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2011 Poetry Contest Winners

First Place
Category 1 (ages 7–10):

A Pirate’s Tail

Nancy Stokes Du Bose
Gilbert, Arizona

A cat had been swept into the river
During the night before
While standing on a piece of driftwood
Now he’s soaked to the core

He longed for his home
And he longed for his bed
Though night after night
On wood he lay his head

He floated by a pirate ship and said
“I’ll be a pirate cat”
And on the pirate ship
He found a pirate hat

He looked and looked but
Still he roams on the seas
Looking for home and
The truly homely breeze

Second Place
Category 1 (ages 7–10):

Where the Wild Things Are

Eryn Pepple
Germantown, Tennessee

There was a lion named Lional
He was scared of the dark
He didn’t know what to do about it
So he asked the aardvark

He said to go get a night light
OK, said Lional, bye
So he went straight to the night lights
And found one he could buy

It was midnight so he ran home
He plugged in his night light
He was not scared of the dark now
Then he slept well that night

Then the next week the bulb burned out
So he got a new one
It is so strange that he is scared
’Cause he makes others run

Third Place
Category 1 (ages 7–10):

The Incredible Journey

Vincent Mead
Jefferson Township, Pennsylvania

I am in Kiel, Germany
People are so nice here.
They recommend where we should eat.
We saw how they make beer.

German food is so very good.
I wish I could live here.
Their hotels and buses are nice.
There is nothing to fear.

The day we got here after we ate,
We went to the hotel,
And we tried hard to fall asleep.
Would we? No one could tell.

In the morning, we ate breakfast.
I had some bacon strips.
I had bread that I did not want.
The crumbs fell from my lips.

We took a long walk down a street.
We ran out of sidewalk.
We saw a miniature golf sign.
So this way we did walk.

Miniature golf is so easy.
I never golfed before.
We got to see the beach from here.
How could I ask for more!

When we were done, I said, “Again!”
“I want to play some more.”
But mom said, “Let’s go to the beach.”
Now our feet will be sore.

When the two weeks were completed,
We were so sad to leave.
As the airplane flew through the sky,
A tear fell on my sleeve.

Honorable Mention
Category 1 (ages 7–10):

The Long Journey

Brittany Hock
Mayfield, New York

I did not like our house too much,
Two years ago today.
When I woke up at early morn,
I did not want to stay.

The long, long journey to Penns Creek,
The journ I won’t forget
I walked and walked throughout the day
Crossed streams and got all wet.

And as I walked along the trail,
I stopped when I saw a bear.
To run right on right passed the thing,
I really did not dare.

I stood as still as I could be,
The bear soon went away.
I darted off as fast as I could,
Was soon done for that day.

I walked and walked throughout the night,
Did not know where to lay.
I thought about my house I left,
And wished that I did stay.

Honorable Mention
Category 1 (ages 7–10):

White Spot of my Eye

Lauren Lyles
Humble, Texas

No young leaves only amber brick
coneys losing their fur,
trading it in for something fare
they’ll blend in with the snow.

Ready for rest, but sill starving
calmly parade away.
Canter further from my mother
crunch of leaves under paws;

Pausing to see what I shall catch
before I sleep so long
glimpse a white spot on the pathway
must I investigate.

Unflinching amble towards unknown
to jostle my great find,
closer I get to my treasure
I hear a silent growl.

Glancing around to find the noise
staying quiet and still,
a white siamese doubled in size
protecting his dear friend.

He’s ready to pounce, still frightened
seeing my appearance,
circling my pale, weak fortune
want to play before sleep.

Throwing fears aside and away
staring into his glare,
I turn around to find Mother
sharp claws in my back.

Call out in pain, Mom hears my cry
she knocks him to the ground.
Startled, he runs towards us,
swiftly we dash away in fear.

First Place
Category 2 (ages 11–14):

The Cost of a Cause

Patience Griswold
Elk River, Minnesota

The rain poured down, the thunder clapped,
The rider urged his horse.
Around his heels the water lapped,
As if to block his course.

His health was failing rapidly,
With every passing day.
And yet, he rode on steadily,
Rain could not block his way.

The vote was cast, it was a tie,
Would they choose to be free?
Those who said yes were doomed to die,
Without the Victory.

And so he rode, the tie to break,
Which way would his vote go?
’Twas such a risk for him to take,
Why shouldn’t he vote no?

To vote to have a free country,
To free the common man?
King George’s tax on British tea,
Was getting out of hand.

And yet his health! With British care,
He might be well again.
Should he vote no, his life he’d spare,
He’d live without such pain.

Would Rodney vote to spare his life,
For that which helped him most?
Or seal his fate and vote for strife,
To vote for freedom’s war?

He voted for what he believed,
God made him to be free.
For our freedom we’ve received from,
Those like Caesar Rodney.

