Read the winning entries from our 2020 poetry contest.
"Let's not go out and play!"
Ardra Arwin, Renton
The sun is shining so nice and bright,
Spring blossoms sparkling through the sunlight!
I open up my windows,
And feel the fresh air..
Oh, I have waited for this so long,
Spring is in the Air!!
The bunnies and birdies,
Busy at play
The breeze that blows,
Through the trees that sway!
But when all is so nice and bright,
I wonder why the playgrounds are so dull and quiet!
No one on the streets
No one in the park
The swings are empty
It is tearing me apart!
I miss my buddies,
I miss going to school
It is going to be summer soon
But there is no one going to the pool!
I ask my mother
Why can’t I go out and play?
She tells me
There are scary viruses
That will catch us like a prey!!
What can we do?
We stay at home.
I watch my baby brother
And play all day at home!
Mommy makes me feel nice
She bakes me my favorite cookies and pies..
Daddy says he has a lot of work to do
But I know that, he loves me a lot too!
So when I look out the windows,
I just want to go out and play
Back on those swings
Swinging so high
Racing down with my bike
All the way I like!
Soon it will be summer
And I’ll be able to go to the beach
For mommy and daddy tell me
That we may have to take a flu shot, each!
So until then I say -
“Let’s not go out and play!”
Nathaniel Geronimo, Renton Highlands
In this poem you can do anything.
(Does it have to mean anything?)
(Does it have to do anything?)
(Is it even anything?)
That’s up to you.
(So I could do nothing?)
That is a possibility.
I think I’ll leave it by itself for a little bit.
“A Gentle Wind”
Oliver Keays, Covington
As the gentle wind blows through the tree
The sound recalls a memory
But this memory is a special one
A special time, a time of fun
You were in the field with majestic trees
As a calm, slight wind gently brushes the leaves
The sky is blue, but you still hear thunder
Which then makes you begin to wonder...
Was this place too good to be true?
A lie? A dream? Or maybe a clue...
A clue to what? A clue to freedom? Escaping the world and its problems - to meet them
The birds who glide through the crisp clean air
Those graceful wings, you need a pair
And you could start flying
Without ever trying
Freedom at last! Until that is...
The wonderful world of dreams is gone
You’re all alone, just a kid on the lawn
But when you think, you just cannot bear... That world, just a dream.
“Orange Cherry Wood”
Flynn Gilmore, Tukwila
On a windy afternoon, in the worst winter
of my young life, as angry rain pelted the streets
I was swept into a crowd
nursing coffees and soft smiles. It was a blur of consternation
until I caught sight of him, gliding
like a poised bird on low water, long fingers
strong and sure, at ease, the sky’s spit
stinging his cheeks. The music was a relief,
the orange cherry wood melting to his body
with all the sureness in the world.
He finished his set --
bow raised in triumph. The crowd dispersed.
I walked home, pulling my jacket
against the water dripping down my neck,
kicking drops from my shoes. But that note
that last ringing note… and though
I don’t know why, it seemed to ring off
the torrents of water… and me with it
with that man, and his bow
and that orange cherry wood, above everything else
-- the crowd, the rain, the cold night air --
I left in my wake, like a bird taking flight
Esther Kelly, Auburn
We are made of chaos, monsters with human skin
Their hurricanes can never match us, as ours will always win.
We are made of storms that are breaking us apart
Lightning belongs to the sky, and yet, we find it in our hearts
And despite all this, we still have hope
Stars glow in our eyes as we find ways to cope
There is dark all around us, closing in
But our fires shine bright, burning from within
“An Offering to the Clock”
Nicholas Lucchetto, Woodinville
Another morning with a visit from the Clock,
collecting today’s offering.
I give apologies
for what I’ve written too raw
too young, too dumb.
Things nobody’s ever seen.
Things everyone’s seen but seldom remembers
as we await something real from me.
My breaths are hasty until Clock strikes nine.
I’m three steps from work,
made of seconds,
moving on ancient batteries.
Three steps away,
I wonder if anyone thinks to take the batteries out
to prove that Clock holds no more worth than us.
Two steps away
from questions lacking answers.
I wonder if anyone could create the answers
& speak them just to change things.
One step away
Clock takes control.
I save the questions as tomorrow’s offerings.
Then I’m planted at my sun-coated desk,
fingers to keyboard,
about to see where my ten digits go.
Clock strikes ten.
Words laid as concrete
set at size 12
Clock strikes twelve.
A story etched into detached walls
walls that will crack, may never make a crack
I lean in close
My eyes stuck in a stare that I’m assured is a gaze
Three flies by
because the next page is as blank as the first was born
I want to knock it down
Make it up tomorrow
Give up when it’s clean as Clock’s curve
fine as time’s line
Eight pulls the sun
down, down with me hanging on
as an inky night creeps up
making me sweaty, sick
when stopping the tick is
all to hope for
just to breathe
to wonder why
i waited for everyone to say what i wanted to hear
but i froze the ink in my lungs
so i couldnt say anything at all
Oh there is no sun, just another offering
and I’m back in my bed, thinking
wishing ink obscured my stubbornness.
wishing I shoved you off the world as sparks flew wild
So I could breathe again as your ticking died with a flash.
But I’m back in my bed, thinking
because I don’t know enough about the world to speak the answers
I only know the Clock
who moves time forward on an endless curve
to repeat this again
“Health Update: Seattle 3/28/2020”
Jared Curtis, Lake Forest Park
Tired of pacing
I stand in doorways
there are only two—
asking what next?
Earthquake’s sway and shake,
it’s thunderous noise,
silent, still, invidious,
not sudden, clamorous,
random hits but
stealthy, inclusive, sure,
and deadly visits,
softly, damply airborne,
lurking on dear objects,
and moved unknowing
Nowhere to go but within
to pluck strings of imagination,
dance with the dog,
play with words
till they ring true
and fill the silence.
“Lighting Our Way”
Merna Ann Hecht, Vashon
There was a place
where I once jumped
in between rhymes
of a double-dutch rope,
a sidewalk, chalked in colors
leading to sky blue,
a blue bicycle
where I knew how fast
I could pedal,
where my legs understood
how to take me home,
swift and unafraid.
What if we each swung a secret
lantern through any darkness
showing us the way back
to the tingling of dusk
as only children know it,
just before night thickens
with the first firefly
in our cradled hands,
I want to believe
it would help us remember
how to light our way.
David Reilly, Federal Way
It was the first gift that you gave me,
a set of wind chimes
from six thousand miles away.
I hung them from the branch of an oak tree that grew in my backyard
just outside my kitchen window
so that I could listen to them
when the wind blew from the West
as I sat eating alone in the evening
or leaned over the kitchen sink to wash the dishes.
They were made of bamboo
and sometimes I imagined your voice
resonating through the chimes,
softly in summer with its silky breezes.
Then in November, when the big winds blew,
it was as if you, in your Shanghai dialect,
were shouting out the words -
"BONG BONG MONG, BONG BONG MONG."
Perhaps it was your way of telling me
you were tired of waiting and wanted me
to make immigration say it's okay
for you to join me.
Late at night
when I called you,
you answered, "Wei?"
and we stumbled through our conversations
language like a fence
with long silences
which only magnified the distance.
I listened with my left ear on the telephone
and with my right ear,
I could hear the bamboo chimes.