2012 Teen Poetry Contest Winners

2012 Teen Poetry Contest Winners


High School Winner

"In Bare Feet"

out past the rough-grey sidewalks we walk, we turn our backs
on the harsh cyclone borders we let ourselves swim, rippling outwards

out there, with the mountains as our living room Parlor_Walls
we don’t live here, but we belong, putting our feet one. after. another.

and on/ and on/ and on/ we walk; we let the iron-grey gravel
crunch beneath our boots before we slip them off

and walk amongst the trees in our bare feet

to walk in the mountain’s shadow, in the cold, with bare feet
as we wade out into the water our breath stills in the cold air
not that we care- it’s worth it out here

where not breathing means hearing the sunlight, seeing the wind
as they whisper soft songs in our she-sells-sea-shells ears

it’s like swimming in an empty pool before they roll over the covers
like dusky blue clouds, and we don’t actually swim...

we dance, with bare feet

and beneath the mirror, under the cave-cold, numb surface,
are smooth stones- not river’s rocks, but river’s bones

here the current pulls fast (further out, further in!)
and the mossy bottom is alive with under-dwellers

like Atlantis, undiscovered beneath our bare feet.

Kathryn S.
Pioneer High School
Grade 11



Middle School Winner

"Evol Love I & II"

Pitch black hair hides
Ice blue eyes
His cunning smile-
Grinning, slavering, hungry child
To some, an angel, divine
To me, a predator, lupine
Forbidden territory appeals and repels
It’s with mystery he excels
I’m not sure of attraction
His drive never slows a fraction
But danger rings hollow
So I run, knowing he’ll follow

Same contrast
Just different shades
Emerald and caramel soften
Sapphire and ebony
I feel myself
It’s never happened before
It doesn’t feel right
But at least I know
I have an effect on her, too
Saccharin-sweet Drakkar Noir
Suffocates her in poisoned ecstasy
And I can tell the chase won’t last long

Cassiopeia J.
River Glen Middle School
Grade 8



High School Winner

"…And Smile"

Which step should I take next?
Be careful, she’s watching.
Calm your temper, be wary.
Silence your tongue, and smile.
Where should I turn?
Don’t lash out, stay leashed.
Replace the angry glint in your eye, quickly.
Clamp your tongue, and smile.
Who do I tell my story to?
Stay quiet, don’t talk.
Hold in the tears, swiftly.
Bite your tongue, and smile.
Why must I stay quiet?
Uncurl your balled fist, unnoticeably.
Tame your glare, look softly.
Shush your tongue, and smile.
How longer must this go on?
Clasp her hand, gently.
Forgive, firstly.
And don’t forget to smile.

Diane C.
Grade 10



Middle School Winner

"Time Bomb"

A baby’s cry, a machine beeps,
A toddlers first step, the camera’s red light Tick A kindergartners first day of school, a backpack zipping Tick A teenagers’ first date, a car waiting Tick tick A college graduation, a camera shutter Tick tick A grand wedding, piano music Tick tick A child, a soft lullaby, Tick tick tick Dropping kids at soccer, oldies on the radio, Tick tick tick Waiting for the bride to walk the aisle, memories spinning, Tick tick tick A 50th wedding anniversary, knocks for room service The silence at a nursing home, Wracking coughs, Tick tick tick tick, A last look, a last breath, Tick tick tick tick tick
A time bomb, ticking away From the first breath to the last Life.

Maithilee K.
Grade 8



High School Winner

"Finding Strength"

Sky's getting darker

        Minutes ticking by

                Feathers fall to ground

                        Phoenix ready to fly

                                                Doubt is abandoned

                                                        And hope can be found

                                                                Rustling pages escape

                                                                        And books are unbound

                                        Dawns to rival the

                                Darkest of nights

                        Will to overcome

                The fear of flight

Alanna Z.
Grade 10



Middle School Winner

"What is Green?"

Green is the color of daydreaming
While in class
About getting grass stains on your knees
When you are playing football trying to win.

