Pradyoth V, 12th - Phoenix, AZ
The old Nantucket whaling ship
Now rests beneath the sea,
Her savage bow encrusted now
With barnacles and weeds.
In life she pierced the very skies--
How proud she must have been!
She strode the waves in search of prey--
How senseless was her lunacy,
Her grand, deluded goal.
The pasteboard veils of men and whales
Eliot M, 8th - Bethesda, MD
Learning to live with shattered dreams
Is being okay with silent screams
Heart rests on broken glass
The wave of sadness doesn't pass
Radial artery split and severed
Pain just can't be measured
Then it clicks
The pieces of the puzzle
Like a scavenger hunt
Except what you're looking for are the lost shards of your innocence
We wish for our dreams to come true
But we forget that nightmares are dreams too.
Skylar, 10th- Kansas
You’re outside in a meadow of dandelions.
A cool breeze caresses your cheek, enveloping you in a refreshing hug.
You hear the steady trickle of a stream nearby, the languorous movement of the water playing a tune in your ears.
You see the sun’s yellow light bathing everything before you in gold, leaving nothing untouched.
You reach out and brush your hand against the dandelions beneath you, feeling their fuzzy softness.
You set its little seeds free.
They are carried smoothly by the breeze into unknown lands, framed in golden light.
You hear the birds chirping to a song only they know,
their high melodic voices carrying across the meadow.
You take a deep breath in.
You smell the rich, earthy soil beneath you, the sickly sweetness of dandelions before you, and the faint smell of the water around you.
What a glorious world.
The sun lowers on the horizon, the sky turning a deep orange. The sun prepares for another night and another day, and you turn to do the same.
Behold, the power of the senses.
Behold, the power of imagery.
ToastedTopHatJ, 10th - Oakland, CA
When I wake up, I see complete darkness, I look around and walk around hoping to find something. I keep walking to find… an ominous spiral staircase. Within all the void, within all the darkness, why is it that I find a gloomy staircase? Of course I decide to walk towards it, it's the only thing other than the pitch black of nothingness. From what I can tell treading towards it, the staircase doesn’t seem to go all that far, there is a light coming from where it leads. The light shines bright, definitely brighter than the void I’m in.
As I reach the spiral staircase, I look up to see that the stair goes on for seemingly forever, the light shines brighter than it did from where I previously was. Tears run down my face as I start climbing the flight of stairs. I didn’t feel sad, nor did I feel angry, rather, I felt anxious and fortunate at the same time. I keep climbing to meet a better scenery, a scenery that I don’t think I’ll remember again. I kept climbing without noticing that I picked up speed and began to sprint at a flying pace. I wanted to see what’s ahead of me, I felt enthusiastic, thrilled, I felt as if I was airborne, hovering above the stairs, that is until something hit me. Why is it that I feel like I lost something, something that I had a lot of attachment for, something I… cherished to heart.
A wave of depression filled me with melancholy, and suddenly, I stopped climbing. The world around me becomes a dark, pitch-black void again, tears run down my face, I start to crash and crack, my hand turning dark blue tainted from the tears that run down my skin. laying on the steps of the staircase as if it was a bed to cope in.
I close my eyes after drowning in my own sudden sorrow. I welcome the pitch darkness that follows my sadness, I feel… safe, confined in my own personal safe place. I sit, I wait, time passes, I’m unaware of what was going on around me, I just know I felt safe.
I opened my eyes after so long, the dim darkness of the void disappeared. Before I start climbing I feel like I’ve elevated from the place I cracked, crashed, and drowned in my own sorrow. “Did I ever stop climbing?” I thought to myself, my legs and feet felt numb, the cracks on my body are still there, despite all that, I continued to climb. The view of what I see looks the same and boring, why did I ever think this was thrilling? Why did I get excited over this?
The look of my face remained the same, the view of what I see is tinted with miserableness. I didn’t want to show this side of me, I didn’t want to be viewed as depressed, I don’t want others to worry. I forged a mask made out of my own tears to hide myself, I felt safer behind it. I continued to march up the stairs at a slow yet consistent pace. As I climb, my mask chips and cracks slowly, tears of blue start seeping out the eye sockets, they aren’t that noticeable so I wipe them off, again they stain my hands. Eventually, My mask shatters. I couldn’t hold the flood behind my mask, I break down once again.
This time, I didn’t close my eyes, instead, I reached out to the hands that I never bothered to noticed were there, thinking they would push me down, but they helped me up, they encouraged me to keep climbing, helped me in any way they could, they allowed me to think that I could. They gave a push in the right direction, up. I took their help which made me glad to know that at my lowest moment, they will push me back. I keep walking with the hands by my side, holding me up.
The climb felt like the first time I decided to climb, there was no more dark void, but white space.
I started to run with tears of gold streaming behind me. They weren’t blue anymore, the hands followed me that kept pushing me forward. My mask I once wore was no longer needed, my own face now mimicked that of the mask, no longer shattered, still cracked, but intact. I keep climbing the stairs wondering what’s next for me, how many more flights of stairs are left? I keep walking feeling all sorts of different emotions, happiness, rage, sadness, and bliss. Hands came and went, but they still helped me when things looked down. I trip, I fall, I get back up to keep climbing, I look up to find that there is a finite end… “wait, I thought I had longer before I reach the end, I want more time, I don’t want to end yet, no not yet, Let me go back, I don’t want to end my adventure yet…”. I tried running down the stairs, but I stayed in the same place. I kept running, but I was still in the same place. Before I knew it, I was slowly going back up, the spiral staircase kept forcing me to ascend the stairs, spiraling to keep me going up. I realized that nothing was keeping me from elevating, I was already nearing the end, and I thought to myself again “can I not escape from the end of this adventure?”. Filled with hopelessness, I accepted my fate and climbed the stairs again, without stopping. I reached the end of the spiral staircase. All there is to see is a drop, a jump, a leap. What would happen if I go? Do I cease to exist? Is there a bottom I can fall to?
Do I Die?
I had quite an adventure, and all adventures come to an end, it seems it’s time for mine. The hands are no longer there to help me through this, they are all gone, but I feel them with me. I can feel them telling me, “it’s your choice.” I take their words to heart, I choose what was laid out for me to do, what my fate was.
I accept my fall, I hear the wind flowing through my ears, feel it through my face, I’ve reached the end. The wind stops. I black out.
I wake up, I see complete darkness, I look around hoping to find something and I find... a spiral staircase.
Alex Jensen, 9th- Palmdale, CA
I see this world through a different lens
As invisible words dry from inkless pens
Seeing faces in strangers alone
While passages written remain unknown
I smell this world with a different nose
As a familiar scent comes and goes
Worn by the victims of similar felonies
Those affected are neither friends nor enemies
I touch this world with different hands
As I pick the flowers of forgotten lands
Vibrant colors flood all my senses
As I'm left content by lowered defenses
I hear this world with different ears
As the ticking clock shows an ending nears
Recognizing a voice old as time
As the hands approach the final chime
I speak to the world with different lips
As my conscience dies and the blood drips
My breath is stolen, my throat is dry
Battered and swollen, I ponder why
I leave this world with a new perspective
As I know my morality is subjective
But why should I care, it's time to go
What happens next, I hope you'll know.
Students 6th-12th Grades