Poetry without Paper


Sponsored by The Lyceum , Poetry without Paper is our annual online poetry contest open to all students living in Gloucester. All levels from elementary, middle and high schools are eligible, whether the student attends school in Gloucester or not. The contest honors national poetry month, and prizes are awarded!

The contest is open each Spring. Check back to learn more about the Poetry without Paper 2014 Contest and submission guidelines.

2013 Elementary School Winners

First Place

The Waiting Drawer
by Willa Lepionka Brosnihan
West Parish School, Grade 4

In a drawer, the waiting drawer, sits a tiny porcelain doll with a chip on her chin
and grandmother’s missing diamond pin.
A baby doll wishing to go to bed,
a note that I have not yet read.
An earring that is missing its match,
a pair of jeans that needs a patch.
A page torn out of a book,
a poster of a wanted crook.
A mirror that has cracked in two,
a picture of someone, maybe it’s you!
Waiting to be fixed, or used, played with or just found.

Waiting in the waiting drawer.

Second Place

by Gabriel Bradshaw
East Gloucester School, Grade 5

As the sea breeze blows, everything is blanketed by peace.
As the waves settle and the fish bury in the sand for the night,
All noises sound as one.

In the forest, the leaves rustle, branches sway, bushes swish.
The familiar sound of the woodpecker ceases, as he goes to join his family of the trees.

As the lights turn off in the house and the children go to bed,
As the moonlight glows and the crickets sing in the tranquil dark.

Third Place

My Pet Hamster
by Ella Grace Costa
East Gloucester School, Grade 1

My pet hamster is white and black,
With a thunderbolt stripe on his back.

His name is Mooster,
But he looks like a cow, not a rooster.

He has sharp teeth and prickly feet,
But he’s the nicest hamster you’ll ever meet.

He rolls around the house in his ball,
But can also stand up straight and tall.

He spins round and round in his wheel,
Cleans himself and then gives a squeal.

He makes a mess and gets in a pickle,
But I really like the way his whiskers tickle.

He’s super cute and his nose is pink,
And if we don’t clean his cage, it’ll start to stink.

His nails are scratchy and need a trim,
But he’s the best pet ever and I love him.

Honorable Mention

The Shadow Cats
by Sedona Gillard
Eastern Point Day School, Grade 5

Waiting in the shadows,
in the dark, dark as night,
they are all black,
except for the leader,
who glints silver in the moonlight,
the only one who is daring enough
to step out of the shadows.
Tick-tock, tick-tock,
time slowly goes by,
waiting for the morning dawn.
A slight glow begins to show,
and they know
it is time to go.

Honorable Mention

by Mila Barry
East Gloucester Elementary School, Grade 4

Take your life like the lazy river,
Not like the choppy sea.

2013 Middle School Winners

First Place

The Girl in the Window
by Mark Turner
Eastern Point Day School, Grade 8

Her window is the perfect spot to sit.
She sits there with her legs crossed
leaning up against the concrete wall.
Her wardrobe is a light blue collared shirt,
thick brown belt,
and a navy blue skirt that hangs four inches above her knees.
Her long, luxurious, luscious, thick, brown, hair falls halfway down her back;
not one strand hangs out of place.
She’s tall with long olive legs
and the perfect crisp face.

After six months looking at her
I’ve found my courage to talk.
I come around the corner, my legs wobbling.
She is studying her biology text book.
When I’m within five feet of her,
she looks up and a subtle grin forms on her face.

Second Place

by Sophia Palumbo
Eastern Point Day School, Grade 6

Fire burns bright
burns strong
roars in its own song
leaps to the sky
dances like it will never die.
But here comes the rain
the fire smokes
struggles in pain.

The fire gets smaller
shrink so low
until it’s just a tiny glow.

As the rain keeps falling,
the fire dies
and now just a small pile
of ashes lies.

Third Place

Wolf, Wolf
by Kristian Neal
Ralph B. O’Maley Innovation Middle School, Grade 6

Wolf, wolf, your heart of diamond blazes with graceful fire soul of platinum claws of
shimmering gold fur of starlight silver. When you crossed the river your eyes of royal blue kept
on shining through shimmering so new your stern gaze of intimidation fearsome fangs of
heavenly pulsing white majestic mind of mystic knowledge.

