2019 Award Winning Poems

 Award-winning students appear on ITV to read their poems
and talk about poetry.
These shows continue to be available on ITV.

First Place, Lower Division Award

Word Catching

In my head there’s a sky full of flying birds
carrying words like they’re best old friends.

I use my net to catch the birds and take their words
glide and soar, less and more.

 I gather up these bird words because
they are made for collecting, for using forever.

I lay them on my desk and fit them together
like a jigsaw puzzle, forming a brand new poem.

Then I display the poem in a gold frame
and hang it from the wall for all to see.

Pauline Kravtsova
Spreckels Elementary, Grade 3
Poet-teacher: Celia Sigmon
Classroom Teacher: Deron Bear

Second Place, Lower Division Award

Sweet Creative Cat

     — after artwork by B.Kliban

I am a tiger-striped cat,
sweet and creative.
I smell my candle lighting the room.
I love the sound of my tongue clicking
as I taste my red licorice spaghetti.
I hold my spoon tightly as I swirl it.

My house is made of sweets.
I finish my meal so I can eat dessert.
I sprinkle sugar on Grandma’s
famous taffy oats. My love
is as soft as the blue-and-white
checkered tablecloth Grandma gave me.

The phone rings. It’s Grandma.
She is coming to visit.
Setting flowers on the table for her,
I feel as happy as a puppy. I hear
a knock and a familiar voice
calling through the door.
Is it Grandma or Mom?
I’ve forgotten how their voices sound alike.

Naia Ferrer
Spreckels Elementary, Grade 3
Poet-teacher: Seretta Martin
Classroom Teacher: Marisela Sparks

Sweet, Creative Cat by Naia Ferrer 2nd Place, Lower Division

Third Place, Lower Division Award

Say Namaste

Goodbye is always waiting

like the sun that’s finally ready to set.

Say namaste to your vacation in India
when it’s time for school to start
like it always does.

Say aloha to your Hawaiian hula dance
when it’s time to go to bed.

Say adios to 2018 and hola to 2019
at exactly 12:00 midnight.

But a new hello follows goodbye
like the early morning
after the dark, dark night.

Mia Banerjee
Spreckels Elementary, Grade 3
Poet-teacher: Celia Sigmon
Classroom Teacher: Deron Bear

Fourth Place, Lower Division Award

The Girl in the Garden

—after The Artist’s Garden at Vétheuil by Claude Monet

One summer day a girl comes
to the swaying field
of bright orange flowers.

The girl loves how the sunflowers
are a sea of color, twinkling
in the sun’s afternoon light.

In the distance, airplanes go off to war.
The girl would much rather be in the flower field
where she feels safe, surrounded by nature.

I am one of the sunflowers and,
like someone in an audience, when I listen
to the girl’s soft singing,

I sway to the music of her voice
and start to sing too. We sing together
so beautifully in the sun’s shimmering light.

But I am sad when, like the day,
the girl always leaves.
I will sing to bring her back.

Emily Krause
Spreckels Elementary, Grade 3
Poet-teacher: Seretta Martin
Classroom Teacher: Lori Huntsman


First Place, Upper Division Award

Cooking with Words

My kitchen is where I find the best words.
It is like heaven for fat people. I’m the best cook.
The words are sometimes sweet, like caring
and sharing, and taste like strawberries and apples.
But other words are bittersweet, like bullying
and selfish, and taste like uncooked eggplant.
I discover my words in a grocery store.
In the frozen section I find frosted and freezing.
In produce I find
sweet and juicy.
These specific words I want because these
are all I need to make a special dessert.
Once I buy them, I take them home and chop them up
into smaller words, like
an and it and at. Then
I cook them up to make the word treat magnificent.

Avery Kats
Spreckels Elementary, Grade 4
Poet-teacher: Celia Sigmon
Classroom Teacher: Deron Bear

Second Place, Upper Divison Award

Nothing More Evil than Time

The most stressful place of mind.
The slots in which life lives.
Time seems innocent,
Like the little old lady at the crime scene.

Time is like a shadow
Which follows us
Every second of our lives,
Staring at us,
Putting us on the spot,
A little red demon at our side
Saying, “You are late,
You uneducated human!”

When you think about time
Imagine the little old lady,
Maybe she
Is the murderer.

Lauren Lehman
Hawthorne Elementary, Grade 4
Poet-teacher: Veronica Cunningham
Classroom Teacher: Patricia Smith

Third Place, Upper Division Award

In Real Life

I am the bright blue sky,
wind blowing through me at night,
clouds floating around in my mind.
Then I’m a light purple bike.
Watch me coast downhill on a sunny day,
always ready to use my brakes.
Call me a cool river. I’m always
flowing and drifting across the land,
picking up friends as I rush by.
I am fire and water, a fiery phoenix
spreading my glittering wings.
But I’m also a strong wave,
breaking down all that’s in my way.
In real life, I’m a one-sided window.
Depending on where you stand
you can see right through me.

Kate Eng
Spreckels Elementary, Grade 4
Poet-teacher: Celia Simon
Classroom Teacher: Deron Bear

Fourth Place Upper Division Award

Saying Goodbye

 Goodbye is always waiting around the corner,
like the last moment before a change
you can never come back from.
So, say adios to loving pets. One minute
you’re snuggled tight with your dog,
the next you’re at their grave.
Say au revoir to sunshine, where first
you are basking in its rays with friends,
but in a flash you are alone in the rain.
Say sayonara to family. You play with them,
then you pray for them, and some don’t survive.
But with goodbye comes a new hello
to other loved ones and other pets.
There is never an end to the things you love.

Owen Kuritz
Spreckels Elementary, Grade 4
Poet-teacher: Celia Simon Classroom
Teacher: Deron Bear