2018 Poetry Winners

3rd to 5th Grade Poems

First Place
Guns ’n’ Roses
by Anthony Yang

The sun’s rays shine through the windows
The potted flowers are still in bloom on the windowsill
The droning of the teacher is met by boredom
After-school plans race through my mind
But then a sharp noise disturbs my reverie
And screams from students start growing in number
Our teacher rushes us outside and tells us not to panic
But our hearts beat at the speed of light
A wave of students overwhelms our class outside
And for the sake of life they stay quiet
But the sounds of bullets pierce through the crowd
Like a saw cutting through wood


We enter the white hospital and inhale the fresh air
The front desk tells us which room my classmates are in
We nervously walk to the room with our flowers clutched in my hand
And inside warm greetings and hugs are exchanged
I have a dream that guns will no longer be used for violence
That schools and neighborhoods will be safe
And us humans will never have to think about the dangers
That we will never have to hear the sound of a gunshot again
Second Place
by Memphis Taylor

Dreams, something that grabs you and tells you to not to let go,
Something that people might tell you no.
The dream that whispers in your ear,
That thing only you can hear.
It grabs you into the future,
While it reminds you of the past.
It whispers that song that will make you last.
Then you will blossom like a flower in the sun.
And one day you will reach up,
And then grab the dream then jump
Into the world with a dream carrying you whispering to you
hat song that keeps you going on too.
Then as a dancer a doctor a detective or whatever you dream to be,
and now you will see.
Third Place
I Dreamed a Dream

Tabea Nett

I dreamed a dream,
Of a better world
Of a cool, clean stream,
With currents awhirl.

Of no disease,
Of many trees,
And no poor child,
Without a smile.

No one was killed,
Our hearts were filled,
We all were glad, No one was sad.

No one went hungry,
No one died of thirst,
Everyone thought,
Of others first,

I dreamed a dream,
Of a better world,
And thought, why not,
Make it our world.

Honorable Mention
My Wish
by Addison Messer

I wish upon a star,
My dream would go so far,
Watching the seagulls fly above the sea,
I don’t like to litter or is it just me?
With all the trash and dirty stuff,
The seagulls are really not so tough,
My dream is that you would not get a jitter,
So ask yourself, do you litter?
I wish the birds could soar and fly,
Without them wondering and asking why,
Trash lays scattered all around,
And litter and stuff stay on the ground.
My dream would be all girls and boys,
Would love our land as much as toys,
That animals are free to walk and play,
Without plastic and trash in their way.
I wish that turtles would not think plastic is food,
Do your part and not be rude,
Think of others and don’t be lazy,
Throw your trash away and recycle like crazy!
My wish is simple and so true,
I trust and hope and pray for you,
We can do this as a team,
I hope you have the same dream!

People's Choice
I Have a Dream
by Ella Smith

I want to bring MLK out of you.
Martin’s dream:
to unite us all, peaceful yet strong,
understanding yet diverse.
My dream:
to bring that pacifism into this harsh world.
Martin’s dream:
to exile segregation.
Our dream:
One earth, indivisible.

6th to 8th Grade Poems

First Place
dear moth wings
by Kiran Narula
he tore you from your body, stripped you
to a thin sheet like papyrus. you are paper
from a book without its spine,
words in disarray, meaning turned meaningless.
his fingers were warning signs,
holding your delicacy between his thumb
and forefinger. he left you in dirt, i don’t know
if you held onto something else that could
move you, caught onto the threads of a shoelace
from the kids who ran in the field
or mended yourself to a flower’s center,
broke the pattern of pink petals with your beige,
blended with something that you could become.
you are only what is left, the shell of a body,
pulled away from what rooted you.
i wonder what it’s like to be ripped at the seams,
fall apart like loosened thread, nothing to stitch
yourself to. you used to beat like timpani, now you are
fragments of scales and chitin and veins,
a lampshade without a light.
do you have purpose if you are
separated from your stem -
are you still wings if you cannot fly?
i guess skin is still skin without bones.
Second Place
Mother, Falling
by Olivia Sisson

A mother talks of the moon revolving around the Earth, as if the story
Was hers. As if her face too was made of starch baking powder, applied
With strokes of a bristled brush, dipping into dimples like paint
Would fall into the curves of a wall. Reminds you of light

As if her face too was made of starch baking powder, she follows
The same path over and over. A toy train on its cable
Reminding you of light that could fall into the curves of a wall, blinded
By night, a hand guiding her into more of the same -

A path over and over. A toy train on its cable. Wonders
If she wants to see further. See how day drains
By night. A hand guides her over the same
Horizon. She, with curved hips, and who wants

