Catch the Wave: Donate to Sawyer Free 2025 Today!

Poetry Without Paper Winners 2015

Sponsored by the Lyceum Committee of the Sawyer Free Library


On behalf of the Gloucester Lyceum and the Sawyer Free Library, we are pleased to present this collection of poems written by some of our outstanding Gloucester students. We have received a great many strong entries, and the task of the judges in sifting through them, re-reading the best of them, drawing fine distinctions, and eventually choosing the winners was as rewarding as it was challenging.


Poetry comes in many forms and encompasses a broad range of emotions. A poem can be narrative or lyric, rhymed or not, written in meter or free verse, formal or conversational in its language, in its tone humorous, celebratory, tinged with grief or regret, pensive or joyous – and these examples give just a brief hint of all the possibilities. Poetry in general is more concentrated and intimate than prose; its nuances and obscurities often take more of an effort for the reader to grasp. With good poetry, this effort always pays off. And yes, a poem is meant to be heard aloud.

It was a delight to have both John Ronan and Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken join us for the presentation of these poems. The winners are invited to join John on his local cable program, “The Writer’s Block”.


I want to thank and congratulate all the students who participated in this year’s contest, and their parents and teachers as well. I also want to thank my fellow judges, Jill Carter and Sage Walcott – both of them published poets – for their steady efforts and articulate judgments. Thanks also to Christy Rosso for her website skills and upbeat suggestions, to Carol Ackermann for providing an overall framework for the many facets of the contest, to Linda Bosselman for her fine graphics, to Helen Freeman for her essential work on the website, to Cindi Williams for serving as liaison to the Gloucester schools, to Assistant SFL Director Beth Pocock for graciously overseeing all aspects of the contest, and to Library Director Deborah Kelsey for encouraging the whole project and making many helpful suggestions along the way.


Richard M. Sloane
Head Poetry Judge


Poetry Without Paper 2015 Winners 

Elementary School
First Place shared between
George King East Gloucester Elementary School Grade 5 “Blank Slate”
Charles King East Gloucester Elementary School Grade 5 “Fireworks”
Third Place Calvin Del Vecchio East Gloucester Elementary School Grade 5 “The Sun”
Honorable Mention Aurelia Harrison West Parish School Grade 3 “Immortal”


Middle School
First Place Mila Barry O’Maley School Grade 6 “Living in The Valley Green”
Second Place Willa Brosnihan O’Maley Innovation Middle School Grade 6 “The Swarm”
Third Place Ruby Mills O’Maley Innovation Middle School Grade 7 “Forest”
Honorable Mention Katherine Bevins O’Maley School Grade 7 “Memory Window”


High School
First Place Emily Ryan Gloucester High School Grade 11 “Loving in Reverse”
Second Place Josette Thompson Gloucester High School Grade 12 “True Love Haiku”
Third Place Spencer Taft Gloucester High School Grade 12 “A Note for the Windshield”



Elementary School 


First Place (Shared)
George King
East Gloucester Elementary School
Grade 5


Blank Slate


A blank page
An erased whiteboard
Inspiring, beckoning for thoughts
A new Idea
Forever captured
In writing
An Idea
While you will not live
Your Ideas live on
A new Idea for everyone to use and honor
An Idea can make a dream
Or destroy one
Like knowledge Ideas have power
Ideas make life
An Idea has a purpose
Your Ideas are your monuments
Treasure them
New thoughts, fresh starts
Mean something
A second chance
To produce an Idea
Old Ideas don’t always last
They are burnt, thrown out
Which can be good, it gives space
For new Ideas from the next generation
But sometimes old Ideas are priceless
With Ideas
Everyone has a chance
An Idea is special
It can take a month or years
Old Ideas evolve into new, better Ideas
And you don’t have to leave Ideas to scientists
You can have your own at home
A new Idea may be good or bad
But if you try, your Idea can be
An Idea doesn’t have to be known to be respected
An Idea does not have to be complete
Other people can open it up
Discover more
Your Idea, when told to others
Is not yours anymore
An Idea is like an electrical charge
Or a time bomb, ready to explode
When your Idea explodes
You have changed the world.
Your Ideas, my Ideas work in harmony
My Idea can take your Idea further
Ideas can be anything, change anything
Built on Ideas the world becomes better
Your Idea can be one of those
An Idea with purpose is the best
Idea of All
But an Idea with hard work behind it
Has its own amazing journey
A person’s Idea doesn’t have to be famous
To gain its own kind of fame
An Idea doesn’t have to be widely used
Even if only one person likes it
It has a place in the world
And if nobody likes it
You can create another
A new Idea
Maybe just what the world needs.


First Place (shared)
Charles King
East Gloucester Elementary School
Grade 5




Big explosions in the sky,
A matchstick’s all it needs to fly,
Up into its burning flight,
Up to the sky in the quiet night.


The sky a cloak of midnight black,
It flies along its careful track,
Then explodes in colors bright, Up in the sky in the quiet night.


The ashes fall right to the ground,
Falling softly without a sound,
A couple of sparks still burn bright,
And there’s the sky and the quiet night.


All rockets gone but you still gaze,
So long that your eyes glaze,
There still seems to be a sacred light,
That keeps you looking at the sky and the night.


Third Place
Calvin Del Vecchio
East Gloucester Elementary School
Grade 5


The Sun


The sun is the fire
The sun is the light
The sun is the power
That cuts through the night.


