From soul to paper: A celebration of National Poetry Month | Week 4

The final installment of The Tribune’s 13th annual celebration of National Poetry Month

April 26, 2013 

We received more than 300 poems this year for ­our annual ode to poetry.

As in past years, we asked San Luis Obispo’s poet laureate to review all of the entries and select the best works for publication. We’ll publish these on Sundays throughout the month of April in Central Coast Living.

Thanks to everyone who submitted a poem, with special gratitude to San Luis Obispo poet laureate Jerry Douglas Smith for reading them all.

— Tribune staff

More local poetry: Week 1 » | Week 2 » | Week 3 » | Week 4

This week’s poems come from young people again. They are written primarily in first person, portraying what is real and relevant to the writers.

They speak in poems, odes and sonnets of close relationships — grandmas and grandpas, sisters, and puppy love. They tell of warriors, clouds and tree houses. They boast of confidence that comes from believing in themselves, confiding in at least one other person, or even an animal.

That is the power of poetry, of keeping journals. Of knowing at least one person who encourages their potential and helps them be successful in what they choose.

— Jerry Douglas Smith, San Luis Obispo poet laureate


Samantha Minton, 14, Los Osos

A child looks at a cloud
And shares what he sees
A big dinosaur with wings
Monkeys that sing
A bird wearing a dress
Alligators with vests
A cat in a tutu
A train that goes choo choo
Deer with big horns
A rose without thorns
Tigers stalking prey
Potters with clay
Donkeys pulling carts
A beautiful heart
When asked what he sees
The adult replies
A big white puffy cloud
We all could use a little childlike imagination.

One in a Million

Lily Hasley, 11, San Luis Obispo

I’m one in a million
A flower
In a field of weeds
A drop of blood
In a blue ocean
A bright star
In the black sky

I’m one in a million
A black dot
On a pure white paper
A little girl
In a world of giants
A starfish
On the ocean floor

For my friends
I’m one in a million

Uno en un millón

Lily Hasley, 11, San Luis Obispo

Soy uno en un millón
Una flor
En un prado de hierbas
Una gota de sangre
En un océano azul
Una estrella brillante
En el cielo negro

Soy uno en un millón
Un punto negro
En un papel puro blanco
Una niña chiquita
En un mundo de gigantes
Una estrella de mar
En el fondo del océano

Para mis amigos
Soy uno en un millón

Camp Henry

Grace X. Knighton, 14, Los Osos

A place for fun
to sing out loud
A place to love
and smile
to dance crazily
You can be different
to be your true self
I have learned to be weird
A place to be muddy and messy
Where there is love
Where there is happiness
Where I have been changed forever
Camp taught me to live like that
A place in my heart


Basil Lloyd-Moffett, 10, San Luis Obispo

A secret spot
A holder of dreams
A special viewpoint
Of familiar things

A place to share
A place to meet
Above the pounding
And slapping of feet

Our own little world
In the clouds as it is
It’s just as well mine
As it is his

A place to escape
From earthly horrors
And move from the ground
To dreamy shores

I love this place
Oh I love it so
It would be the end of a fantasy
If it ever did go

Ode to My Grandpa

Asiyah Rasheed, 14, Los Osos

Living for a century, and much more
What else could you ask for?
Talking, and laughing together
Bonding even more day by day
I love you to the moon and back
Seeing your smiling face makes me sparkle with joy
A grandfather who will live on forever
Even the trees will be clapping for you
You are as sweet as chocolate that you get on Valentine’s Day
You know just when to blow the clouds away on a rainy day
I am so glad, that I can call you mine

Gone With the Wind

Aidan Fillerup, 11, Los Osos

Gone with the wind I go.
It takes my heart away as I go.

I walk with the wind.
I run with the wind.
I bolt with the wind I go.

Gone with the wind.
Gone with the wind I go.

I’m murmuring with the wind.
I’m talking with the wind.
I’m yelling with the wind as I go.

Gone with the wind.
Gone with the wind I go.

I’ll smile with the wind.
I’ll giggle with the wind.
I’ll laugh with the wind when I go.

Gone with the wind I go.

I bolt with the wind I go.
I’m yelling with the wind as I go.
I’ll laugh with the wind when I go.

Gone with the wind.
I love my wind.
Gone with the wind I go.


Tazia Ulrich, 14, Oceano

Love is the color of fresh cotton candy
It sounds like the trickle of rain in the morning
And tastes like a roasted marshmallow
It smells like the first blossom of spring
It looks like a child in her mother’s lap
Love makes me feel light enough to fly

Love is the color of a new sunrise
It sounds like the flit of a baby robin’s wings
Love tastes like the sweetest of chocolates
And smells like twelve dozen roses
It looks like a proposal on a warm spring night
It makes me feel beautiful

Love is the color of a new baby’s room
It sounds like a true laugh
And tastes like sweet summer strawberries
Love smells like floral perfume
It looks like a family portrait
Love makes me feel perfect


Katrina Siems, 14, Los Osos

About times of the past long have I thought
And summoned up memories of things done.
I sigh for the lack of things I once sought
In times of sadness where time is not won.
And when the crumpled yellow leaves do hang,
At a time when winter’s cold bite is haste,
Scaring away the sweet birds who once sang,
I wonder why summer’s beauty was waste.
And when the bright sun sets in the west,
Draping the sky in a blanket of night,
I hear that the world is all at rest,
Waiting for the morning’s soft early light.
Then I see all the joy life can lend
For all pain is healed and sorrows do end.

