2010 Teen Poetry Contest Winners

2010 Teen Poetry Contest Winners

Each year we celebrate National Poetry Month in April with our Teen Poetry Contest.

Teens in grades 7-12 from Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania, and Westmoreland, are invited to submit up to three originial poems. Out-of-region library cardholders may also enter.

The winners are chosen (anonymously) by University of Mary Washington professor and Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Claudia Emerson.

Entries are accepted online between April 1 - 15.
Winners are selected from participants in grades 7-9 and grades 10-12.

Winners are awarded prizes and invited to read work at Teen Poetry Night at Headquarters Library: Thursday, April 29, 2010, 7:30-9:00

We had 122 poems from 57 poets this year! Here are the winners ...

1st Place, Grades 10-12

Visiting a Friend

by Abby
Grade 11, Fredericksburg

Solitary sunbeams
Leak through the trees
And kiss the morning grass,
Painting shadows behind
Every grave.

It seems as if my
Feet know where I’m headed.
Padding barefoot on the ground,
Against the dirt.
Against the dead.

I spy your grave;
Peaceful and alone,
Under the old cedar tree
That still has bullet holes from the war.

I kneel to your height:
Spot
1997-2008
“Obedient to God”
I will come again tomorrow.

2nd Place, Grades 10-12

Best Friends

by Madison
Grade 11, Spotsylvania

Tin cans on wheels,
that’s what they were.
We’d sit bumping, like
fireflies in June
in a big old jar in
some little boy’s room.

It all depended on the weather,
icy blues and sun bathed smiles;
you fed me chocolate
when life got hard.

To school five minutes early
if the driver was nice.
I swear she went five under
if the kids acted up.

We only had each other.
“The two normal ones”
you said in your good bye letter.
Good thing I drive now.

3rd Place, Grades 10-12

Pygmalion

by Samuel
Grade 10, Fredericksburg

Up in my room alone
Again
With just those two lights on
They being the only two lights in the world
Again
But this time the snow
In a frightened flurry
Flying past my window
As if it had somewhere to go
Or someone to flee
And no time to spend to stop
For me
Quick in its descent
To the ground
Or to be stuck on some other surface
Coating the neighborhood shingles
Perhaps
Layering my mother's station wagon
Encasing the sidewalk
But
I'd much prefer
To the disapproval of Mom and Dad
To be within the confines
Of my third floor apartment
With a girl
With just those two lights
Being the only two lights in the world
However
Because much to the relief
of Mom and Dad
All I possess
Is this frightened flurry
Which I have
Only for a minute
Before it moves past
I suppose
I could become
Pygmalion
Out in the back yard
With a wonderous skill
Sculpt the snow
White
Into a beautiful maiden
A beauty
No woman is born to
Praying to Venus
She becomes flesh
I also pray she does not melt
When I lay her on my bed
I do not think
Anyone would understand
The stain

Honorable Mention, Grades 10-12

Ruin

by Robert
Grade 12, Spotsylvania

I walk through a field of glass,
in the apocalypse, the wasteland.
Shards,
Of bottles,
Of vases,
Of windows,
Of picture frames,
are scattered about.
Tears crawl out,
And fall down.
Dead.
No flowers grow
in the burned earth.
No faces wander
this barren world.
Only memories exist.
 

Dilemma

by Madison
Grade 11, Spotsylvania

I am a sunflower
and there are two bright suns
burning in my sky.
One glows to the south,
the other nearby.
Equal yet opposite with
flaming intensity;
I have but one face.

Oh, to collapse.

