POETRY

2014 4th annual themed
TEEN POETRY CONTEST
Open to teens in grades 6 to 12
who are residents of Essex County in Massachusetts




RULES:
Open to teens in grades 6 to 12.
Poem's author must be a resident of Essex County, in Massachusetts.
Poem entries must be original work.
Maximum of 3 poems per author may be entered.
THEME: Poem must incorporate the theme of: technology. (Judges will deduct points from poems that do not incorporate technology as a theme.) 
All poems must be submitted on or before midnight April 30, 2014.
Each poem must have a title.
An entry form must be filled out for EACH poem submitted.
All winners and honorable mentions are required to read or recite their poem aloud at the Poetry Contest Reception on Thursday, May 15, 2014, at 7 PM. Your poem will be disqualified if you are not able to attend the reception. Please do not submit a poem if you will not be able to attend the reception. Winning poems will be published on the Library's Informed Teens blog and in local newspaper(s).


Poetry Contest Reception and Awards Ceremony
Thursday, May 15, 2014, 7 PM to 9 PM
 

This year's featured speaker was John Perrault.  
Mr. Perrault is the author of Jefferson’s Dream (Hobblebush Books, 2009); Here Comes the Old Man Now (Oyster River Press, 2005); and The Ballad of Louis Wagner (Peter Randall Publisher, 2003).  www.johnperrault.com.

2014 Winning Poems
21 Poems were submitted. The 2014 theme was: Technology.

Best Entry Grades 6-8
All From a Spark, by Annabelle Platt
Darkness.
All is darkness.
Silence lies thick among the inky blackness.

Then
A spark
A flash
A flicker.
A whisper in the darkness.
Electricity flutters down an insulated wire
A slither in the stillness.
A bulb twinkles to life.
A single bulb
Gleaming bravely through the blackness.

Stillness returns.
But the bulb glows on.

And then another spark.
Gliding down the wire.
Another bulb illuminated.
Two beacons in a sea of of gloom.
They seem to greet each other.
To come to an understanding.

Then two more sparks.
Two more glimmers in the darkness.
Two more whispers snake down
Two more wires.
Two more illuminated bulbs, piercing the blackness.

And then more flares slice the darkness.
Flashes spread
Everywhere, tiny sparks leap into existence.
From everywhere comes the hiss and whisper
Penetrating the stillness.
Everywhere, light bulbs blaze to life

The blackness is shattered.
Shreds of it hide within the network of light
Struggling to maintain existence.
The dark is not obliterated.
It is fragmented.

But for now it is held at bay
By the frail, yet steady flickering of light
That all began with a single spark.

Second Place Grades 6-8
Inventions, by Lily Knudsen
He saw the moon was full
Defying the blackness of the sky
This is the perfect time
He thought
So he picked up the pole
He fashioned out of wood
And stuck it straight on through
Through the sky and the wind
And the stars and the tree tops
Until he made a nice round hole
In the center of the moon
And he pulled the orb of night
Right down through the roof
He sat his cart upon it
And said, “I’ll call you a wheel”

The wood it floated on the sea
Drifting drifting towards the beach
And the girl saw, and the girl knew
So she took the wood from the shore
And strapped it to itself
She found blank sheets
And tied them to
The pole she set up in the center
And she stepped in
And waved goodbye
To the village of people who thought her crazy
And then she floated on the sea
Drifting drifting
Her boat and she

The child touched the berries
And squished them between his fingers
The red stained his hands
He took the block his mother gave him
And drew a crimson circle
Then a pair of little dots
And a curve beneath
It didn’t really look like a face
But the child didn’t care
He said
“I will use this thing I must call paint
To make the walls like this”
He held up his little block and grinned

The man put light in a glass
And strapped it to a wire
It pulsed and shone and glared
His own miniature sun
A bulb, he thought, a seed
Like the kind that blossomed into his mother’s tulips
The light bulb

The builder who never ceased
Gasped as the invention buzzed to life
In the little dark workshop
With it’s flickering light
A dragon coming awake
It smoked and roared and rattled the floor
She touched it with her hand
To make sure it was real
And then she laughed because it was

Researchers and builders
Came up with new ideas
Years of studying
Mistakes and successes
Rooms painted white
A few minor experiments
Some customer surveys
Made up the Iphone 5c

My little sister is outside now
Banging away at that wood with her nails
Grinning like it’s the funnest thing in the world
She still has her helmet on
She was riding her bike earlier
She says she’s making a go-cart
But she never seems to finish anything
I laugh with scorn and shout
“Keep down the noise!”
I shouldn’t do that of course
She’s making history

Honorable Mention Grades 6-8
The Hacked Mac, by Richard Paul
There was a computer named Mac
Who someone decided to hack
They removed all his files
Which took all his smiles
And left his screen totally black.


