Nearly 600 kids from 23 states and the District of Columbia shared their “Poetry of the Pandemic” with KidsPost. It was an extremely challenging assignment to narrow them down to 10. “I was awestruck by these young writers’ creativity, tenderness and resilience in the face of the pandemic,” said Alexandra Huynh, one of three Youth Poets Laureate who helped judge the contest. “I loved seeing the young poets explore the nature and relationships around them, and look through portals, windows and screens to something beyond their day-to-day realities,” added judge Serena Yang.
These 10 poets will receive a prize package of books (including one by Nikki Grimes, Linda Sue Park or Dwanye Reed), a KidsPost T-shirt and other goodies.
Judge Alora Young encouraged all kids to keep writing and to remember there’s no mold for a poet: “You are what a poet looks like.”
Finding My Place
By Sydney Jean, 13. Falls Church, Virginia
I’m going back to school today
After a year behind my door
Ready to embrace the world
A thousand questions blow like the wind
As I open-up to take it in
Excitement building on itself
Waiting for the perfect moment
bursting — releasing streams of energy
Shouting from my core, begging to be heard
Feeling waves of questions, the wind of my fear creates
A vicious storm, blackened skies
On which to pontificate
Each weighted blow of second thoughts pulls me under.
Anchored to existential thoughts of my place, in this place.
And are they smiling behind their mask, I wonder.
By Wesley Sudderth, 11. Mount Crested Butte, Colorado
The virus is crawling through the
looking through our lives
But still, we shine light in the
sea of sadness
We give, we receive
to those in
Bringing light to The world
We, as humans, Persevere
Hope From the Ashes
By Yusra Qureshi, 8. Manassas Park, Virginia
What were you doing in the pandemic?
Were you firm like trees or did you panic?
A disease that spreads person to person,
And the cases get worse and worse and,
The world feels smaller and smaller but,
We cannot be discouraged, no not us!
Because scientists created vaccines,
That’ll sweep this terrible virus clean,
That’ll save our loved ones and bring us peace,
To wake us up from this nightmarish dream.
But something new rises from the ashes,
Something special, even something splendid,
A taste of hope that this’ll be ended,
A fresh flavor to savor forever.
By Olivia Goddard, 13. Arlington, Virginia
The blue light pierces my eyes.
I don’t know who my classmates are.
They are reduced to mere initials on a screen.
I can’t remember their names and I’ve never seen their faces. I rarely hear their voices.
There are barriers.
Cutting off connections and dividing people.
Like a prison, each person trapped in their own cell. Desperate to get out.
But we are stuck here, faceless, silent. Alone.
A Day in the Year
by Bobby Goldyn, 13. Makawao, Hawaii
My eyes are open
the sun is now rising
The perpetual quiet...
I get dressed and washed for almost no one
A full day is ahead
another slow one
Logged in to zoom
I study my reflection
My camera is off
to hide my complexion
I cover my eyes
with my new blue-light glasses And slowly and grudgingly attend all my classes
Tomorrow’s the same
our lives on repeat
The sun’s at last set
another day is complete
My pilot stays lit
but no gas is provided
Stay hopeful, stay sanguine ’til this all has subsided
By Zuzu Lang, 10. Warrenton, Virginia
New words swim
Around my Head.
I test them out
In my Mouth
Feeling my Tongue
Fold and Twist,
Opening and Closing.
The spread of
Close it, feel the THUD. The deep
Of the word.
The Words mean
The Words mean
Homeschool at Grandma and Grandad’s
By Samantha Iadarola, 9. Silver Spring, Maryland
Working at the kitchen table
While we learn about fairytales and fables.
There’s no yellow school bus
Just Grandad to come get us.
We learned about mysteries
Also, some history.
I read a biography on RBG
And how cool was she?
We go down the basement to eat our lunch
Then we munch and munch and munch.
Grandma comes and kisses me on the head,
“I love you and good job,” she said.
by Aliya Ramirez-Skolnik, 12. Chevy Chase, Maryland
Good morning January, I breathed in clear, crisp, winter air.
Hello February. I watched a meteor shower.
11:11, make a wish, March. I walked outside and saw the growing, green grass.
Good afternoon, April. I watched raindrops race down my window.
Today is a sunny day, May. I went outside.
Good afternoon, June. It was hot out, so I ate ice cream.
It’s 3 o’clock, July. I saw a butterfly.
Hey, August. I looked at the stars.
How are you, September? I gazed at a lake as birds flew above my head.
Good evening, October. I watched the autumn leaves fall.
What’s up, November? I watched a spider crawl.
Goodnight December. I watched the sun set.
Light in the dark
By Fiona Moats, 7. Alexandria, Virginia
When the world hit the bell that dinged at danger
and the people faced massive destruction,
we knew that good things end
but so do the bad.
If you close your eyes, you can see a gap in the dark, and you
know that light is never really gone as long as you believe.
And we all have our voices and I still have
pancakes with my family on Saturday
By Amelia Muñoz, 8. Vienna, Virginia
Perseverance came on the scene
Giving us hope before a vaccine
The rover lit the way
Through the pandemic
So that sorrow wouldn’t stay
Thanks to the NASA team
And their perseverance
I watched the rover land like a dream
Showing that people could reach for the stars
That’s the story of COVID and Mars
Read about three new books that feature verse. How much do you know about poetry? Find out by taking a quiz. Youth Poets Laureate share their “Poetry of the Pandemic.”