Poem Copyright © 2022 by Payton Fraser