Ninth Grade Student is Grand Champion in Walt Whitman Poetry Contest

Ninth grade student Lyla B. has been selected as Grand Champion (in Category D—Grades 9-10) in the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association’s 35th Annual Student Poetry Contest for her poem, “Braving Hurricanes.” Lyla’s poem will be read at the awards ceremony on June 13th. Congrats Lyla!

Braving Hurricanes

Lessons learned are like the sky
After a storm of fierce rain and flaming lightning
You must persevere the unbearable
Before everything becomes a little clearer.
Even when the dead of night is silent as a doe
And when the kids laugh in time
With the beat of their angst
And you cry crocodile tears
She comes to you with open arms
Nothing greater than a mother’s love

And though the wrinkles in his face
Obscure the once almost barely green of his eyes
His mourning-dove lectures
And the taste of bone broth will never wash out
On the mountainside, the wrinkles instead resemble
Something like a smile as he points out the blue spruce and the moss
That hugs the belly of a bitter stone as you
Admire a grandfather’s wisdom

Driving through blurry streets
Unfamiliar, tasteless faces
Arriving in a room full of girls with the voices of
Characters you’ve heard of before and real people you haven’t
So scared and so far from the silver-dollar streets
And loquacious green trees
But as they call your name with– not vinegar,
But the loudest honey on their tongues
The storm begins to clear
And the umbrellas fold up– stored away for later
And the sun’s rays spill out in a rush
Realizing/New friends are not so unlike you after all