Category Archives: Poetry

“A bellow of thunder that…” – Allison Shi ’27

April Spring Poem Writing Competition Finalist!

A bellow of thunder that
Drops to temperatures past
As pearls rain and dance on the ground.
A warm balm of gold
Heats my core,
Wrestling with the
Anguished numb hopeful
Buds sprouting from branches
That curl upon my limbs.
Fleeting, masked by stationary clouds
And cotton dandelions.
Fleeting is the taste of a
Spring of morning glories,
And you,
My spring.

“The Seashells” – Özge Ada Uzman ’27

The seashells gave me my mind
Multicolored and scattered
Twisted and spiraling
Covered in pockmarks
And ever-growing cracks

I became afraid
Afraid someday it would grow as fractured
As the shells beneath my feet
And I didn’t return to the beach for a long time

But if I had stopped to think
Stopped to admire the beauty of the colors
The beauty of the spirals
Stopped to discover the little creature
Who had made a home in this cracked and twisted shell
Stopped to put one to my ear
And listened
I would have known that every shell
No matter how battered
Or broken
Will sing an ocean back to me

“Love Laws” – Audrey Jiang ’25

Found poem, created with The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

Where the love laws lay down who should be loved.
Is it Necessary that people HAVE to love their own children
Most in the World?
And how?
And how much?

The reckless rage of a suicide bomber:
Ammu felt a sudden clutch of love for her son
who had just completed his first adult assignment.
She walked along the platform,
Her walk turning into a run.
Her goodnight kiss left no spit;
A little more her mother loved her.

Where the love laws lay down who should be loved.
And how.
A clear-as-glass kiss, unclouded
that demanded no kiss-back.

The infinite tenderness of motherhood
Sometimes made her want to hurt them–
An education, a protection.
They make people love you a little less–
That’s what careless words do.
Punishments, in exchange for Ammu
Loving her the same as before.

Where the love laws lay down who should be loved.
And how much.
Love had been re-apportioned.

An unmixable mix.
Here, you keep one of them.
I can’t look after them both.

Where the love laws lay down who should be loved,
One blood, thou and I.
And how?
Suspend her children’s childhoods until she could
Afford to have them, take up from where
they left off, start again.
And how much?

“A Collection of Resolutions” – Nina Onest ’25

First Resolution:

I struggle to dislike you.
Contrary to the depths of our intent, I abhor you.
I feel no sense of freedom but a force to be your me.
When I show my affection, you discard it for mine of yours.
At times, I loathe your existence and constrain on me.
My emotions are erased by yours, and I doubt mine.
My thoughts are replaced by yours, and I doubt mine.
My persona is defined by you, and I doubt mine.
Like a doll, I accept it.

What could I ever gain if I gave you up?
For I know it will still be the same
Regardless if I give you up or stay.
But, I trust in mankind far too much.
I hope; together, will we ever find the end?
No, the doll never plays with the girl.
You told me to believe the fault is in me,
I am convinced and forced to shoulder
This bitter feeling with wide embrace and glee.
Truly, there are few good to find in my times of need.

I struggle to dislike you.
I long to express my hate for you.
The Lord said to love everyone.
Yet, never that I could not dislike some.
I long to express my hate,
But a compelling force inside bids me not.
I know better than to risk it all.
Therefore, I am going to do what my heart impels
And cast away this hateful passion,
Choosing for once to accept you as is.

So thus, in the end,
I am just another fool,
Who more than all else
Is just as stubborn and dismissive
As that little demon I let in the lines above
That leads me on to another sin.
The one who drags my affection to hate
When after one small quarrel,
Our hearts descend briefly from one level to another.
I struggle to rise when he pulls me below dislike.
For in truth, my heart wavers, always fickle
While yours restores itself faster,
Quickly returning to affection’s level.
Truly, I am at fault for not realizing sooner.
I am not a doll, but a fool who fails to know herself.
My trust leads me to be easily deceived.
However, as feeble as I may be
In the end, I know
I still love you.
So, I will endure a little while longer
Until this process repeats itself over.

