Poet’s Seat Poetry Contest: And now, the finalists

  • The repairs to Poet Seat Tower in Greenfield have been completed, replacing capstones, sills and re-pointing where necessary, and the access road is open again to cars. August 30, 2018. Recorder Staff/PAUL FRANZ

Published: 5/29/2022 12:14:07 PM

Editor’s note: As a followup to the Poet’s Seat Poetry Contest winners featured last Saturday, here are the finalists in this year’s competition.

Waiting on you

You promised me love

Not just for yesterday, but also for other days,

today, and tomorrow

To be there when I need you

An ear to my cries and a shoulder to lean on,

To be a friend forever.

You promised to watch me grow

To be my shield

To be my light

You promised to be the first I see before sunrise,

And last I see at sunset.

To be the one to cheer me during school games

The one to congratulate me on my good grades The one to walk me down the aisle

The one to outlive me,

And the one to put the whitest flower on my grave,

As I lie in the cracked ground.

You promised never to leave

And leaving you was my greatest fear.

And now I watch it come to reality.

Day and night I worry and think,

Whether you will come back home.

My heart never beats like one at peace.

I try to fight my bad thoughts, acting like all is okay,

But that is wrong.

I am tired of dreaming about the perfect life with you beside me.

I am tired of wishing on the shooting star that I could have you back.

Everything in my life is destroyed.

My dreams and goals are burning and turning into ashes.

My faith is fading away.

Nothing ever goes right.

Even the shooting star has failed me,

All I asked was to have you forever

_By my side

_like a shadow

But now you’re gone

And they all say you will never come back

I look at the mirror and see myself broken,

My life, my dreams and my future all gone

For it all depended on you.

You were the light to my darkness

My heartbeat.

Sometimes I wish to say that you are just lost,

That one day in life you will be found.

Sometimes I pretend I never knew you just to ease the pain,

But I can’t.

The pains and sorrows are too heavy to bear.

It’s been years, but I still feel like it was yesterday.

I see you in my eyes,

I feel you in every place and every step.

Wish it was easy to let go,

But it’s not.

They say time heals all wounds,

But I don’t think it works with me.

I know you love me,

I know you care,

When you are ready to come home

The key is under the mat.

N

o

n

e

e

d

t

o

k

n

o

c

k

Hope to see you soon

I love you.

—Chenziz Opiyo

Youth Finalist

12-14-year-olds

“Write About It”

I try to make a band of feminists to fight for our opinions,

But most are too scared to fight for something we’ve been banned from having.

In some countries we have to sell our bodies for income,

And in others we could end up in a cell.

In the past we were sent and sold to rapists and abusers and assaulters,

And now with the “equality” we have, we still senselessly make cent’s less.

The more we do the more we make up for,

The more they assign the more is due.

We stress and we stretch ourselves thin,

For dogs who can’t even figure out how to work cogs in a clock.

They’re filling our world with smog,

They’re smashing and crashing our planet,

They’re lashing our women.

We’re breaking into pieces just to keep the peace they’ve put on our shoulders.

The bark on our trees is dying,

So we bark and we scream and we yell but no one listens.

We’ve been stuck in a pen for so long,

So I thought I’d pick up a pen,

And write about it.

—Abby Ray

Youth Finalist

12-14-year-olds

“The Wind”

If you listen closely you can hear the wind whisper.

Don’t believe me?

To hear her you must be a good listener.

It carries all of the secrets of the world

Every happy and sad moment.

If you listen you could hear the truth unfurl.

As intriguing as it seems.

Listen too closely

And it may ruin your dreams.

So next time you feel a breeze pass through,

Stop and listen.

For you may hear the wind’s secrets whispered to you.

—Jacobia Tyminsky

Youth Finalist, 12-14-year-olds

Malinois

I met some boys once

who knew they wanted to go to war.

Tuesday afternoon, they drank and shook

with their own laugher, exploding

unafraid. They did not create

themselves — maybe I believed it

when I saw that dog lunge

like it knew what it wanted

like instinct and teeth,

toward those kids

walking backpacks home from school.

Yes, I wondered what it would be like

to be made a killer,

to be made of anything

other than the leaves

and that midnight parking lot

where I was too afraid

to kiss you.

—Wyatt Browne

Youth finalist, 15-18-year-olds

Taking Control

You took my vibrant blues, greens and oranges

And I watched them fade

Like the black box dye running down my sink

at 2 am

But as I untangled myself from your barb wire grip

I realized

I was holding the paint set to my own life

So I mixed

And poured

Gallons of paints and colors

Across so many canvases until I created the masterpiece I now know as my soul.

I did.

I put back the colors that you stole from me

With new shades of

Violet

Red

Magenta

—Sabrina Marie Cote

Youth Finalist, 15-18-year-olds

Eyes Closed and Shoulders Curved

She’s smart and tortured and talented and confused

I loved her looking the other way

I loved her laughing

As I loved her crying

She loves me lonely

She loves me with cautious recklessness

I love her in passionate clumsiness

I love her when she doesn’t want me to and I love her when she does

She loves me when she can

It’s enough

We watch the world peek into my bedroom

I pray she doesn’t pull away

My pleas fall thin and short

But I know my love will linger once the world walks away with her

Because for what it’s worth

I loved her with my eyes closed and shoulders curved when no one was watching

—Sadie Ross

Youth finalist, 15-18-year-olds

Who’s a Good Boy?

