26th Kenai Peninsula Writers’ Contest winners: Poetry


1st Place — “Tea in the Age of Memories” by Alexander Fearn

Waking up to a steamy tea steeped deep in the age of memories,

circumnavigating the grateful sarcophagus in a bath of blissful mist,

imbibing the warm concoction through the esophagus lighting fires

of intelligence in veins and arteries,

touching lips to fired ceramic,

balancing the elements in a natural kiss,

wafting fumes drift as vaporous odor sneaking away from its homeward mug,

inhaling the mesmerizing melody of sensuous flavor whilst seated comfortably on an Earthly


this body feels pleasant as the soul nestles snugly in thy bosom,

being and breathing,

sipping and tasting in a ritualistic rhythm,

a fusion of fines leaves brewing under a watchful eye,

boiling water bubbles in an earthen vessel above the oxygenated fire,

refueling the tank at the tea terminal preparing to fly,

indulge in the heavenly chai ringing the ears like you’re bombarded by a delicious choir,

a raucous riot of perceptions is muffled by the sense of something beyond,

scents of this familiar foreign land,

one so far yet always close at hand,

whisper secrets of this mystical sand in which I’ll be before long,

returning after many an extended vacation,

getting washed and rinsed in the laundry of reincarnation,

cupping my tepid tea in peaceful contemplation,

warming my fingers and resting my mind in still patience,

roasting herbal water no different than the ancients,

raising an internal toast to our ancestors and all that they gave us,

indulging on a saturated substance of time-brewed tea,

allowing myself respite for a few moments so my mind may wander free.

2nd Place — “Flower Legend” by Gary Richards

There was a drought in Texas long ago

Hills and valleys were parched and dry

A Comanche chief told his people what to forgo

A valued gift must be given to the great spirit in the sky

His small daughter took her beloved doll

with its bonnet of bright feathers

Upon a hill so very tall, with love she gave to the sky

For a change of weather

That night, rain fell from the Texas sky

Fields of bright blue flowers spread forth

I tell you this story, I would not lie

That, my friend, was the blue bonnets birth

Same Indian Chief, same little girl

She played all day watching sagebrush whirl

Nighttime came and she found herself lost

It became cold, the ground covered in frost

The village went out to the trail

Even the old chief, though he was frail

He came upon her where she lay, wrapped in yellow and red flowers

He called them Indian blanket—known to this day

3rd Place — “Ms. Mount Redoubt” by Elena Dimitrovski

Do you remember when Mt Redoubt

Last spoke to us?

Plooms of white rings

Were seen above the spruce trees.

Oh! but just 15 years ago

We heard her latest breath.

The ash fell like snow

Glazing the slush of Spring.

The ground swayed and churned and

Brought us to our knees.

We glanced to the sky to see the atomic cloud

But instead, she had come around.

Mt Redoubt roared with a

Thunderous gasp, Oh!

But it has been 18 years since

The boom before then.

So, in three years

Will we hear her again?

Oh! I wish Mt Redoubt would

Sing to me.

Once again.

Grade 10-12

1st Place — “I Saw You” by Ainsley Boss-Harmon

I saw you searching


You pondered forests,

turning leaves,

and stones

and dirt

You gathered volumes

for leafing,

savoring every last


You pulled your heartstrings

like levers,

just to see

what they would do

Everywhere, you looked for you,

you hunted answers,

and when your search turned up little,

you left

I suppose I should tell you

about the leaves

in your hair

that were there the whole time

2nd Place — “Rain on a Cliff” by Ainsley Boss-Harmon

She was born to night and rain

With long, soaked hair

Like a doused fire in a dark pane.

The clouds loom above her, where

She pokes holes in their haze,

Hoping to find the stars there.

She is a shadowed ridge with a distant gaze

For green grass and fruit trees,

And yellow summer days

The rain pours down with no breeze

On her stony facade,

Beneath her chin, to meet rising seas

She flairs her petal skirt broad,

Hoping one day,

Flowers will fill her promenade

She laughs her night away,

Or, perhaps, sobs to her base,

The rainwater rising to meet her gray

I can’t tell if she’s crying,

But there are streams on her face

3rd Place — “Not Normal” by Kelsey Gravelle

This poem is not at all normal

It’s a unique manifestation of words on paper

No two verses the same

Always begging the question

What is normal?

Is it uniform lines with equal syllables?

Lines that rhyme and don’t cause discord?

Maybe it’s an uplifting message that shines through

No doubt about it, this poem reflects me and you

How you might ask?

Just look around you

We are unique individuals

With different genetic makeups defining who we are

No two people are the same

Blue eyed blondie is perfection in some eyes

While brown eyed and brown hair is unwanted

What differentiates us?

Who decides what makes beautiful and ugly?

Why is it just looks that define us?

No one is perfect, and no one should be

Be what God created, you and me

Poems are not always normal





Ordered to the margin of a page

Withheld in restraints

Longing to be set free

From the chains of uniformity

That bind them tight

Don’t be different, that’s too strange

That is what we are told

Just blend into society like everyone else

Be like the normal poems that stick to the margin




But Conform to the ways of the world

This is what they say

Is that really the only way

That life should be lived?

