From soul to paper

It is a delight to present the voices of our youth along with some adults on this second Sunday celebrating April as National Poetry Month.

The young sing of earth, fire and water, and pay tribute to animals and sports while lamenting the presence of darkness.

The expressions of the others reveal the wonder of youth while sharing some known but often unacknowledged gifts of growing older. Like John Keats, a revered poet of the early 19th century, several of today’s poets are inspired even when faced with uncertainties and doubts.

I will close with this quote from Keats in one of his letters: “Here are the Poems – they will explain themselves – as all poems should do without any comment.”

-- Bonnie Young, 2011 San Luis Obispo poet laureate

Youth poems:

SURFCole G. Wiley, 13, Arroyo Grande

Stillness each wave a breathUnderwater nothing but calmRunning up from behindFinally, it hits you just in time

Fog TsunamiTess Goodnowott, 15, San Luis Obispo

Swirling,the wave of fog envelopsdusty valleys.Glistening in moonlight,women dance.Welcoming the grace of mist,twisting and floating with the dew. Bells tingle, Laughter howls, Grayness swarms the clear night,as chimes clang in the breeze.A ferocious wind pulls in the thickening vapor.Tugging at the earth’s quilt,covering the grasses with moisture.Seeping into the ground,filling the souls.Nourishing the world.

WhiteRoss Schaefer, 14, Atascadero

I am like an ever-flowing river.My external self is the currentFlowing in one direction with a planNot easily steered awaySeemingly.

All the grief and hardshipsAre rapids and eddies.They try to keep meStop my pathBut I always push onUntil the end.

Finally comes my mind,A waterfall. Always bustlingAlways churningWhite.

Ode to surfingGarret Wiley, 13, Arroyo Grande

Surfing is the answer to any question,The cure for any disease.Keeps you up at night,thinking, dreaming.Pushing you to your limit,To the breaking point then further.The waves like a melody ofPounding drums, dazzling anyonewho dares to think.The ocean spray against yourface when you’re paddling out.The satisfaction of riding thatwave all the way tothe beach.

Shades of Green All AroundKara Smith Hoover, 9, San Luis Obispo

Delicious, juicy pears of green, just like my favorite jelly beans.Mountains and rainforests are priceless,But so is new grass growing from the ground.Shades of green are all around.

Slippery slime and fuzzy mold,Fire-breathing dragons from takes of old. (A bite of jalapeño makes me breathe fire too.)Aphids munching through my grandma’s garden.Bare feet crushing snails – what a terrible sound!Shades of green are all around.

Sequoia trees stand the test of time. From a smaller tree, I pick a lime, Squeeze the juice over honeydew.A four-leaf clover I have found. Shades of green are all around.

I hate bell peppers sneaking on my plate,and only seeing poison oak after it’s too late.Doing homework while my little sister playshas me green with envy at the end of the day.But then it’s time for a walk by the creek in our town,and shades of green are all around.

FireZoe Curran, 9, Arroyo Grande

Dancing elegantly,Luring me to come closerOn a stormy night.Like a lullaby, Or a gentle voiceSaying it’s alright. Like a blanket wrapping me in warm depths,I feel happy, peaceful; I forget all the bad things in life.Calm and comforted,Protected by its flames,I fall asleep in its warmth.

Views from a sailboatEthan Carroll, 10, Morro BayI’m sailing down the bayDown the old, usual waywatching as the sun setsoh, what a glorious day!

A sweet smell of sea saltstill lingers in the airthe amber glow of the sunoutlines all that is fun

Silly seals playfully splash chasing each other around the dockproud pelicans peacefully perchupon the Morro Rock.

A fishing boat returns to dock,I watch a hundred seagulls flocklike bees drawn to honey,they expectantly eye the fishwhile the fisherman counts his money

I’m sailing down the bayDown the old, usual waywatching as the sun setsoh, what a glorious day!

The StallionAnnie Meeder, 11, Paso Robles

His long silver maneflows behind himas he gallops across the grasses. His long mournful nicker tells you a sad story.His great mighty hoofstear at the grass below him.His alert ears catchany sound about.He is the magnificent ruler of this place. He is the stallion.

