Elizabeth Brown. The Pond. Grade 12, Age 18. 2012 Gold Medal, Drawing. Listen to Elizabeth discuss her work here.

January’s Writing of the Month comes from Ben Caldwell, Age 17, of Vancouver, Washington. His poem “Around the Campfire” is featured on the home page of our website this week along with Elizabeth Brown’s Gold Medal-winning drawing “The Pond” (above). Each week we will be showcasing 2 national winning works (1 art and 1 writing) from the past year on our home page slider bar. We hope you’ll take some time to enjoy each piece and learn more about the young artists and writers behind them! Below is a few poems from Ben Caldwell‘s 2012 Gold Medal- winning poetry collection.

Around the Campfire

There is a place
between marrow and bone,
between midnight and morrow,
where we are flies floundering in honey.
A place where heartbeats quicken
and minds slow, slow, slow down.
Where even the light is listless
and the texture of denim is dimmed.
There I find solace
in counting your freckles,
in that place with a small pile of bundled socks
between atoms,
between the earth and the sky.



–verb (used with object)

1. to etch into the memory, pressing hot curls of phosphorescing afterimages into the dips and dives of the brain

2. to illustrate the madness of breathing in the smoke and becoming the fire, to sketch in the ghost, and paint in the sketch, until flame becomes flesh

3. to cast light from yellow tapers and tallow onto old vellum scrolls stretched out on brass racks, searching faded ink and blood for the signatures of angels, the dusty puckered kisses

4. to light, like burning, like love


what is in the wandering
the wandering of eyes across eyes across bodies
the wandering of hands into hands
weaving of fingers
what is there to the small signs
the eyelashes
the squared shoulders
the too casual brush of knee on knee
where are the captions I have been craving
where is the manual
where are the exit signs
the arrows
the dotted lines and dotted ‘i’s
is there a diagram of heartbeats
a scatterplot
a hope
I need labels
are there coordinates to saying please
I know I need something here between my ribs that I’m missing
a silver key to this clockwork jungle of
will you go to the dance with me
how about coffee
did you want flowers
is this how lips touch

Print Friendly

no comments

Post a comment