Second Place
Category 2 (ages 11–14):

Comedy of Errors

Abigail Spears
Chesapeake, Virginia

James Percy came up with a plan,
A great ingenious plot.
He would play an April Fool’s joke,
And a machine he wrought.

It dumped water from a bucket,
In a giant doorway,
Onto an unsuspecting head,
He set his trap that day.

Wait! April first was tomorrow!
He had to take it down,
He knew he had to be careful,
So that he would not drown.

When he tried to move the bucket,
Its contents slowly dripped,
It washed over him like a wave,
And on the floor James slipped.

Walls of bubbles enveloped him,
He hoped no one would see,
When in walked his nosy sister,
And she laughed merrily.

The kitchen was promptly destroyed,
An aftermath of war,
“What’s going on here?” yelled their dad,
As he slipped on the floor.

As James eyed the mess he realized,
He had made a third phase.
It had a separate trigger,
He sat there in a daze.

Unable to utter a word,
His dad stared into space,
“Everybody get down!” James yelled,
As pies hit his dad’s face.

Third Place
Category 2 (ages 11–14):

Call It Courage

Kayleigh Sinopole
Poulsbo, Washington

Name one thing you are frightened of,
Then think, Gethsemane.
Would not Jesus, fully human,
Fear the sure agony?

He knew the nails were meant to cut
And dig through muscled wrist,
Yet still, though we were the culprit,
Refused He, to resist.

But not one wrist, were nails drove through,
But two wrists and two feet,
Our Lord upon that cross, He knew
Those spikes were meant for me.

Yet though He could, with one word said
Call down ten thousand angels
He did not, blood bled to water
He paid in full our bill.

He did not stop what more than pain
Hurt worse than any grief:
That God withdrew His presence then,
And left Him, midst two thieves.

I know we say quite often, Christ
Was God and bore our sin
Because of love, He paid the price.
But Christ was human, too.

He felt the fear, he felt the ache
Before the nails were nailed
He knew no sin, yet make no mistake
’Twas you and I who failed.

To sin not and yet pay for sin,
To die to give true life,
To lose, and let transgressors win,
Yes, call Him courage: Christ.

Honorable Mention
Category 2 (ages 11–14):

The Ballad of Caius Mucius

Grace Cassady
Mariposa, California

Ancient Rome was in great danger,
Etruscans on the way,
But Caius Mucius made his plans
The foreign king to slay.

It was pay day in the army
And lo, there was the king
Distributing the salary
His finger bore a ring.

Brave Mucius leapt upon the man
And stabbed him through and through.
The guards rushed forth and seized him,
’Twas not the king he slew!

He soon was brought before the king
His conscience to be tried.
He thrust his hand into the flame
And insolently cried,

“Tho I should make my right hand lame
I shall not tell a lie.
’Twill not matter tho I am killed
For you are sure to die!

“Your days on earth are numbered few
Three hundred men shall come.
All in turn shall try to kill thee
To one you will succumb!”

The king feared greatly for his life
And set brave Mucius free.
“I wish the Romans no more grief
I’ll make a truce,” quoth he.

Brave Mucius was a hero true,
And was brought home in style.
“Twas nothing really,” sayeth he
With a kind and humble smile.

Honorable Mention
Category 2 (ages 11–14):

By the Riverside

Delaney Keefe
Alexandria, Virginia

As we walk, by the riverside,
My love and I, we do not talk.
And as we bathe in dappled light,
We clasp our hands, and walk and walk.

My love, you trip and stumble so!
Your hand, so thin, is wrenched from mine!
You hit your foot upon the rocks,
And tumble into the brackish brine.

My love! You scream, but no one hears,
We are too far away from all.
But, alas, I cannot swim!
Above us hangs a deathly pall.

Your lips, the sound escapes no more.
And I, I feel so helpless, lost.
Then, resolutely, in I jump!
Into the river, ere I’m tossed.

My love! You are so heavy, dear!
You drag me down, I gasp for breath,
With every kick. I pull you close.
But I can’t defy the coming Death.

Oh, love! You are now safe with me!
Yo are so cold, your chest so still!
My love ... please do not leave this earth!
You’re pale, your hands are deathly chill.

My dear? Are you now gone from me?
Please stay! I love you so!
But, as I sob, your eyes awake,
You smile, then I know!

You are alive! My precious dear!
You’ve not forsaken me!
Your tender lips are pressed to mine
In breathless jubilee.

I help you stand, you still are cold,
My coat flows round your sides,
And then we walk, your hand in mine,
Down by the riverside.

First Place
Category 3 (ages 15–19):

David

Bryana Johnson
Klondike, Texas

I grow me a king in the scorch of the sun,
I grow him alone in the sand.
I give him—a child—the jackals of night.
I make him to master the land.

