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Poetry Without Paper 2019


Sponsored by the Lyceum Committee of the Sawyer Free Library


Elementary School

First Place   

Lyall Cunningham    Plum Cove School    Grade 5    “Trees”                      

Second Place 

Alexandra Morgan   West Parish School    Grade 5   “Something Changes”

Third Place    Judah Collins    Plum Cove School    Grade 2    “Golden Rays”            

Honorable Mention    Elizabeth Comfort Mu   Veteran’s Memorial School    Grade 4    “Victory

Middle School

First Place    Elijah Sarrouf    O’Maley Innovation Middle School    Grade 8    “Old Town”

Second Place   Josephine West    O’Maley Innovation Middle School    Grade 6    “The Market”

Third Place    Aurelia Harrison    O’Maley Innovation Middle School    Grade 7    “Words”

Honorable Mention    Hannah Olson    O’Maley Innovation Middle School    Grade 6    “Living Symphony”

Honorable Mention    Yashvi Patel    O’Maley Innovation Middle School    Grade 7   

“A Ruler”

Honorable Mention    Chandra Lavery    O’Maley Innovation Middle School    Grade 8    “1,2,3”

Honorable Mention    Callahan White    O’Maley Innovation Middle School    Grade 7   

“Where I’m From (What I’m From)”

High School

First Place    Autumn-Marie Silva    Gloucester High School    Grade 10    “Star-cross’d Lovers”

Second Place    Willa Brosnihan    Homeschooled    Grade 10    “To the Painter and the Repeating Woman”

Third Place   Mila Barry    Gloucester High School    Grade 10    “Honey in the Sky”


Elementary School

First Place

Lyall Cunningham



If they could talk,
Then I wonder
What would they say?

Would they tell us about the stones,
For example,
About their smooth plain surfaces sometimes covered in splotches
Of different colors?
About how they were created thousands of years ago, or
In some cases just recently?
By a volcano,
For example?

And how they affect everyone’s lives,
Our ancestors’ lives?
But they can’t, so I just tell them about the world
Beyond, where they came to stand for all of these years until now.
I wish that I could ask them about the world
So many years ago,
But they cannot answer.


Second Place

Alexandra Morgan

West Parish School
Grade 5


Something Changes

I watch and wait,

Sit and stare,
Smile and rage,
Laugh and cry,

Nothing changes.

I sleep and wake each morning,
I dance and play each day,
I sketch then paint,
I bake then eat,

Then sleep and wake again.

Still, nothing changes.

A gift from the heavens floats into my waiting.
It disrupts my watching,
Disturbs my staring,
Interrupts my raging,
Distracts my crying,
And I think about not waiting.

Will something change?

He starts smiling,
He starts playing,
He starts laughing,

He starts changing

He is different than before.
He is not hiding like before,
He is not shying out like before,
He is more happy than before

I start playing and smiling more,
I start sketching and then painting more,
I start baking then eating more.
We all play and smile.
I have changed,
She has changed,
He has changed,

Something has changed.


Third Place

Judah Collins

Plum Cove School

Grade 2


Golden Rays

When the moon shimmers and the stars twinkle,

The precious moonlight shines above the earth.
Sweet birds sing their precious songs
Scaring away the dark.
The pirates look for their buried treasure,
When the golden rays of sunlight bring a new blue day.


Honorable Mention

Elizabeth Comfort

Grade 4

Veterans’ Memorial School



She skipped, she hopped,

She jumped up and down,

She knew she had to calm down.

She said to herself

I can beat anyone in a race!

She saw someone staring at her.

Who could that be?

The boy meanly said, “You wanna race?”

“Well, can you beat me?”

“Of course I can, girl.”

“Oh no, you can’t; I trust in myself, me, Jiana,

But I wish you good luck.”

“Oh Jiana, you’re definitely losing.

I raced every girl on earth, and none have won,

“So what’s up with you?”

They raced an..,,d raced and raced and raced.

The boy went faster, but Jiana wouldn’t give up.


The boy looked behind and saw nothing but grass.


Middle School

First Place

Elijah Sarrouf

O’Maley Innovation Middle School

Grade 8


Old Town

Great stone walls

surround the metropolis

of ancient times,

encompassing a limestone mountain range,

Its gray piers
jutting into the rich ambrosial sea
of impossibly clear turquoise.
Smelling of ancient innovation
and tasting of candied orange rinds.