Green is envy
Of someone tall or short
Jealousy, anxiety
That’s the sort.

Green is getting interrupted
In mid-sentence
That feeling inside…
Different than anger.

Green is the color of the great Statue of Liberty
Standing proud in New York
It once was bronze but
The salty wind turned it to the green we know today.

Green is a smell that we like
But can’t tell
What it smells like
Or reminds us of…

Green is bittersweet
With a dash of salt.
Green is rough
Yet soft to the touch.

Nature is green
In the forest
The moss climbing on the rocks
Like children.

Green is dinner on the table
Salad, vegetables,
All so good for you…

Green is like a little fish
Poking his head out of the tall seaweed.

Green is a color we have all come to love.
Green is a color from above.

Alexander A.
Grade 6



High School Winner

"When the Dead Dance"

The dark closed in, along with clouds,
And the moon was hidden from sight.
Around that time, the dead came out,
And I danced with them that night.

They leave their graves undisturbed
As they stalk in two's and three's,
With their bony faces grinning,
And their clicking-clacking knees.

They sang about how when they die,
Their loved ones cry and sob.
But suddenly, the music starts.
And so begins the Danse Macabre.

They spin and twirl and jump around,
And dance hand in hand,
In a swirling, whirling dervish,
That no living can understand.

I joined arms with each of them,
And danced the night away,
Until the morning sun arrived,
Bringing light unto the day.

So the specters shuffle off to bed,
With no more joy to give,
Until the night does come again,
And the dead can finally live.

Tucker M.
Bellarmine College Preparatory
Grade 9



Middle School Winner

"Stars, Rainbows, and Hope"

Stars are always in the night sky,
Sometimes we do not see them.

Rainbows are always there after rain,
Sometimes we do not see them.

Hope is always there in hard times,
Sometimes we do not see it.

But if you were to turn your head,
A little to the east,
Or the west,
Maybe you would see those stars,
Or that rainbow,
Or that hope.

It would float by,
Like a balloon,
My friend, a piece of advice,
Grab it,
Let it take you away.
It will pull you upwards,
Out of that dark space.

And as you fly you will see the rainbow, The stars, And much more, But you will feel the hope, As you hang on to thread, While it lifts you up and, Listen to me, trust me, Enjoy the ride.

Saira Y.
International School of the Peninsula
Grade 7



High School Winner


The fish know not of starry skies,
nor mountains wide, nor deserts dry.
Each day they swim within their tank,
just windup toys, whose minds are blank.

Whilst fish trace out their trodden paths,
The sea star clings against the glass.
It dreams beyond its watery zone,
of lofty currents and powers unknown.

Some men know not of starry skies,
they flounder through their daily lives.
But those that stop to dream outside,
are stars of men with god as guide.

Rahul S.
The Harker School
Grade 10



Middle School Winner

"Imagination is the Key"

We are all blessed with the gift of second sight
Even a blind man can use this skill to see quite bright

For deep within us we can visualize the unseen
We can replay the events of a long-ago scene

We can conjure up images of the unknown, the unreal
Fantastical ideas we are just waiting to reveal

In our mind’s eye we see what has never been seen before
There are whole worlds in your mind if you care to explore

In a child’s imagination, the sight is quite pure
Simple fancies and dreams, yet creative thoughts to be sure

We can harness these visions to create ideas most profound
A simple reverie can contain notions that would astound

The thoughts in our head can change the world drastically
Just imagine if we pooled our creativity enthusiastically

The discoveries we’d find! The problems we’d solve!
The theories redefined! The conflicts we’d resolve!

For the key to life is not to conform to other things
You must look at the world creatively, for imagination gives you wings!

Siddharth K.
Chaboya Middle School
Grade 8



High School Winner

"Pool of Tears"

If you look into a pool of tears,
they say you'll see all your faults and dreams.

But all this child sees is his own reflection, the glow of the moon, and the black forest.

