Elizabeth Alexander. Song Sparrow. Grade 12, Age 17. 2012 Gold Medal, Drawing.

In honor of National Poetry Month, we’ve been collecting poetry lines from all of you on Facebook and Twitter, which we’ll combine at the end of the month to create one long poem. We’ve also been featuring a Poem-A-Day on our Facebook page, which showcases poems from some of this year’s Scholastic Art & Writing Awards winners. Today, however, is all about poems that you can take on the go – it’s Poem In Your Pocket Day! And, we’re celebrating it with Scholastic Award-winning poems that are 15 lines or less. Check ’em out!


The Invisible Poem
I once wrote a poem with invisible ink
So that when you saw it, you wouldn’t think it stinks
You see, I couldn’t think of anything to write
Nor any images to delight or excite
And so here is my sad little ditty:



I hope you think it is pretty

– Sydney Pardo, Age 13, Irvine, CA
Magic Pen Kids
2012 Silver Medal


The Dump
bugs crawling up the wall
the smell of a dead rodent in the air
dust falling where it may
pitch black
except for the small sunlight
escaping from behind the curtains
dirty clothes from years past
hang onto a side of the shelf
one can faintly hear the cry of help
from anything still alive
nose is inches away from the door
fill the lungs with as much
fresh air as one can get
hold your breath…
as you enter my brother’s room.

– Theresa Carpenter, Age 13, South Bend, IN
Saint Joseph Grade School
2012 Silver Medal


Native Land
There is a place
Where you can buy moonshine and dragon’s teeth
In ebony boxes.
And rivers made of silver cut through the earth
Like a knife through stone.
And gold is for fools
While coal is for rich.
And you can love without fear
And happiness blooms like a flower.
This is my native land.

– Deryn Mierlak, Age 13, Upper Montclair, NJ
Mount Hebron Middle School
2012 Gold Medal


Permanent Mosaic
I’ve been down in the downtown reality,
jiving to jazz, pouncing on every beat,
singing along with the smog,
with the pop of faraway
champagne bottles.

I am
living crucified to the billboard,
repeating, repeating
the lingo of the cats
on my right. A black mambo man inquires
whether this was a crime scene,
constricting, kneading, wringing,
the me out of me.

– Samantha Ardoin, Age 17, Exeter, NH
Phillips Exeter Academy
2012 American Voices Medal


Just Looking Forward
Sensing is not feeling the drenched reptile’s skin on your hands

Or hearing the sinful hiss as you gaze at the tongue that dances in excitement

To sense is to possess the awareness of everything but not quite the ability to classify everything logically

Supernatural or not

The spiritual and paranormal creatures of other dimensions are the nightmares and daydreams beseeching to be challenged

To dream is not insane, but as an alternative it is just looking forward to your personal paradise after fatality and panic and obscurity have eroded from our system of matter

Beautiful is the sweet, diminutive flakes of snow

A glimpse of the upcoming, the reincarnation encrypted in a cycle of puzzles

My curious, insane psyche, engrossing and observing, marches on through the ashes, sensing

– Brandon Ayala, Age 12, Mechanicsburg, PA
Eagle View Middle School
2012 American Voices Medal


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