2022 Poetry Contest Adult and Teen Winners!

Congratulations to our 2022 poetry contest winners! As usual, we had lots of great submissions this year. If you missed entering this year, keep an eye out for our 2023 contest!

Adult Category: 1st Place

“The Sun and the Moon” by Melody Jones

Daytime glares

and bares the gunmetal gray invading thinned hair

once luscious with auburn life and loose curls, now jaded and stale

Then night returns, soothing her tattered soul as

the moon

sparks a halo of silver fire softening a drawn face full of years, and smoothing the age snaking ‘cross her skin,

lifting weary thoughts to scatter through stars

too soon

the sun

gives stark evidence of the lines and crevices cracking her eyes, and making their way ‘round a crinkled lip that

whispers history words,

HER history of a black-haired boy who walked her in

the moonlight

and declared her the most bewitching girl he’d ever seen, kissing love onto rounded cheeks and youthful lips,

while moonbeams shone into the nearby pond, reflecting magic and twinkles and the dance of cattail fairies that

the sun

can’t see

because the sun glares and bares stagnant water, where dead branches pierce the surface and crunched cups

from the fast-food joint (now crushing the old country church beneath) tangle in the reeds and the choking black


When finally, twilight ushers in the shadow of night, and,


opaque the pond, veil her to the sun and reclaim her seeking mind. The young girl dreams by the water’s edge

while moonlight flirts with breezy ripples, and fairies rejoice in weeping willow sorcery.

The moon’s

gentle lies unmask her heart, and she remembers

She is beauty.


Adult Category: 2nd Place

“There Are Not Songs Enough” by Rian Carey

There are not songs enough

for the mist in the morning

or the way the telephone poles rise

like masts lining a harbor

so crows become seabirds

for an hour or two before dawn.


There are ballads to sunshine and starlight,

glittering like gemstones and gold.

But give me fog.

The way it rolls in from midnight,

falls from the sky like soot and snow and all the wishes

that couldn’t make it out in the world

on their own.


There are melodies for the clouds,

full of giants and castles and palatable ephemeral witchcraft.

But give me the mist in the morning.

The way it settles on the earth

like a wounded animal, wet and chill.


There are ditties for the weather,

for twisters and thunderstorms brewing like dark roast over the plains

and at the feet of mountains.

But give me the fog.

And the way it is quiet and soft and frightening

as a blank page.


Give me the fog

and how it engulfs you.

So you count on the road,

hope it takes you to Walmart or Conoco or Starbucks or

the good Tacobell by the airport,

but know you may find yourself on the edge of an ocean

waves lapping at your feet as the sand sucks you down, down, down

and your gaze cuts across the water.


There are shanties to the sea,

and odes to the world,

and the sharp staccato beat of skipping rhymes for heaven and hell.


But give me songs for the mist in the morning

and its visceral ice cube magic.

Or the way it burns off in the rising sun

like hope.


Adult Category: 3rd Place


To think you treasure the memory

as I do and keep it in your pocket

to finger whenever our childhood fades

off. Like a pebble, I placed mine

in the window sill. I am fond

of how the sun waltzes across its

surface in bright flashes, tugging me

back to last summer on the lake.


I had taken you on my paddleboard

for the first time, sweeping you away

from camp to the opposite shore where,

in our dreams, bears slumped towards the grass.

We took turns jumping into the water,

then glad for its cool womb. The sky

was so blue, like tin shot with those

arrows of white beams, that even here on

dim Christmas as you hand me the framed

picture the warmth of it burns your hand

over mine so that we must look up at

each other, eyes glinting like the surface

of the lake at high noon.


Teen Category:  1st Place

“Eloquence” by Cynthia Gilmore

I often say I am not eloquent:

My thoughts rock and trip like ox pulled wagons.

I find my power is very quickly spent,

Harnessing a beast that runs with fiery passion.

Oh tongue! Oh lips! You are my daily vice:

Do not assume each thought worthy of breath,

You’re reckless, shooting past all the red lights

Some days I’m only waiting for your death

My love is better spent in silent gush

I have suppressed the need to fill with noise

A few wise words not said in such a rush

Perhaps will bring the patron finer joys

It’s hard to turn a rat into a jay

Yet I’ll keep trying, every drowsy day


Teen Category:  2nd Place

“Sky-deer” by Tyler Rich

Loping high the meadows to their face,

hoof-tips dance the sky in every grace.


gold and blue the hillside, early dawn,

came the deer a-running with each fawn.


sunset paints red-crimson to their eye,

wispy clouds trot, loping, through the sky.


Teen Category:  3rd Place

“Plants” by Boaz Daggy

Apples grow on trees

and on the vines grow tomatoes;

In the ground all safe and sound

grow brown and round potatoes.

Bananas grow on rhizomes

and in the bushes berries;

In the tree growing free

are red and tasty cherries.


Image by rawpixel.com

Posted in General, Programs/Classes, Teens.


  1. The 2nd place and 3rd place Teen poems
    are the best, by far, of the six poems presented.

    The major flaw in the three adult poems
    is their wordiness, what poetry instructors
    warn against: verbosity.

    The remarkable feature of the two Teen poems
    is their sensory inventiveness, and a willingness
    to exercise compression of imagery so that the images
    echo off each other, like billiard-balls colliding,

    Poetry needs compression–as a good method
    to defeating verbosity–and a relief from words
    that are at best entries from folks’ journal-pages.

    When utilizing too many words to write a poem
    the danger is you lose the reader’s attention to
    the MAIN THING you are trying to say. The reader
    becomes your *first critic* in that s/he begins to
    question WHY a certain word or phrase is used,
    or becomes distracted by extraneous details
    that have not been compressed into imagery,
    and remain quite care-worn descriptions in
    what can only amount to a journal entry or
    prosaic short-story..

  2. “Eloquence” is the poem that stays with us. The young poet finds an effective way to express herself through writing. It is a poem of struggle to regain dignity where sound is awkward. It is personal and deep at these difficult times when we know teenagers are struggling in too many ways. Maybe many of us can see ourselves in there. Thank you for having shared your poem. I believe the library chose well. Thank you!

  3. Sun and Moon, melody jones. I dont care much for poetry because I dont understand its often dreamy nature. But, o how this poem touched my heart. I felt every word as I read it. And saw myself. Thank you for your beautiful gift.

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