the winners of the fifth annual

SBWC’s Student Poetry Contest!

William Wordsworth said, “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” This year’s submissions from students in the Nashoba Regional School District and Lancaster schools proved the truth of his words.

Special thanks to this year’s judge, Alan Feldman, and to the staff at the Thayer Memorial Library for their partnerships and help with the contest. Also, grateful appreciation to the Lancaster Cultural Council because “this program is supported in part by a grant from the Lancaster Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.”

This year’s winners are:




Cakes, cookies, cupcakes.

They are yummy!

Everybody loves a

Sweet treat!


Sugar, sugar, sugar rush!

Sweet, sweet, yum!

Sugar, sweet, yum!


Walk into the candy store,

And see your



Get some treats,

Finish them and say,

“I want more sweets!”

Lana Hanyaloglu, grade 1


Judge’s Comment: “Sweet” repetitions.





Judge’s Comment: First Prize to ALL the children.  These poems have so many moments of genuine child-feelings, from a younger brother whose older brother agrees to play basketball with him to a child who loves her fish.




four years old

hits me on the back

and it goes



I started to cry

my mom said, “Why?”

I said, “Cause Jack hit me on the back!”



I asked my dad

he said, “What’s going on?”

And I said

“Jack hit me on the back.”



So, Jack walked up to me

and said “Hello.”

I turned around and stubbed my toe.


Gavin Murphy, Grade 2


Pocket Watch

I have a pocket watch

going tick and tock.

It reminds me of the moon

and its silvery shine.

Two hands made for the eyes.

Our eyes have two dots

like the middle of a watch

And, in a watch, is a clock you see.


Clocks are made for telling time.

Can’t you see this is a rhyme?

            Vivien Gregory, Grade 2


Little Fishy

Gulp gulp gulp…


Hey fishy…

Good morning.

Gulp gulp gulp

You hungry?


Guess that’s a yes!

Sparkly scales

I love him!

            Vincent Torraco, Grade 2


My Life

My life is hard

My life is tough


I know that I’m tough too.

I have bad days.

I know my mom and dad are my shiny star

Shining in my heart

Making my day bright.

Jaiden Mclean, Grade 2



Love laughing

In our pool

Licking the water


Sitting on the steps

Dad holding her

Doggy paddling

Taking baby steps

Liana Roberts, Grade 2


Mrs. Zecker

The best teacher ever is…

Mrs. Zecker!

She is the best teacher ever


She helps you with your math

She helps you solve your


Brady Hulecki, Grade 2


My Brother

One day

I got off the bus

I said to my brother

Can you play basketball with me?

And he said…


Running down the driveway

Enjoying a beautiful day

Enjoying a beautiful game

Of basketball.

Jackson Flynn, Grade 2



7:30 a.m.

Dad and me

Taught my little brother

How to play Yu-Gi-Oh.

It was awesome.


8:50 a.m.

Time to duel.

We all play together.

Dad, Jack and me.

We play together forever.

Chance Daigneault, Grade 2


My Dog in the Backyard



My dog really likes her backyard.

Like she’s the boss of it.

She’s very fast and joyful


Sometimes she can get messy!

Sometimes she can be really cute!

I love my dog.


Sierra Wagner, Grade 2


My Bunny

Roses are red

Violets are blue

I was so HAPPY when I saw you.

We named you clover

When we saw you eat them

So we played until

The sun set.

Mackenzie Flanagan, Grade 2


The Best Teacher

She is the nicest teacher.

She is the best teacher.

She is the coolest teacher.

She is the fun-est teacher.

She is the one and only…

Mrs. Zecker

            Benjamin Pease, Grade 2


Sparky Fire


Fuzzy and cute

Puppy fun

So quick and awesome

Wanting new friends

Loves people

Loves to play

“please don’t leave!”  he says.

“I want to play more!”

Strong little puppy

Here with me

There with me


Jewel Jamieson, Grade 2


My Babies

I was as sad as a frowny face

I was sick!


When my babies were born

Mom came with the babies to home

And surprised me with a new stuffy of my own.

I got as happy as a bunny

I was silly

I laughed so much

I even got to hold the babies!

Timothy Caraballo, Grade 2








Cute but quick

Racing around the room

He is a


Avery Yagodzinski, Grade 2


My Nana

In Maine.


The hospital.

Before she died

My Nana.

I had three suppers.

When I heard that she had died

I was as sad as my Papa.

