Writing Contest Winners

2021 Teen Poetry Contest Winners

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High School, 1st Place

“Woodpecker”

by Nora

(Northwest Catholic)

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Drunk with the elixir of flower nectar and fruit,
yet still hungry,
his tiny beak percusses like the needle of a sewing machine.
He drones through the wood,
tick tacking through the bark like a typewriter,
in search of the termites,
who live just to eat through the tree.
Unbeknownst to them,
they eat straight into the beak of the enemy.
They reach the sloping, rigid beak,
shining like damp black asphalt,
and perhaps they try to fly upon their fragile,
aluminum foil wings,
which exist without functionality,
and instead for the purpose of design.
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High School, 2nd Place

“Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Dandelion: After Wallace Stevens”

by Emma

(Kingswood Oxford)

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I.
Enfolded in the vast garden of our Earth
stands high and mighty
the radiant, blooming sun of a dandelion.

II.
It whirls with the wind,
its wings opening with delight
as if to welcome me into its gleaming orbit.

III.
The dandelion’s seeds swirl
using nature’s parachute to glide endlessly
with no sense of place or time or feeling –
just choreographed chaos.

IV.
I yearn to latch onto the madness that is its movement
its boldness
its blinding blaze
among the sea of green.

V.
The grace
with which it releases itself from the roots below
is tangible –
landing directly into my palms,
carried away in the late summer air.

VI.
It brings with it memories
of power
of healing
of strength
as its scent and its body and its spirit
settle smoothly upon my skin.

VII.
It ignites within itself an inner smile –
the kind that burns with unprecedented vigor –
as it lies with a new peace of mind.

VIII.
It is nature’s song for my eyes,
providing warmth and care and nurturing
without faltering or losing essence or brilliance,
as only nature’s love can.

IX.
It is art
unrivaled by the works of man,
its yellow paint dripping down my palm
like melting butter – fluid, thick, warm.

X.
It is the definition of
natural feeling and emotion,
free of preconceived notions
and subjective thoughts,
whispering to me
in its golden-laced voice overflowed with compassion
and purpose – a voice
that is a flashlight
exposing my woes, my fears –
as if my Confidant.

XI.
But
the dandelion is also
ephemeral, fleeting –– its taste
soon becomes sour to the tongue like an
overripe lemon
perspiring through its softening outer skin,
dripping into the soil below.

XII.
For as the weather cools
from its warmer notes,
and the shining yellow of the dandelion’s petals
buries deep under the fresh blankets of snow,
the dandelion
becomes lost.

XIII.
And yet it doesn’t want to be found
until it can glow vibrantly again
and provide illumination
following the wintry cold of Connecticut.
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High School, 3rd Place

“I Wish I Was a Girl Who”

by Grace

(Hall High School)

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i wish i was a girl who


could join a conversation with ease,
smoothly inserting myself in a group
of anyone in my classes or
people i haven’t talked with for years.

but i fear that i’ll never be that girl 
because i think too long and
speak too much. 

i don’t want to isolate myself
to only one group, but
how do i branch out? 
i’m not a tree, programmed to stretch
towards the sun, but
a girl unsure of the direction to turn to.
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Middle School, 1st Place

“Home”

by Amani

(King Philip Middle School)

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I am from music constantly drifting through the air, never too far away to hear.
The soundtrack of my life
The melody to my memories.
I am from Disney and daydreams, pound cake and ice cream.
The happiest place on Earth
I am from old movies and tv shows only half remembered.
Years ago and yesterday
I am from colored pencils and hours by the windowsill
Worlds created and found.
I am from the words written messily on a page, hidden from view.
A palace built by paragraphs, stretching towards the sky.
A soft place to land.
I am from anxiety and poetry, land and sea.
Different, yet all the same
I am from potholes and pancakes.
Broken and whole.
I am from family lost, and a family found along the way.
The past, present, and future that I’ll make.
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Middle School, 2nd Place

“A World of Pollution”

by Supriya

(Kingswood Oxford)

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I had a dream
In the middle of a land,
not a speck of green to be seen.
I had a dream
I inhaled a breath, but it caught in my throat.
I felt something drip onto my face,
and looked up only to see
the choked sky crying black tears.
I had a dream,
Not a star to be seen,
the air was thick and grey,
but not with fog nor clouds,
Something else,
More sinister.
I had a dream.
I was looking in a stream,
only to find a black reflection.
As I looked on, a ripple disrupted my view,
and I looked up only to see,
The sky crying black tears.
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Middle School, 3rd Place

“Autumn Leaves”

by Kiersten

(Sedgwick Middle School)

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I will not succumb to easy 
Like the frost that pulls itself back 
At the first sighting of the sun 
I will be in failure as 
The crisp autumn leaves 
Singing their last tune, 
Mournful but not remorseful 
Then to fall gracefully 
And lie there for 
Others’ feet to pad across gently
 Then sit forevermore on the path
 To watch as life moves before me
 Or perhaps to be carried in 
The wind’s arms 
To brush by splendor in the driest of deserts
 To be alive, truly, in death 
And sing my song still, to the earth
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Summer Writing Contest 2020

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High School Poetry

“Familiarity at Sea”

by Charlotte

(Hall High School)

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I see myself in the scattered items along the beachfront,
Those deemed too mundane to occupy one’s gleaming collection.


I am the abandoned husk of coral in the sand,
That catches one’s eyes in a fluttering moment of curiosity,
Only to be kicked aside by shuffling feet
When my desiccation becomes clear.
Maybe someone will cast me into the sea,
Where the tides will weather my brittle shell.


I am a shard of brown glass in the sand,
Not quite delicate enough to be called sea glass.
My harsh hickory color wards beachgoers away,
After all, I’m so plain,
With greens, lavenders, and blues proving so alluring.


I am a broken sheet of slate in the sand,
Too jagged and frangible to skip.
I splinter the moment I kiss the ocean surface,
Better left concealed by the grainy dunes. And even though my luster may sparkle
under the summer sun,
Nothing parallels the sheen of pearly clams and glimmering granite.


Despite my perpetual state of neglect, though,
I find comfort in the embrace of the crashing waves.
Unlike the scrutinizing glare of human eyes,
The water envelops all without question.


Once cycled out to sea again,
My rugged edges smoothed,
I am endowed with another opportunity to find a home beyond the shore.

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Middle School Poetry

“America’s Definition”

by Tate

(King Philip Middle School)

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Do or die it’s a state of mind
Look close, truth will materialize
We look’in at the world through American eyes
Living in this beautiful country that was built by lies
We fight with other countries, leave our soldiers traumatized
Come home hope to God they don’t commit suicide
Chris Columbus came to America and invaded
Takin’ the homes and the lives of most of the natives
This country balancing the weight of Democrats and Republicans
Teetering and tottering like a swing in the wind


This pandemic hit hard like a meteor, mass extinction
Climbing to the top, come from a town with no great distinction
Sending my message across I got no restrictions
Can’t be trapped I’m escaping like a magician
Mumbling your words coming in and outta transmission
Trying to one up other countries– world’s a competition
Innocent lives taken cause they think he fit the description
Change is coming, I’m not even using my intuition
Still they benefiting from pain inflicting
and contradicting the jurisdiction………


But, hey,
that’s America’s definition

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High School Short Story

Whisper of Scars

by Shirah

(Conard High School)

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Middle School Short Story

Vacation

by Isaac

(King Philip Middle School)

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Middle School Essay

Percy vs. Clarisse

by Nitya

(King Philip Middle School)