2014 Poetry Contest Winners

The theme of this year's poetry contest was "Nature's Music."  Please enjoy these lovely entries.


UNDER 17 Category
Entry From: Anna Nowosielski (age 14)
I never caught her name.
Her name was irrelevant to our microscopic relationship.
I know my long skirt dragged on the grimy, gummy stairs.
It makes a person's head spin, at the thought of how many sandals, sneakers, and stilettos
scraped across this same surface.
The meadowlark was in this subway tunnel.
I could hear his trumpets.
I leaned back, falling softly against the yellowing tile.
It might've been beautiful down hear once.
It still is, in a dark, rat infested way.
There was a gray-haired woman bopping her head,
not to the beat of the crowd, or to the tune ecstatic gospel singer's wonder-filled cover
of Respect.
She could hear the trumpets.
Her smile was droopy and lazy, almost a smirk, but with warmth.
Her eyes glinted in recognition, like we were long lost friends, having an impromptu
The stale breeze of the passing silver cars grabbed at the strands of hair that had escaped my ponytail,
and I thought about everything I could tell her, all the secrets I had,
all the places she had conquered.
We could discuss baby rattles, coffee beans. That soap opera I know she watches religiously.
We could ponder the inconveniences of politics and opinions.
Of religion and sunglasses.
Then maybe she would tell me, in a very whispery voice,
She could also hear the sound of a songbird love ballad, just as I could.
She knew the harmonies the daisies hummed whenever the dew stuck to their frail petals like
She felt the crescendos of a midday sun shower, and the metronome of the crystal droplets
She sobbed when coyotes mourned the loss of the sunshine,
She stifled a laugh when the mockingbird's used their singsongy voices to tease the hungry cat.
She to, danced the night away, breathless at the fireflies' bandstand.
I hoped she would invite me.
She cocked her head to one side, like a curious puppy.
Her dulling green irises smiled, gleeful.
She waved slowly, microscopically, then turned on her heel.
Along with the fading click, click, click, of rising and falling stilettos, I could just make out the first bars of the meadowlark's sorrowful melody.
The mocking trumpets swooned.



Adult Entries
Entry from Maura Lieberman
Music of Changing Seasons
Melodious harmonies radiate my ears as I hear the sweet songs of the hummingbird singing her colorful tunes. Waves crash down on the shore while the sun pours her soul onto my exposed, bare skin as I let go of everything and absorb the archetypical summer elements.The inhalation of the fresh air assures me that this Earth in which we live is far greater than an object up for purchase. I have no desire to spend money when my greatest sense of happiness is right outside my backdoor.
 Crumbling leaves crinkle under my boots as I step through the apple orchard and witness the succulent, plump, red beauties dangling above me. As the wind blows her gust through the air, a crisp, ripe apple drops to the ground. Instantaneously, a ravenous small creature eagerly feasts on her newly discovered breakfast.
Snow flurries pile up outside of my home and the smell of cold winter fills my nostrils. The bitter air chaps my lips and fingers alike. I am quivering in my many layers of clothing, but witnessing the vivacious white flakes somehow creates a euphoria within me.
A hint of green. A speck of red. A carnation emerges her pink body from the soil, longing to see some sunshine and awake from her bed.  Birds begin to sing again, grass begins to grow again, and life begins again in the spring.


Entry from Jeanne Quinn (in memory of Ruth Dascoll)

Poem 1)   A daffodil
                 Sitting still
                Provokes more beauty
                than wealth ever will.
Poem 2) September goldenrod does not
               Flame against the meadow
             But burns with rusty yellow fire
                 In the afternoon of summer.


2013 Children Winners - Ages 10 and under

Ani Varady
Age 10, home school student

The Cycle of a Flower

Dig a little hole, put me in
Give me a drink and wait a while
In one week or maybe two
See some green and watch me grow
Soon you will see a bud
And not too long, pretty soon
You will see a flower
A pansy, a rose, or maybe a marigold
And when I die take a new seed
Put me in the hole and grow me

Victoria Sullivan
Age 10, Holy Trinity School

Have you ever seen a little egg
sitting on a citrus leaf?
That's me, I'm growing.
Please don't give me any grief.

