Guidelines: (1) Include your name, the title of your original poem, and a brief comment about yourself; (2) Poems may be in any language (please include an English translation); (3) Poems may not violate Nicolet's Social Media Guidelines; (4) Original poems may be submitted anonymously; (5) Submit poems to Ocie Kilgus ( Students who submit original poems are eligible for the Best Original Poem contest. The student with the best poem will be awarded the Ron Parkinson Poetry Matters Student Scholarship Award. The community member with the best poem will receive two tickets to an upcoming play by the Nicolet Players. Upon the closing of the Poetry Project, a faculty committee will select the winning poems. The winners of the contest will be recognized at Nicolet College's Award Ceremonies in May.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Thank You!

Today marks the end of the Sixth Annual Nicolet College Poetry Project in celebration of National Poetry Month! Thank you to all those who submitted poetry, to those who read the daily postings, to those who attended the open mic night at ArtStart, to ArtStart for hosting and promoting the evening event, and to Rhinelander High School and WXPR for getting the word out! A special thank you goes to Nicolet College for their steady encouragement and support for this yearly event. Lastly, thank you to those who served on the selection committee for the poetry contest!

Now . . . for the poetry winners for Best Original Student Poem and Best Original Community Poem! The student winner of the Ron Parkinson Poetry Matters Award goes to Leslie Lukas for her poem titled “When Life Slows Down Too Fast” (posted on April 23). The Best Original Community Poem goes to Jeff Eaton for “Photo Haiku: Special Edition” (posted on April 17). Congratulations, Leslie and Jeff! 

April 30, 2016

by Greg Brennum

I woke up startled
for a voice in my dreams
told me a story
of who I could be
He said you could climb mountains
or sail across the sea
Anything is possible if you just believe
He said cast off into the unknown 
soar above the trees
only in doing this
will you finally be free
I said
How can I possibly trust
a man I cannot see?
Then the man revealed himself
the man was atop mountain
and that man was me

"I am a liberal arts transfer student here at Nicolet. I plan on studying Journalism when I transfer away from Nicolet. I wrote this poem one morning at 4 AM when I was having a moment of pure optimism about my life."

* * * * * * * * * *

“Shadows of the Past”
By Kelly Soltis

In the distance there is a house
A vanguard of the old world;
Now a shadow of its former self.
Once full vibrant of color;
Replaced by faded colors.
Before the halls were filled with joy and laughter;
Only loneliness surrounds the old sentinel on the property now. 
The days are passing without cause leaving it feeling more empty than before.
With each sunset the house gets colder and darker; 
With each sunrise a piece of it is broken and lost. 
Many eyes see this poor lone house; 
But none have the will to change anything.  

“I work for a street department for a city. I spend my time working on old farm equipment.”

Friday, April 29, 2016

April 29, 2016

A haiku
By Abby Burmeister, Haley Fau Fau, Anna Gane, and Michael Pirus

No more sleep for me
Why must I even be here?
I have no money

* * * * * * * * * *

“My Grandson”
By Terry Kagie

Allen is name 
Baseball is his favorite game
Catching is ok
Doesn't miss a game
Every time he is winner there is no loser
Fridays are his favorite day
Grandma's house we go
Helpful young man he is
Into lots of things
Joking a lot we do
Kidding around is fun
Loves to learn new things
My beloved grandson
Never a dull moment
Out the door he goes
Papa's little shadow
Quietly he follows
Ready for anything
Scoping out the land
Tracking things down
Under foot sometimes
Very helpful to have around
Works as hard as he can
Xbox nowhere to be found
Young and so full of

"This is a poem I wrote about my grandson who is playing Baseball this year. I love to write stories, poems, and most of all about families." 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

April 28, 2016

By Samantha Reichl

I haven’t been truly happy in months.
I want to forget about how
I’m just watching my life happen.
A casual bystander
To my own existence.

I’ve been trying to write out
The feeling of wanting your arms
Tight around me.
Because in those seconds
Where our universes collided
I was alive.

* * * * * * * * * *

“November Evening”
By Jane Banning

Darkles down
this mossy mood
and chalky-stoned

An unlit forest
under stale sky
an unsparkled hush
that rankles

Dank and prosaic
this unbreathed silence
freshened hope

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

April 27, 2016

"Free From You"
By Samantha Reichl

Today I didn’t wince
when I thought about you.

