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2012 Poetry Contest Winners

First Place
Category 1 (ages 7–10):

Guard Dog

Cristin Maldarella
Frederick, MD

Slyly sneaking yet so slowly—
Husky crouches down so boldly.
What is this white thing in his yard?
He knows his family he must guard!
Positioning himself to pounce,
The snowman crashes with his bounce.

Second Place
Category 1 (ages 7–10):

The Wolf

Allison Barr
Moorfield, WV

The wolf slipped through the falling snow.
He only knew where he should go.
A pit, a pat, he ran then sat.
No food for miles; he’s not fat.
He checks the land with amber eyes,
Such elegance, he looks so wise.

Third Place
Category 1 (ages 7–10):

The Woods

Sophie Lossing
Hoover, AL

The sun dawns.
The river rushes.
The gentle fawn sleeps.
The mama watches.

Honorable Mention
Category 1 (ages 7–10):

Snow Drift

Halleli DeJolie
Phoenix, AZ

In winter I wake up in bed,
My toes are cold, my cheeks are red.
I step out on the freezing floor
Down the hall to the door.
I open it and get my mittens, scarf and hat,
And on the bench I sit,
And look out on the lawn,
As morning dawns.
I run downstairs past the mares lying on the hay,
Down to the bay.
And run into a snow drift.

Honorable Mention
Category 1 (ages 7–10):

The Acorn

Allison Barr
Moorefield, WV

The acorn falls from up the tree.
It lands right next to you and me.
It may seem small right here you know.
It really doesn’t have much glow.
But maybe in a future fall,
It will be extremely tall.

First Place
Category 2 (ages 11–14):

Pascha Vision

Mary Woods
Frankfort, IL

The new-leafed linden trembles now,
At the near-approaching dawn,
to hear the distant herald call
In quiet of the morn.

I seem to glimpse upon the land,
So fleeting, now so bright,
The forms of many soldiers there
In arms a-gleam with light.

The faces shine beneath their helms,
Their eyes with valor gaze,
Their voices, strong in harmony,
In joyous song now raise:

“The winter’s darkness is now past;
The nights of frozen fear,
Have melted with the brilliant Spring,
That dawns out ever-clear.

“Now welcome Christ the Conqueror,
Who leads his army bright,
And bursts form into glory-morn,
From shattered shreds of night!”

So pass the light-clothed soldiers, till,
Beneath the arching sky,
They glimmer far and far away,
And vanish from the eye.

But still the linden, quivering,
Does hear the echoes long,
Of strong, quick march and sounding sword
And joyous Pascha-song.

The soldiers’ song, at long last, fades—
But when the sun dawns high,
The golden beams of Pascha-morn
Sing silent, in reply.

Second Place
Category 2 (ages 11–14):

Thunderstorm

Bekah Payne
Greer, SC

The air is hot and heavy with
The weight of rain withheld;
The blue sky moves in folds of haze,
On heat—not wind—propelled.

But in the west, the blueness ends;
A growing foe it meets;
A dark and heavy thundercloud
Advances; blue retreats.

The countryside is silent, as
It hold its breath in fear;
And summer’s sounds are muted by
The threat that’s drawing near.

The stillness and the silence reign
Amid this smothered world;
Until the scepter’s snapped in half,
And Darkness’ crest unfurled.

A crack—as ruling staff is split—
A wind—to blow the banner—
A flash—as gold is splintered off—
Dark reaches Blue Lord’s manor.

Now gusts of wind blow strong and hard,
Now thunder claps and roars,
Now lightning flares, illumining
The realm of the Dark Lord.

Then sends he down a mighty force,
A violent bout of rain;
His small, yet countless, troops of wrath
Descend on his domain.

But while he yet is waging war,
The wind that brought him there,
The wind that bore his banner high
Bears Dark Lord’s cloud elsewhere.

Third Place
Category 2 (ages 11–14):

Fire in the Deep

Sheila Roberts
Chardon, OH

The red-gold and the copper leaves
Into the River fell,
A nameless River, strong and deep,
Where stars’ reflections dwell.

The countless silent Autumns passed,
How many, none can tell;
No mortal walked beneath the trees
Until he came, and fought, and fell.

The warrior made his final stand,
His eyes like stormy seas,
His enemies came hunting him,
Among the russett trees.

His helm was cleft, his sword was lost,
His armor worn and stained;
But in the auborn shadows dim
His craven foes remained.

He nocked his arrows one by one,
The empty quiver fell
Into the River, sad and deep,
Where stars’ reflections dwell.

A poisoned arrow found his heart,
Around him, all grew pale;
At last grim Death was taking him
Beyond the mortal vale.

The fiery boughs wept crimson tears,
His foes’ rough laughter died—
The warrior’s body slipped beneath
The River’s solemn tide.

Those coppery leaves twined in his hair,
Remember him, they sighed,
He rests forever in the Deep—
Where stars’ reflections lie.

Honorable Mention
Category 2 (ages 11–14):

North Eyes

Elizabeth Demske
Lawrence, MI

A lonely wildcat gazes up,
Black rings around his toes,
With eyes like birdseed on the snow,
Black smudges on his nose.

From Anywhere to Anywhere
Horizon is his aim.
His compass is the polar bear’s;
The brown mice are his game.

