2023 Annual Poetry Contest Winners

Youth Poem
“The Bee”
by: Nathan Radire
Once I climbed a tree,
Halfway up I met a bee
It was black and yellow,
And it had a body like a marshmallow.
It flew back to its hive,
And came back in a nosedive.
Then it flew up so high
Then came back down and said goodbye
Teen Poem
“Our Days”
By: Cyrena Brenning
Our days were
Rich and full and
Worry not we did
About the outside
World, we acted as
If it were to
Last forever how
Foolish that would
Soon seem, for in
The near future
Our differences
Would arise and
Our one world
Would split in two.
Adult Poem
“I Carried”
By: Ashley Frye
I carried
a thin layer of Missouri dust
with me across state lines
Ocher colored wild daisies in the ditch, Joe Pye weed
covered in pollinators
Gas station coffee and cinnamon gum
Osprey nests above the Ohio River in Kentucky
The sound of fiddle music tugging me along childhood
I’m thinking of her hands,
wrapped tightly around mine,
her breath rising and falling
I am thinking,
“We were just here,”
“This, too, is going to destroy me,”
my heart feeling the slow ricochet of the season of life
we are in
Whole rivers move backwards sometimes
Trees pull from their roots
Hearts sting with the brush of too much salt
And yet
No matter when it happens,
I will let it circle, let it move in closer
I’ll lean on the ones who’ve stood still for me before
And the Carolina wren will be there to greet me,
the barred owl will call me back to myself,
and the river that flowed backward
through the worst of the storm
will orient itself on the horizon
and move steadily along a changed but living shore