Message in a Bottle
Poetry Contest Winners!

Poetry ContestIn honor of National Poetry Month, we sponsored a poetry contest (along with the Mercer Island Arts Council) on the theme of “What I Can Touch” that ran all April long. We received emails and took submissions over the counter throughout the month, and now that May is here, we’re ready to announce the winners and share their work.

Without further ado … .

The Children’s Winners: 

K through 3rd grade: Luca Palermo, Grade 2, for “Shoes”

4th & 5th grade: Gregory Larrabee, Grade 5, for “The Straight Blade Razor”

Middle & high school: Paulina Glass, for “Touching Tension”

The Adult Winners:

Limerick: Werner Glass, for “Whoever among the literati sits”

Haiku: Charlie Neff, for “Touch the Mountain Wind”

Congratulations to our winners. Below are the poems in their entirety. Enjoy!


"Shoes" by Luca Palermo

Are like
They shelter
Your feet
And arrive
In a box,
Get shipped
To different
You can run
With shoes
At different
But the mileage
On each shoe

"The Straight Blade Razor" by Gregory Larrabee

A light, mottled ten hilt with a cracked and broken blade,
Each every morning my great grandfather would use this blade,
Carefully and slowly at the crack of dawn,
His only moment to think
would come.
Around the sod hut on the prairie work is endless.
Watching his sleeping family in the tiny hut
ready to begin work, he steps outside
to plan his rows of plants.
After a long, grueling and shadeless, day plowing and planting,
he climbs into bed and thinks once more about that moment of peace.
Holding that knife I think back on those days
And the stories of my Dad’s grandpa
Told to me on long nights
Before bed.
This blade,
more valuable to me than anything else,
The only object that connects me
to the grandfather I never met.

"Touching Tension" by Paulina Glass

I’ve got too much lip
white teeth tongue flick
enamels like stilettos click
voice dip sly smirk quick.

You’ve got two green eyes
sarcastically bide time
eyelashes intertwine and fly
crinkled corners convey no lies.

I jab my thumbs in my pockets
your fingers fiddle with your wallet
nervous noise makes tactless rackets
betrayed by old anxious habits.

The war dance flip acrobatic
too thought through not automatic
all efforts to speak flow not spastic
flighting flashlight search avoid the tragic.

Curled lip hiccup surprise chuckle
green eyes search mine and knuckles skim knuckles
slowly I drift into the weightless peace that consumes me and I escape the binds of loose rhyme
or staccato words that all beat in time and it feels like instead of snapping the words off the whip of my lips
I can let them respire, never sputter or spit, tumbling and spilling from the smile place within the whites.
Playing duckling to the easy current which weaves between us.

"Whoever among the literati sits" by Werner Glass

Whoever among the literati sits
And then a limerick commits,
Should touch no quill
For good nor ill
But tear his poem into little bits.

"Touch the Mountain Wind" by Charles Neff

Touch the mountain wind
Swirling, too, round dear ones below
Breathe deep love touches me.


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