All her love

Now in our hearts.

Luke Stazinski, Grade 2


The Creak in the Door

The Creak in the door

The Creak in the door

How how it’s perfect,

Just enough light…

Just enough room…

To let in my cat


Kelly Nganju, Grade 2


My Hamster

My hamster Koala is

Fast fast fast

Fast enough to run around my

Whole room

Five times.

She is sleepy but really powerful.

I love my powerful hamster.

            Olivia Parry, Grade 2








We Can….



Harper Alix, Grade 2



At DQ it was



Then I fell asleep.

No ice cream.

No treats.

Beep!  Beep! Beep!

We’re here!

Then my eyes burst open!

Wait… we’re still getting ice cream?! I screamed.

We got Nardelli’s ice cream.

Carter Farrow, Grade 2


Paper Airplane Battle

When I was making a paper airplane…


It went so fast.

It went so far, like a little jet.

I made a little adjustment then

I wanted to battle!

Whosh… Swoosh!  Step!

People fighting with paper air planes.

Avery Carpenter, Grade 2


The Storm

The Storm is my dog, STORM.

Storm can run fast.

He is one year old and HUGE.

Storm is brave.

He barks when he thinks we’re hurt.

He’s super smart.

He knows how to jump over a fence.

He knows how to open a door.

Sometimes he runs away, but he always comes


Rylan Downs, Grade 2


Rock Star

Not very good

Getting better


Scoring every game.

Scoring a lot every game.

Always MVP

Never losing

Man, he’s good.


Demolishing every game

No getting past him.

Rock star

Sawyer Ginnattasio. Grade 2





I am a book

Boring as can be.

I sit on a bookshelf.

I never rest

Because someone

Will pick me up

When the time is right.

I give info

To all those nerds

Who don’t even know

How cut a pie into thirds.

Once in a great while

I get a special treat.

Being the most read book

Is not an easy task to complete.

I don’t have any senses.

I just think.

I don’t breathe.

I just blink.

My vacation spot

Is the smooth oak table

Where I see other books

Like Aesop’s fables.

Benjamin Shephard, grade 4


Judge’s Comment: Imagines the difficult life of a popular book, “I never rest.” Unforced, ingenious rhymes.




Stars feel like explosions

Bending the mind

Creating questions

Both tiny

And divine


Stars feel like explosions

Making constellations

With legends to pass

On and on the legends will go

Because the explosions

Showed them where to go


The explosions

bending time and reality

before going out

with a dramatic fatality

Ayden LeMay, grade 4


Judge’s Comment: An “exploding” depiction of stars.



My School

I love my school.

School is fun, not dumb.

I have lots of friends at school.

We like to play all the time.

We are fine with it.

Sometimes someone is sad

But we find a way to cheer them up.

We help the teacher.

We hope,

We dream of what we can do

In a team.

We find ways to be happy,

Be nice and kind.

We find ways to play at recess.

We find ways to listen,

And also, we find ways

To be a friend to everyone.

Sometimes things are hard

But we have friends

And a smart teacher

To help us.

Sometimes we struggle

But we find ways

To make it easy.

Kaylie Caraballo, grade 4


Judge’s Comment: Depicts a kind classroom, but one not without struggles




It’s not the sky

But the glow of the sky

It’s not the stars

But the wish on the stars

Shine sky shine

Lillian Principe, grade 4


Judge’s Comment: Conveys a child’s type of joy, “shine sky shine.”




Littlest Light

The sad depressed gray clouds loom

by leaving gloom in everyone’s eyes.

Every person in the town has their heads held down

with long long frowns.

The rain plays and plays.

Everyone is waiting for the sun’s hopeful beam, bringing rays.

I see a girl with dripping mascara,

running with tear-soaked tissues.

One person is crying on the phone.

They say, “I wish I was home.”

In all the pitiful sorrow, was a girl that would play.

She jumped in puddles with her small rain boots and her bright neon yellow rain jacket.

Her boots splashed and clashed as she laughed.

A crack from the grey dome above finally.

The girl kept dancing and the crack got larger.

Soon golden rays shone on the gloomy street.

The little light piercing through made everyone smile.

Even the chirps of the blue birds came back,

and everyone was glad.

Even in the dark, deep depths of dreary night you can find the littlest of light.

