Poetry 99 kids winners

Photo By Meredith J. Cooper

First place


When you die and are laid onto an earthy mattress can you feel soft pressures of loved ones’ feet, leaving gifts, love, and tears?
Smell the sweet scents of their life, breath and flowers spread across your dirt?
Can you blame them after years of loyalty; that they forgot your birthday?
Can you be upset when they grasp the sharp hook of reality and move on?
Will you be able to move on; let them go?
Let the last lifeless tears fall down boney cheeks and move on with death.
If you could breathe, you’d be sighing with relief.

Megan Sousa, age 12

Megan is a seventh-grader at Hooker Oak School. She wrote this poem as part of a project for class—a thought book—which sparked the idea.

Second place

The Bird King

Photo By Meredith J. Cooper

He majestically stands on his branch
A cool breeze blows against his feathers
Ruffling them
His beak is tilted open
The kingly bird’s eye are blank dreaming
Gazing at his jungle palace
A curtain of leaves surrounding him
A coat of colors on top of the tree king
Polished claws clutching to his perch
Suddenly he stretches his humongous wings
His beak opens wide silently yawning
Then back to his statue pose

Ella Shapiro, age 8
<o>Ella, a student at Chico’s Montessori school, recently won a coloring contest at Coffee on Shasta. She says she enjoys writing poetry because it gives her a chance to express herself.

Third place

Photo By Meredith J. Cooper


Autumn leaves spin down
Like millions of broken dreams
And second chances

Kestrel L. Carroll, 12

Kestrel submitted three poems for Poetry 99: two free verse and this haiku. A seventh-grader at Chico Country Day School, she entered the contest for fun, because she enjoys poetry.

Honorable mention


The sun is low, its rays have moved.
But before the world is no longer light,
and asleep,
a silent breeze brushes over like brush on paper.
The birds give their final chirp.
Fish leap one last time
before falling into a deep sleep
near the trickling waterfall
that runs before them.
The scent of pine and fresh dew fills the air.
In the dusk, distant wolves bay at the moon
and raccoons start an early fight.
Shadows grow and fade,
and it is silent once more.

Arianna Sells, age 9


A big cup of flowers
spilled onto the sidewalk.
They were people I forgot.

Thomas Martinez, age 7


Old, rusted
spiky picket
thin wire chewing at practicality
an old humble barn
an enslaved cow grazing
a girl sitting in the grass kissing
her boyfriend
the wind howling and shaking
the fence glowing in the moonlight
rusted silver picket crying at its use
thieves stealing pigs
lightning flashing and roaring
a dog howling as if yelping
life is a journey
the fence is a border
between coming and going

Cyrus Roesing, age 10

The Ball

The swirly ball
Dots swim inside
A whirlpool
Spins around
It looks like a black hole
Will I sink inside?

Jackson Fraser, age 6

The Brave Pomegranate

The pomegranate
light as a pebble
dangling from its flower
a symbol of peace and harmony
bumpy as a pile of shells
richly stained
with a mere maroon

Vance Hayes, age 6


Ripe fruit
Yummy as a piece of cake
baby moon crescent shaped
yellow as fire
eat and slurp
peel is slippery
good for you
I love it

Sophie White, age 6

Dogs Are Awesome

Dogs are cool
But also drool
So if you see
A dog sitting around
Tell them to get up around town
Dogs are awesome
But they eat opossums
So if you see one around town
Tell it to put it down

Anna Breitegger, age 9

The Magic Carpet

I have this magic carpet.
I don’t know why people call it magic.
It’s not.
It eats frankfurters and applesauce.
Its favorite color is bright orange.
Although I haven’t come up with a name for it,
I’m thinking of naming it Crazy.
I don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl,
but I’m guessing it’s a boy.
Crazy refuses to eat in the day.
In fact, he will not eat until 3:00 in the morning.
He turns on the radio to rock and roll
and starts begging for food.
That’s why I’m tired all time.

Simone Hammett-Lynch, age 9


Singing smoothly
Scavenging for savory sweets
Soon the tall trees timber
Under triumphant winds
Like a clockwork condor
Constant cycles continue
Gregarious green grass
Gliding gleefully in the azure abundance
Boisterous birds
Buzzing blissfully
Proudly bearing blue bonnets
Flying fittingly from
Fickle fields
Departing diligently
At dawn

Trevor Trombley, age 11