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April Poems - 2012

1st Place: tie

Title: The Poet by Christian Birsching

Title: Exodus 3:14 by Andrew Gerlach

2nd Place:

Title: A Yarn by Becca Rehberger

Submitted Entries:

The man walks forth in one direction Chocolate-coloured Sky An Early August Race
Lines composed a few feet
below a roof most likely stolen
from Tintern Abbey
Flower of Death, Flower of Hope The Bag of Many Things
A Valentine for a Friend Spring of Hope Alone, Apart
Elementary Perspectives Feed, Lead and Gather Summer in its 30s
The Strongest Ever Made Chocolate Pudding Your Father

 


The Poet

by Christian Birsching

The poet is a thinker,
His mind with musings fraught.
His silence is the deep, cool well
that holds profoundest thought.

The poet is a viewer
And now and then he gains
A glimpse of beauty where it lies
In grand things and in plain.

The poet is a dreamer
Who glimpses an ideal
And chases it beyond the fold
As if that dream was real.

The poet is an artist
And skillfully combines
His thoughts and views and dreams to make
A picture made of lines.

Original writing courtesy of Christian Birsching. Copyright © 2012 Christian Birsching. All rights reserved.


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Exodus 3:14

by Andrew Gerlach

Today, when I was reading Exodus,
I forgot that it’s not Times New Roman,
not 12 point font, neat and innocuous.
Not just words, cleanly aligned and typewritten.
So I was startled to see the smoldering
embers of three letters no longer there
and only black charred borders, flickering
with quiet crackle and soft, glowing glare.
I can see they’ve scorched their way clean through
the page and burned through chapters two and one
of Exodus, through Genesis and through
desk and cold floor and Summit’s foundation.
Peering down, I look into their fiery path.
They’ve fallen flaming through the crust and mantle,
Two burning, blazing words of love or wrath,
12 point letters of the truth eternal.
For me from Exodus to Bethlehem,
Shielding my eyes I see them— I A M

Original writing courtesy of Andrew Gerlach. Copyright © 2012 Andrew Gerlach. All rights reserved.


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A Yarn

by Becca Rehberger

The afternoon was beginning to wane,
But still no thinning of the pouring rain;
As I stared out to the cold, wet gray,
Josh had to show me what he did today.
He held up a drawing, a scribbly blob,
And gravely informed me it was Uncle Bob:
“He’s gone to the moon in a flying car,
He’s been on TV to play his guitar,
He’s a cowboy, a ninja, and a pirate, too,
He can turn his hair green and make his skin blue,
And can make any candy come out of thin air,
He’s ridden a T-Rex and tackled a bear,
He loves to come to preschool with me,
And also he’s Batman and Chef Boyardee…”

Though Uncle Bob’s been away for a year,
I think he’d have laughed if he’d been here.
For this Uncle Bob I only know
‘Cause my little brother had told me so!

Original writing courtesy of Becca Rehberger. Copyright © 2012 Becca Rehberger. All rights reserved.


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Chocolate Pudding
by Tom Gorzalski

Dark Black and Brown,
Repulsive by appearance.
Concealed flavor and substance
Held together by coherence.

Two ingredients, milk and pudding-mix.
Take mother and father, new life exists.

Not enough servings in one plastic cup.
Not enough meaningfulness in one plastic life.

Stuck in a hard habit,
Goo sticks to the sides.
Remove your tastelessness and
Discover a chocolaty surprise!

 Original writing courtesy of Tom Gorzalski. Copyright © 2012 Tom Gorzalski. All rights reserved.


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The Bag of Many Things
by Brooke King