Honorable Mention Grades 6-8
Sent You a Text Yesterday..., by Lily Knudsen
Text one:
Thank you

Text two:
I sent you a text yesterday
Just as I’m sending this one now
I believe that it said thanks
But only today did I realize what I did
I sent my gratitude
Flying into space
To stand among the stars
I guess I really wanted
To thank you

Text three:
You are right of course,
It didn’t really reach the stars
Only the satellites
But I like to think it went up to space
Circled in that forever place
To come down to you
Just like this one will
And that, though I’ll never go there,
At least my words reached to the sky.

Text Four:
I emailed you too, you know
I wonder what the e stands for
They say that the internet’s called “the cloud”
I wonder what they mean by that
That it floats threateningly above our heads
Ready to rain?
Or that it’s cold and dark and wet
Blocking out the sun?
Or that it’s nebulous
That we’ll never touch it
It’s confusing
Or meaningless?
That all seems kind of negative
Don’t you agree?

Text Five:
Sometimes I think you think I’m ridiculous
For all my fantastical schemes
But this isn’t one of those times
You responded yesterday
That it might mean
The web is above us
A thing to be glorified
I must disagree
It doesn’t seem to me to be a thing of glory
Or of pride
It is not a thing I hold in awe
I think it might be
Or it must be
more like the sky I found today
Where the cloud spread on forever
Up above
But the sun shone through the wrinkles and folds
Breaking through the holes
And etching the white sheet in gold
“The Cloud” they call it
a fitting name.

Text Six:
Oh right, and I figured it out
The “e” means electronic

Text Seven:
I must add to my earlier reflection
That they may not mean the cloud but the water which it pours
Covering most of the world
Iridescent clear
Life sustaining
Full of life
A connecter for it all

Text Eight:
I watched an old movie
“The Wizard of Oz”
Last night
And the scarecrow in it says that
“Some people without brains seem to do a whole lot of talking”
Dorothy appears to agree
I’ve been texting you a lot recently
And my texts themselves have been unnaturally long
Do I have a brain?

Text Nine::
You told me that of course I have a brain
Though a foolish one for asking such a question
I must admit I’m not thoroughly convinced
That movie’s a wise one
If somewhat cheesy too
But as long as you think I have a mind
I guess that I am good.

Text Ten:
We facetimed far too late last night
As I’m sure we’re both aware
I used a lot of words
As is my habit
You only used a few
As is yours
You’re really nice you know
In a kind of hard, silent, awfully annoying way
At least you put up with me
Even when you'd rather not
I’m tired now
So I’ll end my text here

Text Eleven:
Thank you

Best Entry Grades 9-12
The Fire-Waltz, by Eric Baumeister
I got fired today.
Accounting's going all computer:
Good for them. Not for me.
They're not cutting everyone, of course,
Just the new people:
The top layer of frosting
On a skyscraper layer cake.
Yum yum.

Clean the drawers. Check.
There was a lucky stick of gum in there, somewhere.
Was.
Put it in on dad's advice back when I started.
“Save it for retirement.”
Oops.
It's not there anymore.
Don't look at me – I didn't eat it.
Maybe Ted took it.
Not enough he goes through my emails
And bookmarks my Facebook.
And my Twitter.
I don't think there's ever I time he doesn't know where I am
Or what I'm doing.
Not going to miss that.

Clean the desk. Check.
Notebooks and checkbooks and checklists,
Towers of them,
Cityscapes.
There's skylines on my desk,
With all the little numbers living inside them,
In little column-row apartment rooms
Of little spreadsheet apartment floors
Of big piled apartment towers.
The leaning towers of work.
“Work towers,
A division of Trump.”
Heh.
They're gone now.
I recycled, don't worry.
I might be pissed, but I won't take it out on the Amazon.

Clear my desktop. Check.
Photos and files and emails.
Lots of emails.
Wow. Lots and lots of emails.
A million zillion of them,
About work and gossip and all that daily drudge.
With smiley faces instead of smiles
And “lawls” instead of polite pity-laughs.
I toss my digital trashcan
Out the digital window
Into a digital dump.
RIP.
It's an arson's joy:
All the glee, none of the guilt.
Uncluttered.

All that's left is the monitor.
Big, black, blank-screened.
I don't have a computer at home.
No tablet or smartphone, either.
Can't afford them.
Too broke for DVD players,
And VHS and video games,
And most anything past basic cable.
Too broke for gumballs.
I do have my dog, though.
His name is Puddles.

And I can't help but think,
As the bulky black box hums its hum,
And its blank screen stares at me,
Of when I was a kid
And thought that, inside that monitor,
There was a little white star,
And a million mayflies waltzing around it,
Soaking up the glow
And making those ripples across the screen.
A million mayflies caressing the light,
Blotting out the light,
Flirting with the buzzing light,
Matching their buzzes with its own,
Until one by one they risk a kiss
And burn.
Foomph.
One with the light.
Up like a leaf doused in kerosene,
A wisp of smoke,
Leaving a million more mayflies
To bob and buzz,
Lost in their fire-waltz:
The roundabout march,
To embrace in tandem the light.

And on my desk,
Once they cart the box and boxes away,
I spy my lucky stick of gum.

Second Place Grades 9-12
S.O.S., by Emma Taylor
Small hands waver unsurely,
They hover over the black keyboard.
Her brown eyes peak down from the screen,
But the neon orange film hides the keys.
The plastic covering masks the letters purposefully.

