HSLDA Poetry Contest

2007 HSLDA Poetry Contest Winning Poems

First Place
Category 1 (ages 9-13):
To A Sonnet
By Elise Parsons

I know of fourteen shining streams that run
Down along a stately mountain old
Like watercolors in the setting sun
Shining green and gold and green and gold.

I know in each lives five silver fish that splash
In the water rushing from the head
Of that grand mountain. They swim and flash
In the blue and red and blue and red.

In the orange and rose and orange and rose,
Violet, violet the fish glide sleek.
Now my sonnet’s coming to a close
I place it as a pebble on the peak

Next to those that made its beauty warm,
Next to those that gave its graceful form.

Second Place
Category 1 (ages 9-13):
God’s Wonders
By Hannah Lieberman

I hate to think of those who’ve never felt
The dusty earth beneath their unshod feet,
Who’ve never on the banks of rivers knelt,
To feel its cool, and watch its surface pleat.
I hate to think of those who’ve never known
The sun’s warm kiss upon their heads and necks,
Who’ve never held a summer rose half blown,
Or felt a fuzzy chick’s dear gentle pecks.
These people sit inside their gloomy homes,
And stare at gloomy pictures on the wall.
Although they may own palaces and domes,
They speak of naught but waiting for God’s call.

God’s wonder, placed with halls so dark and grave,
Do seem to me as king beside the knave.

Third Place
Category 1 (ages 9-13):
By Rebecca Frazer

The Morn has come, and looking up I glimpse,
Upon that rough-hewn likeness of a cross
Two gnarled and rancid ruffians hanging limp
Their torture well deserved. They pose no loss.

But who is this I see hung by their side?
The tender, humble One who healed the lame
With these two wretched thieves is crucified?
It cannot be! But yet, it is the Same.

The Gold is tossed away right with the dross;
For no good reason, Love is slain with hate.
What purpose does He have to bear such loss
And pledge His life to such a gruesome fate?

The Son of God embraced his fate and died,
To save those sentenced sinners by his side.

Honorable Mention
Category 1 (ages 9-13):
Setting Out: The Mission Trip
By Constance Chan

Six o’clock a.m. in the lonely church—
Aberrant, dark where the sun did belong
The team gathers for the start of their search
The search to dissolve the ungodly wrong.
To wield the cleansing torch of Jesus Christ
To melt the chains which hold so many fast.
This is the meaning of the Christian tryst;
To erase the guilty, hideous past.
In orison we cry out side by side,
Feeling the power, confidence and flame,
Lifting up our words with nothing to hide
Having intrepidity to proclaim—

That yes, we all believe in God’s sole Son,
That though we are side by side we are one.

Honorable Mention
Category 1 (ages 9-13):
The Dream
By Emily Crouse

A dream beside me, I did stop and turn
And look upon what I had longed to see.
I caged the dream for which I had so yearned
Even though dreams are made for roaming free.
The dream soon dimmed, but still my stubborn mind
Was so determined to keep the dream near
And thus preserve my rare and gorgeous find
That to my willful eyes no change was clear.
I stopped and gazed upon the dream awhile
And soon my eyes were opened to its pain.
I realized that dream were meant to be wild
Yet still I wanted the dream for my gain.
But then I let the dream go and be free.
I ran and it ran side by side with me.

First Place
Category 2 (ages 14-18):
Ingersleben’s Introduction
By Rebekah Curry

The name is Ingersleben, Señor… what?
Franchini? An Italian, then. I’m
From Germany. I've been here for awhile;
It’s a fine enough country you have here.
I came down, oh… it was in forty-six,
Yes, after the war. I couldn’t stay
In Europe. Why? Well, it had been torn to
Pieces—you understand. I thought I might
Find something better in America,
North or South. I chose the South instead,
For reasons of my own, that’s all. And you,
You’re my new neighbor, Señor—in the flat
To the left of me? I see. The other
Occupant? No, he didn’t leave… he was,
Well, murdered. I know, it is a shocking
Thing to have happen. His name was, I think,
Espinoza—bank-clerk in the city.
How old? Oh, maybe thirty. Spanish Jew,
Found stabbed to death by someone. No one knows.
A pity? I suppose. He wasn’t one
I’d choose to have as neighbor once again.
Why? Well, he—oh, it’s nothing. Anyway,
A pleasure to have met you, and perhaps
We’ll speak again quite soon; it just depends
On chance. I must be going. Adiós.