Take upon your shoulder a bag of many things
and haul it along the sandy path that leads to almost nothing
Following in the footsteps you thought you’d never take
of the brave in your country who are blessed upon their graves
And as you go down farther, your footsteps start to drag
so you stop in the dusty heat to empty part of your bag
First comes out your homeland, a place you’d never leave
but on this journey it must go, it is something you cannot keep
So you gather up your things and continue on your way
hoping someone might soon pass and find your treasure that lay
You gaze ahead to see what’s afar, something that’s in view
and to your surprise you find a guy who’s dropped his homeland too
Growing weary from your travels, you’d like to take a rest
but if you stop you’ll fall behind, so to continue would be best
You drop your bag once again to lighten up your load
and say goodbye to the friends you once knew back at home
So you take upon your shoulder a bag of fewer things
and continue down the gravel road to see what else it brings
Carrying on you pass someone who has been left behind
it appears to be a family friend left by a soldier gone by
Underneath your feet the gravel starts to turn
and it’s hard to keep your balance with the weight that you discern
Releasing your bag uneasily to see what’s left inside
you sacrifice the home you built for your kids and wife
The path is getting perilous; it would no longer serve a point
you leave it behind for someone to find and make it his to appoint
Pushing forth you find the road has turned to jagged rock
but it’s a road you must continue to serve those on your block
Casting your eyes upward, you see a house evanescent
it’s hard to bare but you understand why a man had left it
Growing weary once again, you’re faced with a hard decision
but you have to leave your family behind to continue on your mission
Anguish comes heavily, groping at your throat
you must not fail your countrymen, despite what you undergo
Leaping from ledge to ledge, a casualty if you fall
and glancing down you discover a male with no such luck at all
Taking a seat on the ledge you peer into your sack
for if you don’t take something out you will surely fall back
You withdraw from your sack the last of what is left
the relationships you have gained when new people you have met
Quivering and shaken, it’s the last thing you must do
coming near to the end, your mission is almost through
You’ve passed what has seemed the worse and have nothing left to fear
until you notice in the distance there is a soldier near
“Turn back!” he cries, “and pick up the things you’ve lost
For there is no reason to lose all of that if this may be the cost
Look to the fore and examine what you see
These men have given everything and look where they may be
sunken in the quicksand with nothing but a sack
How can you recognize them with nothing to bring them back?
no homeland or friends or a home of their own
no family or love, just forsaken and alone
All that’s left is a name upon their boot
which has sunken in the quicksand to be the government’s loot”
So you turn back and risk your life, saving what you had once more
for why would you want to risk your life just for the sake of war?

 Original writing courtesy of Brooke King. Copyright © 2012 Brooke King. All rights reserved.


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A Valentine for a Friend
by Amelia Flunker

Valentine’s Day reminds me
How meaningful my feelings are for you.
You have a special place in my world
That no one else could fill.
Out of your overflowing heart,
You add color and light to my life.
You continually cross my mind,
Like a precious dose of sunshine,
Lighting me up inside--
As I think of you
And the lasting memories
We have created together.
No Valentine gift
Is as precious to me
As you are.

 Original writing courtesy of Amelia Flunker. Copyright © 2012 Amelia Flunker. All rights reserved.


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Your Father
by Katelyn Tousey

I used to be your solid rock,
And on me your gaze would lock.
And now you walk away
Without so much a word to say.

Now when I come near,
I am what you truly fear.
My dearest child please take my hand,
Come to your Father's land.

My words meet the wall you built,
Made out of sin, pain and guilt,
To you nothing gets through.
If you only knew what I knew.

As you grow old my dearest one,
It is you, everyone will shun.
Sick of your sinful ways
Thus, you cannot see heaven's rays.

Come back to me child, I pray
So I can protect you every day.
Pray to me in your time of need,
Look into my Word and please take heed.

 Original writing courtesy of Katelyn Tousey. Copyright © 2012 Katelyn Tousey. All rights reserved.


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Alone, Apart
by Paul Hoversten

You are not dizzy, you are not spinning,
you are still.
Let the whole world move and shake,
let it twist and crumble but you are here.
You are with me and our bodies are still.
For just a moment
we are alone, apart.
Cling to me.

Time is so cruel but for this moment it is ours
to stretch and twist and mangle.
For this moment we exist alone, apart
from time, from space, from earth.
Just don't lose your grip on me.

There are cavities in the air where our bodies have been.
No one will know we've gone. We are alone, apart,
and this moment is just a moment,
or perhaps it is forever.
Would you stay with me forever this way?
You have never believed in a thing like this
but here you are.
Gripping my shoulders between your fingers,
breathing into my neck,
what you have believed has no bearing on where you are.
Alone, apart.
Would you stay with me forever this way?
There are cavities in the air where our bodies have been.