If she could just
Peek,
Refresh her memory,
See the unfamiliar QAZ,
Get a perfect score,
Type 30 words a minute.

The PC hums mischievously,
Laughing at the blonde third grader,
Taunting her little fingers to press the wrong keys.
“Time’s up” says the Mavis Beacon Typing Test.

If she could have just
Peeked,
Refreshed her memory,
Seen the unfamiliar QAZ,
Got a perfect score,
And typed 30 words a minute.

Honorable Mention Grades 9-12 
Your Decision, by Fiona Worsfold
It's important,
You know?
All these things we have:
Hi-def cameras and swift computers
Storing Information.
Information on us.
My first steps,
My first birthday,
All on video.
All stored away
As a perfect memory,
Forever.
It's bittersweet,
You see.
As lost loved ones
Fade from our mind,
The digital pixelation of their faces remain.
A memory we do not want to forget
Has the ability to not be forgotten.
It's amazing,
Don't you think?
Every second online
Is a second connecting.
Connecting to the world around us;
the world we cannot reach
with our arms alone.
Embracing the sight of earth from the moon,
As if we are there.
It's dangerous,
I know.
Strangers on every screen,
Criticism with every click,
Secrets with every message sent.
But even with all that,
All the perils,
All the risks,
Don't you think
It's important?
You know. 

Honorable Mention Grades 9-12 
Falling in Place, by Annie Li
I click play,
and I can almost taste the excitement in the air.
The ‘fasten your seatbelt’,
the startling lurch of the roller coaster,
the rattling of the wheels on the rail,
the excited yet nervous high pitched chatter.
Adrenaline pumping,
we squeal like pigs.
The first bump in the road has passed,
yet the second is higher.
We are anticipating the fall,
waiting,
panting,
laughing,
babbling,
tittering nervously.
I clamp my mouth shut, eyes widened
my organs lifting up in my system.
down
down
down.
By the third and final drop, we are all windswept,
hair everywhere
our brains scattered
the acrid smell of food and pure oxygen burn our noses.
At the peak of the climb,
someone says a prayer in a foreign tongue.
we drop
I scream with them.
we drop
My spit is flying.
My hair is whipping the person behind me
we drop
the wind burns my face and water splashes me
or is it my tears?
we drop.
I almost scream
but someone could hear me
we drop.
We’re almost there.
The hands in front my body grip the bars with great strength
knuckles turning white.
I am so close. So close!
I can feel it!
The excitement!
The adrenaline!
The air!
Screams reverberating in my ears
and the ride lurches to a stop.
Then, everything freezes.
That magic window of light
asks me if I want to watch another video.
But I do not know if I want to.
I am reminded again
as I lie here, wasting away,
in this cold, white hospital bed,
that even though I wish to be in that magical world of technology,
I am one
unable to move,
unable to speak,
unable to breath by myself.
Rather than living in that shining world
I am one that lives on technology
unable to be normal.
Unable to see it,
unable to taste it.

Director's Choice
Power Failure, by Oz Reyes
I stared at the screen,
hypnotized by its brightness.
Then it all went black.




2013 3rd annual themed
TEEN POETRY CONTEST
Open to teens in grades 6 to 12
who are residents of Essex County in Massachusetts

Poetry Contest Reception 
Thursday, May 162013, 7:00pm
The featured speaker at the 2013 Poetry Contest Reception was Dan Sklar.  At Endicott College, Mr. Sklar teaches his students to love language and to write in an original, natural, and spontaneous way. Recent publications include Harvard Review, New York Quarterly, Ibbetson Street Press, and The Art of the One Act. His play, "Lycanthropy" was performed at the Boston Theater Marathon in May 2012, and was reviewed in the Boston Globe, May 22, 2012. 

SEEING (a Cento poem), by Dan Sklar  (Lines from the poems entered in the 2013 Teen Poetry Contest.)
And the wind moves on, frees the seeds.
Freezing blades of ocean.
Yellow the color of glittering air.
Life running through them
Where there’s a tapir, there’s an anaconda
As I whispered to her that I loved the storm
Rides the dawn
Main Street is silent.
Small but quick and fierce
The wind whispered to me its song.
one last breathe of hope
Thank goodness tigers can’t cook
Tuna salad and a loaf of bread
Except your bones
Her loneliness made her fall
They growl
The teeth and fur
Nature will take its course not bound by walls
I when I am out, what will I see?
In the distant woods afar
Longing trapped
Breathe, run, dance
So ferocious and yet so mild.
A sweet, sweet fragrance, green earth, flowers
As an intent observer
The buffaloes of the highway
Miles of words constrained by their pages
You dart between shattered and brave
Drink from a clear stream
A neon sun drop hue
Because I’m indecisive they fall
Leaves and flowers, sun and snow
Streams in my backyard
The deep soil down below
A rock in the current
Madly spinning earth
Home for lichen on its bark
The ocean at night
The drops want to tell us all
The universe tends toward disorder
Chickadee, chickadee, little fellow
Dashing, darting, and feeling new
I want to feel that fur
And I promise the sun
will shine after the moon
There is nothing more that
I want but to be here
With you in spring
Latin names trail on the tongue like a song
Warm blood flows beneath fur
First steps are monumental
The rest that follow are memories
Two creatures of the forest studying on another
Gently buds a verdant leaf
The spring says hello.
Messenger.
                       

