National Poetry Month Contest Winners 2021

Congratulations to this year’s winners of the Monroe County Library System’s National Poetry month poetry contest!

Adult Category

By Ryan Skidmore

The pleasures of my childhood were cheap.
A body too young for all the hospital visits it took ensured it.
I knew better than to ask for much,
but a visit to the library—that was always a chorus of yeses.
“Is that Aunt Bet’s bear, Mommy?”
The one that gave me the mug?”
“If I write a book can I have a bear?”

The pleasures of my teenage years were cheap.
In a body newly strong, but too studious to be up to no good,
I wandered through the stacks,
Looking for the book, for the report, for my next class, for the next A,
As long afternoons stretched into evenings,
And my mind stretched around things I had never before considered.

The pleasures of adulthood are expensive.
And the pleasures of a pandemic are few and far between.
I’ve seen more of the world, and more of the places I’ve read about.
I have seen less than happy endings.
And textbook fact ignored, in favor of plot holes.
But the quiet, climate controlled peace of novel lined shelves is still a refuge.
Curb-side service is still a respite.
Still hopeful.
Still a yes.


Teen Category

Ode to Autumn by Kennedy Bowling

My love has returned to me once again
And he has taken my breath away.
A year in sorrow and sighing I have awaited his return.
Now, he comes again – Standing at my garden gate, hand upon the post.
There stands he, towering and slender
As the bare trees that ride on his wings.
His pearlescent skin makes him a curious sort of spectre,
With piercing mahogany eyes like the wood of a stately fireplace
In stark contrast to the hunter green English ivy that encircles the chains of my garden gate.
His glacial fingers caress my face as I hasten to greet him, arms outstretched.
Together, arm in arm, we stroll the winding city sidewalks strewn with leaves,
Like the promenade the bride makes down her aisle.
As we walk, his dense boots make the leaves underfoot crackle in pain
And I think of my own grief at having lost him so long ago.
As we reminisce at days past,
Navy skies fall and the lantern streetlamps flicker on in flaxen brilliance
And we start back whence we came.
He wraps his strapping arms around me as we near my garden gate once again
And I bury my face into the woolen fabric of his cable knit sweater.
Smelling of ardent fire and spiced cinnamon,
He puts one hand on my chin and raises my face to his, eyes locking onto mine.
Then kisses my forehead and tosses his sable hair away from his face, smiling his harlequin smile
And he whispers in his gravelly voice
“Welcome home, my dear.”


Children’s Category

Springtime Haiku by Annabella Rhea

Spring is near, Spring’s here
How do I know; goodbye snow
Leaves, flowers, birds and bees.