It's time, I'm coming out,
I'm leaving my little shell.
Now I'm a tiny larva,
and breakfast sure sounds swell.

I see some tasty, tender leaves
and begin to munch munch munch!
I think I'll just keep eating
right on into lunch.

As a growing caterpillar
my skin is getting too small,
but once I finish molting
I'll have lost it all.

My new skin is just the right size
and I'll be shedding some more.
My only job is to eat big leaves
but it really is no chore!

I connect myself to a nearby stem
and molt just one last time.
My hard skin forms a chrysalis.
Hooray! This is a good sign.

You might think I'm resting in here,
but that is simply not true.
As a pupa my body is transforming.
I'll have changed through and through.

Antennae are forming
and colorful brilliant wings.
I emerge from the chrysalis
and life as a butterfly begins!

Thank you for sharing in my journey
from tiny egg to butterfly.
Be sure to wave hello to me
as I happily flutter by!

Kylie Conlon
Age 10, Grey Nun Academy


Are there reasons
That it is always changing seasons?
I can’t swim in the pool
Because I have to go to school.
When there is a falling leaf
Does it fall into the coral reef?
At Dunkin Donuts when I get munchkins
I pretend they are mini pumpkins.
There are so many beautiful leaves
It just makes me wanna sneeze.
At the end of fall
It is time for basketball.

Ruby Faulkner
Age 8, home school student

Metamorphosis Poem

I open my eyes
It is dark for May.
I try to move my legs
But I have…wings!
I take a long stretch but I can’t move too far
My wings aren’t ready yet to fly, fly
fly over the mountains and far away.

Maggie Newell
Age 10, Grey Nun Academy


It is finally fall
I won’t miss summer at all.
There are colorful leaves
And a nice little breeze.
Soon it will snow
And the leaves will all go.
Then it will be spring
And we’ll hear the birds sing.
Not many things stay the same
Like seasons, they’ll always change.

Isabella Toso
Age 10, Grey Nun Academy

How Things Change

Winter becomes spring, birds come out to sing.
Spring becomes summer, butterflies will flutter.
Summer becomes fall, at these times we love all.
Fall becomes winter, as we all know,
and at this time we start to see some snow.
So all the seasons, they come and go.
Sometimes, to me it's like a good show.
As you can see, some things change,
some either in a big or small range.

Lawrence Makemson
1st grade, Oxford Valley Elementary School


Metamorphosis changes tadpoles to frogs.
Now a frog is sitting on a log.

Mason Pogosov
1st grade, Oxford Valley Elementary School


Frogs jump on lily pads.
They start off as tadpoles.
Tadpoles live in water.
Frogs sit on a log.

Cody Dowling
1st grade, Oxford Valley Elementary School


Metamorphosis means changing form,
Even during a storm.

Matthew Carslake
1st grade, Oxford Valley Elementary School


Frogs eat flies.
They hop.
They say ribbit.
They start off as a tadpole.
They change their form...metamorphosis.
Frogs like lily pads.


2013 Children's Winners - Ages 11 and up

Zachary Loscalzo Somogyi
Age 12, home school student

The Transformation

The light of the moon filters through the trees,
Illuminating the blushing blossoms,
The crickets sing their gentle song,
It is a full moon.
Its light dances across the face of a man,
On his knees, arms outstretched embracing the light,
The crickets stop their song to watch as the man begins to change
His eyes become foggy, his nose lengthens 
His back grows thick, coarse hair 
Which then spreads over the rest of his body
His fingers shorten and his nails become sharp claws.
Birds scatter as his howl pierces the night.

Brynne Brown
Age 13, Morrisville Intermediate School


In the beginning you were just an egg,
Sitting, waiting for your life to begin.
But now you’re a caterpillar,
Eating and growing bigger in every way.
Soon your life will develop into something amazing.
You’ll start to make a chrysalis,
And hang until a fateful day.
You will emerge from your shell,
And be something new.
A butterfly’s life awaits you.
You’ll change the world,
Drinking nectar and pollinating away,
Making a difference in our lives.
A flower that you visit just might be something for us,
Like a nice tomato for a salad, or beauty for our eyes to enjoy.
You don’t know it yet,
But you are a big part of everyone’s lives.
So little caterpillar,
Do your thing and metamorphosize.