2013 Winning Poems
49 Poems were submitted, the 2013 THEME wasAnimals or Nature
Poetry contest winners read their poem aloud at the reception. 

Best Entry Grades 6-8
The Squirrel, by Sebastian Carpenter
Squatting on a low branch
The squirrel’s moonshine silver fur trembles.  
Her thigh muscles twitch.
Eyes deep brownish gray like the darkest seawater
That invites my eyes to jump into hers.
I desire a touch.
I slink low over the emerald green grass
Wishing its magic carpet could secretly transport me closer to her.
Clumsily, my feet crunch leaves as I approach.
The noise startles her.
Her head pops side to side,
Ears perky, watching me suspiciously.
My fingertips are drawn to her and reach out 
Almost involuntarily.
Her spell is cast over me entirely.
My body continues to creep slowly 
Ever closer
Ever closer.
I want to feel that fur.
At last, my outstretched hand is inches away.
I can feel her deep pile before I even graze a hair.
I am practically drooling with excitement.
She is a stone
Motionless trying to pretend she is not there
And hoping I stop seeing her.
My rear foot pulls forward to get that last inch closer.
Steady… Steady…
IDIOT! YOU STUPID IDIOT!
Crackle of another leaf under my toes and
She POPS up like a soda can exploding.
Up up up.
Nothing.  She’s gone. Disappears over the wall. Out of sight.
I hunch in disappointment.
What just happened?
So close, yet so far.
Another hope, another goal
Gone up in smoke. As if it never existed at all.
Why did I even try, knowing that this is the 
Story of my life.

Second Place Grades 6-8
Doe, by Shayne Bower
A doe from the dark
Comes to drink from a clear stream
And leaves in silence.

Honorable Mention Grades 6-8
We are the Seasons, by Annabelle Platt
We are the seasons, one and all:
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall.
To make way for the next we go
Leaves and flowers, sun and snow.

Winter's winds whip chill and cold
But under the snow lies hidden gold
A wealth of life sleeps, soon to bring
When Winter moves aside for Spring.

The life beneath the earth peeps through 
The new-grown grass and sun-drenched dew.
The flowers turn their smiling faces
Receiving the sun's loving embraces.

Summer sun shines brightly down
On earth's smiling, flowery crown
Bees are buzzing in the grass
Watching summer's glory pass.

The leaves turn colors, bright and gay,
Flutter down and gently lay
Upon the yellowing grass beneath
The tree trunks, branches stark and steep.

We are the seasons, one and all:
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall.
To make way for the next we go
Leaves and flowers, sun and snow.

Best Entry Grades 9-12
Fauna, by Victoria Arakelian
Within the network of this planet,
of the frigid tumbra, 
steaming rain forests, 
and moonless aquatic depths,
cells congregate in their organic majesty,
connecting and creating.
From tissue into muscle, marrow into bone,
nerves spurting electricity, 
thoughts fluttering within the encephalon.
Organic life,
it bursts,
species emerge from the shadows, from the dirt,
from the leaves, waves, and skies.
Latin names trail on the tongue like a song,
warm blood flows beneath fur,
scales shimmer beneath refracted light,
golden eyes smolder in the brush,
feathers are caressed by a soft breeze,
each creature,
a radiant piece in a grand mosaic.
Explorers have scored this world,
hunting for the most elusive specimen,
within a viridescent labyrinth.
Energy flows,
the unknown lurks,
instinct nestled at the core,
a desperate fight for survival.
A colorful array of species bloom,
flesh and conscience flourishing,
eventually to sink back into the Earth’s womb,
to whither, and merge,
and to be renewed again.

Second Place Grades 9-12
The First Step, by Chip Cring
The First Step
That's all it took,
one step.
Well, maybe not a step.
The amoeba oozed,
the fish swam,
then,
at long last,
the mammal walked,
and the man stood upright.
The pinnacle of movement,
made by a few simple joints,
and simpler actions.
But what a monumental movement to the world.
With such a significance.
First steps are monumental
the rest that follow are memories.
The swaying of a toddler,
stomping to get the toy,
the swagger of a child,
ambling up the stairs to school,
or the slouch of a teenager,
wearily repeating the cycle of classes,
the stride of a man,
about to make a change.
All this 
from the determination,
of a single being
just to make something,
to take that step.