Second Place
Category 2 (ages 14-18):
By Michelle Porter

For twenty years men called me a mere boy.
O’erpowered me with their words till I believed
I had not strength in me to prove them wrong;
So distant seemed the fighter within me.
Dishonor, greed, and jeers from my own halls
Deceived me that my fight was yet far off—
So far, that it was raging all ’round me.
Wise Mentor told me to seek out my strength
By seeking him whose strength first gave me life.
The father I had never known—that feigned
Idiot, sower of salt, held in esteem
By kings the wide world o’er-turned once for me;
Now I must I turn for him. A glow deep in
My Mentor’s eyes seemed like a flame divine.
And are those counsels not divine which urge
Us to much greater than we can become?
Through tears and fears and falterings, I strove
All childish ways to lay aside, and sought
Till I found him, Ulysses. Then he who bore
That near-worshipful name, and fame, needed
Me, a weakling youth, to aid him, chieftain bold!
Together then we faced our common foe,
Together fought for justice in our realm…
And then, I felt his strength in me. I am
Become a man, and I shall be a king.

Third Place
Category 2 (ages 14-18):
Remembering Patriotism
By Hannah Elisabeth Landis

The doctor ordered that you bring my tea,
And you, young man, do you know who will drink?
I, Benedict, once of those United States,
Arnold, once of England, now of none.
You see me dying—till I cannot breathe,
I’ll swear ’twas love of justice pushed me act.
It’s thanks to them for what they now decry—
To Congress, slighting, snubbing and degrading.
And then they shouted “Traitor!” when I stood,
And took the honor they refused to give.
But not him. I call to mind that last and dreary day,
Ready to ride, he stopped and placed his hand
On my shoulder—and I feel it still!
Heavy, gripping, virtuous and true.
“God go with you,” last he spoke to me.
Washington—in dreams I see his face,
I see him standing guiltless for the world.
But fleetly comes the end! I ask you sir—
Please, just one favor for a beaten man.
I beg you, look into the dresser drawer,
My continental uniform is there.
Faded… torn a little from my wound.
Oh sir, please put it on me when I’m dead—
Maybe, wearing it, He will forgive.

Honorable Mention
Category 2 (ages 14-18):
The Golden Cloak
By Reina Laaman

Cold, barren lands surround me, engulf me.
These icy winds care not that I languish.
The dying sun bleeds down its last red rays.
I stare it in the eye across the crags.
My cloak of feathers, my only garment,
My sole companion in this jagged land,
Is growing thin of its golden glory.
My people—gone, torn from their sky-high nests.
I see them again, soaring the free skies,
In clouds of peace before the wild beasts came.
Those gray sides, the bare, gleaming, silver teeth,
And thousands of claws drove us from our peaks.
I see empty nests and desolate skies.
Clouds cling to nothing; we cling to rock.
Yet who remains? Not we, the rock-clingers.
Only the now-red sky-clingers and I.
The ice wind picks up, stirring my garment.
Feathers whisper, You have forgotten me.
Ah, yes. This golden cloak is with me still,
Is true freedom, is flight, is life, is hope.
Acorss the crags the rocks glimmer crimson.
I gaze at the rim of red till it dies.
Dawn will come to me yet. I lift my cloak.
As I dive into the abyss below,
Wind catches my wings. My beak tilts skyward.

Honorable Mention
Category 2 (ages 14-18):
Clara Barton, the Woman Patriot
By Lauren Elizabeth Hartman

“Indeed, the bravest girl I’ve ever seen.
The sun was scorching hot that day we fought.
Our lips were cracked, our throats had burning thirst.
We fought like dogs. Our arms were leaden weights,
Our bodies sagged, and on the rifles cracked.
My comrade fell beside me, struck with pain—
Nay, not the head; it was the shoulder, Tomm—
Yes, Jenny, then her ribbon caught my eye.
It fluttered through the smoke between the lines.
The cannons bellowed, raging bullets fell
Like heavy hail about the female form.
In hand, she kindly bore an earthen jug
To water well the field of wilting men.
I sensed her figure pass behind my gun
And kneel beside my injured comrade’s wound.
She crooned with calm assurance: ‘Steady, now,
I’ll bind your badge of courage—How we fight!
We’ll win this battle yet.’ Her voice was sure.
She seemed to be an angel bearing news,
Dispatched to make prophetic conquest known—
That’s right—just then a bullet pierced her sleeve.
Did it scare her? No, Jenny, not at all!
She paid no heed, but carried on her work.
She gave me water from her precious jug,
And that was all—she faded ’tween the lines.”