Ode to a Grape

smell of
You taste
a soft, gentle song.
you resemble
a soft
You dream
of soft
friends call
the Purplestar.



Lily Aparin-Buck age 9, is in 4th Grade at the Plymouth Meeting Friends School.

My Tree

My tree, my tree, I love my tree.
It feels like it is a part of me.
I look at it when I wait for the bus, even if I’m in a rush.
I watched the leaves dive and fall, until there were no leaves at all
Then the branches, covered in snow.  Now, tiny leaf buds, all in row.
It tells me “I’m sprouting, I’m sprouting, Spring is near!  Soon you will see lots of leaves up here.”
My tree, my tree, I love my tree.
It’s like a friend, sharing all the seasons with me.



Connor, age 6, is a kindergartener at Overbrook Preschool and Kindergarten in Philadelphia, PA.   He enjoys being outside in nature, reading, rhyming words, and building Legos.

Colors of a Nation

Missing blue
Why blue
Color of the sky, color of defense

Different parties
Conflicting ideas, same freedoms, equal freedoms

Equal justice
Real people, understanding people

Blood shed
Red blood
Independence with acceptance

All religion
Free religion
Welcomed here to thrive here

Powers splayed
A Nation’s positions on its conditions

When dreaming
Know why
Founded by curiosity and built on truth



Lark McAllister is in a creative writing class at Country Day of the Sacred Heart in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. She loves to read books of all genres and also enjoys learning about history and politics.


Two easels lay apart,
Abstracted of different mediums.
One from shimmering hope,
Other knowing only heavy demur.

In practice,
The two bonded over mixings
Of colorful palettes,
Revealing hopes and dreams,
Triumphs and downfalls,
Water both half-full and half-empty.

What former conceived,
Latter believed.
They became mural
In endless second,
And in next few decades.



Matthew is a tenth grader enrolled at Northeast High School. In addition to writing, he enjoys reading, distance running, and sleep in large doses.

The Shoes

The shoes – a light blue size too big,
untouched with paper filled belly.
The shoes sit tied by the bed.
Just in case
he needs to run away.
Because dragon’s fire does not
Burn hotter than

The knight will come,
but here in the night,
creatures crawl.
The giant,
who gave much more than
looks with disapproval stretching
into eternity.
(One step.
Two step.
The dance begins every time
his shoes misstep.)

Mother is gone.
Father never was.
Just the giant waiting.
Just the tears shedding.

But years posses wings:
Feet grow.
Son trembling, father ignoring
and blue shoes protect
the soles.
Just in case
he needs to run away.

Now no fairytales;
just angry drunks
and forgotten words.
More candles on his cake
than fingers on his hand.
Empty pictures filled with
empty lies.
He sees the blackness swallowing.
And there is no light;
just an old dance.
(One step
Two step
Every time he missteps.)

The shoes have shrunk.
Shoved into bulging suitcases
full of the emptiest material
Don’t look back.
Don’t turn around.
He doesn’t notice the wet
streaming from his father’s eye.
His father, who refused
to say goodbye.
The world rearranging
and he is determined to see all
the Truth.

(One step,
Two step.
Farther from home.)

And now sneakers traded for loafers.
T-shirts for ties.
Jeans for slacks.
He cuts the bangs that covered his eyes
for too long.
Now he sees,
now he knows.
But he is too busy making a home.
He might call his father,
who is now normal size.
He has much to say
but distance is silencing
and being wrong never feels

He gives the shoes to his boys
and reads them tales.
Shows them the plot twist-
an irony he is beginning to understand
through walls and vents,
Whispered curses of the giant.

He wishes to shrink to regular size.
but we do not grow down.
The blue shoes now spotted
Coated in memories and regrets.
No one fits them,
but he does not have the heart to throw them out;
His boys may need to run away.
They teach him a dance.
(One day.
two days.
Watching clocks fly)
But, he prays for a minute more.
A year.
A lifetime.

That lifetime comes
and goes

As he sits,
in slippers that have not seen outside
this linoleum container .
He is old enough to daydream again.
His white haired head puzzles
“How funny that he was wrong:
That giants can be knights.”
He remembers his father,
who never hit him,
never ignored him,
never left him.
Never did anything but
play the grown up.
He remembers hate overwhelming.
He hopes to be forgiven.

He hopes to run back.

Back to that house with the worn porch,
back to a room with
blue shoes too big
sitting by the bed,
just in case he decides to stay.