FútbolKara Bullard, 11, Paso Robles

Una niña jugandoCon boca cerrada.No necesitas hablar,Solo concentrar.123Para jugar este juego,Necesitas el fuego,Adentro del corazón,Para agarrar el balón.456Cuando llegas al gol,Mantienes control,Preparas de patearlo,Y luego celebrarlo.



A girl playingWith closed mouth.You don’t need to talk,Only concentrate.1 23To play this game,You need the fire,Inside of the heart,To get the ball.456When you arrive at the goal,Maintain control,Prepare to kick itAnd later celebrate it.

GreedTony Toribio, 15, Atascadero

Greed is a seed that grows in dark Upon the soul it leaves its markA stain, a void, an empty handThat steals away the heart of man

Greed is a seed that grows in stoneIt roots and thrives when left aloneHidden and veiled behind a screenOf pleasant smiles and velveteen

Greed is a seed that needs no rainIt numbs its host to feel no painOr guilt, repent, or self-disgraceIt finds a way to hold its place

Greed is a weed that grows and breedsA cancer that drives the soul to bleedThe withers away the bonds of trustThat leaves its mark on all of us

ShadowsKatie Chapman-Pinto, 12, San Luis ObispoShadows overcome herSlowly it reaches herAlone and terrifiedConfused and hurt

Slowly it reaches herWith despairConfused and hurtShe weeps softly into the air

With despairShe holds on, barely grasping to lifeShe weeps softly into the airAs she clenches her fists

She holds on, barely grasping to lifeHer tears run down for the last timeAs she clenches her fistsDropping into the darkness forever.

Adult poems:

A Nod to OgdenJane Brechler, Morro Bay

I like rhymeAll the time. Though out of fashionIt is my passion. Narration’s the ragePage after page,Which of course is nice,But less concise.

Nature ChildKate Updike O’Connor, San Luis Obispo

She wades in muckunearths tidal treasures,hums tra-la-la-la-la.No Disneyland here – just sleepy afternoon seatiny crabs to namesilky driftwood and broken bivalvesto collect.Lost in delightShe stuffs her pockets full.

My birthdayFrances Dittmann, Atascadero

This year I will be ninety, so I thought I’d write a poemAbout the adventurous life I’ve had, and the wonders I have known.I’d tell you about the trips I’ve taken across the shining seaOn ships, oh so luxurious! On airplanes, soaring free.Well, I was aboard the great Queen Mary. (She was berthed at sea.)The occasion was the marriage of someone dear to me.Once I flew in a small airplane – just the pilot and me.Since then I’ve stayed on the ground and let my thoughts fly free.The truth? Let it be known that the adventures had by meWere all when I remained at home and traveled by TV.Marriage to a wonderful man was an adventure from the start.Memories of our life together are forever in my heart.And now, as we celebrate these ninety years of mineI wish you all will have a life as good as mine has been.

Beauty EverlastingJohannah Varland, Morro Bay

The beauty of youth is innocenceLost, yet replacedBy the beauty of age as wisdom

The Singing SoundsDavid G. Robbins, San Luis Obispo

In a lilting voiceCame a heartfelt pleaToo faint to hearToo dark to seeA love lost May not be foundIf time has quietedThe singing soundsSo many thingsLeft unexplainedYet, unrequited loveRemains.

LISTENING TO NINA SIMONEPatti Sullivan, San Luis Obispo

On my way home from workafter a day in the shallow endI dive deeply into the heartbrokenvoice of Nina Simone

No danger of drowningMore like floating – melting“ love me love me love me say you do let me fly away with you ”

Her plea is clearalone on a summer’s eveningtoo much “Lilac Wine” why is she so aloneseems to her everyone is going somewhereher “ double-crossed little heart ”has “no one doesn’t know where she belongs ”

Her pain reaching a crescendoeven Porgy can’t keep her it’s almost too much to bearwhen my driveway offers safe harborat least for meNina’s voice echoeswhat we all want“ love me ” “say you do”it’s all we wantand more.

GoldilocksRosemary Wilvert, San Luis Obispo

A medium-sized star birthedplanets of its own matteras others have done,the orbs in the middlehuge and gaseous,the closest and the farthestsmall and rocky.One of the rocky spheres isbig enough to hold an atmosphere and small enoughnot to oppress with gravity,not too close andnot too farfrom its motherso water is liquid.Just right.

A good planet is hard to come by.