Your fingers are not getting colder,
you are warm.
Blood is swimming through your veins.
You are warm and you are safe.
Quiet. Still.
You and I are quiet and still, together.
Alone, apart.
Anchor yourself to me.

Your eyes are not glazing over,
they are vibrant.
They are bright blue and they glisten.
You are awake and you can see me,
you can see my face.
You and I are awake together,
drenching each other in light.

We are quiet and still and I am pouring images into your brain.
Images of my hands, trembling, reaching for your face.
In burning love and crippling fear,
in passion, in purity.
Your lips are scorching.
Our muscles and bones melt together,
our bodies are indistinguishable.
For a moment we are molten flesh,
alone, apart from the world.
We abandon time and space
and there are cavities in the air where our bodies have been.

We are quiet and still and I am pouring images into your brain.
Images of your hand around my fingers squeezing, crushing.
You are filled with drugs and you don't know,
just that you can't do it, you can't.
You writhe and you scream
and when everything has gone black,
I am holding a tiny baby boy.
Your eyes brighten and sharpen and you realize
this is your child.
Your son.
Our son.
He is wrapped tightly in your arms and you have never been so close to me.

I have waited all my life
to be suspended with you, clinging to you.
To be hanging indefinitely between time and space,
only with you,
to escape the shrieking prophets,
to break free of gravity's suffocating grip.
To live, to stay with you,
alone, apart, in this unending moment.
To cling to you.
To find eternity with you.

But you have not been waiting.
You have embraced the shrieking prophets,
you have knelt and bowed to gravity
to find me.
To love me.
You have not been waiting to cling to me.
This is not your moment of eternity,
but your point of departure.

Your fingers get colder.
Blood reels listlessly through your veins.
You cannot grip me tightly,
you are slipping.
Your eyes are glazing,
the color is fading.
They are dull blue
and dry,
the light has escaped them.
The muscles in your fingers,
in your hands,
in your arms
relax.
You are
short of
breath.
My shoulders feel
naked
without your grip.

Rushing wind floods
our ears,
Colors attack
our eyes.
Falling.
Our bodies are contorted
as they collide with the earth
and fill the cavities they left.
We both crash but only one of us survives the fall.

 Original writing courtesy of Paul Hoversten. Copyright © 2012 Paul Hoversten. All rights reserved.


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The Strongest Ever Made
by Alexander G. Meyer

20 miles a day, with you it goes 30.
You make me go into overhaul.
The bridge is down for you and you alone,
I drive this truck to you without stall.

The sprinkler whirls and does not stop at sight
Of the beauty, it washes upon,
The flowers its sprays, its valve skips,
For she is more fair than any lawn.

This tennis ball for thee,
It is indeed for you to use.
Though hard it is for most to pump,
It flexes with ease my dear muse.

Now shatter this not like a glass rose,
Take care of it if though pristine,
And if I be so lucky to ever have
Yours, I treasure it if though a trophy to be seen.

To you I give this, the ultimate gift.
Just don’t treat it as from a shop of thrift.

 Original writing courtesy of Alexander G. Meyer . Copyright © 2012 Alexander G. Meyer . All rights reserved.


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Summer in its 30s
by Angela Horneber

He wasn't stale like Winter's breath.
He wasn't naive as Spring's
dreams,
not disintegrating like Autumn's light
before our eyes.

Varnished Summer.
Far gone from the cold months' stripey shadows, we'll
find green and gold like the
leprechaun pot of treasure at the end of Spring's
newborn rainbow.

Giddy, then ambitious, planning planning
planning.
Planning.
He is still younger than infirm Fall
writing its last will and testament in chill
drafts and dirt from dying things.
Find him steamy and sticky,
clutching like cling-wrap at your sides,
enveloping frost-bitten organs--never to thaw,
but kept in check for a blissful drunken season.

Drunken like the clouds,
like the spirit of holiday. The Varnish
cheering and mature as aged wine
undampened by rain unscorched
by lightning.

Found: more bright than starry-eyed city snow,
more vivid and robust than
deep, falling, desperate insomniac Autumn and
wise, selfless, self-assured... everything
Spring looks up to, aspires to be

Found: a lost breed of middle-age.