The city’s dark alleys lead into

the maze of old houses,

meandering endlessly through secret markets,

restaurants beckoning weary travelers,

“Come eat here “Molim!”

Cafes wafting fragrances of

burek and opulent teas.

Prosperous palaces perched precariously

on slopes that climb high over the city

like a wave about to crash.

Chapels lined with statues

foretell of archaic religions

and mysterious gods.


A massive clocktower spire

rises above the

orange-tiled roofs

and calls boastfully of its knowledge.

Yet with all the history

of unresolved wars,

cruel battles,

and forgotten warriors,

in all the commotion

of seaport revolution,

this is a quaint, loved town

that stands still

as the world moves on.

The town is a painted town,

lasting only in fond memories.


Second Place

Josephine West
O’Maley Innovation Middle School

Grade 6


The Market
Orvieto, Italy Summer of 2018

Saturday morning, Market day!
Majestic stone walls stand,
enveloping Orvieto, tiny town
atop a hill.

Traveling up the Corso,
the cobblestones uneven under our sandals,
sweet-smelling jasmine climbs its way along the
dozens of intricate doorways.

The market stretches out before us,
scarves and purses blowing in the wind,
a tent city rising up from the Piazza del Popolo,
vendors calling, “Buongiorno, bellissima!”
and “Chao! Chao! Chao!”

The candied fruit stand.
rows of brightly colored fruits:
sweetly sugared strawberries,
slightly tangy apricots.
“Nocciole tostate, per favore e grazie.”

The cheese truck.
through the glass:
giant wheels of red-rind parmigiano,
jagged hunks of salty pecorino.
“Mozzarella di bufala, per favore e grazie.”

Crates piled high with
nectarines, white peaches, plums, lemons, cherries,
tomatoes, zucchini blossoms, carrots, and eggplant.
“Tutto, per favore e grazie.”


Back to the Corso, towards home.
Scent of buttery croissants beckons us
to make one last stop: Montanucci’s!
Cool silver tins carry thick clouds of gelato.
“Uno cono piccolo, limone e fragola, per favore.”
Sharp and sweet.


Third Place
Aurelia Harrison
O’Maley Innovation Middle School

Grade 7


I am from words:
My escape
My passion
My first love.
I am from language:
Sentences weaving together
In an intricate web.
I am from stories,
My dearest friends
Stored in yellowed pages.
I am from conversation,
Banter and wit as sharp as needles,
Honesty and lies
Compassion and coldness.
I am from words
I was raised by them
Hurt by them
Loved by them
And I will die with them..


Honorable Mention

Hannah Olson

O’Maley Innovation Middle School

Grade 6


Living Symphony

The world is a symphony;
Everything has its part.

Conducted by a power above,
The earth begins its song.

The ground pulses with life,
Rhythms of order
Consistent and strong
Like a steady beat coming deep
From the percussion section

The storms are cymbals

Loud and clear
Shaking everything in sight

Beautiful plants in all shades of green
Cushion all parts of life
And guide everything along
Like the strings pushing on a song

The woodwinds hold the melody to each oncoming move,
Animals like woodwinds
Give life to land and home,
A melody of family
That lasts throughout the song.

We, the humans, are the brass;
When used right are beautiful,
When messed up shake the entire song.

If we respect each other
And help each along,
Who knows how long the symphony will go on?


Honorable Mention

Yashvi Patel

O’Maley Innovation Middle School

Grade 7


A Ruler

It lies where our sun awakes
In the moonlight
Under a blanket of stars,
A symbol of history.

Arched gatehouse to welcome,
Vile dungeons to punish,
A haunting feeling,
Crawling up nerves
As each step is taken forward.

Vacant and spacious rooms
Where his highness
Once roamed
Between medieval walls,
His presence is left

Gold patterns along paintings
Ornate chandeliers swinging above
Halls like tangled maze
Same sunlight from open windows..

Antique red carpet
Leading to the sacred throne
Where a voice used to command

Wonder why sacred the throne is called.

Get ready to have it slide.
There lies a wooden door
To cover his grave
Where he lies — a ruler.


Honorable Mention

Chandra Lavery

O’Maley Innovation Middle School

Grade 8



I. Revelation:

If I close my eyes
I can almost see it,
a fertile land
with welcoming whispers.
that is enough.