He breathes in air
that never tasted as sweet.
He thinks of his children.
Now, just to sleep.



Oonagh Kligman is a freshman at Jenkintown High School. She loves reading, but loves to write even more. When she is not locked away some place “bookish,” she is hanging out with her friends, playing tennis, or eating.


They are afraid.

Afraid of my eyes,
afraid of my talons.

They think I snap,
I paralyze, I ravage.

They think I kill.

They are afraid.

Afraid of my invincibility,
afraid of my strength.

They think I am a villain.

They are afraid.

Afraid of my scales,
afraid of my fire.

They think I am vengeful,
And cruel,
And corrupt.

They think I am heartless.

But I do not kill.
I am not vengeful.
I am not cruel.
I am not corrupt.

I have a heart.

Inside my great armored chest
It beats.
Thundering loud and clear
It beats.

Inside of me,
Behind my fangs,
And my claws,
And beneath
The fire in my belly.

Behind this
Fearsome body.
Is somebody who
Just wants to love
Who wants to be loved.

Don’t be afraid.



Maria Maisy Meyer is in 7th grade and is 13 years old.

The Right to Be Heard

Discrimination and prejudice are running wild,

as rampant and untamed as a little child

Like a ferocious beat it will not be stopped

unless a decision is made by someone on top

Top, top, top like the president–

to whom evil and bad should probably be evident

I hope that this is relevant:

Gay, straight, autistic, lesbian too,

all getting hurt till they’re black & blue.

Not just fists and punches, bullies stealing lunches.


Splendid characters that illuminate a page

are being used for hate, to take out rage.

It’s hard to believe–

no, even to conceive–

The things people say and do.

But let me tell you this from me to you:

That it’s real.

It’s there.

Oh yes and it’s true.

Something needs to be done.

This disease must be cured.

I’ll do this by speaking up.

I have a right to be heard.



Jared Taylor, 6th-grader at C. W. Henry School, great-nephew of prize-winning poet Dorothea Grossman and grandson of Pulitzer-prize winning poet Henry S. Taylor, has been writing poetry and songs for as long as he can remember. He is also an avid artist, guitar-player, and reader. He lives with his sister, parents, and two huge fluffy cats in East Mount Airy.

The Crow

Small outcasts,
on this small evening,
in this summer city.
Rooftops grant the crows,
outcast crows a home.
The crow,
usual times, they crow,
but outcasts back up each other.
They’re not outcasts,
at least not to each other.
They’re brothers,
and friends.
The Greatest of friends.

The outcast children,
and their parents,
and the parents of theirs,
had been outcasts to everyone else,
ever, ever since.

They’ve been sold, beaten, and outlasted,
The Crow.

The crow had been outcasts ever since,
no bird would join their feasts,
no other had terrors.
Similar to the little outcasts,
Night is where they blended in.

In about the thick corn fields,
slowly picking out only the thickest stalks,
the small children make haste;
no time to waste.

A small yell develops past the pasture,
from the landlord,
yes the landlord of those pastures,
and those thick, stalks of corn.
He hears rustling through his bushes.

Loading his gun,
he’s prepared to take back what’ his.
They, the outcasts,
they deserved to be outcasts,
for doing what they’re doing now.
Just as he starts the search,
The Crow.
The Crows,
screeching, the call of alert.

not only the children,
but outcasts everywhere,
hear the call,
the call of alert.

The children run,
they leap,
they dash,
they bolt,
for their lives,
for their reputation,
to both people who came,
to be outcasts,
to save outcasts everywhere.

A time to equalize the uneven;
To save outcasts everywhere.
The Crow.



Charlie goes to Jenkintown Middle School/High School. He likes to write poems, usually about the world around us and the hardships in history, and short stories about our world, what it could become of, and what has happened to it in the past. 

The Simmering Underneath

Millions of Islamic women
Held beneath the surface of possibilities
For the deafening tomb
Of shattered silence
To break
I am one of them
Those women
Held away from freedom
From a life of the maximum
Whispers, murmurs and mumbles
Float through the air
Taunting me
Accusing me
Of something I have not yet done
A soft prayer spoken in whispered, warning words
Reaches me
I will never forget
Those hungry words
Now I realize
When foreign women walk by me
Wearing red
It is my favorite color
My khimar
Black as a raven’s wing
My friends say green is better
Green is life
I like red
They say black is the color of rebellion
I smile and nod my head
Seemingly oblivious to the fact I am wearing
Now taken to the mosque
To be “disciplined”
Can’t they see
I am already too far gone?
I see the cracks
In this dystopia
An earthquake struck here
No one felt it
Only I
Am gazing on
The effects
My former life
Far out of reach
A mermaid lost to the foam of the sea
Choices made
Without segregation
Is it possible to change
A man of my own
Married for love
The wind blows
A butterfly by
Soon, that will be me
Millions of Islamic women
Trapped beneath the surface of possibilities
Struggling to breathe
For finally
Just one
Is breaking free



Maya is 14 years old and is in eighth grade. She has been playing the guitar since 6th grade, sings, and is starting to write songs along with her poetry.