Second Resolution:

Somedays, the air is sweet.
I had cut off the heavy load
And left it behind.
The whole world seemed brighter
Until I looked down at my hands
And saw the thread still there.
As though it had been stitched into my palms,
Deeply engraved into my flesh.
I tried to pull it out, but the pain was too great,
And I feared blood would pour out.
Thus, the thread that had been attached
To the heavy load, dangled from my hands,
Forever reminding me of what I had left behind.
The air felt stifling, and I scoured the area for light
But to no avail.
Had it all been in vain? I wondered.

Why was I the one who had to keep the threads?
I refused to accept the burden as wholly mine,
But, truly, I should be holding much more.
Lying, I cut off the load and left it to those I wronged,
Claiming they had wronged me. I was partly to blame.
To think I had led so many to do unthinkable things.
Words cannot describe the actions they did
Which I had bid on with my own mouth.
Still, I hid my face from them.
I will not forgive them for turning me like this;
Although, I can only imagine how I made them.
Now, despite holding two small threads,
My heart is heavier than before
Do I forgive or ignore,
Continuing to lie and paint a picture of innocence
Across a face so blemished as my own?
All to protect myself from what? Condemnation?
Ashamed, I tried to hide from my own hands.
Guilty, I pleaded my own innocence to those around me.
Yet, the stitches tighten as if sewed again.
My palms burst red and swollen around them.
I feared blood when the pain was worse.
The pain would only persist the longer those threads stay,
Dangling from my corrupted hands.

Those who hear my case find me pure of heart.
They show their affection to me and long to hold onto my hands
As if it will comfort me and cure my sorrow.
They long to hold my hands, my hands with dangling threads.
Likewise, how long will I hold on to my pride?
To what point, will I let this pain persist?
Those who comfort me pull on my threads,
They remind me of my pain, unknowingly.

I looked back at the load I had left behind.
There, the people I had wronged flourished.
They smiled as if the load that had weighed me down
Was pushing them onwards to happiness.
I made the mistake of looking back.
My heart sank to the bottom of my stomach.
Look how my sin made them.
They found no error in my wrongdoings, and
Embraced a new life of misguided happiness.
I refused to do the same even though to God
I had prevaricated my confession, worsening
The load of my sin more than before.

How could two small threads do this to me?
Why couldn’t I forget like they did?
I cried out to the Lord, and rampantly
Tore out the stitches holding the threads in my palms.
Blood gushed out, but I couldn’t feel the pain
Even as the skin split apart, revealing my bare flesh.
On the load, they danced, and on my knees, I cried.
Suddenly, the light came out and the air calmed,
And I realized all was alright again.
But, I couldn’t believe its existence as true.
Had I forgiven myself?
Or, had the world been like this the whole time
And only I was left in darkness?

Everything around me created a beautiful panorama.
A display of the brightest colors and most splendid fragrances.
The kind that everyone adores
And showers with their full admiration,
And yet, I felt out of place.
A hideous mess of blood and flesh amid a great field of tranquility
So close it seemed almost unreal to me.
With all this, for what cause was I punishing myself?
Why did I go on tightening the threads deeper into my hands?
They had all moved on. Those around me had found happiness.
Who would benefit from my torture and mourn this suffering
When I, alone, was left?

I pulled those two small threads,
The threads that had been attached to my heavy load
And the flesh of my palms, fully from my hands
And let the blood stream from my wounds
Down the tips of my fingers into the field encompassing me.
Leaving them as I should have left the heavy load,
I walked on, allowing myself to feel the reality of that panorama.
Each step, the air was more sweet
And the world became brighter.
At last, I could breathe in and feel the light against my skin.
The weight of my shame,
The shame which had wounded my soul,
Fled from my body with each new pulse of life
It took upon itself, giving life to my breath
And ease to the stinging pain of my exposed flesh.
Through that shame’s death, my soul was lifted,
And I, too, had found happiness.

Third Resolution:

“Never wish for time to go faster,
Never wish to go to a time ahead from now.”
My grandmother told me.
It was true and made sense to me why she would say that,
And I sincerely tried to obey it.
But, one day, I wished it to be one day ahead
So that I could be with my dear friend.
What a mistake, indeed.

That one day ahead was worse than the day prior.
By far.
That day we went on a trip.
On the trip, we walked around an old fashioned candy shop.
I was surrounded by the favorite candy of my deceased relative.
I couldn’t breathe, but I had to stay on that trip.
What a mistake, indeed.