Honorable Mention Grades 9-12 
Frost, by Fiona Worsfold
My petals
Awake
Life running through them.
I lift them up to face the sun
Its gentle rays warming their delicate structure
Not for much longer.
I am weak.
I am cold.
The days shrink
The sunlight with them.
I am cold.
I hold my leaves closer, only to push them away.
They used to be such a lovely green,
Like emeralds on a sun-filled day,
No longer.
Their happy green slowly turns an ugly brown.
Not like the rich, moist brown that is my never-moving floor,
This brown is the color of the old leaves,
The ones I see on the ground,
The ones that have already fallen. 
I wish not to be like those leaves,
But I cannot escape it.
I am cold.
The night sets in.
It is a dark, starless night.
The lonely blues and wistful purples of the sky fill the night.
It is colder at night.
The elder trees tell us what is coming.
We will never get to see it. 
Large flakes of white, they say
Fall ever so gently to the ground
And blanket the bodies of the spring flowers.
They say we will not see the snow.
They say that a sickness comes, as fast as a knife.
Frost, they call it,
Frost.
A single word can strike such fear
Into the hearts of the green bodies around me.
The sun rises.
I lift my petals to the sky,
They fall.
My petals fall.
The wind pushes them far away,
They land, softly, gently, on the ground.
It is cold.
I see it.
The wind has brought sickness.
My leaves are white like the others around me.
The trees look down upon us,
Why are they sad?
I am beautiful, encased in a white gown of crystals.
Why are they sad?
I am warm.
Why are they sad?
I am tired.
I put my head down to sleep.
The others around me do the same.
I fade away, slowly.
The colors I see slowly change.
Yellow, White, Black.
Night came fast,
But this is not night.
This is frost. 

Director's Choice
Lost, by Zachary Vaneck
My batteries run low,
Drained by the toil of highschool life.
Humanities readings take hours now,
Like starting a lawnmower the first day after winter,
I turn the pages of “The Ancient Roman City”.
Math has shattered the will of my pencils,
Eraser shavings skitter across my desk,
Hiding in remote corners and under books.
French papers graffitied with corrections
Add to the landfill ontop of my tissue box.
Miles of words, constrained by their pages,
Lie face down on my floor in neglect
Giancoli.
SAT Prep.
Calculus I.
My eyes see 6:32 PM
But my body feels 12:47 AM.
I am alone.

(The Director’s Choice is awarded by Hamilton-Wenham Library’s Director, Jan Dempsey. After Best Entry, Second Place, and Honorable Mention poems have been scored by the Library’s 3 contest judges, the Director chooses her favorite from the remaining poems.)


RULES - Read carefully, poems not adhering to rules may be disqualified. 
  • Poem's author must be a resident of Essex County, Massachusetts.
  • Poem entries must be original work.
  • Maximum of 3 poems per author may be entered.
  • Each poem must have a title.
  • An entry form must be filled out for EACH poem submitted.
  • THEME: Poem must incorporate the theme of nature and/or animals. (Judges will deduct points from poems that do not have nature or animals as the subject or theme of the poem.) 
  • All poems must be submitted on or before midnight April 30, 2013.
  • All winners and honorable mentions are required to read or recite their poem aloud at the Poetry Contest Reception - May 16, 2013.  Your poem may be disqualified if you are not able to attend the reception. Please do not submit a poem if you will not be able to attend the reception.


Wordle: Untitled2012 2nd annual themed
TEEN POETRY CONTEST 
 
The featured speaker at the 2012 Poetry Contest Reception was Carla Panciera.  Ms. Panciera has published fiction, poetry and memoir in several journals including The Chattahoochee Review, The New England Review, Painted Bride and Nimrod. Her first book of poetry, One of the Cimalores, received the 2004 Cider Press Book Award. Her second volume of poetry, No Day, No Dusk, No Love, was awarded the 2010 Bordighera Poetry Prize.  She lives in Rowley, MA, and teaches high school English.  Following Ms. Panciera, poetry contest winners read their poem aloud. 
 
2012 Winning Poems
The 2012 THEME waspersonas, 2 characters, or 2 viewpoints.

Best Entry Grades 6-8
Three Nazi Teens, One Jewish Man
by Chip Cring
That man over there, Those Children there,
Do you see him? With their blonde hair,
He looks different, And blue eyes,
With his lopsided gait, Their superior attitude,
His hollow eyes, And the way they look at me.
His sunken cheeks, They treat me like filth,
And the way depression oozes out of him, But I know them.
His armband! I’ve babysat for one
It’s a Jew! The other was my neighbor
We walk by, insulting it, The other was my friends son.
We kick it and punch it, I practically raised them.
We spit on its broken spirit, They beat me.
And laugh all the way home. The parents and adults are the worst,
We always enter our houses and stores, They beat me and spit on me,
With a “Heil Hitler” They tell their children too.
Why can’t they see?
Why can’t he see?
I am there friend.
Second Place Grades 6-8
You Don't Know Me 
by Amy Thissell
I am a beautiful girl.
I am a rotten girl.
I have so many friends.
My friends are imaginary.
I have so many toys.
I have nothing to play with.
I eat dinner every night.
I may starve by the hour.
I am rich with money.
I have nothing to call my own.
I am perfect.
I am nothing.
I don't have problems.
Will anyone help me?

