2014 Teen Poetry Contest Winning Poems

7th & 8th Grade Division

1st Place: "Peace Tank" by Charlie Hattas

The weapons are shooting,

and owls are hooting.

There is death in the sky on this night.

The explosions are everywhere,

and missiles are in the air.

When behold there was a bright light.

Then up from above, 

like a cloud or a dove.

Came the peace tank coming down.

He smashed on the ground,

without a sound.

And reversed the soldier’s frowns.

He shot rainbows and bubbles,

as the men lost their stubble.

For they were becoming young boys.

They played with each other,

as if they were brothers.

The peace tank supplied their toys.

The innocent boys had fun,

because they were young.

This is the key to the end of war.

The peace tank finished his job,

he got rid of the mob.

For that’s what the peace tank is for.


2nd Place: "Peep" by Kailey Beckham

Here’s to a girl,

Who never spoke

A word

Who stood by her friends,

A lifeline for them to depend

Here’s to a girl,

Who Never understood

Why it was her friends

Who never could

Here’s to a girl who gave it her all

And here’s to the girl,

Whose friends,





3rd Place: "Clarity" by Emily "Patsy" Gray

Alone on the sidelines,

she took a seat to watch the game begin.


And that’s exactly what it was; a game.

At first.

Worn from playing it herself, she was

but a thin slice of white sleep waiting in the

hotness of yellow summer. Her head was fevered,

but strangely unnoticeable in the wind.

Somewhere in the distance the siren of a whistle

signified the start of this game,

lost and almost unheard in its thinness.

The game began


It was a playful match of something resembling tug-of-war,

gentle pulls from each side

that sent waves of excitement rippling down

the tired face of those included.

Unclear from her distance and significantly blurred

from the heat, their faces…

they were different.

She wasn’t sure how.

They were missing something… A nose? A mouth?



This went on for what could have been hours, minutes, seconds,

but what she perceived to be a large portion of her life.

She could feel the heaviness in her head grow thicker.


As she watched, the smiles on their faces seemed to loosen, and soon

fell apart into open mouths that gaped like those of corpses.

The thing they were pulling on—it was

white and thin but oh-so-blurred

in this heat—was starting to tear.


At first it was hardly noticeable; a mere rip or two down

the side. But as time passed, and the heaviness in her head increased,

the thin piece was shredded and frayed to no end.

And still she grew more and more dizzy, all the while

trying to comprehend what this white thing was.

It was almost like fabric, but in the 

veil of heat was much softer’ delicate and fragile.

And still as her eyelids fell lower—heavier—

the faces of those playing became more and more warped.

Except they weren’t really playing anymore, and it wasn’t really a game

at this point. It was more of a constant battle

between these things—they weren’t really humans, either.


And, still sitting on the sidelines,

she fell asleep.


Honorable Mention: "Jack Frost's Kisses" by Sakuni Egodawatte

They plunge from the sky

Teasing the passerby

Jack Frost’s kisses

Winter’s missus

Frozen ballerinas in a dreary cloud-scape

Jittery children hopping in their wake

Inspiring hope, lifting grief

A delicate life and very brief

Shimmering by 

The dancers alive

To their deaths

Melting in a single breath

But purifying

Hate defying

Geometric shapes

Donning superhero capes

Heaven’s little angels

Built with acute angles

Granting wishes

All but vicious

So easy to destroy

They bring unbridled joy

A cushion for the heavy-hearted

A greeting from the dear departed

A sign of everlasting love

Flying like one of nature’s doves

Flecks of white in a big wide world

A crystal beauty cold’s unfurled

Frozen river, icy lakes

The only thing missing are the snowflakes


Honorable Mention: "Road Trip" by Lauren Guidish

My family and I

squeeze into our van.

We are crayons in a crayon box.

Getting comfortable,

we begin our l o n g journey.

But, in reality,

we are as comfortable as if

we were sitting on concrete.

There are





      and food.

Being crampedinonespace

is worse than we thought it would be.

The car starts to get hot as an oven.

My sister and I bicker

about what movie to watch.

my parents cover their ears.

My dad makes a wrong turn.

No one knows where we are.

