The America Library of Poetry

 

2018 Student Poetry Contest
Division Winners

Division I
(grades 3-5)

Success
by Brayden Rice

Every morning, I tell myself, to always try my best,
As long as I didn't give up, the day will be a success.
Don't measure yourself to others, because there is only one of you,
You might be good at things, that others cannot do.
They may do things better than you, but you always have to try,
When you practice, you will succeed, the limit is the sky.
If you see someone is struggling, you should always help them out,
By being a friend when they are down, you could take away their doubt.
At the end of the day, if I've made you believe,
The day has been a success, and good things you'll achieve.

Poem Copyright © 2018 by Brayden Rice

 

And I Learn
by Ana McCallum-Moore

The sun on my back,
The dewdrops on leaves,
The breath of the wind,
Teaches me.
The smell of freshly cut grass,
The song of a bird,
The babbling of a brook,
Teaches me,
The spray of a waterfall,
The path of a river,
The ripples on a lake,
They teach me,
And I learn.

Poem Copyright © 2018 by Ana McCallum-Moore

 

Sunrise
by Violet Kinsey

A stardust-sprinkled sky upon the light of dawn's next day
An elegance upon it takes bad feelings all away
The ruby red and primrose pink upon a painted ocean
While all the wisps of clouds perform an orchestra of motion
The heart of colors new and old that forms a sweet surprise
As peaking over mountaintops comes a fresh and bold sunrise
That sweeps the golden rivers with a beauty of the glimmer
That brings the world close to life with shine and gleam and shimmer.
Crystal days of sunlit stars upon a looking glass
Its deepened face stares down upon the city as days pass
The blue bowl of the sky that brings to all days stars and such
Silhouettes of moon and sun seem close enough to touch
With glowing sense of confidence and lacking of despair
Its voice is calm and comfortable like drumbeats on the air
A silver link, a whispered voice, no pain upon the land
As they're showered with the sunlight and the warmth of sunshine's hand
By dreams there's many all to spare, by day there's only one
The love and hope that it can bring, the unique and the rising sun.

Poem Copyright © 2018 by Violet Kinsey

 

Division II
(grades 6-7)

The Ballad of Her
by Alex Beynon

I watched as she spun around on the tips of her toes
Rain cascading around her.
A graceful arch surrounding a graceful pirouette
Her arms outstretched
And face towards the heavens
In intoxicating bliss.
Her bright eyes,
And brighter smile,
All made her more beautiful
Than the rose in her hair.
The small laugh that escaped red-stained lips,
Her long dark hair that flowed elegantly,
And the feeling in my stomach
When she turned to me
And whispered,
"Dance with me"
All told me what I already knew.
That nothing
Would bring me more joy
Than her own.

Poem Copyright © 2018 by Alex Beynon

 

The Promised Land
by Alessandra Brown

I have seen the promised land,
Where black and white walk hand in hand.
Equal in the eyes of the Lord
Yet the whip still lashes, drawing innocent blood
The slave woman hears her child wail,
torn away like a calf to slaughter
Scarred backs bent under the scorching sun
Callused feet throb and ache,
Rough hands grasp at fronds of wheat
Tearing stalks with arthritic joints
The slave boy sits by a dying candle
which weeps tears of pearly wax
He slowly traces letters with slender brown fingers
Across the Holy Bible's faded verse
Above, the dove soars, abiding no command
Alight on the golden wings of freedom
Northward
Towards the promised land.

Poem Copyright © 2018 by Alessandra Brown

 

Just Another Inconvenience
by Sarah Taylor

All of us rushing on the worn lanes of concrete and asphalt
Built by the hands of workers long-forgotten
Gazing through the pane of glass that separates me from them
Wondering if they, too, were headed home
Saying an inaudible prayer that we would reach our destinations without harm
Streetlamps illuminated our passages of stone
But looking up into the deep shadow of night, I found no light
The glare of the city as impressive as it is
Should bow to the infinite brilliancy of stars
Yet, somehow they were gone
Cloaked by the synthetic light of man
The ghost of a tear formed in my eyes
For the loss of the hidden beauty
A little farther down trail at the corner of my vision
Rested a hint of greenery protruding from a fault in a sidewalk
It's a funny thing, isn't it?
This unwanted bit of green rising above the pathway
That was meant to eliminate such inconveniences
For easy walking.

Poem Copyright © 2018 by Sarah Taylor

 

Division III
(grades 8-9)

I Won't Forget
by Laura Ospina

I remember lazy Saturday mornings, roaring laughter over cartoons.
Small fingers tracing over the rough scar that runs down your chest,
Memories I won't forget.
Waking up to bread, warm and fresh, crumbs put out for friendly city birds.
Colorful circles, etching the page, one after the other, until you smiled.
I promise I won't forget.
Stories of houses, brick, stone, hard and distant, never quite right,
Until the 3rd floor apartment with the leaking roof,
Relentless pattering on stained wood, became home.
I close my eyes, peacefully,
The hideous mug I made for you in 2nd grade,
The whimsical music, waltzing through narrow halls,
wooden animals, perfectly crafted,
Dancing along with us, stumbling toes and imperfect movements,
a beautiful tragedy.
As the glimmer fades from your eyes, I won't forget it.
When you ask the same questions again and again, I won't forget.
When you no longer know the words, I won't forget.
Memories, bread crumbs eaten by the birds, I won't forget.
When you look at me, no longer remembering
a little girl who laid in your arms,
Curious eyes and bright smiles, I will remember for the both of us.
I won't forget.

