Celebrating local poetry: Youth poet finalists

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Staff Report
Published: 7/11/2021 8:40:20 AM

The Recorder is publishing a selection of finalist poems in this year’s Poet’s Seat Poetry Contest. Today, some of the finalists in the 12- to 14- and 15- to 18-year-old age groups.

According to Dennis Finnell, one of the contest’s organizers, there were three judges for the young poets group: “Barry McColgan and Gerry Yelle have judged for two years. Barry is retired from teaching English at Greenfield High School, and Gerry still teaches there and recently published a chapbook of poems, ‘No Place Where I'd Rather Be.’ Joanne Hayes is the third judge in the young poets' group. She's recently retired from GCC and published ‘We Begin in Fragrant Fields.’”


How happy are leaved forests!

Now leafy is just the thing,

To get me wondering if forests are leafed.

I cannot help but stop and look at dense conifers.

Now dull is just the thing,

To get me wondering if conifers are compact.

Just like a scraggy grass, is firs.

Never forget the abdominous and heavy set firs.

I cannot help but stop and look at zany canes.

Never forget the humorous and sappy canes.

I cannot help but stop and look at lush evergreens.

Now exuberant is just the thing,

To get me wondering if evergreens are lucullan.

—Lilianna Inman

Youth finalist

12- to 14-year-olds

The Pond near the Woods

In the summer we gather

with picnic baskets and blankets

in the shade. We swim

amongst the clean clear

ripples. As the summer ends

the fall comes.

We sit upon the banks floating

bark rafts alongside the dried red,

orange, and yellow leaves.

As the snow comes the white clouds of winter

roll in. The pond freezes over, a smooth sheen

crystalline surface marred only by the blades of skates.

Slowly the spring grass pokes

its head up through the thin sheet

of snow. The sugar house pours

steam across the grazing cattle.

The wind blows the seasons along.

—Henry Maxey

Youth finalist

12- to 14-year-olds


Glory is a gilded

evil. It tricks, it blinds,

and it deceives. Men

both young and old

seek its silver cup

to drink its ruby draught

of fame, they go to war

and all they taste is blood

steel and iron, fool’s gold.

—Henry Maxey

Youth finalist

12- to 14-year-olds

Moments Recreated (Poem 1)

I am 2 in this photograph, standing

on the fallen snow of my driveway,

my hands out beside me

covered with pink mittens. My boots solid,

on the ice. The ice and snow crunching with

every step taken. Hard ice wanting to go

inside my boot sole. I am with my mom and dad,

looking at me with their phones

clicking the photo button, capturing the moment.

It is 2008, one year after I learned to walk, they let me walk

on my own believing in every step taken.

Two years since the photograph

taken of my brother doing the same thing

walking on the driveway, happy,

his smile so bright.

His hands hovered out in front of him

covered in green mittens.

—Maggie Provencal

Youth finalist

12- to 14-year-olds


A blank piece of paper.

Alive and ever changing,

Yet silent and still.

It’s everything discovered,

and undiscovered.

A blank piece of paper,

If you look very hard,

you can see

all the planets and stars.

—Leo Reiber

Youth finalist

12- to 14-year-olds

A Different Way

I walk in a hallway

Busy and long

Each student walking

Their certain way

But somehow

I forget today

Or what class I take

And finally I head

A different way

Down dirt paths

Covered in flowers

Through cobblestone roads

Covered in towers

And I finally stop to take a break

So I grab my school book

To read a page

But the page has changed

And so has the day

All because 

I walked a different way

—Zoe Charbonneau

Youth finalist

15- to 18-year-olds


Her taste so potent 

Touched his crimson lipsDisguised in roseate

Draped in painted bliss

Drugged by aroma

High on his smoked ash

Her body blushed

As he picked her of others

His grasp held her toxin tight

Burning his nimble lungs

Departed from his delicate hands

Both sunk deep in crystal

No frozen tears

Just cloaked smiles

—Felicia Gallison

Youth finalist

15- to 18-year-olds


she sat unnervingly

in the center of nothing. 

the room was filled with dehydrated emptiness;

she longed for comfort but found only four walls.

her mind was fragile

like parched petals from a wilting rose. 

her fingernails formed fragmented moons in her palms,

grasping for solace.

feverish blood coursed through her veins

tears burned scars in the hollows of her cheeks. 

an aching scream escaped her throat,

but only struck the walls and landed in puddles by the girl’s body.

her dream for solitude

left her abandoned. 

the four walls feasted on feelings of guilt,

and suddenly she longed to break free from the bitter peace.

the girl’s gaze lifted toward the sky

and her glassy eyes embraced a flicker of sunlight. 

memories danced gloriously within her soul;

fire was kindling restlessly beneath her ribs.

she loosened her tireless grip,

and set her forsaken mind free.

she remembered the effervescence of existence, 

and the walls of her past came crashing down.

—Ashley Schlinger

Youth finalist

15- to 18-year-olds

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Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
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