I think these self-love poems
are doing more for me
than the you-love poems.

I will never open up to you again.
You don’t get to hear my dreams
or goals
or weekend plans.
You sure as hell won’t be a weekend plan.

I will never tell you
how I love that your mind
is greater than the sum of your parts.

Because it isn’t.
Your heart is hollow
and empty
and that’s why you tried
to steal mine.

I will straighten my hair
and put on clothes
so dark
it makes men question their morals.

I will strap on
knee-high combat boots
and curb stomp
the hearts of lesser men.

And I will do all of this
for me.
My words will be
for me.
I will set myself free,
for me.

* * * * * * * * * *

“The Battle on Bunker Hill”
by Cooper Vander Galien 

Bunker Hill was standing still,
Until the brave came,
Fighting for America, 
Fighting for that name.
Their hearts were like darts,
Soaring through the air,
Never will they stop,
They'll just keep fighting there.
The kill is still,
But the brave still come,
The British have lost,
And the war is done.

Per Cooper's mother, "Cooper is a fourth grader who loves poetry and is home schooled.” 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 26, 2016

By Colleen Egan

tenderly, old ancient hands created
and i found beauty in the palm of mine,
caressing, soft cheeks so hollow;

do you think i don’t dream of breathing,
brushing out the white dust
speckled in your lungs?

your hands are sculpted, so cold
but they hold me gently;
marbled veins pressing for release.

“I fell in love with Bernini’s marble sculptures during my Art Appreciation class last semester. I never knew I could experience such extravagant, emotional beauty until I met someone who proved me wrong.”

* * * * * * * * * *

“Upon hearing the news of Joe Callahan’s passing”
By Wendy Thiede

It’s minus ten in the northwoods today,
Bowing branches heavily laden with snow, 
Misty blue sky, frost crystals in the sun.
Yesterday, dinner with friends,
A spectacular almost-win by the Packers.

I remember a warmer day
Walking home from school with you, Joe Callahan.
Blue, blue eyes, freckles adorning your Irish American face, 
Strawberry blond crew cut, carefree smile.
You gave me a Friendship ring, touched my emerging heart.
Sixty years did not erase the image of that day. 

Facebook brought the news.  I cry now
For you and for all the hearts you touched
And for the fleeting of our lives.
Rest in Peace Joe Callahan.

“After retiring to the north woods eleven years ago, following a career as a high school English teacher, I now enjoy the time to write.”

Monday, April 25, 2016

April 25, 2016

“Return Home”
By Kaleb Remick

The nasty site of a battleground
the brave men putting all aside,
all alone, no family around
paying any prize, no matter the size,
Love is an obstacle, love is also a goal
family is loving, and loving they know,
peace is what soldiers fight for
no matter what the price,
putting themselves before their country
always working, always ready to fight,
as we struggle when they're away
and their children start to grow,
all hope is for that one day
that one day they return home,
and if that day does not come
as those men walk to the door,
all that goes through her mind
"why are they in uniform?",
Respect is all that we can give
to those soldiers who now lay,
freedom is not free
we have an impossible debt to pay,
and as our flag waves freely
on that pole shiny with chrome,
our prayer as a country
"please return our heroes home."

“I am a student at Nicolet College going for my Associate’s degree.” 

* * * * * * * * * *

By Macy Washow

Waking in silence to a winter morning sky
I only glance at clouds of crème and peach splashed into space.  
In the shower thoughts emerge
as years fall away like the water off my back

to a time when I woke before the sun, when each
moment had its purpose, when driving in the grey to work
I glanced East and longed for time
to lose myself in changing colors.

Angry then, that the demands of each moment
commanded me to also miss the setting sun.
Angry too that I was no more than slave to day;
anxious for the day when I’d own time.

There is yet another moment. I promise that
tomorrow I’ll walk east across the frozen lake,
merge with the colors of the rising sun.
I’ll be time’s master, though I was once its slave.

I see my mother lying in a nursing home,
her day defined by others, without purpose.
A window there views north toward a parking lot
where all you see are cars: grey, black and white.

Turning off the shower I know without seeing
that a racing sun has erased the morning magic. 
The promise to myself so soon forgot, 
my thoughts, trained, turn to find a purpose for the day.

“I wrote the poem last winter. The days were short, but the morning sky was calling. I have always enjoyed writing and find it therapeutic.”