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Belmont Library Teen Poetry Contest Winners Part 1


Teen Poetry ContestIn April, the Belmont Library held a teen poetry contest in honor of National Poetry Month. Below are the winning poems from our middle school students. Stay tuned for our high school winning poems and the honorable mentions in both categories!

1st place: "The Red Balloon" by Holly Chen, 8th grade, Tierra Linda Middle School

You bought me a red balloon,
And told me to wait for you,
Before you left, you squeezed my hand and smiled
I watched you until you were a small dot
disappearing in a sea of people
blending in with their grey clothes
until you all looked the same
I waited and waited
and waited and waited…
I waited for so long,
Sweat made my hands slippery,
until it seemed someone had poked a hole in my balloon
I felt myself deflate.
Then, standing out in the grey sky, a red balloon floated up
It looked bright and hopeful, like a distant candlelight
I ran to chase it, to catch my red balloon.
I ran across the street, following its long silver string
until I fell on the sidewalk and scraped both knees.
I stood to chase the balloon again,
but my knees felt like mountains
I sank back onto the ground
And watched it float away
now forever gone in a sea of clouds.

2nd place: "Hummingbird" by Samantha Hoch, 8th grade, Central Middle School

Cannot put down roots, stay awhile
Fear of a commitment keeps her moving
Cannot act her own age
For fear of growing old, undesirable

Short term relationships
Only kind that she can have
Before getting nervous
About being tied down

Her smile showing her poor self esteem
Fake and fleeting
Hiding her inner feelings
Not being wanted, needed

She is gone before you can react
Tell her you love her
Ask her to try, stay
Live with hope in her life

3rd place: "Milkis" by Angelikah Chun, 8th grade, Central Middle School

I stood there still and crying
My body paralyzed from the unfamiliarity of death
Overcome from unexplainable sadness
Crying, paying my respect to someone I did not know

Not a picture to look at, only a mound that covered her deceased body
Sometimes dirt, sometimes mud, sometimes ice –
now covered with lush sharp blades of green grass,
but always her bed inside the earth

As she poured Milkis on her mother’s grave
A Korean bubbly drink that tasted like milk,
The equal of an American soda
I asked my grandma why she had done so

She answered me, salty water filling her always smiling eyes as she spoke

Her voice unusually soft yet distinctively clear
Hurt, not only from the remembrance of losing her mom,
But pained, knowing her mother would not come back

It was my great grandmother’s favorite drink

I had not known her
I had never seen her face
I had not learned her history

This was her homeland but foreign to me,
Our native tongues did not agree
Would she have been living, only our eyes would speak
My heart ached to connect with this woman,

Though I stood five feet away from her I felt a continent away

But – a single connection was there
She and I shared the love of milkis

Something so simple and seemingly unimportant;
Was the unique connection shared

between my great-grandmother and me

Available @ Your Library

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Author Bio:

Stephanie C took a really awesome Caribbean Poetry class in college for her senior seminar. Despite being introduced to many fantastic poets in her undergraduate years as an English Literature major, her favorite poet continues to be Shel Silverstein. She received a copy of A Light in the Attic as a Summer Reading Program prize when she was a kid.