Thankfully, we went into an antique bookstore, too,
Where I could hide behind a bookshelf to recollect myself.
I did not want to be the girl who cried
And acted all dramatic around her friends,
As if she needed any special attention.
It takes time.
It takes time not only to move on somewhat
But also to toughen yourself in such a moment like the one
I found myself in.
The deceased said to me: “Be kind no matter what.”

I was used to my one friend’s comment she gave then.
She always looked down on me, and I believed that was
Fine enough. After all, everyone needs to find confidence somewhere.
Her source just happened to be me.
What a mistake, indeed.
But, I knew to be kind to her.

“I can’t find her,” she said.
My dear friend chimed in: “I think she left the store,”
And here is where the other one did her usual spiel:
“Gosh, she always does this when I’m hanging out with other people.
She’s just always so jealous of me.”
Essentially, she always said something like this,
Never did I find anything in it true, however.
But, what did I know about myself?

“Be kind,” he had said.
Yet, my whole body convulsed when my dear friend
Caught me off guard, chiming in again,
This time so passionately as if the thrill of drama suddenly intrigued her.
What she actually went on to say I can’t remember.
Perhaps I had blocked it out for the better.
I suppose in that case I had forgotten about it,
But does that mean I forgave her?
I’m not even so sure.

I do remember as she spoke
That nice book I found there on the shelf.
The book was on traditional Chinese medicine.
I flipped through it. Had it been a different day,
I would have found it more interesting and enjoyable,
But I really had to hold it close to my face to focus.
My dear friend talked on in a low whisper
As if she was afraid of someone overhearing her.
“Be kind,” he had said.

I wish I could not hear
Then I wouldn’t be able to comprehend such whispers.
I wish I could not feel
Then I wouldn’t have to be offended by it all.
Lastly, I wished I couldn’t see.
When I finally came out from behind the bookshelf,
And they had stopped talking for quite some time,
My friends looked surprised at me.
I wish I couldn’t hear
When my dear friend beamed: “I was so worried about you!”
I wish I couldn’t feel
The fake sincerity of her words.
Most of all, I wish I couldn’t see
That dumb smile of hers that I used to find so sweet.

“Be kind,” he had said, “no matter what.”
But, I didn’t want to be.
“I love you so much!” My dear friend said again.
Gosh, she’s so two sided.
For just once, I want to disobey.
What a mistake, indeed.
I should have never disobeyed my grandmother’s advice.
So, I held my dear friend close and said,
“I love you, too.”
Yet, deep down inside, I wanted to strangle her.
I wanted to smack that idiotic smile right off her face
With all its fake sympathy and care.

The rest of the day my heart dragged along behind my body.
I couldn’t understand anything they said to me,
I couldn’t figure out the motives behind their words,
And I certainly couldn’t tell if we felt the same towards each other anymore.
Was it as pure as I originally thought?
Did we really love each other
Or was it something we just said to get by?
Was there as much meaning to our relationship as I had thought?
I didn’t even know what I thought about it before.
At the very least, I now knew what heartbreak was.
However, I wished it was the day before,
When I didn’t know anything at all,
And I innocently dreamt about and passionately loved my dear friend.
It was too late to go back.
Time can’t go backwards no matter how hard you try.
I wept bitterly that night at what felt like my betrayal.

Alas, I became the girl who cried and acted dramatically
As if she needed any special attention.
My cycle of grief began; I no longer trusted my dear friend.
Yet, as my deceased relative had said,
“Be kind to everyone. No matter what they do to you.”
Those words were the only thing I felt comforted by that dull night.
So, the next day, when I saw my dear friend,
And she blinded me with that dumb smile of hers,
I let my damaged heart, which was weighed down with sorrow,
Overflow with passion for her again.

I knew it would take time.
It would take time not only for me to fully forgive her
But also to be able to depend on her once again.
Until then, I knew one thing was true,
I was going to love her (with everything I could).
Without any mistakes, I hope we’ll enjoy our time right now
Ever so slowly.
Then, we may not even notice
When that time arrives.

“Spring Rain” – Rhyley Bendel ’26

April Spring Poem Writing Competition Winner!

