We extend a warm welcome to the “under 18” poets, and we honor all of you who sent in entries celebrating April as National Poetry Month. We wish we could publish even more of your poems, but we do have two Sundays to share your many talents.
It seems the simplest lessons of life are usually filled with the most wisdom, and children often teach them to adults. Emily Dick inson believed children possessed an insight into life and a freedom that adults relinquish as responsibilities increase.
Surrendering to nature’s mys tery like ayouth, Dickinson wrote: “‘Nature’— is what we see—/ The hill—the Afternoon—/ Squirrel—Eclipse—the Bumble bee—/ Nay—Nature is Heaven ....” Young voices, revealing images ranging from skiing and spring to drought and other threats, find expression in nature as Dickinson did. Please join me in saying “Alleluia” for this vibrant variety of poems by our young poets. Read on!
— Bonnie Young, San Luis Obispo poet laureate
SPRINGCatrina Sada, 10, San Luis Obispo
The violets blush and blossom while newborn deer and elk frolic
In the green pine forest
Carpets of green needles muffling their hooves
Plants sprout and play in the breeze
With blue jays, eagles and robins spiraling
This is spring, springing Out of the baby blue sky
The sun smiling down, warming Earth with its joyous rays
Fish leaping to behold
This glorious occasion
The air crisp, fresh and golden
Warm nights, starry skies
Animals nursing their newborns
Wolves lurking in the prairie
Chipper squirrels chittering
Acorns falling, falling, falling From the great oak tree
Pattering and pittering on the dirt
Flowers shout, “This! Is! Spring!”
BEAUTYAlexandra Grasseschi, 16, San Luis Obispo
A youthful girl, alone, with slender hands
Clapped o’er her ears to block out all the Lies
That hiss at her like stinging desert stands,
“Your form’s too big, and too small are your eyes.”
And elsewhere, one far past the prime of life
Has reapplied cosmetics.
Now a plea, A hidden rose beneath the powder knife,
Screams, “Will anyone love me for me?”
A woman bent with age stares silently
Her hair as white as chalk, and paper lips Like fleshless bone.
A mirror now violently
She breaks, her fading splendor to eclipse.
Is beauty a beautiful thing, or does the heart
Alone have beauty worthy to impart?
THE STORMAudrey MacDonald, 12, Los Osos
The darkness crawled in with no warning
The rain like broken glass on my skin
A golden hand lashed out to scold the ground
Thunder pounding like a bass drum
A loud whisper pushing me to the ground
For a split second the whole world pauses
Looking up I see a fire starting in the clouds
DROUGHTKatrina Siems, 13, Los Osos
Once this desert wasn’t dry; once this desert had life; But not anymore. Why? No one knows. It once was lush and green; water ran through this wasteland — the cool ponds and spring rains; the warm hot springs and cold ice; the dew and water droplets. But they all left. Did they hear of a better place? One that would know no sorrow? No one knows. The animals that lived here; the songbirds and sparrows; the cattle and sheep; the frogs and fish. Did they hear of a better place? One that would know no loss? No one knows. The winds that blew here — the cool breaths and gentle winds; the harsh gusts and gentle wisps; the ocean breezes and hot air; did they hear of a better place? One that would know no grief? No one knows. The plants that were here; the succulent fruit trees and gardens; the lush trees and vines; the green leaves and canopies; did they hear of a better place? One that would know no despair? No one knows. Or did they wither and die when the sun became hotter — shining brighter and brighter, turning a forest like paradise to a desert, a wasteland? When this desired place became deserted and unwanted. Was this to be the fate of the forest and all in it? No one knows.
ANTHEM OF FREEDOMBethany Young, 15, Arroyo Grande
His sugary melody interlaces with her flawless harmony Making the rhythm of life flow like whistling wind The beat is constant and innocent just like their love Their devotion shines in the sunset and claps to the cadence
Their perfect song will soon be broken into shouts of fear She will hear freedom chanting when he hears thrashes of death He is fighting for our land that she understands So she remains in silence waiting
The day has come for their beautiful hymn to be reunited She heard the rhythmic knock, but found a letter Her pure sapphire eyes batted into gloomy regret His life lost in the sound of the bullet
Her harmony has no tempo without his melody Her love is forever dripping into a damp grave Although she is assured he has left one song behind The one most important of all, our country’s anthem
LOVE DIVINERussell Vick, 16, Arroyo Grande
What can measure the depth of love divine? What tool can approximate its value? Creation’s mystery for all of time, What price is spent for love, which charge is true? Is it worth the morning song of the birds? Or the brilliant painting of sunlight’s rays? Is its merit seen in soft-spoken words, Or in the passion of lovers’ embrace? Generations have puzzled over this, A quandary seeming to have all answers, Yet none of them fill my empty abyss. No satisfaction each answer differs. So what of love’s depth did I discover? Is seen in one scarred hand to the other.
