2013 Teen Poetry Contest Winning Poems
7th & 8th Grade Division
1st Place: "A Choice" by Kirstin Kives
Mankind is not perfect
We do not always make the correct choices
We do not always believe we can
We do not forgive, but instead
We fight each other
Till our last breath
But ask yourself
Is mankind perfect?
All the beauty around us
Is not perfect
But when we use our power
To make life worth living again,
Humankind may destroy
But it can also restore
We can decide to help,
Or to walk away, to love,
Or to hate
Mankind can be changed,
But for that change,
Don’t we need someone to start it?
We all have a choice
We make them every day,
Without thinking about it
We all choose our own path,
Not someone else’s
When your time has run out,
And the sun is setting on your turn,
We all ask ourselves one question
Did we help?
Or walk away?
Did we love?
Or did we hate?
Mankind is not perfect,
But we all have a choice.
2nd Place: "My Little Man" by Lauren Thompson
Peter Pan, I fell in love with you from the moment you teased my ears with the lilting sound of your prose. You were all I ever thought about. All I ever dreamt about. When you leapt from the window and flew around the ceiling, I, too, soared about the room ready to land in crisscross near the fan.
You are the smallest dream in the size of a boy. You’ve haunted every corner of my dreams. While you awaited your instructions for a rescue mission of a girl in peril, I was that girl. I was caught in my own Never Neverland and I was desperate for your rescue.
When Captain Hook caught ahold of my dreams, seizing them by their tales, you yanked and tugged them free once again. If I was drowning in despair, you played a cheery tune on your pipes and cheered me up. You are one of the few who know how to lift my spirits.
Even now as I grow old, you still come back for me. Your boyish laughter and child-like smile are peering around my curtains flapping with the wind. The way your shadow teases you still makes me giggle as if I was six again. It’s as if I had gone back in time, but alas I haven’t. You will always be waiting for me, my little man.
3rd Place: "Sandy Hook Elementary" by Talia Eraci
Today all I wanted was to leave school,
Everything was the same routine, nothing new or cool.
I sat in familiar desks and classrooms, not thinking much of these normal things I see,
I hated having to stay in my classes when I was tired and hungry.
I was finally welcomed at the end of the day by the car radio as I opened mom’s car door,
There was a story on the news like nothing I have ever heard before.
Children and teachers had gone to a certain school today just like me,
They did not realize this was the last day some of them would ever see.
A bad man had come to the school with a gun and a heart full of hate,
And took out his anger on some six-year-olds on this date.
He shot 20 little first graders,
He showed no more mercy towards their protectors, the teachers.
This morning, the children had hugged and kissed their mommies and daddies,
Then were sent to school to see their little buddies.
Their parents said they would pick up their children after school,
No one expected this would be false because of some evil fool.
Heaven gained 26 beautiful souls today,
There is now no way to go back and protect them, to make them stay.
They were brutally murdered by a man will a strong desire for revenge,
It was obvious in his crazed eyes there was something that had put him over the edge.
The country is mourning the loss of these innocent teachers and students,
Hopefully now people will use more prudence.
Now things are really put into perspective,
We take so much for granted, even our one chance to live.
So tomorrow when I go to school,
I will try something new and cool,
Because today I heard a story like nothing I have ever heard before.
Honorable Mention: "Math on a Monday Morning" by Andrew Conwell
Clock ticking ever so slowly
Filling the room with the sound of time.
Students sitting at desks working
Smell of fresh paper seems to come from everywhere,
Pencils scratching on paper, piercing through my ears
But however interesting the world of algebra is, the mind is untamable and mine begins to wander.
And now I stand in a stadium, cheered on by the loud screams of the millions watching me, dead out sprinting the last lap of my Olympic mile.
Or I am an astronaut, hurtling through space at 1000 miles per hour, only minutes away from becoming the first man on the moon.
