If you go ...
What: Poetry reading and awards presentation for the eighth-grade Carol Jacobson Memorial Poetry Contest
When: 7 p.m. Monday
Where: Downtown Books, 543 Yampa Ave.
“You have to sit there and think. It’s like a riddle.”
— Jake Vallem, Craig Middle School eighth-grader and first-place winner in the Carol Jacobson Memorial Poetry Contest, about writing poetry
Poetry Contest Winners
Craig Middle School eighth-graders recently entered in the annual
Carol Jacobson Memorial Poetry Contest. The winning entries are
included below. Please note more than one student was selected for
first, second and third places.
By Jake Vallem
I am feeling terrible, malicious, mean and mad,
And dreadful and deplorable,
Snappy, sick and sad.
Perhaps nasty or unbearable
Maybe depressed, hateful or blue
Arrogant and annoying,
Like someone's untied shoe.
Mischievous and malevolent
And sleepy as a cat
Rebellious and rotten,
But not just a brat.
I might have all these feelings,
But I don't wish someone dead,
Isn't it simply obvious?
I woke up on the wrong side of bed.
I'm in a horrible mood today.
I hope I gave a clue,
But thanks a lot for asking,
And please tell me, how are you?
By Sheyenne Cromer
Petals soft as silk, rain down
along bark hard and splintered,
time stands still
she sways her arms in the evening wind
her leaves turn and twist
breaking free from her fibers.
She wraps her arms around the newly dewed grass
dances in the breeze
her roots connected to her growing soul.
Every moment her feelings burst
as she sheds her darkened shell
drooping branches getting small
egg white surface appears
petals turn to strands of midnight brown
long thin legs appear
she stands in her new form
stumbles on the damp soil
falls on the crisp grass
amazed at the surrounding world
angles she has never seen before
new life she brings to those in her path.
By Paige Durbin
Hallows of forgotten trees
Trees white as bones
Bones lie beneath the earth
Earth that crumbles under my footsteps
Footsteps heard in the silence
Silence fills the souls of trees
Trees that have long faces
Faces emerge from the shadows
Shadows so inviting
Inviting me to enter their darkness
Darkness fills the sky
Sky as deep and dark as an abyss
Abyss of neglected souls
Souls that moan from grief
Grief that can be lifted
Lifted from my heart
Heart that is pure
Pure of sins
Sins that cause cryptic hallows
By Nealy Shaeffer
Probation is like living in an aquarium
You'll always be trapped
Behind a glass barrier
Endless paper work
It smells of morning breath
Of teeth chattering
Like a broken recorder
Like a dark dull knife
Stabbing my chest.
Papers dance in the wind
Murkiness, washed away
by crystal, clear new water.
I'm finally free.
By Bryce Tuttle
I walk through the morning mist
The sun awakening slowly, like a sleepy beast.
The hills start to sing,
Sing the elk song
I try to single out one,
Just one to hunt down
To eat all year round
To hang on the wall
To be proud of my prize,
To recognize his sacrifice.
By Riley O'Leary
Here they come
over the hill
To see her there
in lustrous curls
of golden foam.
Her white smile
makes them run to her.
Like young boys
with lustrous fancy.
she upturns and roars,
Picks up the riders
drives them to shore.
She batters them
with waves like mallets.
She lets them know
They've overstayed their welcome.
forsake the broken waves.
She thunders goodbye.
as they leave
back over the hill.
By Cheyenne Sequieros
Hope is the stars and moon shining down
The smell of the midnight mist
Happiness is the ocean breeze
Sand tickles between my stubby toes
Love is a twinkle in his eyes
The taste of his lips
Life is a freshly bloomed flower
The sound of a newborn's cry
Forgiveness is a new beginning
The second chance
Friendship is trust in one and other
The feeling of a hammock that cradles me
By Kaitlyan Reed
three black fuzzy beasts
rotund as obese walruses.
tricky to work with
they play childish games
punch me with boney heads.
ready for market
By Tanner Hampton
Mighty waterfalls thrash the rocks below.
Animals awaken from deep sleep.
Cool fresh air whistles through green pines
and a blanket of light fills the forest with warmth.
The ground is a battlefront with predators and prey.
Birds, with gold and silvery feathers, sing for fallen warriors
some now covered with a cloak of green velvet.
Bears sit lazily on the bank of the river,
hoping to get dinner for their young.
They prey on the insignificant and the weak.
The sun rises higher
a new day begins
and a new chain of life.
By Stelios Peroulis
Early in the morning on May fifth
Wake and run to the barn.
Bursting through the door to see
Two small, white, skinny lambs pampered by mom
… the first of thousands.
Saddling the horses early in the morning
Pushing the sheep, like water pushes white foam.
Through the pines to high country
Checking all the time for lambs that have wondered off
Until the mountain top pokes out of the horizon
The crack of a sorting gate breaks the morning quietness.
The blat of sheep can be heard for miles
Lambs demand their moms
Ewes yearn for their lambs
Bull racks pull away crammed with lambs going to market.
Corn, sheep's sustenance, streams down the chute.
Woolly sheep hunker down in a tornado of snow
Guard dogs protect their herd from coyotes
Excited sheep run across the desert to yellow kernels of corn.
Lambing. Summer. Shipping. Winter.
A year condensed into a few lines.
It takes a sacrifice to make a living.
It all started with a headache.
Jake Vallem’s head was pounding the day he wrote his poem for the Carol Jacobson Memorial Poetry Contest, so the Craig Middle School eighth-grader pulled down a thesaurus and culled words that described how he felt, he said.
“I am feeling terrible, malicious, mean and mad,” his poem begins, “And dreadful and deplorable, snappy, sick and sad.”
Although Vallem wasn’t feeling so hot the day he put pen to paper, his untitled poem piqued the interest of Craig Poetry Society members who judged the contest.
They awarded him first place in the annual eighth-grade contest. Sheyenne Cromer also took first place with a poem titled “Metamorphosis.”
Students who participated in the contest will have a chance to share their work at a poetry reading and awards ceremony at 7 p.m. Monday at Downtown Books, 543 Yampa Ave.
The contest is named in honor of former bookstore owner and late Craig resident Carol Jacobson, who helped David Morris, CMS eighth-grade English teacher, launch the event about six years ago.
He and Jacobson were members of the Craig Poetry Society, and they both “had a strong interest in writing poetry and getting kids to write poetry,” said Morris, who has published several books of verse.
“And we decided that it would be fun to start a contest for eighth-grade students, since they (study a) poetry unit,” he said.
All CMS eighth-graders were required to enter the contest, creating about 200 entries for Craig Poetry Society members to sift through before selecting the winners earlier this month.
“They (were) looking for the elements of good poetry,” including figurative language and images that appealed to the senses, Morris said.
Cromer had trouble getting started on her poem yet like many poets before her, she found inspiration in nature.
She began writing about a blossoming cherry tree, and as the poem progressed, the tree gradually transformed into a woman, she said.
Writing is a form of catharsis for Cromer.
“I sometimes just write about my feelings, and that kind of lets it out and I feel good in the end,” she said.
In her view, rhyme doesn’t make or break a poem.
Yet for Vallem, finding rhymes is part of the fun.
“You have to sit there and think,” he said. “It’s like a riddle.”
He and Cromer each won $20 for their first-place entries, yet they also took away more intangible rewards.
Cromer learned how to apply the elements of good writing she learned in her English classes, she said.
And as for Vallem, “I certainly learned a lot of different ways to say that I’m mad,” he said.
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