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 in the amount of $300. The community member with the best poem will receive dinner for two at Church Street Inn, Hazelhurst. 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 on May 10.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

April 30, 2017

By Evelyn Pritchard

I used to be a little sprout
eager and excited
waiting with anticipation of 
how the world would be when I got to be a big old tree
now I am a twisted tree barely hanging on
the girl with the dark perspective
now I am the pessimist that this world made me to be
but somewhere deep inside is that eager little sprout 
waiting for its day to shine 
waiting in this world

“This poem was one that I was hesitant to turn in. I feel that it is a true expression of who I have become as a person. I know that being as young as I am this should not be so, but I have found that through thick and thin that little sprout from before is still there rooting on the old tree."

* * * * * * * * * *

By Darlene Machtan

They came to bid
on pieces of
my father’s hands,
my mother’s heart.

Only the bitter March wind
that blew them raw
seemed to understand
they had no right.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

April 29, 2017

By Brooke Modjewski

I understand that I am different 
I relate strongly to the ugly duckling 
I'm not bad-looking but 
I'm just not like everyone around me 

I understand that I am different 
I dance in public to the music that's in my ears
I act like my life is a music video 
I know I look childish 

I understand that I am different 
I like expressing myself through material things 
I wear hot pink eyeshadow 
I don't mind wearing something that others wouldn't  

I understand that I am different 
I have a disorder that makes me go haywire from time to time 
I can often be two different people 
I am not ashamed to be mentally ill

I understand that I am different 
I am a woman that likes women 
I can sense your distaste every time I tell you
I don't see why who I love is distasteful 

I understand that I am different 
I am very comfortable with who I am
I may not be like you but
I am a diamond in the rough

"This poem is a growing product of my process of self-knowing that started at age seventeen. As I am now nearing twenty, I've found that it's not possible to change myself as I thought it was in adolescence. I hope everyone can learn to embrace everything about themselves rather than feel ashamed."

* * * * * * * * * *

“Dan in Blue”

I've seen the pines
Pink desert skies
Snow falling
Green grape vines
Ocean views
Sand and sleet
But nothing compares to when we meet 

[Please see the posting for April 25 for another poem by Cirina Gasparri.]

Friday, April 28, 2017

April 28, 2017

Aaron Mangerson

In hopeful dreams I see by day are silent screams I yearn by night.
The warm embrace and a subtle taste of lips flash through my mind.
My faded memories are reclaimed now bristling with luster.
Yet my heart is fraught and dreads the thought; it's all that I can muster.
This maiden fair with golden hair belongs with someone else.
So I toil away until that day I feel just what I felt.

“I'm a 33 year old single Dad trying to work towards a better future for me and my kids. I wrote this poem after bumping into an old flame from high school that kindled some long lost feeling that I had to put aside.”

* * * * * * * * * *

“Toad In the Tub”
By Macy Washow 

A tiny toad clings to the mirror above the bathroom vanity. 
My still sleep-blurred eyes mistake it for . . . 
some type of Florida roach. 

Then it leaps . . . how astounding for something so small! 
Just a toad, I sigh, amazed at what fear can do. 
His eyes bulge, astonished at our encounter. 

Relieved to be dealing with toads, not bugs, 
I try to capture him in my washcloth. 
He watches my hands come near, 
then escapes to the tub in two gigantic leaps. 

Deceived. The tub is no safe haven but a trap. 
He hops from side to side until fatigued. 
When he stops in a tub corner to rest, 
I seize my chance, swooshing down! 

Unaware that in capture lays salvation, 
he twitches inside the cloth 
until I set him down outside, 
where he hops away without giving thanks. 

Later I research “toads” and find he is a frog, not a toad at all. But things are not always what they seem. 
A toad made for a better poem.

“This is a poem I wrote while in Florida last spring about an unexpected morning encounter. I am retired and live in Lac du Flambeau.”

Thursday, April 27, 2017

April 27, 2017

“One Plane Ride”
By Zachariah Farris

The heavens,
not some place way off, way far.
It rests in you,
placed right where you are.
Crafted are we not - joined in song?
The hymn - it speaks.
Come play,
come dance,
we don’t last long.