PASSIONJenny Doody, 16, Arroyo Grande
Sweeping across the stage She dances with fiery passion
Swirling and gliding She composes the stage
Her heart is filled with glowing love
That moves her delicate body
Through exhaustion and weariness
She treads on With grace and peace
I ROAM POWERFULLY AS THE WARM WINDLeslie Henry, 16, Arroyo Grande
I roam powerfully as the thick warm Wind
Trekking deep through the restless battlefield
Peacefully working as the soldiers yield.
Bringing pure hope to those injured and pinned.
Cursing the warmth I bring to their cold night
Begging the chill to return to their core.
The ghostly souls recall not their minor, Repressing innocence, choosing to fight.
With the Wind, leaves whimsical memories,
Remembering warmth on their chaste faces,
Summer essence until war encases
The contentment of their young clarities.
Dotage depleted their sense of wonder,
All naïve reflection is asunder.
SKIINGEmma Jane Haas, 12, Los Osos
The wind in your face, the trail at your feet
Gliding The breeze on your skin, powder on your skis
Flying The air that you pass, the jumps you defeat
Crash! You slip on the ice
Crack, Creak, Clomp
In seconds you are down You feel the sleet in your shirt and on your face
The hail in your boots, your feet numb
As you get up, you can’t feel your toes
But you don’t care All you want to do is keep Skiing
SHYArabella Edler, 8, Arroyo Grande
Walking gloomy all alone on the way home I always want to hide Usually out of fear. I am a grain of sand in the ocean. Grey as a squirrel, Small as an ant, Quiet as a fox But smelling like daisies in the garden I am sweeter than candy inside.
THE TREE OF LIFECooper Limon, 11, Shell Beach
Beautiful branches, Splitting off in different directions, Red, brown, and a hue of gold, Precious leaves, Like stars in space, Rustling in the wind, With a glint of sunlight.
The branches, different choices, The leaves, dreams and thoughts, The trunk, your childhood, The majestic redwood, Tall and strong.
THE PLASTIC NATIONEric Brunschwiler, 17, Cambria
Into the oceans oil flows,
Consumption waxes never wanes, The plastic nation ever grows.
Rising storm and a foul wind blows,
Threatens soon to burst binding chains. Into the oceans oil flows.
Dirty breaths and dirty snows,
Seal up slowly a planet’s veins. The plastic nation only grows.
Turtle writhing its final throes,
Overhead streak luxury planes, Into the oceans oil flows.
Tanker refills with leaky hose,
Wind lifts oiled seabird remains, The plastic nation only grows.
How much longer not a soul knows,
But buildings are strong rumbling strains. Into the oceans oil flows, The plastic nation only grows.
LIFE POEMAnnie Meeder, 12, Paso Robles
I am from a home where the shadow of oaks glisten through the window. From a home where you may sink into an old rocking chair. From an art table where you may draw what you desire, And a nest in the couch where my dog lays. I am from a home where I can warm my soul by a friendly fire.
I am from a place of big juicy wine grapes. From a river that once danced but lost its skill. From big blue skies that occasionally cry, And from a place where rolling green hills welcome you. I am from a place where acorns break free of their guardian.
I am from a family that once did many Irish jigs. From Spanish ancestors who did the elaborate flamenco. From a grandpa that was a decorated soldier in World War II, And from a grandma who owns a World Champion Horse. I am from a family that is loving and made me who I am today.
EXCITEMENTKatelyn Hartman, 9, Arroyo Grande
The color of excitement is like tickle me pink, It’s a green tree Little boy blue, A giving tree. I am two school girls ready for a playdate and a sleepover. I am the smell of a blossom starting to bloom The taste of a sweet peach And the feel of a newborn puppy’s ears.
JOYMaddy Flores, 9, Arroyo Grande
I am the color of bright grassy green on a sunny yellow canvas. I am as silly as A monkey after 20 bananas. I sound like the great aqua ocean Crashing up against The coast Splish Splash
I smell like pancakes on Sunday Morning I am joy