 Original writing courtesy of Angela Horneber . Copyright © 2012 Angela Horneber . All rights reserved.


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An Early August Race
by Nathan Schulte

Oh, what a glorious day for a run
on the sunny La Valle hill of fun.

Today was the “Up the Hill, Down the Hill” race.
The date is perfect for a tuning pace.
It occurs the first August Saturday.
This is the first sign if my training will pay,
The Cross Country Season is looming near,
Will it be one of joy or of a tear?

Oh, what a glorious day for a run
on the sunny La Valle hill of fun.

In this small local race, I have run much,
but this one is different by a bunch.
For my very own sister is running too!
I am glad Sarah laced up her running shoe,
for we are quite a running pair,
now that she also runs from here to there.

Oh, what a glorious day for a run
on the sunny La Valle hill of fun.

The race commenced at quarter to nine.
I do hope that my right leg will be fine.
(A side note is that six runners were there
who won it before—so it will be fair.)
Well, true to its name, the hill soon became
a terrifying beast, a lion to tame.

Oh, what a glorious day for a run
on the sunny La Valle hill of fun.

Where was I in the midst of this battle?
I cruised up, hoofing it like cattle.
Big names were there—Harms, Schenke, and one more. . .
Orange, gray shirt—I’d never seen him before.
But not to worry. I had nothing to fear,
for he leapt far ahead just like a deer.

Oh, what a glorious day for a run
on the sunny La Valle hill of fun.


A quick left turn and down the hill we go.
A mile point five left, I hope I don’t slow.
How I did not slip on the pea gravel
I do not know, but I had to travel
because on my heel was a rapid man
whom I heard until the very last span.

Oh, what a glorious day for a run
on the sunny La Valle hill of fun.

The final third is on a railroad bed.
Here is where you want to surge far ahead.
But, contrary to want, most simply try
to keep what they have so they do not cry.
But tears are gone when they round the last turn
as they realize the triumph in their return.

Oh, what a glorious day for a run
on the sunny La Valle hill of fun.

And so my race ended as it had begun.
I wasn’t even sad that I had not won
for I had fared well on that round hill.
Yes, I know quite well I would do it still
for this year was much better than the last.
A minute faster and did not get passed!

Oh, what a glorious day for a run
on the sunny La Valle hill of fun.

 Original writing courtesy of Nathan Schulte . Copyright © 2012 Nathan Schulte . All rights reserved.


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Flower of Death, Flower of Hope
by Caleb Birsching

A flower has faded, much too young
And trampled underfoot,
Lies broken on the ground.
Although we see the flower not
We know that it blooms anew
In heaven, where it glows with strength
Far brighter than before.
It glows with vibrant energy
And radiancy so pure:
Letting all who know it
That its hope is sure:
That Death does not destroy,
Merely transplanted the flower be,
Where it shines in glory

For all eternity.

 Original writing courtesy of Caleb Birsching . Copyright © 2012 Caleb Birsching . All rights reserved.


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Elementary Perspectives
by Christian Birsching

Though strange it seems initially that flames should choose to house
Beside the water foreign, reside where may be doused
And, likewise, water settle where fire may make it steam
They complement each other despite supposed extremes.
Oft' they've met to heat a meal or bath where someone sat.
And what have you to say, good sir, yes, what to say to that?

Though flaring flame and water aid each other I do suppose,
They are, they will, forever be inherently opposed.
Water laid upon a fire quick the fire slays
While fire brought to water in time the water steams away.
Their unity needs barrier or else they will combat.
That’s what I have to say, good sir, yes, what to say to that.

  Original writing courtesy of Christian Birsching . Copyright © 2012 Christian Birsching . All rights reserved.


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Chocolate-coloured Sky
by Angela Horneber

the past projects stories through colours
green bottle-glass ground to chalky grey dust
under a scarlet heel, into the dandelion yellow
pavement the same colour as her dress. green like
his eyes, grey like his skin, scarlet like...
it was supposed to be blue.

there was a chocolate-coloured sky only twice
in his life, when he let out his first infant squawk--
baby think of the colours. tell me about the colours.
the sounds will worry about themselves.

it clashed terribly with the orange flames, her
pink skirt and ashen hair. their promises were
silver and daisy white, clasping hands with
petal-soft skin.--baby look at the colours
here a patchwork quilt, a stained glass
a rainbow with the paint running
and blending and fusing like oil slick.

his favourite shirt looked like wallpaper
she dressed the colour of music the third time
the sky melted into a chocolate colour and
her lips tasted like sand.