Anna Nowosielski
Age 13, home school student

The Last Feather

As last feather falls,
the once-mighty bird gives out a short, sorrowful cry.
Letting herself collapse, her heart quietly protests death.
Lying silently in her bed of burnt twigs,
the last feather lands on a stray spark,
Igniting the surrounding brush.
The pathetic creature slowly closes her weary eyes,
and lets the beautiful flame to engulf her.
It sears her skin, and burns her bones.
Yet she never flinches
or tries to evade the fire's stinging touch

The woodland watches from a distance,
not daring to breathe until the crackling fire reduces to nothing but sparks and ashes.
Somewhere, a wolf senses the unbalance among the trees, and lifts his head to howl a mournful song.
The winds whisper of the tragedy,
reaching the ears of all the living things,
awakening them from their slumber.
The forest animals rush to the clearing

A single feather, orange and red,
charred from the fire, floats down to the lush grass.
'The outcast is dead!' they murmur,
in frightened tones.
The old buck lowers his head in tribute.
The owl awakes from his peaceful slumber.
He smells the smoke and flies to the nest of ashes and coal.
He speaks not a word,
as he gently grabs the last feather in his small beak,
and places it on the pile of ashes.

The feather bursts into a pillar of fire,
causing all the animals watching, except the owl, to scatter.
The ashes and flame begin to swirl together, twirling and dancing in beautiful cocoon of light and smoke.
Out of the swirling flame,
a shape rises into star dusted sky.
The Phoenix opens her beak,
and calls out her siren-like song of victory.
The last feather, seared onto her majestic, fiery wings,
for all to admire.

Lindsey Murphy
Age 12, Holy Trinity School


Metamorphosis is a change
It’s sometimes very strange
When a caterpillar grows up
It’s not very much
It grows into a butterfly
But do not cry
It’s very beautiful with many colors
It might even have sisters or brothers
They will all fly around
They might even come into your town

Garrett Foy
Age 12, Holy Trinity School


Metamorphosis is a type of change,
It happens to plants and animals.

You may not notice it at first,
But in time you will see the change.

A caterpillar to a butterfly,
A tadpole to a frog.

Change happens all the time,
You just have to look.

Kaitlyn Tift
Age 12, Holy Trinity School

Metamorphosis Poem

Caterpillars go through metamorphosis,
And some people have a hypothesis,
Of what it feels like to be in a cocoon,
Staying there from sun to moon.

Seasons and seasons come and go,
Metamorphosis going slow,
All alone day and night,
Ready to grow wings and take flight.

One day you’re a butterfly,
Soaring high into the sky,
It was worth being in that cocoon,
Because now you see the sun and moon.

Holly Hewchuk
Age 13, Holy Trinity School

Growing All the Time

Just a caterpillar sitting on a leaf,
Just a baby so soft and sweet.

Just a caterpillar crunching on something to eat,
Just a baby who is crying for some food.

Just a caterpillar growing bigger everyday,
Just a kid growing taller each day.

Just a caterpillar almost ready to fly,
Just a kid getting all packed for school.

Just a butterfly popping out of its cocoon,
Just a teenager getting ready for work.

Just a beautiful butterfly soaring through the sky,
Just an adult who is ready to live their life.

Now it’s time to sit back and let them go,
And watch their lives unfold.

Charles Beach
Age 13, Morrisville Intermediate School

What is life,
But survival,
Forever changing,
To stay around.

The caterpillar dies
So the butterfly may live,
Its form lost for greater beauty.
It changes to survive
In a changing world.

A happy thought is this,
Nothing can be destroyed in this world,
Only changed into a new form.
There is no true death, but only

Gryphon Faulkner
Age 13, home school student

Seasons and Metamorphosis

Spring, time of rebirth, the cold winter melts and dissolves into warmer times letting out the chill and embracing the promise of oncoming summer.

Summer, riding in on the last waves of spring, washing away the chill releasing life into the newly defrosted world.

Autumn, blowing leaves from the trees that seem to have only just come to bloom, blowing them to shield the ground from the golden rays of life streaming down from above.

