Liv, 8th - Oakland, CA
The clouds a dreamy shade of grey
They drop hit the ground like
Cracklings when they fall
This peaceful serenity
I only get to experience once in a while
Sometimes it drizzles
Sometimes it sprinkles
Sometimes it pours
Any way it rains it’s beautiful
The sky crying
But never of sadness
Always of grace
Something the entire world needs
California drivers can’t stand the rain
So it’s quiet on the street
No pedestrians either
California citizens can’t stand to get wet
But not this one
Drops trickling down the window
Following the trail of the other drops
Giving the flowers something to drink
And the trees
And the fruits
So rare for it to rain here
Where we can just pause
Fresh crisp air
My lungs just love
My raincoats wet and cold
But I’m warm
And a maybe a bit wet
Filled with happiness
Just me and the rain
Dancing hand in hand
Quin, 10th- Oakland, CA
Dust fluttered as the dark oak wood creaked under my foot. My legs felt like they were on fire, the strain caused by taking another step was excruciating. I propped myself up using the run down railing and looked at my surroundings. It was as if the sun had been consumed by a giant, darkness as far as I could see, the only illumination coming from the light that spilled in from above. In other words, nothing had changed since my first steps.
I squinted and let my mind study the gleam. The light was blinding but it gave off a sense of comfort and safety, this feeling was the only motivation I had left. I was never very hopeful to begin with, but these steps knew how to drain a man of everything he loved, no matter how small and insignificant it seemed. I took a deep breath letting the dank air fill my lungs as I took another step. That burning sensation in my legs screamed once more. I needed to rest but in the back of my head, a cold voice whispered to me, a whisper like a hand wrapped around my heart. If I laid to rest I would never wake again. I hear voices more often than I would like to admit. With every step I took their irksome chatter seemed to increase. Like ants crawling in my skull, it seemed like they all had something to say. Each sentence contradicting the next, “Rest why don’t you?” a smooth voice as deep as the void below would whisper seductively to me.
“You’re so close keep climbing!” a comforting voice that reminded me of my mother encouraged me.
“Give up, climb over the railing and take a dive” a sickly voice cackled.
“Just try one more step.” a hollow voice pleaded. Oh, that one was my voice.
I looked below into the abyss from which I climbed. It’s lull as inviting as the light ahead, but I felt no sense of comfort or safety. I felt an embrace, void of any love or pleasure emitting from the pit, an embrace that offered rest coupled with unimaginable nightmares. I had just been there mere minutes before, I didn’t remember it being so dark. And then it dawned on me, the higher I climbed the steeper my fall would be. The pit’s invitation became stronger, like a deadman’s hand pressed against my cheek caressing me as I fell to sleep. The light flickered in the corner of my eye. I stared at it allowing it to cleanse my eyes as that feeling of comfort washed over me. I took another step and the abyss let me go without any struggle. It was a patient entity and it knew I would crumble eventually. And as I took another step and pain like flames spread throughout my body I chuckled. A laugh to stifle a whimper, a whimper fueled by sadness and the thoughts of a man on his last legs. As the voices ran rampant in my mind a sad realization came to me. Everything here, even the light that called to me so insistently, knew I would soon fall, including me.
E.L.B., 12th - Oakland, CA
There is a road somewhere, a place where paths cross and part, a place where the sky is grey and the air is cold and the leaves rattle on the trees. A place where the world is drained of color, where lost souls wander and found souls travel. A highway, a river, a path, a road.
There is a house somewhere, a place of quiet, and of reflection. A place where the hearth is warm but the smiles are cold, a place where the pictures on the walls avoid your gaze and you are more alone than you have ever been. A home, a hearth, a bed, a house.
There is a field somewhere, a place where blood feeds the grass and bones rattle in the wind, a place of sorrow and of joy. A place where ghosts dance to the beat of distant drums, where the horns of battle ring faintly on the breeze. A fight, a fate, a test, a field.
There is a soul somewhere, one who has gained much and lost more. One who had what they valued most and let it slip through their fingers. A creature who abandoned their friends, their family, those who needed them the most. A shade, an animal, a beast, ashamed.
When the leaves fall and freeze before they touch the earth. When the sun is dimmed by the dark clouds of despair. When the dark of corruption stretches and covers the land. Dark wings from the west, swift as the wind and high as the clouds. A sword from the east, shining as bright as the dawn it beckons. A crown from the south, as strong and loved and revered as a mother. A tree from the north, leaves evergreen bearing fruit to give life to the world. Lost wandering in the center of nowhere, a soul who has lost all they have. A leader, a warrior, a child, a lover, a messenger.
E.Leferman, 9th - Stamford, CT
There’s so much bad in the world,
Good people make bad mistakes,
And each new piece of information just brings you down.
It almost seems like there’s nothing left.
Even hope seems to be gone,
Hope is tricky;
It shows up at the worst moment to lift you up,
And it escapes when you need it most.
People will tell you not to lose hope,
But it can be hard to feel like it was ever there at all.
Even if life feels hopeless,
Hope is never completely gone.
It exists inside everyone,
Whether we realize it or not.
Hope is a form of magic--
The magic of belief.
Never lose hope if you can help it--
And if you can’t,
Know that there’s always a friend
Who will give you some of theirs in a heartbeat.
Students 6th-12th Grades