You be you

And I’ll be me

Be crazy and weird, be free

For we are not normal poems that stick to the rules

We break those silly laws, those meant for fools

Unique human beings

No two the same

Just like the poems, we share many things

We are not normal

Grade 7-9

1st Place — “Beauty in the Broken” by Apphia Bowser

Crystalline jewels, all snow and ice,

With which I laughed and smiled,

Beautiful trees, laden with fluff,

And winter was my friend.

Till one wroth day my heart was crushed,

And winter mocked my pain.

I’d lost one dear that would never come back,

And frost took over my being.

The cruel, cruel sun blazed down on snow,

And hurt my tear-filled eyes,

The cold, cold wind whipped down on me,

And raged my hurt was not.

I screamed with pain and let icicles of hurt

Take hold to pollute my brain,

Waves of grief thundered and crashed,

As captive to cold my heart was held.

No warmth of joy privileged my smile,

I lay in snow and mourned.

And then I realized with trembling fingers,

That winter was still my friend.

My pain was ever there,

As ever it will be,

I’ll never be the same again,

But knowledge is now my staff.

Sun over icicles sparkle like diamonds,

As a queen of ice I’m crowned.

So I’m learning the art of laughing,

And painting a picture of healing,

Of warmth in frigid pain, and beauty in the broken.

2nd Place — “Life” by Hailee Painter

To be loved,

Love is reading like the reading to the soul

when love dies the story dies

same as the soul

oh look there’s a chair a nice cozy

chair sitting not alone over there

oh please oh please, please

don’t go that’s too for my little feet to go

she vanishes

sadness overcomes

the chair is silent the story is gone She has gone

in a faraway place where all people go when they

pass through the waters of heaven below

The hospital bed is made

She is no-where to be found

I cry and cry and then fall down

the thickness and quickness of the sickness

that spread to her liveliness

Made her fade

now she’s gone

I’m on the floor making a wave of tears

when I hear a voice

from under the curtain

That is not too far from here

I cry and cry and then I stop

looking for a way

to stop this sadness from drumming

my heart deeper and deeper

I shader like a piece of uncleaned glass.

Grade 4-6

1st Place — “Where I’m From” by Isolde Panarelli

I am from the stack of unread books waiting for me when I get home.

From the whispering spruce trees outside my bedroom window and

that smell that surges through me like a burst of newly born winter wind.

I am from the mist over the bay in the morning.

From the sweet smell of smoke and basil, the smell that is just so familiar.

I am from the quiet little worlds I create for myself.

I am from the feel of the sand slipping through my fingers,

Remembering the sight as if I could see it forever.

I am from cookies to little paper boats drifting down the river, never to be seen again.

I am from Panarelli and Raupp, from look up and look down,

I am from “the poet who waits quietly to paint the unsaid”.

I am from Diamond Creek to Bishops Beach.

But most importantly, I am myself,

A product of all these experiences, a culmination of memories and moments,

A unique individual, shaped by the people and places that surround me.

2nd Place — “North Wind” by Riggs Harness

As the north wind blows, as the gale flows

A ship, sails billowing, battles its way across endless seas.

Clinging, to not get flung from the deck,

The skipper holds the wheel, trying to steer the ship.

It bucks and turns as men climb the rigging, trying to unfasten the sails,

Their numb hands work on the frozen ropes that are keeping it furled.

Finally they draw curved daggers and cut through the ropes.

The sails billow outwards as the ship sets course for who knows where.

3rd Place — “Where I’m From” by Lila Shavelson

I am from fresh air swirling around spruce trees, and campfire smoke breathing angrily in our faces.

I’m from dipnetting across the bay, and ripping salmon gills so we can eat fish for dinner.

I am from woodfired pizza on the spit, and skipping rocks on the beach.

I’m from camping with stainless steel pots and jumping off paddle boards into the ice-cold bay.

I am from the rope tow rumbling as it slowly pulls me up the jagged hill, from face planting into mounds of snow.

I am from my beloved dog stuffed animal named Hip-hop, Cloud Blankie, and Lume, my stuffed gorilla.

I’m from the colorful summers and colorless winters from the green grass to the clear slick ice. From the buzzing of the bees to the chirping birds.

I am from the blazing sound of boat motors and the squawking of gulls fighting over a dead fish.

I am from Homer a place I call home.

Grade K-3

1st Place — “Hungry Birds” by Annabell Botkin

One winter afternoon, the flock came,

Many, and little, and all different.

Peck, peck, peck,

Their hunger showed.

Seeds, seeds, seeds,

Put out by my mom.

They sang joyfully,

“Thank you!”

2nd Place — “Going to Squirrel’s Tree Late” by Cassidy Allmendinger

A bear and a hare went out for a walk.

And they had a little talk.

On the way they met a fox.

He was wearing rainbow socks.

The fox said, “Want to find friend squirrel?

He is practicing his twirls.

Want to find him? Do you? Do you?”

Bear and hare said, “yes we do!”

“Then come on, this way, this way.

He is practicing in his tree today,

With his little brother, Wee.”

They went to the squirrel tree,

But instead, Squirrel and Wee,

Were fast asleep.

3rd Place — “Dance” by Sibylle Sethi


Pink, Pretty

Dancing, Moving, Turning

Pointe Shoes, Jazz Shoes, Tap Shoes, Dance Teacher

Twirling, Swirling, Jumping

Long, Beautiful