Honorable Mention

The Start of the Season
by Jack Kelly
Rockport Middle School, Grade 6

You hurry down the street
only to cut off my winter coat.
I get looked over.
You find out that the last Bluefin charter left a pleasant smelling surprise,
I am relieved as you pump my sewage tank out.
I get a new swimsuit as you paint my hull a deep blue.
I receive a makeover as my tackle drawers are organized.
With a quick jostle I am slid onto the Travel Lift.
The refreshing splash reminds me that if I respect the sea, she will respect me.
With a smoky turn of the key I cough off the winter oil residue.
The salt water runs through my veins,
and as you open me up, I realize
that there ain’t nothin’ better than being a Bluefin boat.

Honorable Mention

They All Burn the Same
by Elaina Turner
Eastern Point Day School, Grade 6

Why is it called the sun?
It is just a star
There’s more than one.
Is it because it’s not as far?

It’s not fair
To the other stars
Who probably care
And try just as hard.

They all burn the same
Way up in the sky.
Why does only one have a name?
Can the universe lie?

2013 High School Winners

First Place

175 Pounds
by Jordan Westling
Gloucester High School, Grade 11

I tugged hard on his hand once, twice, a third,
And finally he complied.
The low tide burnt my nose as we walked closer.

As I tugged and pulled
His face remained passive.
His hands were weathered from the years
Leaving the end result similar to leather.
His rough juxtaposed my soft
Making it easy for my contours to catch his.

He outweighed me by at least 100 pounds
But he allowed himself to be pulled.

The spot was nice, maybe not ideal,
But neither was he.

He pulled out the rods silently,
And I happily picked mine from his hands.

Despite my need to break the silence I kept quiet.
Those were his silent wishes.
I looked up at his worn face
And saw the look of peace
That had evaded his eyes for so long.
A tug at the line interrupted my thoughts, moving my attention to the water.
When I looked back up, it was different.

He was no longer sitting up with his rod.
He no longer had slim weathered hands.
He no longer had a look of peace.
I looked up and we were back.
Back to the uncomfortable white room,
Back to him lying down,
Back to his swollen dry hands.

Back to his worn face being obscured by tubes.

Second Place

The Chameleon
by Matthew D. Ciaramitaro
Gloucester High School
Grade 10

I’m a chameleon.
I’ve been red, I’ve been calm.
And mimic, with no direction of my own.

So tell what I am while deserted.
Am I color to the blind,
Or sound to the deaf?

If nothing surrounds the chameleon,
Then how does it think, and how does it act?
What is a mirror with nothing to reflect?

Is it unique? An individual?
Or is it a void, an absence?

Will a chameleon show its true colors in solitude,
Or does loneliness cause it to fade,
Slowly, ’til nothing remains?

Third Place

Third Place
Winter’s Doorstep
by Grace Papp
Hamilton-Wenham High School
Grade 10

On a quiet lonely road
Shimmering with a ghostly past,
White over dying green to tan
Like a shadow of love
Swirling in vengeful wind.

Honorable Mention

by Zak Vaneck
The Waring School, Grade 11

The soft hum of rubber on pavement,
We race against the white lines,
Never falling behind
But impossible to pass.
Color is indistinguishable,
Speeding past the many and the few.
Disregarding them as they fade towards the back.
The sun is free to send spread out its many fingers,
Darting through panes of glass,
Reflecting off the snow pushed aside by
The buffaloes of the highway.
Infinity seems real now,
When everything is behind and in front.
No tangents, no escape,
So we keep going.

Honorable Mention

Alex Combs
The Waring School, Grade 10

The tears seep into my skin,
Of memories past,
Our silent goodbye,
I carried bags of memories,
Mixed in with laundry,
Rolled up jeans,
Zipped tight,
Saturated light heats up the airport,
Ready for flight,
I have shed no tears.
We would meet,
Again, we laughed.
Air France,
One way ticket.
Or another,
We will meet again,
Not a final goodbye.