After a lot of complaining, we realize

we have only been driving





Honorable Mention: "Lego House" by Tyler Manjarres

Pulling yourself out of depression is like building a Lego House,

It’s not because of one specific reason,

It is because of many small building-brick-reasons that fit together, interlaced

Left to fit perfectly in place

Be careful who you play with

Some like to build, others will kick down your masterpiece

Rip it apart, brick by cursed brick and tear your life apart

Tear apart your soul but that doesn’t mean you should tear yourself apart with razors and knives

Millions taking their lives,

Fields of bricks waiting to be chosen but you never arrived

So pick up a brick, whether it’s just one by one doesn’t mean you’re done.

Pick up another, from your siblings or your mother.

On the side it says “You’re beautiful”

Just because it doesn’t apply, just because you’re a guy, doesn’t mean toss it away.

It means build, build with power. Build 17 houses per hour.

But not just for you, there are others going through

Everything with you, being put through.

Build your house, build another

Not just for yourself by for another

You will help yourself and her

You’re not alone

Not cold so don’t shiver,

Stop Feeling that way put on a coat,

Pick up a brick, build a moat

Around your little golden house,

Travel by boat,

To the island of happy, and glad, glad you read this,

The best time I’ve had so let me help you not be sad,

But, to build a Lego house.

Honorable Mention: "The Beauty Within" by Julie Schum

She sits with no expression

The world passes her by

She notices the impurities

She notices the beauty

On the outside she looks cold

On the inside she has warmth

She dances in her mind

While she sits alone elsewhere

She tells herself to hide

While her soul tells her to sing

She is misunderstood

Yet she understands

She sees the glares

She won’t glare back

She is strong

She is capable of much

She starts to believe

She has faith 

She is beauty


Honorable Mention: "You Lost Your Fight for Life" by Sophia Mann

Two short years later

You lost your 

Fight for life

Mother of four beautiful wife

Although you’re in a 

Better place we will always

Miss your smiling face

There was so much more for you here

But it will always

Be better up there

We would laugh so hard we’d cry

But we never go to say good bye.


Honorable Mention: "Roots" by Shlok Sharma

Author’s Notes: I had gone to India for a visit, something that I hadn’t done in 8 years. I struggled to find anything I could appreciate, but I did, and this poem sums up everything I loved about the place I went to.


It would make any boy groan

It meant foreign countries

No access to phones

For me it meant India

The most foreign of all

But my origins started here

(As said on my passports)

So I thought “I must adhere”

Through the dirt, the fleas, the sand

I barely could see my hand

I pushed on, determined to find myself here

For a while, I couldn’t, and I started to fear

I searched and searched

And soon I was triumphant

I realized that India wasn’t just dirt and elephants

I was found in my relatives

They were so similar to me, but yet so different

But honestly, what’s the point of me being redundant?

And then I learned

That India may have been dirty and rotten

But it was place not be forgotten

And then I realized that another word for roots

Is a second home


Honorable Mention: "Fake" by Anne Bugayong

I fake a smile for acceptance

To cover my overwhelming desire to fit in

I criticize my appearance in hope of feeling beautiful

My flaws glare at me

Sneering with disgust

The walls around my heart are indestructible

Never letting anyone in

I yearn to be wanted

To fill the void of rejection

I act like any other

Afraid of sticking out

I see them laughing and smiling

Their joy mocking my sorrow

I envy their happiness

Unable to show mine

Night hides my tears

Only to let Day dry them

You see Her

But not Me

Honorable Mention: "Wasting my Life Away" by Riley Hill

Why do I spend everyday,

Feeling like I’m dying?

Lying broken in an vacant stall,

Weeping and crying?

What would happen if,

I had a peaceful day?

Where the ache and pain,

Just vanished and went away?

No longer would I weep, 

Or have restless sleep.

Because everything that is wrong with me,

Will no longer be eternity.

But of course that’s foolish,

The world doesn’t work out that way.

So instead I’ll stay in the stall crying, 

Wasting my life away.


Honorable Mention: "Friends?" by Isabel Osorio

Not forceful or bitter

Not “kidding”

You’re so dumb, just die”


Sticks and stones may break my bones

But words 

Will never

Hurt me


Not driving the nail into my coffin

But only once

Your gun has been emptied

Into my chest

I become cold

Fragmented and frozen like 

Roman statues




Sticks and stones may break my bones

But words


I opened myself up to you

But you slammed my fingers 

In the door

They lay


Ragged, splintered, dull

Like the very edges of

My being

“You’re so dumb, just die”


Sticks and stones may break my bones

But words

Will never

Hurt me


But what if words are bullets?


“You’re so dumb, just die”


And I handed you the gun