Winter, covering the hard packed ground in a cocoon-like white blanket of frost preserving the life that is being kept deep beneath the earth awaiting it’s time to again join the world above, awaiting for when it can once again blossom and flower, awaiting spring.

Abigail Gaydos
Age 13, home school student


I could change too, if I wanted.
That’s what I’ve always told myself.
But to think of taking the plunge
and actually jumping,
are two very different things.
I’m scared. I am a quiet child,
not quite yet into the cocoon.
I have to wonder
was the caterpillar scared?
I will spin my cocoon, but I cannot relinquish my fear.
What if I don’t spin it strong enough? What if it breaks?
What if I never come out?
And if I do survive,
who says I will become a glorious butterfly,
like the caterpillar,
who changed from a
little worm
to the magnificent, bird-among-bugs.
I am afraid, but I will take my chance and spin my cocoon.
If a little caterpillar can be brave,
can change into something glorious,
so can I.


2013 Adult Winners

Katherine Falk

Her Continuing Metamorphosis

Sometimes she sits on the green shelf
among the flowered canisters of cotton,
toothpaste, toothbrushes and powder.
Sometimes she perches with the spices
and different colored peppers or
the poetry books of one whose words
she values and who refuses to be named.

She may do this from a yoga posture
and from the shelf watch her own body
do a shoulder stand or the cobra or the dog.
Some days she is a dog with a little Mohawk
tuft of hair, a dog comprised of five breeds,
and another day a parrot that will live
half a century and repeat its days out loud.

Sometimes she is the mother of a teenager
telling her to go away or she must supervise
a little bull full of bravado bursting out
at meetings. Sometimes she listens in
the audience to poems that arrive on bicycles
or in limousines that wisk her away for a smooth
ride with champagne, white kid leather
seats and the promise of sweet lemongrass.

Tom Mallouk

Walking on Water

"We all wanted to be the heroes of our trivial gossip." Jorge Luis Borges, 1969

I was walking on water but it was no miracle.
There was a thin film of mesh just beneath the surface.
On a windless day the unblemished calm
so perfectly mirrors the sky and clouds
even the underside of the heron’s wings can be seen
when it leaves its perch in the reeds and lumbers skyward.

But the day I walked on water was a windy day
and from the right angle with the right way of looking
I could sense more than see the mesh beneath
the varying corrugation of the waves.
When I stepped onto the water,
I was amazed to find myself upright, though wobbly.

A crowd gathered on the shore shouting,
He’s walking on water! Among them was
my mother, Zazef, dead almost forty years,
and her mother, Leila, nodding knowingly.
My aunt Laurice who said I was the second coming
of Kahlil Gibran waved from the throng
surrounded by my patients clamoring, He’s walking on water!
I didn’t protest. I knew no one else could see the mesh
anchored beneath their feet in tree roots on the bank.

My first tentative steps gave way to confident strides
when the wind picked up. Froth gathered around
my ankles, my long gray beard blew sideways,
my white robes billowed from my outstretched arms
as if I were about to take flight and I could tell
the sea would soon part were the dream to continue.

But even then I knew, no matter what the true believers claimed,
I was no Moses, no Jesus, not even a giant bird-
just me with my relentless, ever burgeoning and on a good day
miraculous catalogue of unrealized ambitions.

Eileen Flor

My Father's Fingers

"The question is not, Can they reason? Nor, Can they talk? But, Can they suffer?" Jeremy Bentham

My Father thinks his fingers are celery stalks.
In his hospital, he tries to eat his hands,
balking at the bitter ends, his nails long gone,
even the wrapped mittens wet, chewed
with holes, now gauzed like a mummy.
I hand him breadsticks, and stroke
my palm across his head
of once red hair. Even the grey is lost,
his robust singing voice, barely a breath,
words, a mishmash of mouth.
I want to hear the voice that boasted
how he stepped off the plane,
wearing his green WWII Marine uniform,
and lifted his hat to the crowd,
the wind ruffling his red curls,
women waving their fingers in the air.
Now as I touch his cheek,
he snaps at my hand.
The nurses put bitters on his skin
to keep his flesh from leaving
nothing for us to hold onto,
nothing for us to bury.