A quick glance out the simple classroom window shows to most people the plain field of grass
But to me it reveals the colossal earth, floating in the black expanse of space peppered with twinkling dots of light.
Now I am a scientist in a lab studying genes, knowing that the lives of countless people depend on my research.
Look at me, look at me-driving and I won’t stop.
And it feels so free to be alive and on top.
To others, I am doing math, but to me I am living every kid’s dream. I am all anyone has ever hoped for.
Sometimes the best moments in life can be the ones where you’re not doing anything special.
Because even sitting here in 4th period math, I can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone!
With the beauty and power of imagination.
Honorable Mention: "Words" by Ryan Ruocco
Words. The things we use every day
They get the points across without delay
Dog words, Like Retriever, & Poodle
Food words, Like Apple & Strudel
Words that make parents gasp
Words with meaning we cannot grasp
Words make up the sentences we say
Words are free, you don’t have to pay
Words can be short or long
Words can be said or sung in a song
So many words to keep in your thinker
If they were hard to remember, that’d be a stinker
Eat, Feet, Look, Hook,
Hurt, Skirt, Pump, Jump,
Worm, Squirm, Dome, Foam,
I’ve been using words this whole poem!
Well, this poem is soon to finish
If I don’t stop soon, your attention will diminish
I’ll stop before these verses turn into pain
But first, here’s something to mull over in your brain:
What if you had to pay
for the words you say?
Honorable Mention: "The Silence of Blank Space" by Sabrina Friedman
It screams with its muted words
and glares at you with its presence
You yearn to know what will fill it
while intimidating you with its endlessness
Fear takes over with a sense of second-guessing
Why is nothing here?
What am I doing?
Who am I?
It is empty, devoid
but magnificent as well
Nothing is more powerful than beauty in a wicked world
In it lies the infinite potential of creating a masterpiece
Allowing you to wonder and dream
It expresses everything while doing nothing at all
shows but doesn’t tell
yet destroyed by a single scratch
But the destruction is our fault
because is it shattered with our need to fill it.
Honorable Mention: "Choices" by Sarah Carrier
One choice can change it all
It inspires change, renews a lost dream
But choices can also make us fall
A choice can turn into a mistake
They can be warped into the devil’s helper like a venomous snake
Choices become twisted when our conscious is put in a vault, safely sealed away
When the two doors are laid out in front of us, some will choose the one that pulls them down
Down into a sinking abyss
But sometimes this pit is dismissed
One may choose the door to freedom and light
The door that leads away from the never-ending self fight
These are the ones who have unlocked their vaulted doors
Who have spread their wings and taken an angel’s flight
So, yes some choices can make us fall
But the best choices of all are the ones that teach us to reach for the sky
To learn from our mistakes
And if we fall seven times, to stand up eight.
Honorable Mention: "The Hunter" by Niraja Surendran
In the dense jungle, he walks
Every step so gentle and light,
His arms tearing away the thick vines,
Even with the discomforts of traveling,
Through his rough and stony path,
Sweat trickling down his face.
Mosquitos suck the blood out of him,
Leaving red trails down his muscular arms,
But he doesn’t notice—he doesn’t care,
He walks barefoot the entire time,
Pebbles and rubbish seeping in,
To the soft palms of his feet.
Screeching birds come swooshing in,
Pecking at his scraggly brown hair,
Wild dogs howl in the distance,
But he is used to the scary noises,
Just like how his brown eyes squint,
No matter what the weather is.
Forgetting all his difficulties,
Since his granddad, father, brothers,
Have all done the same,
It is tradition: must be accustomed to,
Though Nature is an impediment,
He won’t give up—he can’t.
Sometimes he gets grand catches,
Like a grown male deer,
Other times he brings home,
A bony, old squirrel,
But he will accept any prize,
To fill the stomachs of his family.
Thinking of his wife waiting by the door,
His children clutching her skirts avidly,
With a bow slung over his back,
His arrow aimed in precision,
The hunter will go on,
And the hunter will never rest.