An Ideal Medium

by Emily
Grade 12, Spotsylvania

The wind confused her hair and stung her eyes,
but she refused to leave the bench.
A bus stop- lonely, isolated and unique.
She balanced her petite figure on the seat
not for the first time, nor for the tenth.
There were no shoes on her feet, but a daisy in her hand
no jewels on her neck, but a twinkle in her eye.
This place was not unfamiliar, but a limbo in her head.
The bus stop was forlorn and she always arrived alone.
Escaping is her passion, they are her muse;
friends and rivals, they all looked the same.
Familiar faces come and go, to and from the stop.
The woman never considered boarding the bus,
for this very bench, this was her calming get away;
everything she thought she wanted, nothing she needed.
Where strength is rare and failure recurrent.
Her efforts are seldom and sporadic
as they are frequently inspired by false hope alone.
But amongst it all, this very spot was her only comfort;
an ideal medium where whispering was just enough.
 

1st Place, Grades 7-9

Hopelessness

by Summer
Grade 7, Fredericksburg

We were just
burnt memories
of ourselves
with a thousand years
of hopelessness
behind each crooked smile.

The roots are abysmal -
deeper than the pits
in my stomach
and swollen
like my dead bones.

I told her
that this was no time
to measure depression
or to define melancholy
when there was no meaning
for sadness
but she was already buried
beneath herself.

They do not understand
the metaphors;
that I was just an empty womb
accommodated for death
when the graves were all
cleared out,
and exhausted
like an overused god.

The outline of her lips
are still frayed
and so the emotions
tangle the words
and all I’m left with
is an apology
too hollow
for hope.

We are outdated -
faded into sepia portraits
and rusted statues
like renovated reflections:

Just made for show

2nd Place, Grades 7-9

The Window Beyond Mine

by Racheal
Grade 9, Spotsylvania

I live in a very large house,
with a chimney and a pool,
Yes i'm rich but not a fool.

When i looked out my window
About a mile away,
It was kind of strange in that sort of way,

It was small shack,
Pointing my way,
This of course lacked,
A door and a frame.

But it did have a large window,
Which was half slanted,
in some crazy way,

I saw a girl looking my way,
She was wearing red plaid,
and a hat that sagged.

She started waving,
And i waved back,
She sat up
and i turned around.

No one ever saw her,
and i would never tell.

3rd Place, Grades 7-9

Us

by Melissa
Grade 8, Stafford

I can’t help but feel deprived
of happiness and bliss,
because every time
I think of our first kiss, now

instead of dreams,
there are only nightmares.

You took my innocence,
you tore and tear,
you obviously don’t care
as much as I do

Because the words you said
were only a few,
the things you did
I could never do,

You made me hate you,
but that’s your flaw.

You know what you did.
You did it.
You saw.

Honorable Mention, Grades 7-9

Just Press Delete

by Melissa
Grade 8, Stafford

With the click of a mouse
you can have friends,
but still the sadness never ends.

Tag a memory,
but you still feel empty.

Just because you add a friend,
doesn’t mean you have any.

You can delete yourself
from the world,
but you’re still stuck in it.

You should probably
take a second look
at Facebook.

The Silence

by Raven
Grade 9, Westmoreland

It's a silence that runs through our veins
Slowly swallowing every source of heat
Telling us everything we once knew
Was gone and lost forever
It's the same silence
That makes every part of us turn numb
Its like we're laying in the snow
With no clothing to protect us
They tell us to cry
To show all the emotions
That we are feeling
When in truth
We are only feeling one thing
The silence.....

Spanish siesta

by Megan
Grade 9, Spotsylvania

Queso Manchego and bread. An afternoon lunch.
I, sprouting limbs from tennis shoes and stringy spaghetti as hair.
The air, still heavy and humid, washed over the town. Cebreros.
A panting dog, only to break the unexpurgated silence.

The smoke of my Grandpa's tobacco mingled with the warm air.
If a pin dropped, it could be heard a hundred miles away.
Elena's house on a hill near the centro de la cuidad.
Tapas with beef wafted from my Grandma's stove.

Her wrinkles, carved by eighty years of labor and love.
Everyone in the world, town at least, was dreaming.
The sun beat down on my head
and the chalky ground danced with the olive trees.

"Go to sleep now," she whispered.
A hammock I chose and drifted off,
sweetly humming Spanish lullabies.