--baby

pale purple flowers. she only saw the flowers
that smelled like lilacs. they didn’t mask
the other scents. they tasted like ash
felt like wax--please baby--and

dead.

  Original writing courtesy of Angela Horneber . Copyright © 2012 Angela Horneber . All rights reserved.


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Lines composed a few feet below a roof most likely stolen from Tintern Abbey
by Andrew Gerlach

The air is heavy, sweet, and ancient—
the kind of scent that hits you in the face
after you’ve descended a flight of rough-hewn stone steps
to some buried Iberian library where you
peel apart the pages of volume III
of Turkish Naval Maneuvers in the 12th century.

All is silent as Stonehenge except for
The organ’s deep, steady inhalations
which send tremors through the antiquated air,
shaking the floorboards at my feet.
On closer inspection I see
the mottled earth-brown knots here, there
and assume they were donated by some Gallic
lumberjack who split wood in the Black Forest in 500 AD.

Coldplay wafts his way through the floorboards
from the practice room below
and stands with a nonchalant, 21st century smirk.
The chipped white plaster walls (at least from the
1920s) are indignant; they beseech the organ—
a Bach prelude, a Buxtehude fugue.
The sheen on the organ’s ivory eyes wavers, wishes . . .
but no one comes up here anymore.

The stained glass has her back turned; you only see
her smooth pastel locks of amber orange, marble red.
She wishes I would leave and turn off
the fluorescence suspended over the room.

The bare organ bench is so worn, I suppose
the bottom of Bach himself might have sat there.

As I observe the broken clock ticking,
undecided between the 34th and 35th second of 6:52,
Ben Folds, that bum, slips between the
cracking, lacquered floorboards
(probably pilfered from some 17th century Versailles ballroom)
past my anachronistic New Balance tennis shoes.

  Original writing courtesy of Andrew Gerlach . Copyright © 2012 Andrew Gerlach . All rights reserved.


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The man walks forth in one direction
by Alexander G. Meyer

The man walks forth in one direction,
The way that he was told to steer.
The ones in charge had said, “Don’t fear,
And face the way of your reflection.”

He did as told and made correction,
And went the way although unclear,
In which the wise had said that year.
But His own way, he sent rejection.

He went on and did contemplate,
What he was doing and had to do.
And through these thoughts began to rue,
The choice that would decide his fate.

And in the end the way he went,
He did resent the choice and say,
“I should have gone the best way.”
And every word he said was meant.

  Original writing courtesy of Alexander G. Meyer . Copyright © 2012 Alexander G. Meyer . All rights reserved.


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Feed, Lead and Gather by Katelyn Tousey

A shepherd's responsibility is quite great
and the Good Shepherd has that trait.
He tends his sheep with greatest care,
and leads them to the valleys rare;
beside still waters He gathers them all,
even finding them when they fall.
His love beyond compare,
question it we do not dare.
Every day He gives His beloved all they need,
we are the sheep He gathers and feeds,
the same sheep He always leads.

 Original writing courtesy of Katelyn Tousey . Copyright © 2012 Katelyn Tousey . All rights reserved.


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Spring of Hope
by Caleb Birsching

A field of flowers fills the plain,
Each one different, no two the same.
This is the field called Hopes and Dreams,
And each flower is a token of youth which springs
From imagination and fond ambition.
But Time passes and the flowers fall one by one
As by Reality and Maturity they are overrun.
That merciless winter brutally slays
Everything that was young and green.
What a sad, depressing scene!

But after Winter comes the Spring;
The snow melts, new flowers bloom
As new dreams replace the fallen ones
While some hopes you thought were dead,
Prove to be perennial instead.
If the Winter of Despair
Touched not, the Field of Hopes and Dreams
Then the Spring of Hope,
Insignificant would seem.

 Original writing courtesy of Caleb Birsching . Copyright © 2012 Caleb Birsching . All rights reserved.

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