Poem Copyright © 2018 by Laura Ospina

 

Not Enough
by Tiffanie Huang

"Too bright," she sniffs at my nails–
to her, they bleed neon, and neon is associated with nightclubs and drugs
"This is pointless."
A mantra drummed into the cobwebbed bleachers,
the palpable disappointment in her eyes devours the sweltering glare of the sun
as she views my softball game through half-lidded disgust
"Not enough," she repeats, hovering over my shoulder
Not enough, not enough–
the choppy syllables liquefy
collapse on each other
the stretch of vowels drowned in a cold accent.
Not ee-nough, not enough–
I'm not enough for her.
Fingers tremble. Bury them in the folds of my shirt. Pry open my mouth.
Her foot thumps an impatient tempo. "Well?"
Mouth clamps shut. Moisten lips, gulp, repeat.
Clock clicks its tongue in warning.
Not enough, not enough, I agonize–
Not enough, not enough identity to say no.

Poem Copyright © 2018 by Tiffanie Huang

 

Dolly
by Angela Albert

Translucent paint flakes off of her porcelain skin
that after fifty years remains smooth.
Thin pink lips that don't curl upwards,
weighed down by plump rosy cheeks, rest soft on the eye.
Every wafting invisible strand of straw-blonde hair
sewn into her scalp by hand is worth saving.
Old light illuminates her transcendent eyes,
scattering stars across the peeling walls.
Her gown, finer than anything worn by real little girls,
hemmed and re-hemmed, moth-eaten and gossamer,
lacy and dainty and faded on the left side,
the side that's been facing the window for decades,
floats with the draft of the night and soaks up the sun,
the sun's tangible rays of dust.
Oh, sweet lovely, I see you in all of your splendor,
the grime doesn't dampen your glowing façade.
The cobwebs keep you warm at night.

Poem Copyright © 2018 by Angela Albert

 

Division IV
(grades 10-12)

Wildfire
by Kimmy Daniels

my parents fell out of love
screaming silently
they never fought, it was only
tight lipped smiles and
white knuckles on coffee mugs
not listening when the other spoke
and finding a way to disagree
on anything that required an opinion.
the passive aggression in the air
felt so hot, like a wildfire tore through and
only burned the parts of their heart
that brought them together in the first place
and when it ended it wasn't brutal
it was just tears across my father's face as he
gathered the gumption to finally speak and say
"I'm going to be moving out"
and even when you are prepared for something to happen
you are never prepared for how it is going to make you feel

Poem Copyright © 2018 by Kimmy Daniels

 

Las Vegas
by Graham Everhart

I come home.
I bear the burdens of textbooks and text messages,
of unanswered questions and unquestioned answers.
Life was, is—always has been, always will be—messy.
No thing perfect, no place pristine, no person pleased. Second Law of All Dynamics.
I sit down.
My textbooks and text messages are set aside,
my questions and answers will cross-pollinate on their own time.
I have work to not do. Mess to not clean.
Fade out the peripheries, tune out the surroundings, block out the voices.
Sacred isolation.
I boot it up.
The backlight flares, the pixels twinkle,
the feel-good power chords storm the neodymium,
I browse, I fantasize. I consume, I self-delude.
Open new tabs, probe new ideas, fall down new rabbit holes;
get lost in how perfect and pristine and pleasurable the desktop computer
and its window to whatever can be;
then get back to work.

Poem Copyright © 2018 by Graham Everhart

 

My Doll
by Katherine Wang

It was years later that I stumbled upon her presence
in a musty attic corner behind a collapsing bookshelf.
Dressed in an overcast layer of heavy gray,
toes curled like burnt honeyed cashews,
cherry chapped lips forcing a withered smile,
wisps of once-braided hair clinging to her narrow neck,
pinky still coiled from our promises--
she was a gloriously cracked masterpiece.
Her glossy glazed eyes penetrated into me,
hollowed pupils of iridescent raindrops, teardrops:
at least she could never cry like I did the moment I realized
that all my promises whispered in the dark were unheard,
that all my loving strokes of her hair were unfelt,
that all my secret smiles reserved for her were unseen.
Only one of our hearts was broken; only one of us ever grew up.
She was my shield from the crushing currents of life
until she herself collapsed under the torrents.
Something wells up in her glassy globes, trickles down her crumbling porcelain skin.
An unshed tear, perhaps?

Poem Copyright © 2018 by Katherine Wang

 

 

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