The sun is the blaze
The sun is the day
The sun is the glowing Of a fiery ray.


The sun is burn
The sun is a spark
The sun is the brightness
That dispels the dark.


Honorable Mention
Aurelia Harrison
Grade 3
West Parish School


Everyone wants to live forever,
Never dying never ever.
But it is possible,
Nothing is impossible.
When you are doing what you love most,
When you are free to laugh and boast,
For a few seconds of your life,
You are immortal!


Middle School

Middle School First Place
Mila Barry
O’Maley School
Grade 6


Living in The Valley Green

For a lifetime
Throve there, in brush
When the sky turned cream
When the rain came tumbling, sliding upon the dirt
I saw
Those nights of silk whisper
And the days sing
Oh the summers
Which I did spend there
Dancing with the infinite open stars
Flying through gentle moonshine, twirling through the everlasting sun
The world was smiling the whole time
If only I had looked about and saw it
Oh the winters
Snarling pains
Forever came snow
And the winds screamed, threatened by a knife
Such terror never leaves
All the time the willows wept
And hunched
And with them cried along
So long
Forever is so long
So went the years, whisked away
By breezes ever sweet
And ever gentle
Far too many
Memories rode like leaves upon that tinkling wind
Never blowing back
My life
Is printed in that valley so green
Though the sun has long since sunk beneath waves


Second Place
Willa Brosnihan
O’Maley Innovation Middle School
Grade 6


The Swarm

It reminds me of cool summer nights,
In the aftershock of daytime heat,
When the gray flies swarm
Outside my window,
In a tiny shifting cloud,
Rippling and crashing,
Like the surface of the sea
With every breeze.

They fade into the shadows of clouds,
Clouds like smoke,
But reveal themselves,
In a flurry of movement,
As a bird flies by.

They gather again to discuss
The invasion of their cloud.
They will continue this confused dance
Until the day they die,
Sometime in mid-August.


Third Place
Ruby Mills O’Maley Innovation Middle School
Grade 7



Trees welcome you
Leaves dance in the whistling wind
Green, brown, red, yellow, orange
Sun-lit patches leak through the canopy
Lighting the ground, like a mirror for the petals of the trees

Thick brush makes regular life hush
Serene silence surrounds, suffocates
Interrupted by the occasional trickle of a stream
Or the curious creatures creeping, crawling

The Forest
Deep, dark, dense
Eerie silence
For the souls who are lost, confusing
Shadows lurk around sun-lit poolings

Treacherous passageways fool the untrained eye
Paths not seen in years lie
Fool unsuspecting victims to follow them
Not all of those who wander are lost however
Some adventurous souls choose to wander
To let the forest swallow them


Honorable Mention
Katherine Bevins
O’Maley School
Grade 7


Memory Window

As she looked out the window on that bitter morning
Something seemed to crawl up her spine.
They were the memories of long long ago
That seemed to be right by her side


The birds’ chirping gave a feel of her mother
Even though she had passed long ago.
They seemed to make her want to come closer,
But when she shifted they all seemed to go.


The neighborhood was ghostly empty.
She had outlived most of her friends.
No longer any screaming children,
Now only black and white photos of them.


She now remembered her sunkissed hair
And the wrinkle-free face;
As she remembered all this stuff
A single tear rolled down her left cheek.


She now missed all these things
And wished she could just go back
To the time where sorry was an apology
And no love was dark and black.


High School

First Place
Emily Ryan
Gloucester High School
Grade 11


Loving in Reverse


And I expected each goodbye
To be forgotten eventually.


And I dreamed that the rain
Would fall back into the sky,
Impregnating the clouds
With tears they would never have to shed.


That waterfalls would defy gravity,
And their foamy cascades would land,
Cushioned by the stars.


And the blood a-playing through air backwards,
Being sucked back into the pathways
Of your brilliant, ingenious mind,
Filling it, reborn, with the warm breath of life.


That the bullet that perpetrated
The gates of your skull
Would recede through its metal chamber,
Back to its cold and lethal bed.
And the chemicals ignited
Would snuff out into packaged, manufactured elements
Waiting for their destruction.


And the waltz we did before we rested
Would be what we awakened to
Each and every day.
Our skin would grow tighter and fuller,
And our hearts would ignite to the melody of love.


And I expected each goodbye
To create the yearning
For a new


Second Place
Josette Thompson
Gloucester High School
Grade 12


True Love Haiku


The heart pumps the blood
Churning life through our bodies
Till we come undone


Words pierce the soft flesh
Corrupting the beat within
Changing the rhythm


Beating increases
Temporary happiness
The word ‘love’ spoken


Beats become empty
Happiness sucked from the veins
Smiles begin to die


Loneliness settles
Sadness fills your arteries
The heart pumps the blood.


Third Place
Spencer Taft
Gloucester High School
Grade 12


A Note for the Windshield


I like the smell of gasoline,
Almost like a metal,
yet more organic.
You can tell it was expensive to get out of the ground.
It smells kind of like money.
It doesn’t feel so good, though.
A light burn, like mouthwash on the skin,
especially in that open cut
on my left thumb
that hadn’t quite healed yet.
Nor does it taste good.
I probably shouldn’t have used my mouth
when I siphoned it from your car.
But it’s fine,
I needed it to get home
and it smelled good,
it kind of smelled like money.