Honorable Mention Grades 6-8, and Director's Choice Award
Human 
by Mariah Manter
I am compassion, love, empathy
I am art, beauty and creativity
I am the happiness of all the world
I am the springtime, a new leaf just unfurled
I am the feathers in a peaceful white dove
I am the light of heaven above
I am the trust between two friends
I am the hope that will exist when all else ends

There is another side to me that society would detest
a side that blackens the heart beating within my breast
I repress and conceal it
I compress and I seal it
into a dark locked chest.

I am every one of the seven deadly sins
I am the murderer of the innocent
I am all of the pain and the sorrow
I am the procrastinator who waits till tomorrow
I am the simplest sign of imperfection
I am what you hide from the world's inspection
I am that which taints the sophisticate
I am part of you, a truth you can't admit

How is it fair that I must be caged
Inside this body a war will be waged
The world will cringe at my roar
I'll be crowned victor
Evil will prevail! the monster raged.

We, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are incredibly shallow
without each other's contrast to show our value
Separate we are the impossible angel and the malicious demon
But together we are magnificently human.

Honorable Mention Grades 6-8
Breakfastime
by Savannah Panjwani
Imagine a kitchen stretching and yawning,
Listening to a songbird,over her chicks she's fawning,
The gentle early morning sun,softly shining through the glass.
All is quiet,all is calm,until the silence is broken with a crash!
Suddenly,a sound like an explosion,
splits the air,it's an invasion!
Quickly,the noise of pounding little feet,
Thump down the stairs and proceed to greet
Our kitchen,who has seen this before,
the dreaded, messy, grinning four.
A cupboard door flung open,
The fridge sees small hands come groping,
A carton of eggs,two loaves of bread,
Bananas, apples, juicy and red,
Cereal,cheese,oh,boy,you name it!
Orange juice, Keifer, and hot chocolate,
"I'll make the eggs!" "I'll make a smoothie!"
"I want some cereal!" It's like a movie.
A glass shatters to the floor,
"The broom is by the door!"
After the mess is as messy as can be,
After the dishes are a sight to see,
I'll tell you why I made up this rhyme,
I am describing Breakfastime!

Honorable Mention Grades 6-8
The Better 
by Fiona Worsfold
SUN I, the sun, am a worshipped idol
I am a god who lets them live
The one who holds their bridle

I throw my rays about their land
Warming their bodies
Undoing the shivering hand

Who is to say he is better than I
Surely not the moon
In the dark night sky

The cold being who gives only light
But no use it brings
In the heart of the night

MOON I am the moon, the tranquil spirit
I cast a cool, serene shadow
Softening those who wander near it

My light tiptoes through the air
Quieting frightened children
Dancing on shimmering glassware

I am the better of the two
The sun cannot compare
Sulking in his blanket so blue

The burning fool who makes them red
Supplying tender, painful skin
To the shade they will have fled

SUN You scornful, moony mutt
For your fictitious words
My light this day remains uncut

They will be delighted
No darkness flung upon them
For longer their fields are lighted

MOON Foolish god, soon you should weep
For they will worship me not you
To get a minute’s sleep

No work will light inspire
Eyes tortured with burning rays
Their need for rest will soon be dire

SUN ENOUGH
I rest until tomorrow
And you I will then snuff

MOON Until tomorrow
The cycle of each day
Sleep comes after inflicting sorrow

Best Entry Grades 9-12
They Said 
by Devin Hoyle
He says that he needs me
You said that you miss me
I'm saying that I'm sorry,
But please just let me go free.

I want to see your smile
You wanted us to be forever
He wants us to stay together
In a paradise we built for ourselves.

You know how these things work
I knew what I should have done
He knows where we went wrong
And thinks he can do it all over.

You can be anything you want
He could've been really great
I cannot realize my dreams,
They are just too far away.

He will only twist the truth
I did alter reality a lot
You'll just sit there and pretend
That everything is perfectly fine.

I believe in false hopes
He believed in empty promises
You're believing in nothing,
Except whatever tomorrow brings.

We struggle to evolve
We struggled to survive
We're struggling just to live
In a world as maddening as this.

Second Place Grades 9-12
The "C" Word 
by Jack Schreuer
She walked into the kitchen,
her eyes betrayed why she had been late,
they were filled with that unmistakable mixture of exhaustion and fear.
Nine, too old for ignorance but too young for understanding,
left drifting in the ether of half truths,
where “The C Word” means death.
And all the pain put into survival is just a futile attempt at delay.
When I looked into those eyes and I saw an emotional cocktail,
that only killing parts of yourself in an attempt to save the rest, can cause.

Honorable Mention Grades 9-12 
Insignificant Words that Pale in Comparison to Nights they fail to Describe
by Jack Schreuer
“Here’s to the nights we felt alive,”
as the three of us snuck out of the cabin,
plunging into the dark,
into the black night made all the blacker by the knowledge that the forest we had entered traveled for an eternity of lightless miles.
On an old rotting log we would sit,
watching the entire camp sleep,
sharing loves and fear,
shielded by the impunity of the night.
The three of us were bound together by those nights,
like brothers, close as we would ever be,
but soon to drift away,
for the universe breeds disorder and entropy will forever increase.