Another Wednesday I wake before the sun
Battered rooftops, the wind a gentle hush
The rain is on the same schedule too

Through the window, brake lights glare
Blinding in the dampened shadow
Of this newborn day

Umbrella in hand I’m prepared to brave
The sweet, fresh artillery
Of the pouring rain

A moment too soon I step out the door
My umbrella not up, my head exposed
To innocent threat I somehow created

How silly of me to have such apprehension
What story I created of beastly conditions
Why must I always fear my reality?

Soft and light, a sprinkle of rebirth
A tender chill on the first warm morning
Welcoming me into the earth

Manipulated by custom I open my umbrella
Head dry, ankles glossed
I return to artificial comfort

Safe inside, a droplet lingers
An intense sensation I cannot quite escape
My skin is dry.

Through the window brake lights blush
Barely detectable through the fractured light
Of this so called day

I embrace the world once again
Crystal blue skies welcome me now
How regretful it is to miss the first spring rain

“Two roads converged…” – Hari Viswanathan ’24

Two roads converged in that familiar wood
And sighing, I did not travel both,
Now at destination’s end I stood
Once yellow, now green would
Nature spur my wonder in its growth;

I watched into a stream a petal downward soared,
Ripples flowing outwards from its bed
While trials I had endured
Earning toughened soles, a home unmoored
Now pondering the journey for months I led

And knowing those roads lead to identical place
Imagining comfort in that more laden track
The petal raced down with frustrating pace
As thoughts, regrets, and memories about that race
Like I, found strength in waves of black

In spring’s embrace, rebirth seemed to die
Whether naivety, optimism, or ignorance
Two roads converged in a green wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And I wondered—if it has made a difference.

“Spring has Come to Me” – Sissi Zhu ’26

April Spring Poem Writing Competition Third Place!

Spring is coming
The soil loosing,
The snow is melting,
Spring has come to me.

Spring is the season to be buried.
The soil not too hard to dig into.
The snow won’t cover the traces,
Of someone who had once been
Waiting for spring to come.

Spring is perfect for erecting a grave.
The overturned soil will be overturned some more,
Covering all traces of someone entering the undergrowth.
The snow becomes white petals from dogwood trees,
Slowly decorating the headstone,
Celebrating the coming of spring.

Spring started with weeping,
The soil swallowed the bitter tears
The snow has long melted
Spring has come to me.

“In Chthonic grave…” – Anonymous ’27

April Spring Poem Writing Competition Second Place!

In Chthonic grave lies the ever-wilted bloom
Smothered by Aquilo, the harsh Arctic Wind
whose breath does make the great fertile forest skinned
And Terra does he, without mercy, entomb.
Prosperina, too is imprisoned alone
Trapped by Pluton, callous, coldhearted husband.
Queen, crowned with iridescent flower garland
locked in birdcage; masked as a hideous crone.
Yet when Sol shines upon the antique land,
lush young seed replaces the old withered wheat.
When sweet rains fall by heaven’s command,
And when farmers reap their sweet ruby beets;
And As Prosperina leaves her cage so grand,
The whole wide world is merry once again.

“Winds of Spring” – Faaris Kamal ’26

The winds silent
I open a newspaper with a cup of chai
the orange kitten rises in a chariot of flames
The once-forgotten seedling stirs once again

The winds whistling
I gaze out my window looking at the swaying grass
The orange kitten jumps on the windowsill
Bears awaken leaving behind the bliss of sleep

The winds howling
I sit on the deck as I drink my tea
The orange kitten drooping toward the horizon
Rabbits scurry away hurriedly

The winds screaming
The syncopated rhythm of the shutters keeps me awake
The orange cat calmly sleeping, ignorant
Trees adorn themselves with beautiful hues

“When the Wolves Refuse to Howl, Yowl, and Bark” – Clarke Wickland ’26

When the wolves refuse to howl yowl and bark,
When the trees stop stretching for star and sky,
Does the moon turn her head, shameful to mark
The night? Is the moon scared to even try?

As the stars darken, is all her worth gone?
As the moon changes face, does she regret?
You will reach sin, said Fate. At dusk or dawn?
Is wasted potential a constant threat?

I wonder, too, if the moon gets lonely
When no longer seen as one-and-only.