To see further. See how day drains
And spills. The woman is tired, look at her eyes, her Eastern
Horizon. Curved hips and drawn divots, she dreams
Of when she will fall. Out of orbit, out

Into space. The woman is tired, look at her eyes
Dipping into dimples like paint on a bristled brush, she will
Fall. Out of orbit, left to herself. Sometimes
A mother talks of the moon revolving around the Earth.
Third Place
When Dreams are Overrun
by Ella Oursler

Moon glowed pale, Sun shone bright,
Side by side in day and night
Pushed by rain, pulled by tide,
Searching for clams, wherein pearls hide,
Sinking down, down in the sand,
Where water blurs sea and land,
Sergeant major gives command,
Black and yellow, band stripe band
Far away, are the deep tides calmer? Where soil is gone and life lives longer? This alien environment, forgotten by time,
Where strange things happen below the brine
At last, arising through the fog,
Emerging, feet anchored, on mossy pine log,
Fig, birch, sky, dirt, Salty pools melt into the earth,
Cold and warm, far and near,
Houses, people, towns, appear,
A dock, a boat, a thatched mud home,
But one man stands by, all alone,
With lure, bait, line and pole,
One meal or more is his solemn goal
Eyes looking, absorbing the scene,
Mind, body and life serene,
Then once more shoved along the way,
Leaving boat and dock and bay,
Approaching summer, forest, tree,
Leaf and vine, far from the sea,
Where no rules are written by hand so bold,
And untouched the soil, heavy with gold,
And the tortoise keeps its shell and lives to grow old,
Where the sun smiles on life itself,
And Oak is home to mushroom shelf,
And crimson is the sunset, warm with health,
And man seldom comes to such a place of wealth
But alas the idle mind returns, to the ambitions of which it always yearns,
And city and building crowd out the sun,
Who never smiles at what man has become
And ground has been reaped for all its worth,
And horse, once free, is now saddled by girth,
And life crawls on, deprived of mirth
Opposites coming together at last,
Sea so deep, blue and vast,
Bog and little seaside town,
Forest and tree letting cold rain down,
An uncivilized garden paradise,
Threatened by malignant man’s cruel vice,
And breathing deep the mind awakes,
And forgets the dreams in which it partakes,
And opposites slip away,
Making way for bright, bright day,
Alas, but a dream, but a fantasy,
So close so close, a dream of peace,
And equality, of differences meeting and becoming as one,
But all rushes apart when dreams are overrun.

Honorable Mention
by Phoebe Burke

And when my mother’s immaculate,
blue velvetine wings surround me again
Like ashes-

I crumble
My heart flutters with the wings of caged birds
Delicate drops of crimson break the bruised skin of my feet
The cold chair shocks my burning back but there is nothing else besides pure
Unrelenting, bursting, blinding

As if someone has pulled my torn heart strings
and the lightbulb in my chest has started to hum
For a few moments, the bees in my head are quiet
The sweat dripping down my tired arms are their honey

Applause crashes like waves,
Breaking against the clean white walls.

People's Choice
Butterfly Dreams
Emma Grace Palmer
Dreams are like butterflies.
You have to work hard to capture them, but
They will flutter through your fingers if you do not try to entrap them.
Dreams are like butterflies.
You have to work hard to keep them away from pessimists
Because pessimists will rip their wings.
Dreams are like butterflies.
You have to work hard to sustain them
Because they will wither and their color will fade if you are lazy.
Dreams are like butterflies.
Dreams may change as you get older
Like a butterfly emerging bright and new from its chrysalis.
Dreams are like butterflies.
I like to think that my big, beautiful butterfly dreams
Are enclosed in a jar that is bursting with hope
Dreams are like butterflies.
Every goal accomplished brings me closer to
A dream emerging in a blinding flash of triumph.

9th to 12th Grade Poems

First Place
The Satchel of Dreams

by Olivia Farrar

These words that were written
Were children interrupting the terrain of my sleep,
They tumbled with sparkling irises that were colored with prose
Into the dunes of my deserted head,
Their somersaults and pointed feet kicked up sand,
Particles of the neurons in my mind
Plopped like sentences into my cradling hands.
I thought that all the words I had possessed
Were marked with said, but that night was a rainstorm,
Torrents of ideas brewed with haste;
Symptoms of a fleeting inspirational season.
However, the paragraphs fathomed in the early morning murkiness
Permeated through the recycled image of an everyday horizon,
The consensus:
Words that swirled in the celestial stomach of the night,
Yearned for the fabric of paper
To cling to the jagged letters that composed them ever so tight.
I have no choice;
the stories are fresh paint that don’t want the canvas of my brain,
So I put this papyrus into a leather satchel once owned by an ambitious man,
I release the metallic latches, and I swear I can hear his caged hopes
Fleeing at a light-rivaling speed.
The faded handle shrinks as if it were sighing,
Relieved at the sight of the wishbones being cracked,
Fulfilled and free must those whims be,
Graphite scratches on my piece of notebook paper want the same for me.
For this midnight anomaly will no longer race into my circadian rhythms,
And there will be no pounding against the chamber walls
of my overzealous heart,
For these words are a remarkable, aspirational start.

