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HSLDA Poetry Contest

2005 HSLDA Poetry Contest Winning Poems

First Place
Category 1 (ages 11-15):
Mount Vernon's Grandfather Clock
By Phylicia Duran

The clock's undaunted rhythm measure time
since placed upon the staircase long ago,
Each room resounding with its hollow chime,
A gentle music, swelling soft and low.
With every peal its quavering voice sings
of years, of lives, and battles from days past;
Each lilting note pausing before it rings,
As to savor time, for it takes wing fast.
Its rhythmic hymn has not ever lost beat;
Not clanged or clamored when danger was nigh,
Nor stalled for cold, snow, driving rain, or heat;
Its song rolling on as the years pass by.
     Faces and fashions fall away with time,
     Yet still reverently ringing is the chime.

Second Place
Category 1 (ages 11-15):
The Day
By Madeleine Marsh

The clock's undaunted rhythm measures time
Shining, glowing, the yellow sun does fly
A radiant finch twitters in a pine
She flies into the pink and amber sky.
The sun soaring above the clouds strikes twelve
Through the sky an eagle soars quickly by
And from a golden meadow where it dwells
The wind does sweetly blow and deeply sigh.
In the meadow there trickles a blue stream
The owl shrieks at night and loudly cries
At night it seems like a magical dream
But as you start to wake away they die.
     All thing sleep and the frost is icy cold
     The sun ascends the sky of red and gold.

Third Place
Category 1 (ages 11-15):
Don't Grow Up
By Christina Bishop

Dedicated to my little sister, Corrine.

Reduce each day into a second's beat,
You try to grow up before you're ready.
This, my sister, is not an easy feat,
First, on your young legs you must be steady.
You stretch up taller than your true, full height.
You're trying to be something that you're not.
Let me tell you, you seek a bright spotlight.
But when it shines on you, it gets quite hot.
You have all your life to be an adult,
You will not be a kid forever.
But for now, you are like a newborn colt,
Wild, rambunctious, silly and clever.
     Savor these moments, while you are still free.
     My little sister, don't grow up without me.

First Place
Category 2 (ages 16-18):
In My Own Morning
By Matthew McDaniel

In my own morning there is silence, here
The sounds of breathing are enough to shock;
The darkness has not found me yet this year.

Across the pale blank sky the sounds of fear
Are drifting, born from waking lands, and knock
At my own morning. There is silence here.

And then the voices enter in: the tear-
Stained home, the hungry child. I have no lock,
The darkness has not found me yet this year.

They draw me on toward grief. Side, front, and rear,
The ill-spent life, the widow, unmoved mock
At my own mourning. There is silence here,

All vanish, and the trucks, the birds I hear,
Loud, obnoxious. Slow, back and forth I rock.
The darkness has not found me yet this year.

And I will stand and go my way and peer
As one blinded by light; There is no dock
In my own morning. There is silence here:
The darkness has not found me yet this year.

Second Place
Category 2 (ages 16-18):
Chrysalis
By Lauren De Vries

A quiet body perched on the thorn,
Submitted to an arduous repose.
As gentle winds embrace its bulging form,

The larva's rigid crown is broken, torn
Until antennae sever and expose
A quiet body, perching on the thorn.

Convulsions burst upon the splintered horn,
Relent as outer separation slows,
And gentle winds embrace an empty form

Below a second figure, newly born.
Though cloven from itself, inside there grows
A quiet body, perching on the thorn,

Awaiting dawn, when golden light will warm
The tree. That morning comes! Beside a rose
-As gentle winds embrace its spreading form-

A Monarch flutters, jubilantly shorn
Of former skin and perishable clothes.
Its quiet body perches on a thorn
While gentle winds embrace the rippling form.

Third Place
Category 2 (ages 16-18):
REQUIEM—1929
By Kelly Rose Tillson

My mother cried the day they took our still,
Of grief, I think; not, as they said, from fear.
And Pa looked on, eyes blazing fit to kill.

They said that they was grieved to do us ill,
To throw our business out upon its ear.
My mother cried the day they took our still.

The sheriff in his trilby, tie and twill—
His deputies snuck in around the rear,
And Pa looked on, eyes blazing fit to kill.

To see her weeping gave my heart a chill;
When Grandpa died, she didn't shed a tear.
My mother cried the day they took our still.

They doused our fire, and with an iron will
They smashed our many jugs of amber clear,
And Pa looked on, eyes blazing fit to kill.

No longer banded barrels shall I fill
To nestle in the cellar for a year.
My mother cried the day they took our still,
And Pa looked on, eyes blazing fit to kill.