Fourth Place Winners


A Poem for Someone I Didn’t Know

by Abigail Gilman, Steubenville High School, Ohio, 11th grade

You died a million deaths in all the hearts
I hope you knew how loved you were
The world has shattered in two separate parts
The life they knew has now become a blur

The posts and tributes flood the page and eyes
From those you hardly knew and those you did
Your heart inspired many, you were wise
Your voice the darkest shadows it could rid

Your husband, how I feel for his great grief
To know the deepest parts of someone’s soul
I hope one day that he can find relief
And happiness that finally makes him whole

I didn’t know you, but I still will grieve
A talent with the kindness there as well
It’s sad when any person’s forced to leave
Diseases drive our worlds right into hell

The strength of art that makes us feel we know
These people, even when we’ve never met
A testament to musicals and shows:
These memories we won’t soon forget

I watch your old performances and smile
I hope you always hear the music chime
Though your time on here was a short while,
I know you’re living life on ‘Greenwich Time’.



Cui Lamentati Sumus

(latin which translates roughly to ‘for whom we lament’)

by Kinlie Gililland, 11th grade, Texas 

no tragic hero, who fulfilled his fate, 
could scarce have deigned to suffer for his flock; 
Crucified that they might see his face, 
Hearts of stone his blood alone unlocked.

Profligate affinity for apostate, 
Adulterers of all things divine; 
“oh ye of little faith” who fickle, fell 
unmitigated mercies now refine.

Capricious, craven carapace extolled,
Recumbent shadow of a past deific.
Erstwhile liberty, depravity prolific. 
The hero’s curse—salvation seems the foe:
His epic only gaudy wrap will tell; 
All hail the immolate Emmanuel.



Moonless Night at South Side Cemetery

by Grace Folkers9th grade) at Liberty Common High School, Colorado

It was an army of cracked cobblestone,
And six feet under soulless corpses lie.
Most are forgot but some remain unknown;
‘Tis a lonely place to go when you die.
And on a cold and moonless night like this
No living soul roams the cemetery.
The decaying tombstones fall damp with mist,
And hopeful dreams, like the dead, are buried,
But in the dark, lost souls come out to play
The veterans drink and tell a story
And although the night skies have now turned grey,
The lost souls had their grand night of glory,
And still their distant vintage voices sing, 
And through mighty mountain tops they shall ring.



The Consolation of Despair — an English Sonnet

by Niva Cohen, 10th grade, Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy, Pennsylvania

For most, this isolation breeds despair
The dull uncertain stretch of nothingness 
Our crumbling fragile world in disrepair
With only fleeting memories of bliss

Beneath the gloom, we feel a pulsing fear
Our jobs, our friends, our lives hang by a thread
An ominous force risks those we hold dear
How can we cope while precious blood is bled?

But then we see a nurse headed to serve
To sacrifice her safety for the weak
A young man dons a mask as we observe
Not for himself but others past their peak 

In all the hardship, death, disease, and plight
We all unite against our foes and fight



Honorable Mention


As the Wind Blows (A Ghazal)

by Alyssa Horng, 11th grade, The Nueva School, California

Across the still lake the wind blows
Tumbling and swirling it blows

Cool under the long shadows
Water ripples as the wind blows

Soon the sky turns a shade of rose
Clouds drift away as the breeze blows

The sun retreats as darkness grows
And through it all the wind still blows

With the cold night the stars arose
Warmth within the cool draft that blows

No one knows where the wind goes
Only caring that it still blows

I sit, weighed down by life’s sorrows
Told in whispers as the wind blows



New Dawn

by Austin Ruan, 9th grade, Wayne Hills High School, New Jersey

When a bright new dawn appears,                      
I shall willingly embrace                                           
A blood moon, blue sky and stars,                        
Messengers of grace.                                                

When the dark clouds drift apart,                         
Light glimmering in your face,                               
Rejoice! For a bright new Sun                                 
Has been set in place!                                               

When the dust and gas combine,                         
An unyielding carapace,                                           
Rejoice! For the blood-red moon                         
Has been formed in space!                                     

When all else is created,                                                          
Something seems so out of place,                        
Blue and green entwine to form,                          
A haven for our fates.                                                

When life is breathed into the Earth,                  
An apple tree is newly birthed.                                  



To Reap and to Sew

by Shayna Faul, 11th grade, Kang Chiao International School, Taiwan

Alas, I have used up this mortal coil,
Should it be cast into the writhing sea?
Will there be nothing left for memory?
I rage against this death I cannot foil,
For all I strived turned now to wasted toil.
Santa Muerte, reaper of souls, leave me!
Begone! Put down thy scythe and let me be!
My body hath no place beneath the soil.

“My friend, is it redemption that you seek?
Des’prado, drink down this red elixir!
Though taste be foul, gain immortality!
Prey, Pray! And soul might meld to thy physique!
By thread divine, hem tight thy frail fi’sure;
Sew soul to body, cheat temp’rality!”