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The Quill

NEHS Poetry Contest: Top 3 Poems

The National English Honor Society recently held their annual poetry contest. The theme for this year was Folktale, and the top three poems have been revealed! Seniors Julia Lucid and Gregory Palma took first and second place, respectively, and junior Rosanny Camilo took third. Here are their poems!

Julia Lucid: 1st Place, “Unkempt”

I stare across at the sea 

And watch the waves unkempt hair 

I stare silently at it’s knots and tangles

At the shore of the beach.

Where the people beg to play

Only to get crashed by her hair once more

Retreating back to the shore

Where they will be safe and free

From her unkempt hair.

I stare down at the grass that wraps around my feet

Looking down at the little green soldiers 

who stand in a straight stiff line

Never twitching a hair

Out of fear of being noticed

I turn up at the sky 

And gaze at the little houses that are placed upon the clouds

They are made of silver and gold 

And shimmer like a thousand diamonds 

I wonder to myself if they know there’s a world down here 

A world that doesn’t even know they exist

But that is always my mindset

So I turn and walk away 

Away from the waves with the unkempt hair

Past the soldiers who stand in stiff straight lines 

who quietly crumple underneath my feet

Away from the clouds filled with kingdoms of old

Because I know they would like to be hidden 

Away from the world and away from the people

Because from what I have seen

It is better if they lay unkempt

Gregory Palma: 2nd Place, “The Struggling Boy”

the struggling boy had a necklace

that his father gave him while dying

he told him to take an offer

from the pawn shop, the jewelry store, and the collector

so he set out, crying.


the pawn shop owner sported a dusty old jacket

with a cigar in his mouth

he fidgeted with the necklace

then offered fifty, not a penny more

so the boy walked out the door.


then at the jewelry store

the lady took her magnifying glass

and examined the piece closely

then offered five hundred, not a dollar more

so the boy walked out the door.


the boy meets with the collector

who takes one look at the jewel

he marvels

eyes, fixated on the beauty

so much so that he nearly drools.


he tells the boy,


do you know what this is worth?

then offered five hundred grand

so the boy stuck out his hand.


the boy rushed back to his father

and showed him his new bank account

though proud

he didn’t seem to care

as the money was not what this was about.


as he lay dying, the father told the boy

to always remember one bit

your value

does not diminish

just because some people cannot see it.

Rosanny Camilo: 3rd Place, “Whimsical Ripples Into Reality”

Whether it were told by a parent or teacher, they carry on a

Faint yet everlasting whisper of the past

Presented to you in the form of a dreamy tale

Filled with dark and eerie themes that would have made 

You wished you had never asked

Timeless stories capturing the essence of a particular region

With underlying morals of life that come together

showing a sense of cohesion

As a listener, the silly and whimsical characters draw you in

But don’t be fooled by the trickery and sin that lies within

With a simple flip of a page

You become nothing but engaged

A girl who’s fantasy must end at the strike of a bell

At the bite of a savory apple, another fell under an enchanting spell

The sly and cunning wolf lured the girl hooded in red

All while another lied beautifully for an eternal sleep on her lavish bed

A mysterious gnome-like figure willing to spin straw to gold

A house of candy galore owned by a witch both deceitful and old

One who sacrificed her ability to sing for a pair of legs

A brave boy made his way up the neverending beanstalk

With a mission to capture an assortment of golden eggs

Ultimate access to free porridge and a place to rest

An innocent daughter taken hostage with the invite of a beastly

Creature to be his guest

The prompt of one girl to let down her luxurious, lengthy hair

Despite all odds, the tortoise breezed past the hare with visible air

A boy whose last cry held onto notes of sincerity and truth

The third pig’s intelligent plan allowing them all to live past their youth

In these layers of folk tales, truths are spun and told

Lessons hidden within each story, both ageless and old

So, as we turn the pages of these tales, we find

A mirror of our lives, a peering window into our minds

For in the whimsy and magic, lies wisdom untold

In the layers of the narrations themselves, real ideas unfold

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