Samantha Sharma, grade 5


Judge’s Comment: Interesting details, “a girl with dripping mascara running” and “a bright neon rain jacket”, and wise insight, “Even in the dark, deep depths of dreary night you can find the littlest of light.”



Seeing Me

(original poem set inside a picture of eyeglasses)

If you ever looked at me,

You think it means I’m smart,

But it really means that

The person wearing them

Just needs some help.

Theo Kramer, grade 5


Judge’s Comment: An ingenious calligram in the shape of spectacles which, in a few words, explores the paradox that glasses can make people look intelligent, but, in another sense, show that the wearer simply needs some sort of help.




A whisper is a sound spoken waiting to POUNCE!

Some quiet words directed to an ear

A secret maybe for one person to hear?

Or three or four?

Two or more?

It can be a generator for friendship or hurt

Problems or solutions

Questions or answers

Loudness or silence

A whisper is many things wrapped into one.


Contently swaying a soft sigh

Listening to chirps of birds

Flying high in the sky

The gurgle of a river running

Every by

Sounds of happiness!


            Abigail Fantana, grade 5


Judge’s Comment: Such a wonderful line, “A whisper is a sound unspoken waiting to pounce!”




There are many kinds of fish.

Some fish live in freshwater.

Some fish live in saltwater or the ocean.

Fish that live in the ocean never learn about lotion.

Freshwater fish

are fish that live in ponds, rivers and lakes.

Those fish do not have cakes.

Some freshwater fish are

The Platy, Molly, and Guppy.

There is not a fish called Puppy.

Other freshwater fish are

the Swordtail, Bala Shark, and Golfish.

Swordtails have a sword on their tail.

Goldfish are one of the few pet fish

that survives in cold water.

Maybe they have seen a river otter.

Saltwater fish are fish that live in the ocan.

Some saltwater fish are

Clownfish, Tangs, and Lionfish.

Clownfish and Lionfish live in coral reefs.

There are many kinds of Tangs that include

Yellow, Purple, Blue, Powder Blue, and Clown.

And they may live in coral reefs.

Other kinds of saltwater fish include

Anthias, Moray Eels, and Pufferfish.

Pufferfish can blow up.

Anthias live in coral reefs,

and Moray Eels, like all the fish mentioned,

live in the Pacific Ocean.

You can own fish as pets.

If you do,

just remember this:

No Goldfish should be in a bowl

because it is too small

and maybe even too tall

and never give any fish a ball.

Never let a fish fall

from saltwater fish

to freshwater fish

to Goldfish

that should not live in bowls.

There are many kinds of fish.

Peter Ottowitz, grade 5


Judge’s Comment: Enjoyed the prodigious number of fish it mentions and its intentionally silly rhymes.





“How was freedom?” you asked.

Oh my –

Did you see my castles in the air

Floating about?


Perhaps you caught a glimpse

Of what fantastical dreams

The respite from my steel cage gave me?


I did not remember it once,

And I threw up my arms and yelled,

“My freedom is bright

And good

And innocent

Where my prison was cruel

And cold,


When I needed to remember.”


Now I have sprung

From thorny walls

Into a better wonderland…

Ella Hanyaloglu, Grade 6


Judge’s Comment:  An account of being set free, “what fantastical dreams/ The respite from my steel cage gave me?”







It all unfurls

She likes

To sneak

To Neverworld


Where time is gone

And life reigns free

She thinks to herself

Why is it always me?


The weight that pushes down on her

Well, it always seems to vanish

When she’s in Neverworld


There’s not a single thing

Left to her name

Or a memory

From whence she came


No more secrets

No more lies

No more sets of staring eyes


She frowns

Then calmly

She lies down

Comforted by fields surround


What a solution

It seems so perfect,

A fitting resolution


But when it tugs

It seems so great

And so, she leaves

She leaves the place

Where all her problems lived

She never thinks

What if she’d stayed?

She never knows

The choice she made

Oh, it’s the end

Why? You ask

You mean that easy thing she did


She blinks

And suddenly she’s here



The said part is



Never there

Natalie Vivanco, grade 7


Judge’s Comment: A poem about an adolescent’s unsuccessful attempt to retreat from what we call the “real world,” the place “where her problems lived.” The rhymes work well and seem unstrained and natural.