Where I am From

Mallory Jaeger, 14, Atascadero

I am from marketers,
from dead winters and dry summers.
I am from grandma’s green beans
(buttered and sprinkled with breadcrumbs)
I am from the birds chirping, the dogs barking, whose voice echoes
throughout the neighborhood, bouncing off of garage doors.

I’m from possums and wine,
from Cuba and Germany.
I’m from the “leave me alones” and the “you don’t understands,”
from earthquakes and droughts.
I’m from the In-N-Out Burger
with the smell still lingering, attached to my tongue.

I’m from charm bracelets and notebooks,
classic rock and Jason Mraz.
From my father’s famous hand flip,
my mother’s fingers tapping a keyboard.

In the back cottage is a bookcase,
filled with notebooks and old memories to reminisce everyday.
I am from those journals —
wrote into my life —
I am the last entry.

The Massacre

Lucy Wickstrom, 14, Arroyo Grande

The crunch of snow under the Captain’s feet
The shouts of the people nearby
He led his men down the ramshackle street
He sensed that things were awry

The people’s hatred went so undisguised
Their souls seemed as cold as the snow.
The red of his frock coat made him despised
By men he did not even know.

The mob screamed insults no man should endure
Threw snowballs and hit them with bats.
He told his men to keep their composure
The mob dared them to shoot, and spat.

He said not to fire, no death did they need
His darting eyes were pendulums.
His order did one man neglect to heed
And then shots echoed like a drum.

The Captain shivered, his breath in the air
As four Americans lay dead.
And when he saw those young boys scattered there
How he wished it were him instead.

Dear Seed

Hannah Alltucker, 11, San Luis Obispo

Dear seed,
I know you are small,
and not very tall,
or strong or brave,
but you will be.
You will grow leaves to the sun,
and roots that dig deep.
I will water you,
and pick the weeds,
and lift the bugs from you.
I will care for you,
until you grow
into a


Jake Vormbaum, 11, San Luis Obispo

Continuado al infinito
El element necesario para sobrevivir
Había guerras sobre
El agua continuo

Se brilla como un diamante de liquid
Con todo la fuerza del sol de la mañana
Un espejo natural cuando no movia
El agua continuo

Tiene el musculo de un oso
La gracia de un tigre
Es la cosa más simple y también la más complicada
El agua continuo

Puede ser su mejor amigo
O su enemigo mayor
Sólido, líquido, o aire
El agua continuo


Jake Vormbaum, 11, San Luis Obispo

Continuing into infinity
The most necessary element to live
Wars have been fought over it
The water keeps moving

It shines like a liquid diamond
With all the force of the morning sun
A natural mirror when it doesn’t move
The water keeps moving

It has the muscles of a bear
The grace of a tiger
It is the simplest thing and yet it is the most complicated
The water keeps moving

It can be your best friend
Or your worst enemy
Solid, liquid, or gas
The water keeps moving

Lots and lots of sisters

Henry Mendoza, 12, San Luis Obispo

Lots and lots of sisters
everywhere I go,
Karate, Scouts and volleyball,
soon my top will blow
They’re at the house and in the car,
I really think they’re going too far

The second oldest
And four sisters in all
Give me a break
Everyone’s so tall
Isabel, Emma,
Lucy and Eleanor,
I wish, oh wish
I had a brother named Salvador

Please, please, PLEASE
I don’t care of the name
With no brother,
Life will never be the same!


Tashann Brannum, 15, Arroyo Grande

The orange crackles burning bright
as death becomes the only sight.
Consuming life is its only job
so many lives have already been robbed.
It goes through life with great destruction
and every time it makes a great reduction.
The path it leaves is empty and dark
but the fire always leaves a burning mark.
The trees in the forest start to fall
because those are the ones the fire has called.
The fire marked the forest forever
and some of it became severed.
But give it time and love, it will grow again
then a new forest will begin.


Chloe Carlson, 12, San Luis Obispo

Warm, brown black fur, A musty, dusty scent hung around him

The soft sound of his breathing,
A heavy exhale of warmth.

His brown eyes were knowing and sweet,
His soft nuzzle was that of affection.

He nickered softly as I pulled away,
‘I’ll see you next time,’ I whispered softly.

Next time came at seemingly long last,
But then Blackie was no more.

Mr. Monster

Noah Callahan, 12, San Luis Obispo

Mr. Monster are you there?
I have something that we can share.

Out went the lights,
Swish went the air.
I knew Mr. Monster was finally there.

He was scaly and tall,
With spikes and all.
He even made Bigfoot look small!

Oh me, Oh my, I gasped with surprise.

I spoke my words with haste,
With a worried look on my face.
I said, “I have to go. Goodbye
Mr. Monster.”

Viking Ballad

Shane Borgstrom, 16, Arroyo Grande

Great warriors who sailed the seas,
Many men who struck fear,
In the hearts of those on shore,
Men who lived by the spear.

Many great battles were won by those,
Whose hearts held much courage,
They fought bravely with sword and axe,
Many were killed through rage.

Hammer, sword and shield destroyed men,
Many men they conquered,
Not many men disheartened by fire,
Fear blocked out by the herb.

After the raids of villages,
Back to sea the soldiers went,
To return to their wives and homes,
Victorious they go.

A cheerful return they receive,
Party and feast is thrown,
Valhalla must wait for their death,
Many victories shown.

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