The stories are wrong, he thinks, tossing a pebble in and watching the image ripple, fracture.

Look into a pool of tears-
all you'll see is your own reflection.

For you contain all your faults and dreams, and only you can fix or follow them.

Emma M.
Gilroy Early College Academy
Grade 9



Middle School Winner

"Enjoy a Day"

The soft of the grass tickles the back of my hand, A cloud wanders by above.
Crickets chirp in the grass near,
and a warm breeze flows.

A mockingbird calls out to its mate,
gently, a bird takes flight.
Tree branches dance all around,
and a stream flows near.

A bug crawls down my arm,
I feel the hard packed earth beneath my back.
Slowly, the sky turns from blue to red, a hoot comes from the darkened forest.

The clatter of wings above my head,
the stars above shine much brighter.
All is still and dark,
My eyes droop, and my conscience of the world recedes.

Tatjana B.



High School Winner


Sitting down at the table feels like
Being wrapped in a warm blanket.
The familiarity of the food, of my grandmother’s place at the table,
Of the same toasts over and over – “to health! To America!” –
Is unusual. Everything else changes.
My brother and I silently compete over scoops of salad Olivier,
And his daughter is my guinea pig;
I coax her to eat just a little bit of red, salty, exploding caviar on
     buttered bread.
She says no.
She grows and vaguely rings a bell for me and my resistance
To speak Russian. To go to Russian school. To eat Russian food. Why Russian food, again?
Can’t we eat some pasta or something besides borscht and meat
     kotleti and thick potatoes?
(I hold my tongue about the saffron rice–fluffy, yellow, favorite.)
The transition was gradual:
Now, I pester parents about gathering.
The freezer is a lacking friend at dinnertime; I want hot, delicious
With no regard for calories. Smear on the butter and serve the
     cake and tea.
I even have my old teacher’s phone number, written in my
     grandfather’s hand.
When she sees my grandparents, she says, “She is always welcome
I will call her soon; two weeks, three weeks.
Do they call this regression? The need to regain routine as I stand
      on the brink of leaving?
Regression. Regrussian. Russian. Remembrance.

Daniela L.
Harker Upper School
Grade 12



Middle School Winner

"What If"

What if someone realized that they
could do whatever they wanted?
Everything that he ever
wanted was his.
Would he become corrupt?

What if the world started
to crumble at his fingertips?
Everything that he did
was wrong, unmoral
Would he hate himself?

What if a single child
saved the world
just like a single person
destroyed it.
Would the destroyer be happy?

What if you had to choose
to be one of those people?
Would you be the savior?
Would you be the destroyer?

What if this is all happening right now?
Would you watch?
Would you become corrupt?
Would you do what’s right?

What if this is called bullying?
Would you put a stop to it?

Peter V.
Redwood Middle School
Grade 7



High School Winner

"The Void"

I'm standing on the edge again
how'd I get here?
staring down into a pit
known too well
hoping I can walk away
again it temps me
with silence, numbness
trying to break free
I cant yell help
knowing I cant climb out
cant fall in
this void has saved me
and hurt me
this time is different
dont know what drove me
here to this void I know so well..
will it hurt?
will I land?
questions I dont want answered
trying so hard to run
no one to here my screams
those who can hear
stand and laugh
knowing to well
this void will devour
anything that enters
found it! an epiphany
emotions, that drove me
now this void
it lures me
numbness, silence, freedom
but I cant go
too much to do here
cant go yet
my heart pulls me closer
I see him, I slip
must remember its a trick
trying so hard to fight
dont know how to rebuff
this feeling ..
I feel tears
gaaaa!! I cant hold hold on
he speaks
I slip again
one mis-step
and I'm gone
I know that this time I wont be able to crawl out
im scared, frozen,
I scream again
i hear the laughs

Kayla-Mae L.
Grade 10



Middle School Winner


Whining for mother
Not knowing their surroundings
They enter our world

Emily H.
Grade 8

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