A Celebration of Poetry: Annual Contest Highlights Best of New Hampton

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In the month of April, New Hampton School celebrated National Poetry month with an all-school poetry contest. English Department Head Luke Tobin shared his gratitude for all of the students—and a few faculty members—who submitted their poems throughout the month of April. April is a special month in the English department, marking a celebration of acclaimed poets and works while encouraging students to creatively express their ideas, thoughts, and emotions through their writing.

Poems were collected by English teachers throughout the month of April, then names were removed from the poems and assigned a number to ensure fair judgment. Finally, all of our English teachers read through the poems and voted on their top selections while paying close attention to form, sound, tone, development, imagery, and language.

Here are the winning poems for this year’s poetry contest, as announced during Art Awards 2022 on May 6. Thank you to our English department teachers for encouraging students to take creative chances, for sharing poems to inspire us during last month’s school meetings, and for working selflessly outside of the academic day to review the submissions.

Above: [L-R] Sarah LaCroix, Henry Brunelle, and Gus Kusch receive honorable mentions from English Department Chair Luke Tobin on Art Awards 2022.

Honorable Mentions

Mr. Tobin noted that we have three honorable mentions this year. These students created poems to shed light on identity, social pressures, and even frustrations with poetry. This year’s honorable mentions are:

Poetic Justice by Henry Brunelle
b by Gus Kusch
Transparency by Sarah LaCroix


Poetry contest winners Leah Eastman and Cal Nolan with English Department Chair Luke Tobin. Talia Shirley, our first place winner this year, received her award following the ceremony due to IB exams.

Poetry Award Winners

3rd Place

if i were blue
by Leah Eastman

if i was a blue flower
instead of a pink flower
maybe i would have the adoration,
and all the power.
i would not feel this envy
of the ones with same petals
in a different color,
seen as beautiful, seen as plenty.

as the passers go by and choose
the ones they feel deserve to fly
i am stuck rooted in this dirt
wondering why i feel this sense of hurt
why was i not considered to have the perfect aura
when it was my twin who was considered the perfect flora?

as the picked one is now being placed in a pretty pink vase
i am now wilting, feeling little grace.
as my imperfect petals are cast back into this earth
i pray my leftover seeds will sprout a lovely blue,
and be seen as the ones with lots of worth.

2nd Place

By Calvert Nolan

During the night, the waking mind quiets, dwelling somewhere beyond dormant thoughts
Something yearns for early morning, a moment of calm amidst the mountains
Flailing and falling between the shouting forlorn for something that has flown
Growing greater than before the figure stands naked in the canyon heart, growling for more.

The canyon beats with a hearth, the core of warmth amidst a frozen hell
Iridescent creatures come down in flames, indistinct shouting from the insane
The jester stands, more scared than before, his crown has fallen, immediately insecure
Large packs of Kangaroos, eating the kelp beside the Koran. Yelling for something.
Lemons fall as the canyon closes; lights appear as the linear theme widens.

Momentarily, the monk collapses, questioning his faith. Mountains shatter as hell freezes
The notion of night stands tall, flailing its arms as if to tell you, no, go back
The option of life starts to fall, as we get older, the omens rise taller.
Some may say the poets are just puppets carrying the message of the quest
The quest is different for everyone yet somehow identical it questions the psyche of the queries

Rising out of the sand, the creature pokes his head, riding the sun waves as nature takes its hand
Its serpentine nature with alabaster eyes stares deeply into something we don’t know
Translucent and tattered, a man stands in the road facing the creature as if it’s his own
As if it’s his uncle, he stands huddled praying to be noticed by something from the underworld
Vibrant and virtuosic, he stands before it, holding his hand as if to venture.

Something beyond his wildest dreams, he is whisked back to where he was before, to the belly of the canyon to where he will start again
Xudier is his name as he stands before it, a spine of a xylophone as if to mutter.
Yes, he says, as he shouts out loud, his story is over he will not start again
As if hell froze over one more time, he lay there naked, in the breast of the canyon

1st place

In the Palm of Her Hand
By Talia Shirley

Once upon a time,
When there was an air of mystery
To the seas and the skies,
A woman wove pretty glass orbs,
Of starlight and sand and the fine silk of a spider.
They sat in the palm of a hand,
And would twinkle
Like the brightest of stars against the nights,
Or sunlight trailing along the tips of the water
In a lake of liquid sapphire.

One day a star, brilliant and shining,
Fell from the sky,
Like an angel from heaven.
The woman found it,
Nestled among the flowers,
Now charred and crackling.
It burned cold as the night sky,
And with all the brilliance of the sun,
Which could turn a lake to liquid sapphire.
The woman wished,
To hold it in her hands,
But it burned her as well,
For despite the wonders she wove,
Of starlight and sand and the fine silk of spider,
The woman was merely mortal,
Made of flesh and bone
And petty things.

So she wove an orb,
Of the first glimpses of starlight,
And the finest white sand, which shone in the light,
And the best silk of a dozen spiders.
In the center she placed the star,
There it stayed and there it burned,
Cold as the night and brilliant as the sun.
And the woman held it
In the palm of her hand,
And laughed at her own
Wondrous accomplishment.

Many a man,
Came to set their eyes upon
The finest orb the woman ever wove,
That held a star inside.
But the woman let not a single one see,
For the star was hoarded,
Held in the palm of her hand.
Hers and hers alone,
As it continued to burn,
With all the cold of the night,
And the fiery brilliance of the sun.
For she was mortal,
And made of petty things like greed.

Alas, the woman was not known for her wisdom,
Nor her intelligence.
If she had stopped to consider,
She would have remembered,
That the sun burned with cruelty
Scorched the life from the flowers,
And pulled the water from wells.
And possibly if she had not been lost,
In the star in her palm,
She would have known
That what followed the night
Was such unparalleled chill,
And unrelenting black,
That it choked the lighting bugs in their nests,
And pulled the weary traveler from the road,
Never to return.

And so,
The woman held a star in the palm of her hand,
In an orb of starlight and sand and the best silk of a dozen spiders,
That kept it from scorching her flesh.
But still it scorched,
The heart within her chest,
With all the cruelty of the sun
And she snapped and sneered and spat.
The talent in her fingertips,
Frozen by the unparalleled chill of the night,
Shook when she went to weave,
Starlight and sand and the finest silk of a spider,
Fell from her hands,
Nothing but a tangled mess.

For the star had fallen from the sky,
As if an angel fell from heaven,
And it burned with all the cruelty of the sun,
And the unrelenting chill of the blackest of nights.
The woman,
Merely mortal,
Made of flesh and bone and petty things like greed,
Kept it in the palm of her hand,
Never letting go,
Even as it scorched her to the core,
And stole the life from her eyes.
How foolish she was.

Congratulations to all of our poets!

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