Back Row: Ala Khaki -Contest Judge, Autumn Siders- Third Place Adult Category Winner, Mary Anker- Second Place Adult Category Winner, Gabriel Smith -High School Winner
Front Row: Lotus Gregory -Elementary School Winner, Tobin Smith -Middle School Winner, Katherine Leigh -First Place Adult Category Winner
photos by Robert J Popp
The Universally Besieged
Katherine Leigh, First Place Adult
Sad assignment, that of giving birth to a sterile baby
in a barren world, all countries shaken to their cores.
Takes a certain jaded courage to saddle up with only
hope enough for the slight remainder of what was
originally a full journey.
Yet we travel, pay the hand to pass us through
borders, open gates at night to the glint of coin and
bullet over bodies of our daughters, bones of our sons.
Listening to our plight has a color;
help, a shade of grey.
Carved into me is the bravery to move by moonlight.
The ‘besieged’ talk around the potato table about a
possible rebirth of remnants of family fled from damaged
culture, in a faraway imagined-place we may, easily,
So to mold a new future, to hold onto old traditions,
to carry embers of flame, to embolden sinew under the
burden of relentless intensity.
That is each waking moment if we curl for a drift of
We take time to thank Allah or Jesus or Quan Yin,
the ancestress energy, the generative offspring.
Believers, we bend our bodies to include moon and
sun, to reinforce as artists of our daily lives, of our
ourselves as stars.
Mary Anker -Second Place Adult
a mother recovers
her nine-year-old body
pulls years out of seconds
bald head worn proud
trips to Boston
a holy grail
in a chemo chair
alien face eyebrows and lashes disappear
elbow to elbow
eyes do the communicating
paint brushes, pens, journals, cards
after long nights
of floating blue
the sky of light
Autumn Siders-Third Place-Adult
I Could I could sit and watch
as you scream and shout.
I could back away
and let you sort it out.
I could hear those words,
Muslim, illegal, fag, Jew
but pretend they are just words
not to do with me but with you.
I could go home
and just wait my turn
until your hate becomes murder
and these words boil and churn.
I could wait until
those screams turn to fists
and look on in horror
as blood fiercely mists.
I could do all this
but then am I to blame
when the headline this week
is another soul has been maimed?
I could stand up
and make my voice heard,
stand beside a fellow human
and push back your bitter words.
I could stand up
and you could stand down a
nd realize that differences
are what make the world go ‘round.
I could lecture you on love
but you are just so full of hate,
so instead I’ll show you love
and all it can create.
Molly VanVranken. New London NH
5th grade, Winner Elementary School
is a mystical place
And fairies fly
Where you are free
And be at peace with the world.
Speaks to me through
It’s leaves and branches.
Protects me when it rains
It covers me so that
I’m not wet.
Is part of my
Soul and blood.
When I leave, the forest leaves.
When I go to school, the forest goes to school.
But at the end of the day
When I go to bed
The forest sleeps right next to me.
COMMUNION WITH NATURE
Clare McIntyre, Grantham NH
7th Grade, Winner Middle School
As I walk through the forest I am one with nature,
One with the birdsong that may sound chaotic, but if you listen closely you will find,
That it is a symphony of voices that fill the woods with meaning,
And as I walk through the many trees they talk to me, as I am one with them,
Telling me of the freezing winters where the frost crept over their bark,
And of the summers where the sun shone through their leaves,
and cast a green light upon the ground,
The suns rays dance that are one with me, leaping off the water,
and the mica in the rocks,
then they twirl in the air and fill the sky with light,
the sky calls to the adventurous kind,
those who will stop at nothing to learn nature’s secrets,
The sky calls out to me as I walk through the forest.
Rhett Watts, Auburn, MA
First Place, Adult Category
Can there be ambition in the time of lilies
full on summer and me wanting
nothing more than to survey the yard?
Not inclined to be productive--
a hollow, mechanical word.
Off the clock, I slip into some burrow
and banked there, track a hummingbird,
tiny warrior. Emerald armor gleaming,
he attacks belled hosta blooms hung
from green towers. Scent of water on earth
and the back of my knees moist, I sit
in tree-time like the hemlock whose limbs
reach to stretch or praise. Lapsed,
my life is hidden as the stump cloaked
in weedy blankets on the property line.
Ears fill with cicada rhythms--
droning Zen masters. I would flow like rain
through the downspout hugging the house,
opening out where ground meets the grackle
who croaks his throaty name.
HOW TO LOVE THE EARTH
Jonathan Blake, West Brookfield MA
Second Place, Adult Category
Lie down with your shadow,
That long darkness that stretches
Across the yellow-gold of the newly
Mown hayfield. Breathe deep of that
Odor. Be patient and still.
Wait for the birds who will
Descend like a great dark cloud, who
Will cover you with their warmth,
Who will pick your house clean.
Henry Walters, Dublin NH,
Third Place Adult Category
New Year's Eve, & who else quitting the city
homeward & dipped in darkness with me-
(each other' s counterfeits, but each alone)
saw in their mirrors all at once the mink
over the concrete median spill like an eel
into our red brakelight & down the road
after us a beat or two till it juked,
black ripple across the rearview pool,
& hid itself, no explanation, like before?
New Year ' s Day, late, no one else on the road
beside me, no one flooring it to or from-
(those counterfeit directions, one & the same)
saw into the headlights sudden & live
as wound or expletive the black eel-shape
over the waist-high median pour itself
as if a tiny weir in time gave way
& let, without explaining, all the beating
lifeblood out to fill the pools downstream.
Once in a year, whatever the date or road,
road or river it wanders with & hugs-
(a milder night when frogs start up again
& rain reminds the tar of its first hot stink)
then to spring your shadow into the living light,
dipped in your eel-black fur, across the grain
of men & action, no one' s counterfeit,
so low to the ground the ground in its sleek pelt
clings & cambers to you, turns where you turn.
Author/Artist David Carroll speak on the Courage to Create . Bradford library (Brown Memorial Library) 78 W. Main St., Bradford. 7PM
Shoshana Cote, translator, author and poet discusses her new book, Weavings of Departure: Rediscovering the Poetry of Nobel Laureate Nelly Sachs, and Sachs' “Courage to Create” at the Newbury Library.
“Beyond the Eye: When Memoir Meets History” run by Mimi Schwartz co-hosted with the Newbury Library
The second volume of Visual Verse, a book of poetry and photography published by the Literary Arts Guild of the Center for the Arts, Lake Sunapee Region and Lake Sunapee Protective Association.
Art and Poetry inspired by The Fells
Purchase your copy of
at Morgan Hill Bookstore, or at The Fells
or order your copy by emailing us HERE
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