II. Reconciliation:

If I clench my toes
I can almost revisit it.
Our scarred hands will touch.

that is okay.


III. Intervention:

If I think about it
my mind will run too far.
I do not want to be exhausted anymore.


IV. Rebuttal:

If I let go
will I go slack?
that is something I do not want to know


Honorable Mention

Callahan White

O’Maley Innovation Middle School

Grade 7


Where I’m From (What I’m From)

Many ask where I’m from.
They assume
The question is what I’m from.
That’s what I’ll tell you.

My eyes are from the deep ocean blue
Whose lonely calls rock me to sleep.
My bones are from those before me,
Hair the sand I roam.

My skin the smooth mountain slopes
I visit and wish to call home.

My breath the wind in my hair
As I bike down a hill,
My blood the fire in the blazing hearth
Staving off the winter’s chill.
My limbs are the branches from
A tree I climb;
My feet and hands are sturdy roots

Though I am a person,
A flesh and blood mortal.
I see myself as a traveler

Roaming through portals.

I am what I make myself —
A dragon, ogre, or elf.
For that is who I am.
I am constantly changing
Like an unfinished piece of art
Waiting on a shelf.


High School

 First Place

Autumn-Marie Silva

Gloucester High School

Grade 10


Star-Cross’d Lovers


O’ Fate!
Cruel, vexatious Fate!
Thy threads of barbéd wire
String us together
Like gnats to a spider’s web.

O’ Love,
Sickly sweet
Dripping down my throat
From a golden goblet
Its rim dipped in sugary poison
Burns mine lips
But still I sip again.

And when the goblet is emptied
What do I find
But a spider?
Nay, not a spider, but its web.

Fingers down my throat
I wretch up this silvery twine,
But too late I see,
For the blood that follows
Stains my milky fingers,
Saints’ palms.

Too quickly did I gulp this intoxicating elixir,
But would the spider not have lain in wait
No matter how slowly I sipped?

Was this some consequence
Yet hanging in the stars
That I was too blind to see?

More importantly,
Would seeing this consequence
Have done a thing to stop my thirsty lips
From suckling thy poisoned breast
O’ Aphrodite!


Second Place

Willa Brosnihan


Grade 10


To the Painter and the Repeating Woman

That which in winter
we call melancholy
in spring is loving.
I give it to everything.

See the peaceful fat of the sky,
and behind it
something that can make the clear ocean hold a feeling.
If I was braver and stupider
I would put it in a black-lidded jar
for my father,
that thick pigment
light as royal gossamer,
so big that the immorality of my bottling would worry only me,
captor too tentative
to encapture the scene.

See how the one pencil unruined has a string tied to its end
for the cat.
Put it there after he pulled down the tie
which held everything and the bathrobe together.
I gave him a skinny snake to kill.

Desperate, clean,
I am so sad today
that my body takes maintenance.
Couldn’t I be,
instead, like something which comes from a bulb?
Do all my work in the winter? So —

See me like I am a tulip,
always about to die.
Make me a relativist, set me free, close me,
tell me,
“There is no salt, no sugar, no snow,”
tell me,
“The beauty of each belongs to the other.”
tell me, and I will believe you,
“These extremes are so easily ripped open.”

I am so happy today because my life is barely my own and just goes on around me.
I cannot claim the fog or how it informs me.
The hunter in my house,
when he disarmed me,
was braver and stupider than I could be,
in his

See how it all tastes,
Uncurated, mixed together?
See how I am growing patient even though this humanness interrupts
my loving and its opposite?
See how kind I am with the cat?
See me owing things to colors.
Tell me,
“You are so fragile,
within seasons.”

That way
I will know when I have taken myself too far.


Third Place

Mila Barry

Gloucester High School

Grade 10


Honey in the Sky

The sun split sky at dawn today —
some angry altercation sent this soaring crack
to sever stratosphere.
Up there the air was cold and sharp, but
honey leaked
from some far-off place
in outer space,
and fell so slow
to hit the early faces of May buttercups,
and splash upon the asphalt,
in sticky puddles,
sluggish, sweet,
invite the bumblebees
and the blue-sing birds,
and people — oh so many people! —

with those all too eager fingers
for familiar comfort in that stagnant pond.