The winners of UMR’s annual poetry contest were chosen recently from approximately 50 entries. The poets read their works and received awards during the annual UMR English department picnic, held April 29.
The contest was held as part of UMR’s National Poetry Month celebratin. "National Poetry Month is celebrated each April," says Michelle Paulsen, a lecturer in English who coordinated the contest. "It recognizes and celebrates the fact that we are all exposed to poetry everyday, from song lyrics to television commercials."
Listed below are the winning poets, followed by their award-winning work.
- First place: Elizabeth Johnson of Rolla, Mo., a freshman in English, for her poem "If I Could Be A Flower."
- Second place: Lori Gray of Rolla, Mo., a junior in psychology, for her poem "Destructive Conception."
- Third place: William Danchus of St. Louis, a senior in nuclear engineering, for his poem "Falling from a petal."
If I Could Be a Flower by Elizabeth Johnson
If I could be a flower,
I wouldn’t want to grow,
Amid the bamy breezes,
That in late spring do blow.
Give me the winds of autumn,
The chilling sting of frost,
I would not lose my beauty,
As other’s has been lost:
I want to bloom ‘neath storm clouds,
And heavy leaden skies,
Where a single glance at me,
Will cause the soul to rise.
Let me grow swayed by the winds,
Which swirl the leaves that fall;
While my bewauty does proclaim,
"There is hope after all!"
If but one person brightens,
When all around is drear,
And a smile transforms their face,
Then nothing will I fear.
If one person finds new courage,
To face the winds of life,
Then will I embrace the cold,
Though it should take my life.
* * *
by Lori Gray
He cuts construction paper hearts
Distorted letters spell out
the mommy who never bothered
to come back
The backwards "y" of mommy
Curves into his
l o n g i n g
scribbled on the crooked-heart
with handicapped scissors
which only cut paper
not his chicken-feathered dirty blond hair
not the raw-bruised-beating-bloody flesh
of his own core
Light up desert sun of forgiveness
the moment her flesh-wrapped skeleton appears
for brief visitation
The bone frame-work mirage of shelter
which fumbles desperately
to turn a crack house into a white picket fence
once she leaves
the innocent brown eyes flood for 40 days and 40 nights
trying to wash understanding up on shore
he quietly trims a dream
out of the vivid variety pack of
* * *
Falling from a petal
by William J. Danchus
The ladybug was tired after a long flight and sighted a tulip to land on. There were other flowers nearer, but not as beautiful or as tall. The lady bug was to reach this tulip on the first try. The ladybug was coming closer and the flower was getting bigger. Wings were getting tired and the wind was blowing harder. The ladybug landed softly on a petal of the flower and signed relief. Unbeknownst to the little creature, the petal could not support the exhausted fellow, and the ladybug began to slowly slide off. Wings could not flap anymore, they were useless! His legs could not cling to the petal, they were powerless! The ladybug tumbled from the tulip and downward into the hands of fate. He flung himself all around to see his destination. All of a sudden, he knew that his fall was broken and held! He could not move. A web from a proud and old spider was his new floor to take his last dance. The weaver gazed at her new bedfellow with her eyes that had a frightening thought for her guest. She tested her web for strength, and found little. Earlier, another bug (much larger) flew through her web and tore it asunder in one place. This place was now between the two and only a few strands of white steel bridged the two. The ladybug struggled out of instinct and fear. Strinds tensed then broke, and the ladybug again was moving to a new place. He landed in a river of water flowing down a huge leaf of a plant. He was carried away at a quick pace. He knew he was saved, but saved from what and where was this leading him to. After intense soaked moments, he was dropped next to a fallen fruit on muddy ground. He looked up and saw the sun shining through a hole in the roof of trees. The air was calm and quiet. The petal was a distant memory and could not be found again. "Well," said the ladybug after washing himself off. "That fifth cheeseburger must have knocked me off that petal."
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