Students explore serious themes in library poetry contest
The top poems in this year’s Friends of the Waccamaw Library contest have a more serious tone than in year’s past.
Cathy Filiatreau, the nonprofit’s poetry chairman, said that is a reflection of students who spent the last year dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and all the challenges that came with it.
This was the 12th year for the contest, which attracted 71 entries from middle schoolers on the Waccamaw Neck. The five top poets are all students in Elizabeth Intrieri’s class at Waccamaw Middle.
“That Night,” by Taryn Yonker, tackles the subject of sexual assault. Taryn added a note at the end of the poem to let the judges know that she was not in a “bad mental state,” she just wanted to spread awareness.
“All my friends are asking me if I’m OK and they take it really seriously and that makes me happy that makes me realize that they’re focusing on it and people might start taking the topic more seriously,” Taryn said.
Hope Joyce wrote “Everlasting Change” to encourage people to just be themselves.
“I was thinking about how there’s a lot of hate in the world and how some people change themselves for others,” Hope said. “They shouldn’t do it. They should love themselves.”
Stella Eubanks, who is a dancer, thought about the feeling she has right before she goes on stage to perform when she wrote “Anticipation.”
Jacob Hancock put some “random thoughts” on paper and came up with “Life to Death.” He said winning the contest was a good thing, especially when he found out he wouldn’t have to read his poem out loud in front of people.
Steven Paris didn’t think his poem, “America,” was very good, so he was excited when he found out he won.
Social studies is Taryn, Steven and Hope’s favorite subject in school.
“I like that you get to learn about past events and people and how we’ve improved from that time,” Hope said.
“I think it’s cool to learn about history and the things they had that we don’t have now and the things we have now that they didn’t have than,” Steven said. “How things have adapted.”
Jacob’s favorite subject is math. Stella likes English.
Taryn, Hope, Jacob, Stella and Stevie each received $50, a book of poetry and a journal.
Everyone changes | Hope Joyce
Change happens everyday
Human nature will continue to change
But what gives you the right to change for someone else
Overtime people change to fit the status quo
Change themselves to please others
Convince themselves it was for the better
But was it?
Do you feel better now that you changed to fit another person’s perspective
Do you feel ashamed of the real you
You shouldn’t, so don’t
What gives other people the right to tell you how to live
Live for yourself not others
If you continue to change for others
One day you will look in the mirror and won’t recognize your own self
Don’t change for others
You are yourself, I am me
Sometimes that’s all we can ever be
Anticipation | Stella Eubanks
The cables have come undone,
Signals are lost
I feel the transmissions from across the landscape
But no one is receiving
While the winds whip
And the trees cover their heads
I stand; The hope
That everything will be ok
Once the storm passes
Here I am, standing still
When the sound pulses and thrums,
Everything outside becomes silent and serene.
There is only flash and current:
And in that instant lightning polarizes every vein.
I am here
Life to Death | Jacob Hancock
From life to death
From death to dust
Everything fades into nothing
Nothing changes to everything
Try as one might
The cycle is endless
There is a price on everything
What is the cost to live
What is the cost to die
There is a price on everything
But is the price high
How many eyes are watching
How many laws are broken without justice
How many truths are buried under a mountain of lies
How many questions are never answered
What do you do to escape reality
What False fantasies take your mind
We may believe our own lies
But what is truth
And what is lie
America | Steven Paris
Birthed from the flame of revolution
twelve score and four years ago,
great peacemaker of the west–
in one hand she holds aloft the torch of freedom and
in the other the scales of justice.
Those who dare oppose her, now lay below the crashing waves;
countless brutal wars has she fought.
Though her dark past is dominated by inequality,
in her future lies a world of equality.
For the tide has turned;
we have awoken.
The blindfold of ignorance has fallen
on this new freedom.
That Night | Taryn Yonker
I never said yes
But I never said no
I wasn’t even in control
That night took me as a whole
When it happened I lost my soul
Tears were streaming from my eyes
I had no control no matter how hard I tried
Now can’t look him in the face
When I do I feel disgrace
That night hurt
But I keep going and wear the same skirt
Am I wrong to question who’s fault
Or do I just continue to feel halted
I never said yes
I never said no
But in the end the question stands
Did I have control?
* This poem was written to spread awareness on rape and sexual assault. In no way am I in a bad mental state.