2013 Elizabeth Graeme Award in Poetry

WINNER: Erin Farrell
, CB East High School
Coarse Heels

They say it’s impossible to get lost in North America now
Since they’ve commercialized
and vandalized
with infrastructure and order and rigidity and organization
The natural world – taming everything they decided was wild and proclaiming it savage
and     uncivilized and wrong because it wasn’t like us, the rugged individualists
But they – yes, that same they
That damned they that’s always there with their sayings
They say nothing is impossible
not one gaping abyss of normalcy nor a massive cataclysm of adventure
But sometimes, that’s just all you want to do – get lost
Or maybe it’s just me
I just want to escape the suburban catacombs in which I’m already buried and die somewhere exotic as someone different
Or maybe it’s we – maybe you, too
Maybe it is you and you’ll prove them wrong
Hopefully it’s you: I still have hope for you, I really do
that you’ll live and not just wait
It’s all you want to do sometimes
Hole up in some deep dark oblivion and never speak again
It’s all those meaningless things that are frivolous things and so absolutely thing-y and material that you’re running from
And the people who have become things because of their obsession with things
Just hop on a train and watch the steam swallow the sky
Cut your ties – your losses
Just drive
Hide in the back of a rusty red pickup and smell burning light bulbs of old headlights and
decaying wood and dirty wrenches and oil and talcum
Thumb a big rig and get lost
Just get lost and never find your way back
but find a way forward
shove a door open with a shoeless foot and disregard the past recklessly
Oh, just do something reckless, utterly reckless, like run away
Pedal somewhere on that old bike and never turn back
Have a false identity
To be a stranger and find another stranger in a strange world
and just moonlight-dance and sing and be strange
just run
You want dirt in your hair and under your nails
Grime at your wrists and on your feet
The only soap the running stream
The only comb your fingers
Feel hunger and need just to feel something even if it’s pain
You’ll chase nothing but the idea of something to the ends of the earth
                        and when you’re there you won’t fall off but you’ll dive off
and swim into some forbidden celestial chasm
bare and unafraid of what might be swimming with you and the stars
                        submerged in the black and one with it because you let go and ran
                        living in a room you made out of the mountainside
Because you’re you and you ran because you could not because you should because you shouldn’t have but you did
You ran because it was what you wanted
You weren’t afraid to want and lose and defy and trespass and feel and take risks
You did what you wanted and are free
Could you imagine that liberty
Tearing your coarse heels on cracked black pavement and watching the yellow lines skid
beneath you in a wild blur
wild like you
Even though you’ll die someday
but not until you’ve lived, you restless soul, lived and you were wild
But maybe some things really are impossible
They’re wrong either way
And they’re right, too

RUNNER UP: Matthew Kolosick, 
CB East High School

Have you ever been to a laundromat?
Walked through double doors to rows of silver fed beasts set to devour?
At least they’re kind enough to return their food
Though it comes sodden and chewed
Like a mother bird feeding its baby.
Though this mother has but one child,
And it is stranded, huddled between its fellow orphans.
Relying on you for sustenance.
Have you ever been to a laundromat?
Sat down and watched your clothes
Cycle up then down, wet then dry?
Asked yourself why it is we only handle them when they’re wet?
And spend the whole time protecting ourselves behind glass doors?
Have you ever washed clothes by hand?
Hung them out spaced and tall?
Watched the fabrics as they dry in time with your hands?
Just twine and wood and water
Bringing out a silver shine in the flesh of your palms.
But you get to keep this silver
Even though it comes and goes with the basket
And the washbasin where you rescue the clothes from drowning,
Then proceed to hang them by their necks
High above.
A warning for all to see.



The Elizabeth Graeme Fergusson Award in Formal Poetry is presented to a high school student from Montgomery, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, or Philadelphia counties who has submitted the best example of a poem written in form