“Here’s to the tears, I knew you’d cry”
I thought as I entered the cabin,
that was filled with cacophony of his screams,
we had warned him time and again but now was not the time, nor would there ever be a time to gloat on the profundity of our correctness,
for he was a boy who had just lost the last thing keeping him together.
A final howl seemed to take the last fight from him as he deflated on to the mess of our belongings strewn across the floor by his upturning of our suitcases,
We went and sat with him in silence until in a nearly inaudible, dying whisper he said
“She said she doesn’t want to talk to me again,
I don’t think I can...
She was the last good thing.”
The two of us put our arms over his shoulders and sat like statues until the rest of the cabin returned.
That night we three went to the log, and spent all night sitting in near silence having nothing to say but unable to leave,
knowing that this night would be our last.

“Here’s to goodbyes, tomorrow always comes too soon”
I said in a low whisper she didn’t hear.
We sat side by side on that little lake beach,
water reaching just far enough to lap at your feet,
The sun started to peak its head from behind the horizon but night’s dark vale still lay over the camp as the mountain blocked most of the sun’s morning rays,
The mountain shone golden in this new morning,
and a few rays glinted across the crystal surface of the lake,
that lake were I had spent some of my best times,
but was destined to never see again,
for this was the last goodbye,
we had reached the age of no return
all the other years when we had said our truly heart felt goodbyes before 11 months apart seemed so trivial now,
forever is infinitely longer than 11 months so this goodbye would be infinitely harder.
I looked over at my most difficult goodbye,
as she sat beside me, her hand in mine, her eyes transfixed on the rising sun.
Night’s vale lifted just enough so I could see the beautiful contours of her face,
her captivating smile so contently sitting on her lips and her grey eyes I had gotten lost in so many times.
It was the last sunrise of our sunset,
we stole this final night,
we slipped away from the bonfire,
but now as morning was breaking and the bonfire ending,
someone called to us,
so we rose in a reluctant stupor, still holding hands.
Speaking in our secret language of sighs and glances we said our final goodbye.
“Here’s to the nights we felt alive,”
“Here’s to the tears, I knew you’d cry”
“Here’s to goodbyes, tomorrow always comes too soon”

When I hear these three lines repeat twice at the end of the song, I think not of our brotherhood of the log, that piece of wood still siting in the same exact place continuing towards its inevitable fate of utter decay, nor of the night he broke and its consequences more far reaching than I care to imagine, but I think of you, that night, and that tomorrow which came too soon.



The Hamilton-Wenham Public Library's 
First Teen Poetry Contest



2011 Winning Poems:
The 2011 THEME wasLost and/or Found.

Best Entry Grades 6-8:
A Thousand Lost
 by Mariah Manter
 
I am meant to live in this grassy plain and the echoing canyons
Of this I am sure
As well as the fact that the earth is my mother

My skin against hers is inseparable
Any difference in color goes unnoticed
Because both of our hides have been sun-kissed

I am young
 Learning to cook and to weave
But I learned long ago never to be idle or naïve

Coarse tendrils chafe my fingers
While fibers color my hands like a dark red stain
The pattern of my first blanket beginning to wane

When out of a storm of dust
Comes unnatural din,
 Threatening features and birch bark skin

They force us out
Of land and home
To tread like herds and roam and roam

I sense a tribal rhythm
Thousands of racing heartbeats
Unison when with my own pulse it meets

 We walk through the grit in our filth and stench
A thousand lost in a single day
And our own perfume masked with rot and decay

Terror rests on my tongue, for the fear of where we’ll stop
The white men call them reservations
But I have no past acquaintance with this illusive name for our destination

 I’d rather march here with my people
Until I die
Than to receive help from those ivory grim reapers and to my soul say goodbye

Best Lost Theme Entry (tie):
Icebox Heart
by Coco Young
A frenzy of noise and pollution;
You are lost.
Manic bunches of rescuers fly past, and I know
You cannot be found this way.
The mad search must halt.
I must fold in on myself, close the world out
enough that you can appear again,
enough that I can find you.
Or maybe my ghost can.
And I feel you.
I sense something.
You are in one of two locations,
On a higher plane or a lower.
Where love ignites or where it goes
to die.
I know I must find you to find me,
But I fear for which spot you've chosen.
I'd like to find myself somewhere with a heart so flammable.

My fingers shake.
I descend to the basement,
my heart cold and frantic.

And you are not where I sensed you.
You've trapped me, adopted a life
On this plane; comfortable and solitary.
But if no one can see you, who do you dress up for?
I tried to find you, and now I'm alone.

You could be anywhere.

But you are lost.

Best Lost Theme Entry (tie):
The Dead Letter Office
by Anika Schaedle
These lost letters lay like furtive ghosts,
in tattered fragments and ragged heaps.

Whispers of forgotten souls
float and curl around torn edges
and yellowed, grubby corners.

Like hazy, dusty spirits,
figures emerge from
smudges, folds, and bends.

Memories of the old
jump into the unfamiliar.
Incongruous with the times,
discordant in the air.