Second Place
by Nikki Velletri

The night before you sped unblinded into a solid horizon
of pines; before I walked a wet, red road until

I knew not a face nor the moon; before we stood on
either side of the county line and found we had

no words for tomorrow, I told you about the dream
where I wake in a Missouri field and only then

in my own bed, still reaching for skin instead
of body. We have enough words for that.

We do not have so many ways to tell another how
we feel without driving them to the middle of

somewhere beloved and asking if the pines shimmer
for them, too, if they aren’t the most beautiful

thing we’ve never seen. I would bleed for this
and so many other things. I said that, too.

I said sacrifice is to be expected now, and you said
it’s a perfect night for a drive, and something like

I could have loved this, too. This meant goodbye, but
I just couldn’t see it. This meant I saved a seat for you,

but I left the lights on back home and maybe fear still has
a part in this story, is still screaming for us to sing louder,

to love softer. Here, then, here’s a better ending:
no winding road, no treetops barren and choking on

smoke, no mothers streaming from porches dressed in
bathrobes and sorrow. You want to live and so you do;

you want to make it home and so you arrive tired-eyed
and breathing. I want two girls in love and no one

has to pay for it. I want a new night to rewrite the last
one, where men dragged you from a wreck of rubble,

your hand still clenched around my own, around
the dream you could not bear to leave behind.

Third Place
Elegy With a Burning House
Clara Collins

My grandfather appeared without me thinking,
the way you don’t notice blood after a scrape
until it’s dripping down your leg
I get close to remembering what he told me
as sleep toyed with me,
sometimes even piecing his voice
together when I run my finger over his handwriting.
But then my brain makes it up
throwing a sheet over it,
tucking it in under its bends
and I can only pinpoint
the moment I rolled over in bed. I’ve been clinging on to it
for years, something that I can define.

Freud defines dreams as a fulfillment
of wishes. For a second I had it,
but now I can barely remember his face
unless I’m looking at a picture.
My mind, the fireman;
my mind, the door.

I feel the heat of the flames
when I press my face and hands
against this door.
Imagine it through the frame, reaching towards me,
building up upon itself,
then disappearing from my outstretched hands.
Sometimes I think I could break it down,
just to see.
But then I remember fire spreads.
Pooling around my feet, up to the shafts of my hair.
The house is cracked, burning.

Honorable Mention
Lucinda Siegler

I got the call a little after midnight
and her mother told me in a voice
gone soft and pulpy with grief,
that the train had crashed.
So I told myself that the universe

was a singularity, that every point in time
was equally real and lovely. Although
in retrospect I was kidding myself,
considering the theorem only applies
to time-travel
and lying awake at night, wishing
she’d died knowing how much I love her.
But it’s a comfort, I suppose.

To dream that somewhere we are still
playing at love with all the world
laid before us like so many jewels,
that the public housing behind her backyard
is still a forest full of flowers.
The multiverse is vast, and somewhere in it
we are whispering together
after school, knees touching.
I can see her braces twinkle in her mouth

she is crumpled on a table
with a clean sheet over her body and black
crusting thickly at her temple, in her hair.
Somewhere, I am growing used to her absence.

People's Choice
Dreams, Sweet Dreams
Susanne Thomas

What kinds of dreams are there?
Dreams, sweet dreams
The ones that coat the world in sugar,
The ones that crumble and crack on the edges,
Leaving the center pure.
The dreams that sprinkle kind words on hard days.

Dreams, determined dreams
The dreams that light inside so suddenly and bright,
Awaking and melting the steel clad soul,
Burning, keep burning, until the task is done.

Dreams, classic dreams
The ones found in the fairy tale book,
Coated in dust, like a fallen star,
Found and revived with a new story,
Singing the familiar song in our ear, Like an age-old hymn.

What are the most treasured Dreams?
Dreams, visionary dreams
The ones with a purpose and meaning,
Giving a steady hope and promise.
So real,
So extreme,
Such a dream.

Last updated: May 18, 2018

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