Out in the whistling wilderness wind,
I grow me a grace-deafened king—
the boy’s ears are blocked to the whine of the world,
by the songs that the bulbul bird sings.

Down under the wide roof of twinkling light,
I grow me a wonder-awed king—
he knows to suck in long the smell of the night,
and dance in the dump of the rain.

I grow me a humble-heart king in the dirt,
a lowly and lovable lord,
a blister-kneed, clear-headed, clean-handed prince,
and this man I trust with a sword.

I send him a bloody-fanged lion who creeps
cat-quiet and soft in his stalk—
The child-king grapples, grows strong in his fear,
and strong in his love for the flock.

Soon now, little boy, who strangled the bear,
who snapped the gold neck of the cat,
you will face a man-monster for love of my lambs—
My king is made ready for that.

Come, child, sheepkeeper, and nursemaid of lambs,
song-writer, proclaimer of glory—
the heart you are after has pulsed in your hands,
and this is the start of the story.

Second Place
Category 3 (ages 15–19):

Piece of Clay

Kendra Olson
Elida, Ohio

He plucked me off the filthy shelf,
A sorry piece of clay,
And dusted off my dirty self,
And cleared the crumbs away.

He brought me to a table low,
He slammed me on its top.
He pressed into my very soul,
I begged for Him to stop.

His fingers dug into my heart,
His hands were thick and strong;
He worked me ’til my soul was parched,
I couldn’t stand it long.

And just when I was going to faint,
He paused and dipped His hand
Into a cup, a cooling drink,
And made me whole again.

He beat and stretched and pulled and broke;
Confused and hurt was I.
He pressed and smoothed and carved and poked,
Until I did comply.

He worked and worked me through the pain,
And now I finally see,
That though I’m just a piece of clay,
He has great plans for me.

Third Place
Category 3 (ages 15–19):

It (The Great Expectation)

Constance Chan
Torrance, California

It followed me, where’er I went,
A sulking shadow’s guise,
And split my heart, and sunk my dreams,
Till all my hoping died.

It glared at me with scornful face,
When from each mount I slipped.
Not good enough to reach the top,
I was condemned by It.

I saw It in my mother’s eyes
(She’s disappointed, too.)
I saw It in your ocean eyes,
Disdain within the blue.

It leered behind each mirror I met;
It breathed within the glass—
It mocked me with the weighted scales
I never would surpass.

Some nights, I’d crouch upon the curb
(The streetlights all unlit)
’Neath empty shells, I had nightmares
Of ne’er escaping It.

Then, then, my Lover came, and round
My waist, pierced hand he slipped.
He chose me, and with mighty blow,
He slew the dragon, It.

Honorable Mention
Category 3 (ages 15–19):

Ben Barabbas

Lucy Alessio
Oakland, Michigan

Hark! An infant’s cry! The whisper
Fills the rosy morn
“Rejoice, rejoice, Barabbas—’tis
A man-child she hath borne!”

“Hail, thou son of champions.” The mother
Holds him to her breast.
“Naked thou wast born, but thou
Wilt die in purple dress’d.

“Exult, son of Barabbas, ’tis
Thy destiny to be
The king of our fair nation and
The one who makes her free.”

The child grew in stature and
His strength won him renown.
He learned the skill of sword-play that
In time would win his crown.

They made a raid on a palisade
But the Romans were strong and fleet.
And to the wild sky rang the ringing cry,
“Barabbas is taken! Retreat!”

The boy had believed in Jesus
And he prayed as to Jerusalem he trod
“Oh Jesus, spare my father now!
If thou be the Son of God.”

But oh! In the dawn, the horror and joy
That mingled in his face
At the throng’s fierce cry, “Barabbas is free!
And Jesus dies in his place.”

“This man forgives the Romans! Now
For his sake I lay down
My hope to sit on Israel’s throne,
For an eternal crown.”

Honorable Mention
Category 3 (ages 15–19):

Telling the Bees

Elise Parsons
Cedarville, Ohio

Whittier said to tell you,
So you would not fly away,
Of the deaths and lives around you
And changes of the days.

I ought to tell you, though perhaps
It’s barely crossed your minds
To wonder, why you’ve come so far,
And what you’ve left behind.

Your hive was near the almond groves,
The only home you knew.
You had to leave—I understand,
For I was brought here, too.

Three months ago I sent for you,
Your journey was for me.
I need you, though I know you’ll miss
The blooming almond trees.

My hands have blistered breaking ground,
And praying roots to grow.
Your patient wings are weary from
Guiding lost sisters home.

I placed you, with what grace I could,
Inside your empty home.
You stepped out, journey-rumpled, in
This garden halfway grown.

Although I cannot tell you now
Which seeds I plant will grow,
If you see the blossoms come—
Sisters—let me know.