Earth Day Poetry Contest
WVC holds an annual poetry contest every April in recognition of Earth Day and Poetry Month.
2021 Contest Winner
The System They Can't Resist
by Kaylee Nielson
i have a dream of a world,
where we all live in peace
helping each other, healing one another,
no war torn refugees
for this dream i'm ostracized
a radical to my peers
proving once again
this dream i have
is squandered by their fears
i dream of nature
life reclaiming land
but all they do is laugh
selling out the earth for a profit
with their cement paver path
they have the power to fix it
but until it suits their interest
the life of the earth will burn
in the system they can't resist
2020 Contest Winners
Cuba on the Earth Map
by Rosa Rajadel
You can go there, to that beach
where the wind sings its lullaby
and the waves burst against rocky shores
but the children don’t dream. Esa playa
You can go there, to that mountain.
Wield your machete or mocha, in silence.
Bleed on el marabu and la cana
and let the sun dry your wounds. La sangre
You can go there, to that river that dies in the sea
singing and crying, crying and fading
while washing tired black feet,
forgetting stories of freedom and Palenque. Libertad
You can go there, to that bay - white-blue deep grave-
where we la escoria embrace the sea.
No names, no hopes, no breath.
Say you're not alive or dead. Balsero
You can go there, but come back to me
with a big slice of island to quench my hunger,
to put in my mouth and spit out
millions of birds like fire fathoms. And forgive
(No quiero olvidar)
Notes for the Non-Spanish Speaker and Non-Cuban Reader:
Esa playa: that beach
Mocha: an instrument that looks like a machete but shorter
Marabu: parasite plant
Cana: (cana de azucar) plant from which sugar is obtained in Cuba
La sangre: the blood
Palenque: small hidden villages built by escaped slaves in the 1800s (they no longer exist)
La escoria: the rejected people (because they don’t agree with Cuba’s policies, so that’s the name the government gives them)
Balsero: person who ventures into the sea in a handmade boat (or anything that floats) with the aim of fleeing Cuba.
No quiero olvidar: I don’t want to forget.
Flowers and Stars
by Karlee Norton
Wherever I go,
or my home,
I catch myself
pulling soft frail petals off flowers,
ripping the veiny leaves off trees,
throwing smooth rocks,
like a child,
I don’t know any better.
I fiddle with these pieces of nature through the lines of my palms
and leave a path of ruined beauty behind me.
Whether it be popcorn on the seats after a movie,
water on the bathroom floor from our showers,
or buildings so bright we steal the stars,
time still goes by
with an unwanted trace of us.
But sometimes we leave something wonderful
like sweet watermelon seeds on a summer day.