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Earth Day Poetry Contest

WVC holds an annual poetry contest every April in recognition of Earth Day and Poetry Month.

2022 Contest Winner

Breathing Grasses

by Eva Christine

Tall grass breathes peaceful
prayer sings in the clouded sky
Dusk falls in silence

Swinging back and forth
Daises and weeds between toes
Belonging lives here

Lemonade taste sweet
Upon her tongue and sizzles
Down her throat, she sings

With gazing eyes, love
Dawn became more clear today
Gentleness lies here


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)

Libertad: Freedom

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,

a forest,

the waterfront,

a school,

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.