Dogs.

Prized for their loyalty,

some so famous for this trait,

like Hachiko

a Golden Brown Akita

who waited patiently

every day

at a Japanese train station

to greet his owner,

returning from work,

for nine years,

nine months,

and fifteen days

after his owner’s death,

until he died himself

on March 8, 1935,

that even now,

86 years later,

there’s a statue at the station

to commemorate him.

No one thought to place Hachiko

on medication,

or suggest to him

that he move on,

or at least

consider a new owner.

No one recommended

therapy,

or getting out more,

or volunteer work,

or told him that his dead owner

would want him to be happy.

No.

Hachiko was admired

for his loyalty.

Woof.

—G. Greene

Twenty-eight

Mama, she said

I’m standing on the threshold!

Indeed, with one plunge,

Propelled into channels

Of the wide world

A navigation breathtaking

in its boldness,

No one ever so sure

Where she wanted to go

How she wanted to go.

As she began, so she

Continued: silver-tongued,

Iron-willed, the opposite

Of mercurial. Was it luck,

Was it common sense, the early voice

whispering, “Get out of the way”?

—Tamara Grogan

Adult Finalist

After Chemo

Early fall, making applesauce for winter.

Her head bald, smooth like the apples

she’s paring — Winesap, the vintage

variety — from the gnarled old tree out back.

Too weary to stand for long, she rests

against a stool. Cutting the fleshy fruit

into chunks keeps her mind off her body.

At the stove, stirring as pulp softens

to puree, she adds cinnamon. Grateful

for mindless tasks like filling mason jars.

Thankful too that her partner will lift

their weight in and out of the canner.

Pleased when they place a dozen

steaming quarts to cool on the counter.

She can already picture a day in December —

hearing the distinctive pop of a vacuum seal,

tasting the sweetness that will pass her lips.

—F. D. Kindness

Adult finalist

Remnants

Two soup spoons. Not silver.

And our letters to each other,

nestled in a dark blue bandana

in an upstairs dresser.

Leave the twin utensils

in their assigned drawer.

Someone, someday, will touch

them and not know what they held.

Decide, when winter comes,

or in early spring when I burn brush,

if I should ignite those relics of paper.

Someone, someday, might notice

a burn spot in the field,

charred paper ash too small

to read the love once written there.

Crumbling. The fire quite out.

—Barbara Lemoine

Adult finalist

LAST RUN - for Ben

Dad appears in boots and gloves

with spigots, buckets, bits and drills.

Is the wood pile holding out?

Collect enough, collect it still.

Catch it, hold it, bring it, pour it-

daily watch as winter parts.

Sip it, strain it, boil it, dip it –

a maple gift so sweet in March.

Will it get too warm too soon?

Feed the stove and fill the pan.

Bring the sap in, keep it cool.

Lift the bucket if you can.

Catch it, hold it, bring it, pour it-

daily watch as winter parts.

Sip it, strain it, boil it, dip it –

a maple gift so sweet in March.

How long before the maples move?

Will the robins never leave?

Drill bits lost and spigots gone.

Do southern trees provide a yield?

Catch it, hold it, bring it, pour it-

our maple harvest shrinks, declines.

Sip it, strain it, boil it, dip it –

no winter left, no taps, no pan.

No gloves, no boots, no wood supply.

March and maple soon will prove

no longer brothers in the spring.

Winter’s lock is on the move.

—Louise Minks, June 2016

MAY WOODS — for Leah

Let’s take a picnic, shall we?

Come join me, hold my hand.

I’ll bring a blanket and a treat

where memories of August stand.

But woods are brown and gray, not green.

The stream too cold, the sun too thin.

I thought in May the woods were warm,

but I was fooled. They pulled us in.

All right, we’ll bring the picnic home.

In our yard, the sun stays near.

The wind lies down and May invites

our summer hearts to reappear.

—Louise Minks, June 2016

Caste, circa 1950

I was a white girl in Ohio. Aunt Jemima was on the pancake mix box, and we believed we were a happy family. In school we read about Dick and Jane. Jane helped Mother. Dick helped Dad. Spot was their dog, and the policeman at the corner was always friendly. The only trouble was, in my house, Dad yelled a lot except when he was asleep on the couch, a smelly glass of Scotch on the table beside him. One day Mom locked herself in the bathroom and wouldn’t come out. We sat on the stairs and could hear her crying. No one knew what to do, so we held our breath. On the nights when we didn’t finish our dinner we were told about the Chinese children on the other side of the world who had no dinner at all. We tried hard to imagine them. When a real Chinese family put an offer on a house on our block all the neighbors had a meeting. The family never moved in. The only black person I knew came once a week to iron in the basement. I wish I could remember her name. Years later I learned that in Georgia there were drinking fountains for whites and drinking fountains for coloreds. I was a white girl in Ohio. Aunt Jemima was on the pancake mix box, and I didn’t yet know about the lynchings.

—Anne Yeomans

Adult finalist


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