The Edge of the World

The wind blows my hair back

And the scent of neon flowers

Dipped in dew

Reaches my nose

The air is heavy with the pleasant aroma of petrichor

The grass bright yellow-green

The sky is red like fire

But dotted with purple stars

At the end of the world


We used to watch the pink moon

Its rays beating down on us

Our hands clasped together

Our lashes were wet

After we were struck

By the captivating beauty

Of the edge of the world


I remember vividly

You getting close to the ledge

Too mesmerized, drowning in nostalgia

I screamed, reaching for your frail, emaciated wrist

But you fell, swallowed up

By the turquoise canopy of trees

At the end of the world


I feel to my knees

And wet tears streaked my face like rain

My heart ached with shuddering sobs

As I watched you plummet

To the paradise

That called your name

At the edge of the world

Olivia Trottier-Mitcheson, grade 7


Judge’s Comment: Second prize for the use of language: “Too mesmerized, drowning in nostalgia” and “the aroma of petrichor” – a wonderful word so little used even spell check doesn’t know it.




Pain shoots through my shoulder, neck and arm.

Bright lights and soft sounds of the emergency room fills the air around me.

Steady beeps and boops of the machines surround me like a small, sad orchestra.

I am pushed and carted to different rooms with odd machines, blinking lights and scanners.

Worried eyes hover over my shattered limb.

Voices whisper things like, “ligament separation”, “recovery time”, “weeks to heal”.

My heart pounding rapidly in my chest.

Doctors, nurses and technicians swarm around me but fail to bring peace to my racing mind.

Deep down I know it’s over…

my hockey season…

It’s all over.

Michael DiTullio, grade 7


Judge’s Comment: It develops the details of the hospital and convinces us of the high stakes of the injury, the threat of the end of the speaker’s hockey season.




Ode to Filler Words

Oh, filler words,

I simply just don’t understand

why teachers don’t bask in your glory

like I do.

Very, really,

like, um, and ah.

These are just a few

of you,

wonderful filler words.


You’re my little spot of sunshine

in an otherwise very dim

and dingy day.

You are God’s gift to this world.

You are the holy angels

who fly up to fight

overly long word counts

and the dreaded minimal time.

Simply, somehow, maybe,

slightly, almost, seemed.

All other words pale

when compared to your righteous might.


Some may worship fancy words

like linchpin,

and presentation.


and quib.

But I know better

than to adopt such fallacies.

You are the only words I adore.

Without you,

my life would, simply,




be the same.

The world would stop spinning

on its axis

and the sky would fall.

I’d be drowning in word counts,

suffocating in time limits,

and forever

at a loss for words.


Absolutely, basically, actually,

and countless more I’ve yet to name.

While some say you’re pointless,

I must disagree.

Your contributions to society

are as countless as the stars.

You have saved many an essay,



When all seems lost

you swoop in

and save the day.


So basically,

I just want to say,

thanks soooo much for all that you do

and for doing a very, really good job

at what you do.

Jonathan Castner, grade 8


Judge’s Comment: This poem is witty and funny, skillfully using the very filler words the writer has obviously been told to avoid, despite their usefulness in padding compositions that have to be a certain length. 





Small and scurrying in the wind

Its frail body shiny and crystalized

It hurries like its pacing a floor

More aimlessly, without a goal yet realized


Symmetrical in shape, divine in pattern

It dashes around with its frail brothers

Together they dance and play in a pleasant sight

A soundless symphony possessing a harmony like no other


Descending in a flash, caught in a storming frenzy

Chaos captured in gustful blows surging in the wind

Their bodies collide as their expedition continues

There’s no returning; the breeze is there bind


Barren treetops protrude in to the field

Frozen branches coat with the falling crystals

They hustle about, dodging these new obstacles

Some plummet straight down like bullets from a pistol


Like a swarm of bees, they fly in a frenzy

Their frozen colony hastily storms around

The wind whistles like a beat to their chaotic march

Their trek for the sweet nectar on the ground


Large totems of lumber rise from frosty hills

Between these statues winds a meandering river

Clear smooth water that gently flows forward

A bullseye for crystal arrows from a white quiver


Gurgling noises fill the air around the speck of snow

It glides down to the banks in the chilled breeze

Closer and closer it gets as it spirals down

Softly the crystal lands, doing so with ease


It nestles in delicately with its kin

Packed lightly in a vast expanse, they rest

More crystals fall and find their places

Like birds, they flock to their new nest

Eric D’Eon, grade 9     


Judge’s Comment: This poem energetically explores all the imaginative ways one can think about snowflakes, both “symmetrical” and “devine”.