Missives missing their recipients
are left to decay and rot
without a use or purpose.

Into the steaming furnace
do the letters reach their destination.

The fluttering, flickering paper
and discarded, empty lives
burn in a common cremation.

Best Found Theme Entry (tie):
What are we?
by Lucy Huang
Where am I,
Am I only a name?
Or a living shadow.
What good is it to live without doubt?
Thought,
Personality.
Behind the curtain,
We all hide.
Are we looking for ourselves?
Simply hoping to find a thread of truth.
Where are we really in the universe?
Are destined for greatness?
Or to live a quiet life?
Who knows?
We're all looking for adventures,
Yet, we find ourselves ignored,
Isolated,
Maybe looking in.
Who are we?
Ahh,
Well that is up to us.
As we go through life
Wondering,
Imagining,
Creating,
But we always find ourselves at the beginning.
The question isn't who are we.
We know who we are-
Maybe it just takes time to find ourselves.

Best Found Theme Entry (tie):
Something Lost
by Jennifer Kong
Shanghai lights light up the summer night sky.
In a taxi, on my cousin’s lap I lie.
My eyelids droop as I put up a fight,
To beat jetlag—to see the dazzling sight

Of everyone walking through the streets
Shopping, laughing, talking, getting eats.
But what about that little dog I saw?
The memory is so vivid and so raw.

I say, “that dog must be in a shelter by now.”
She retorts, “That dog is meat just like a cow!”
I am shocked, disbelieving, stricken by surprise.
She looks into my foolish twelve-year-old eyes.

“Over here they beat the strays to death” for meat.
Stunned, I slowly sit up in my seat.
My heart sinks, for my soul is exploding.
My head, it hurts; my brain, overloading.

I feel like I should call 911.
Something dramatic surely should be done.
The culprits immediately must be arrested,
Corrected, detained, denounced and detested!

But then I knew that nothing would be done.
Wanton suffering is the plight of anyone—
Who can’t petition, or threaten, or talk, or sue.
And the humane humans who speak up are so few.

I inevitably lost something intangible that night:
My peace of mind and my sense of right;
My innocence and my faith in humanity,
But someday I’ll find it again; you will see. 

Best Entry Grades 9-12:
A Life Lost
by Anika Schaedle
A light graceful mist
plays delicately over
tombstones of the dead
like figureless ghosts.

The sharp smell of lilies
punctuates through the
brisk, hanging air.

The attendance is small, intimate.

A friend who just happened to care,
mixed up in a whirlwind,
caught up without his control.

A father, lost and forgotten in a world apart,
mourns a boy who was never his.

And a man that could see all,
unguarded, honest, and wise.

Swirling inside heads and out ears,
thoughts and memories crinkle and fade
like an old, yellowed photograph.

Shrouded in mystery,
captivated by an idea,
the Great Gatsby lies
in an eternal dream.

The saddest procession yet,
not for the death of the man,
but for a life so foreign, so fleeting.
To die alone is the greatest grief.

  
Honorable Mention:
Where Do Balloons Go?
by Anika Schaedle 
I skip, twirl and leap
across mud puddles
in my red rubber boots.

A blue balloon wrapped snugly
in a bow around my wrist,
bobs above me like an older brother.

The wind plays with my hair,
while a current of air moves
the ballon in a haphazard jumble.

The breeze picks up and
the balloon knocks and taps
at my head, my elbows.

In a chaotic moment,
the wind plots with the balloon
for its sudden escape.

The balloon is lost,
bouncing along among
treetops and lampposts.

It climbs higher,
grazing chimneys and buildings,
bumping windows and prodding roofs.

Way up in the air,
the balloon is but a speck
on the robin’s egg blue of the sky.

What happens to a rogue balloon
when it is set free?

Will it circle the earth,
or journey to the moon?

Does it join the other millions of balloons,
floating on a castle made of clouds?

Or maybe it will simply…. pop.

Honorable Mention:
Lost and Found: This is the Moment
by Becky Moffat
Confident, daring, fearless
My hands grip the wheel-and
I realize I am in control of where
I go from here.
This is the moment I realize I can overcome
anything
with my yellow flats and skinny jeans.

One mattress and two dividers
E M P T Y
this is the moment I miss her- the her
I thought I knew.
But her dirty look in the hallway
makes me realize I don't need
her anymore.  I am my own person-and
I need me. Strong.

Fumbling to unlock the door-I look at
the home I have created for myself and my
father.  I walk up the narrow stairs and realize
how alone I am.  But I walk into my room and smile
my red lips
at the spontaneous guitar box on the floor
bought with my own money.  This is the moment
I realize I am all grown up.

I look at the list that I created-inspired by a whim
Its called "An Infinity of things I have to do before
I die" It is filled-almost fifty pages with spaces for the
accomplished pictures.  This is the moment I remember
I am just seventeen years old, with so much more to live.

And two months ago, in the
uncomfortable
sterile
ambulance; dark-too early and throwing up
I never thought this moment would come.  


It all started with a poetry slam held at the library in 2010.