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Poetry Contest Winner Page

Expressions of Freedom, Poetry Winners

1st Place
Afoma Okoye (17, Kennesaw, GA)

Dreams too Sweet


Each night my heart beats a thousand times.
I Fear it will stop at night
Because my dreams are too sweet
It doesn't rain and the sun always shines.
My people don't cry and
The children play in the warm sun all day.
I never have to worry about them
Not about the world they'll grow in,
The schools they'll attend
Or if they'll ever be given the same rights
as the white kids they play with.
I get to sit on the porch and smile to myself.
Martin Luther King Jr. Stands at the end of the street
And watches them play.
Septima Poinsette Clark calls the children in
And makes them open up their books to learn.
Fannie Lou Hamer sees them moan and groan
So, she lifts her hands and lets them vote
On if they want to go back out to play.
Just as the they bolt to the door
Langston Hughes comes in
Opening his mouth
And speaking from the heart.
He speaks narratives and stories
About the blood, sweat and time sacrificed.
So the children were born
Belonging to no man.
The sun shines through the window.
I open my eyes to see my children sleeping by my side.
I remember them and smile.
I must remain hopeful to teach them.
They must learn and grow strong
So that when the time comes
They too may fight for their children as well.



2nd Place
Katreena Duback (17, Fresno, CA)

Move me. Try to move me. Try to take me, shake me, but never will you break me. Beat me, make me bloody, prove to the world that we are the same inside. You can lock doors and bar windows, but you can't leave me outside. I refuse to hide.

Bind me. Try to bind me. Try to hold me, mold me, but never will you control me. Your words do nothing but bounce from the bus and shatter on the pavement, leaving broken glass for the upper class. You can try to ignore me, but I refuse to step aside.

I am strong, though I am meek, and peace is what I seek. No violence, just silence, and a refusal to stand, I am powerful, I am woman, and I will not sit in the back.

Walk with me, take my hand and stand by me. Step by step, we will make them blind to the coffee that is blended with their cream. The flavor is the same, no matter which seat you take.

3rd Place
Pheobe Jarman (17, Crystal Lake, IL)

We're standing alone, in a cave, by ourselves

Surrounded by brilliant formations
It's just me, and the Ranger, and then three other strangers
And they all come from three different nations

One's very tan, a long man from Australia
Words leap from his tongue when he speaks
He's constantly grinning, and his smile is so winning
You can see where it's been on his cheeks

There's a woman, much shorter, with hair black as night.
She doesn't know English too well.
She smiles just as much, in a very soft way
And when she understands, you can tell

The last person is sturdy, and his words match his build
He's a confident man from Berlin
He's thoughtful whenever the ranger starts speaking
His voice resonates from somewhere within

I come from a place that is very close by,
It takes less than an hour to get back
I silently listen as the Ranger explains,
"Without lights, this cave is pitch black."

We're standing alone, in a cave, by ourselves
And the lights are about to stop shining
It's just me, and the Ranger, and then three other strangers
About to learn something defining

We all gasp in awe in the very same accent
Without even the light of a spark
You can squint, stare, and struggle to see any different,
But we all look the same in the dark.

Did You Know?

MALLdyk

The formal National Mall is the strip of green space between the Washington Monument and the Capitol Building. The area of the park west of 17th Street that incorporates the Lincoln Memorial, the Reflecting Pool, and other memorials, is formally West Potomac Park.