Winifred Hughes

At the Jetties

Stone chimneys loosely piled
above the dunes, still anchoring

a phantom house, and I think,
this is the past, what it looks like

now. I think, I have lived
in this house. I’ve tasted

the salt air, looked out through
exactly this angle of light

onto this grey sea, I remember
the shape of the waves, that’s what

memory is, the shape of waves,
and when the waves recede

strange shapes of driftwood, sea wrack,
sea glass, grey smoke wavering

from stone chimneys, long after
flames had engulfed the house.

Elizabeth Danson

Birth from Earth

They breech-birth themselves into air
after rootling their way, brown torpedoes,
through the dirt where they’ve been at home
for so long that air must be baffling, light
piercing, even moon- or starlight, the first
to reach their crimson blood-bead eyes.

Wriggling upward, still swaddled tight
in the final carapace of the old life,
they cling, vertical, for the second birth,
the split shell and the tumbling forth
to hang upside down, soft and vulnerable
until they’re strong enough to flip

and dangle by two claws for all the work
of hardening and transformation. Ghost-
pale at first, pigmented only in the eyes
and the black shoulder blades, pivots
for the whirring wings of maturity,
they hang from their old dead bodies.

The rumpled network of veins unfolds
as wings change from dead flower petals
to transparent skeleton-leaves; color comes
to bleached body and legs, and the brief
air-life begins. Cicadas soar and sing
until mating brings death, but for the eggs

which start the seventeen-year burial.

Dave Worrell

Great Nature

Great nature has another thing to do to you and me. . . Theodore Roethke, "The Waking"

Mid-April backyard sunshine shimmers through seven shades
of green. An unruly mess of aged oak, wild cherry and maple,
all jumbled in with saplings that stretch straight up, reaching
for light. Networked layers of leafy branches; multifarious
infant leaves that wiggle in rising breezes, vibrating
four times faster than sway of the boughs that bear them.
Soft, riotous polyrhythms, rising and falling—
wire brushes scraping slowly across the skin of a snare drum—
all crowded alongside pine and red-berried holly, quiet
conifers murmuring counterpoint. The old aluminum
shed’s nearly hidden in ivy—inside is my twelve-speed Schwinn,
entwined in vines and rusted to ruin these twenty-five years.
And me? I’m falling apart—my muscles no longer can hold it together.
They cut me open yesterday, pushed my guts back in where they belong.

Judith Levison

Deer Head
In the woods of our youth
There was a tree strung
With an antlered deer head.
We played beneath its hollow gaze,
Threw nuts at its gaping mouth—
Fog seeping from its nostrils,
Its fur burnt by ten winters.
Now we cannot find the tree,
Let alone our tracks;
Yet we yearn
For that gaunt, near-human watch
That set us free from evil—
We being on the ground
And it up there, once
Whacked with sticks
That thing which stared.

Stevie Daniels

A Beech Hollow

Yellow sweetgum leaves
scattered across white concrete steps
are stars at my feet,
leading me off paved paths
into the forest at Bowman’s Hill.
Hemlock needles drop
like reluctant rain,
rustling leaves where they fall.

Pidcock Creek roars below,
rushing over rocks
insistent, drowning out
titmouse cheeps and sapsucker calls.
A dark hollow in a beech trunk
left by a lost limb
is home for a screech owl.
What else hides in that darkness?

Above, in the canopy
sunlight turns lingering leaves
into blinking jewels
of ruby, topaz, and amber
longing to drop down
into that sure decay,
feeding the ground that fed them
to bloom again
in some other way.

Deborah Gerrish

The Gift

I made you a poem packed with galaxies
out of map-green tint from the nettle tree—

swaddled in bark of birch silky scent
twined in spirals with milk-white parchment

I stitched in bright berries from holly
the high-pitched qui-qui of brown coqui

wove diaphanous shells of cicadas
falling chimes of rain from La Paz

robed it with flossy ribbons
of peony petals and phlox.

Another world of other worlds I place
on your doorstep in the evening’s haze.

Quietly. Listen past the music against
the scented page—Let it whisper its galaxies.