2018 Winning Poems
A Communion with Nature
Molly VanVranken. New London NH
5th grade, Winner Elementary School
is a mystical place
And fairies fly
Where you are free
And be at peace with the world.
Speaks to me through
It’s leaves and branches.
Protects me when it rains
It covers me so that
I’m not wet.
Is part of my
Soul and blood.
When I leave, the forest leaves.
When I go to school, the forest goes to school.
But at the end of the day
When I go to bed
The forest sleeps right next to me.
COMMUNION WITH NATURE
Clare McIntyre, Grantham NH
7th Grade, Winner Middle School
As I walk through the forest I am one with nature,
One with the birdsong that may sound chaotic, but if you listen closely you will find,
That it is a symphony of voices that fill the woods with meaning,
And as I walk through the many trees they talk to me, as I am one with them,
Telling me of the freezing winters where the frost crept over their bark,
And of the summers where the sun shone through their leaves,
and cast a green light upon the ground,
The suns rays dance that are one with me, leaping off the water,
and the mica in the rocks,
then they twirl in the air and fill the sky with light,
the sky calls to the adventurous kind,
those who will stop at nothing to learn nature’s secrets,
The sky calls out to me as I walk through the forest.
Rhett Watts, Auburn, MA
First Place, Adult Category
Can there be ambition in the time of lilies
full on summer and me wanting
nothing more than to survey the yard?
Not inclined to be productive--
a hollow, mechanical word.
Off the clock, I slip into some burrow
and banked there, track a hummingbird,
tiny warrior. Emerald armor gleaming,
he attacks belled hosta blooms hung
from green towers. Scent of water on earth
and the back of my knees moist, I sit
in tree-time like the hemlock whose limbs
reach to stretch or praise. Lapsed,
my life is hidden as the stump cloaked
in weedy blankets on the property line.
Ears fill with cicada rhythms--
droning Zen masters. I would flow like rain
through the downspout hugging the house,
opening out where ground meets the grackle
who croaks his throaty name.
HOW TO LOVE THE EARTH
Jonathan Blake, West Brookfield MA
Second Place, Adult Category
Lie down with your shadow,
That long darkness that stretches
Across the yellow-gold of the newly
Mown hayfield. Breathe deep of that
Odor. Be patient and still.
Wait for the birds who will
Descend like a great dark cloud, who
Will cover you with their warmth,
Who will pick your house clean.
Henry Walters, Dublin NH,
Third Place Adult Category
New Year's Eve, & who else quitting the city
homeward & dipped in darkness with me-
(each other' s counterfeits, but each alone)
saw in their mirrors all at once the mink
over the concrete median spill like an eel
into our red brakelight & down the road
after us a beat or two till it juked,
black ripple across the rearview pool,
& hid itself, no explanation, like before?
New Year ' s Day, late, no one else on the road
beside me, no one flooring it to or from-
(those counterfeit directions, one & the same)
saw into the headlights sudden & live
as wound or expletive the black eel-shape
over the waist-high median pour itself
as if a tiny weir in time gave way
& let, without explaining, all the beating
lifeblood out to fill the pools downstream.
Once in a year, whatever the date or road,
road or river it wanders with & hugs-
(a milder night when frogs start up again
& rain reminds the tar of its first hot stink)
then to spring your shadow into the living light,
dipped in your eel-black fur, across the grain
of men & action, no one' s counterfeit,
so low to the ground the ground in its sleek pelt
clings & cambers to you, turns where you turn.
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