His sides go in, his sides go out.
He smells the sky for snow,
On watch for Old Man Wintertime;
Still body, blinking slow.

He’s like a lion, with a coat
Of grey behind his head,
An alien in the bleak expanse
With miles before his bed.

His turn is measured, like a sigh,
In lee of the cheerless sun.
His shoulders move like tarnished gears
And, like a cloud, he’s gone.

Honorable Mention
Category 2 (ages 11–14):

Because I Never Broke a Bone

Abigail Shaffer
Riverside, CA

Because I never broke a bone—
One kindly broke for me—
It did not stop to think about
How very pleased I'd be.

A Note to Self—do not combine
A Scooter, Slope, and Fall—
My Right Arm hit the Pavement—
Next stop, the ER Hall.

We thought my Wrist was only sprained—
Or merely rather sore—
But then the X-ray proved against
What We'd been hoping for.

My arm was hard to move—
I couldn't do a Thing—
Not play or bathe or draw or write—
It sort of spoiled my Spring.

A Whole Month for my Cast to let
Its Ugly Face be seen—
A Second Month before I could
Jump on the Trampoline!

In all of this, a Lesson has
Been ground into my Head—
I’ll never break my Arm again.
I’ll break my Leg instead!

First Place
Category 3 (ages 15–19):

Warsaw in December

Lucy Alessio
Oakland, MI

I think December must be near …
The sky is slate-toned, cold and drear
The bombs have laid the city low
The winter won’t be easy here.

I strike a match into a glow
The shifting flames leap up and grow
The rubble’s rimed with silver frost
The cracks and hollows filled with snow

The ruined streets are gashed and crossed
With bomb-torn pits and splintered posts
The starving people wander through
Chilled and dirty, hurt and lost

We only long to start life new
Escape this charred and blasted view
There seems no place to which to fly!
All Europe’s bleak and broken, too

The world is mindless of our cry
So beneath the old and leaden sky
We wait and wander, drift and sigh
And helpless live and hopeless die.

Second Place
Category 3 (ages 15–19):

Spring’s Flower

Joel Ward
Peyton, CO

“My time has come,” said Summer to Fall;
“Spread word of my death throughout the land.”
Ao Autumn, he ran to tell them all.
For three long months he shouted this call
Before he fell into the Winter’s hand.

Winter gripped Fall by his orange hair.
“What news?” he rasped with horrendous breath.
Autumn was trapped in this beast’s frosty lair,
And the poor chap was eaten there
After he’d told of the Summer’s death.

Now the Winter could roam where it pleased.
He iced the roads so folks would slip;
Wherever he sent out a chilling breeze
Shivering people would cough and sneeze.
Who could free them from this monster’s grip?

Then a sweet little girl known as Spring
Handed the Winter a flower.
Then and there melted the cold, dark king,
For the sheer kindness of this small thing
Was opposite his frigid power.

Third Place
Category 3 (ages 15–19):

Over a Cup of Tea

Elise Parsons
Cedarville, OH

We saw the tips of the leaves turn red,
And watched the sunrise on the trees;
I rumpled, although out of bed,
You weary from the road ahead,
And all of us clutching cups of tea.

Irish grandma though you are
The tea leaves had nothing to tell you
(The filter missed too few to read how far
Your road goes, nor did the dawn star
Know what your cancer was leading to.)

We talked of travels that brought us there
But I think we sensed all words could say
And so said nothing of hope or care,
Knowing the fear you have to bear,
As if unnamed it would go away.

We sat in uncertainty
There at the edge of an autumn day
And we chatted on and sipped our tea.
I could do no more than say goodbye
And watch as you set out on your way.

Honorable Mention
Category 3 (ages 15–19):

The Time of New Talk
or, Spring in Kipling’s Jungles

Lucy Alessio
Oakland, MI

Jungle winter is soft and mild
And faded purple and listless green
Interminable to the jungle child
Who waits for the time when the earth goes wild
And the grass turns lush and the buds are seen

Spring is a winsome tyrant here
And drives before her the tangled, dead
Undergrowth, that the roaming deer
Have nibbled and scuffed throughout the year
And clothes the jungle in green instead

And through the shroud of morning fog
The peacock Mor, all gold and blue
Cries to Tabaqui, the begging dog
Who passed the call to the Bander-log
“The very smell of the earth is new!”

From the first of the springtime rains is shed
From the bank of cloulds so blue and tall
The Eye-of-the-Spring blooms small and red
Along the Waingunga river bed
And among the rocks at the waterfall

The gloaming fades, the moon shines white
The Jungle People dance and sing
Their song rings through the fragrant night
Like a harp touched by the moon’s fair light
In the Time of New Talk—jungle spring

Honorable Mention
Category 3 (ages 15–19):

Stopping by a Pool on a Hot Afternoon

Joanna Horton
Arkadelphia, AR

Whose pool this is I think I know.
The family’s on vacation, though;
They would not see me stopping here
To take a swim before I mow.

My lawnmower might bust a gear
To stop with grass by no means near
To idle by this chlorined lake
The hottest Tuesday of the year.

It’s true—there is my pay at stake
Less work to do, less cash I make.
“But just a dip?” I plead, then weep
The heat—so cruel!—the sun will bake.

The pool is lovely, cold and deep.
But I have deadlines: floors to sweep
And lawns to mow before I leap,
And lawns to mow before I leap.