Join me in pain, in suffering and sorrow
weep – weep - weep with me now,
there may be no tomorrow.
Join me in hate, in fears, in selfish gains,
desire itself, works in mysterious ways.
Join me in honesty, in truth, and in love,
qualities seeming - to come from above.
Join me in respect, in joy, and in peace,
we have but one life,
divine lease.

Dance – sing – laugh and cry,
for this fraction of heaven with certainly cease,
surely, it will die.

As lights go dim, do not mourn 
We all, one day,
 join the forevermore.
Die not before, the heavens closes its door,
Live with me! Live with me! Live with me now!
Before, before,
we join,
The forevermore.

“Attending Nicolet, enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program. This poem started with my lack of understanding, with my tiny eyes, and ends with it as well – but I understand the best that I can.”

* * * * * * * * * *

“Of Nations and Worlds”
By Samantha Siefert

Toppled towers, frozen fields
Fleeing armies and dropped shields
Missing magician, lost elixir
Terrified defenders, a broken fixer

Bravery used to be our banner
And daring was our dance
Fearless was our favor
And courage was our cry

Hidden truths, plain lies
Hurt homes and blood skies
No hope, broken heart
Kingdom and world torn apart

But then terrifying terrorists took
Our bravery away
Vile villains stole our victory
And we didn’t take it back

Foolish wisemen, broken glass
Faded flowers and wilted grass
Dead bodies, lost cause
No cities, and no laws

We didn’t defend our homes
So there’s really no reason to cry
We lost the fight
We didn’t try

No? No. NO!

We should have fought!
We should have tried!
We should have done our best
To give justice to those who died.

Learning lessons, wisdom grows
Through cracks sneaks a rose
Growing hope, revealing truth
Teaching history to our youth

This is what dreams are made of
Good things and light
Defence against an enemy
And teaching what is right

Knowing knowledge, building towns
Music always makes better sounds
Laughing, dancing, and singing
Trumpet blares and bell ringing

And now we stand here staring at our little world.
They think it’s unfixable; they think we’ve lost,
But we know better because we’ve seen it in the past.
Come now, there’s work to do. Let’s go prove them wrong.

Tallest towers, brave knights
Burning of a thousand lights
Raised shields, banners unfurled
Welcome to a new world.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

“I’ve always liked alliteration and rhyming in poems, so I knew that I wanted this poem to include that. I’ve also always liked hearing old stories about knight, castles, and kingdoms because war and peace occurs just as it did back in those days just in different ways. Thus, this poem was born from a mix of those ideas. We can always fight for what matters, even if it’s hard.”

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

April 26, 2017

By Katie Moreau

Spring is in the air
Spring is in my hair
The grass is green
With the cutest babies ever seen
Flowers bloom from everywhere
Only smell them if you dare
The bumble bees buzz around
All the new life on the ground
Spring is in the air
And everyone has not a care

* * * * * * * * * *

"Together Again"
Marcia Obukowicz

They come,
The house feels full, 
What's been missing, returns.
The air crackles with the electricity 
of good conversation and the joy of being together.
Friends arrive, food is shared. 
Traditions and stories, fill and spill across the table,
bonds of love renew and strengthen.
In the connection of moments, all is right!
But the clock ticks away the precious time, too fast, ...
way too fast.
The need to return to the lives we all have left 
grows into the reality of departure.
The hearts break just a little and a few tears fall as we wave goodbye. 
They drive away and
then the little prayer rises
Be safe, safe travel, safe journey, safe life
until we can be together again.

“Host mom of several foreign exchange students, thankful when life aligns so we can reconnect in person.” 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

April 25, 2017

By Patricia Brewer

Learn from your mistakes – 
They say it makes you stronger – 
I have amnesia

“I am attending Nicolet as a nursing student and have a BA in English with a minor in Women’s Studies from UW-Whitewater. The poem is a reflection of myself.”

* * * * * * * * * *

“Phoenix Hotel”
By Cirina Gasparri 

You caress my curves as though you carved them yourself 
Hot breath 
And sweat
And sheets that scream wealth

A taste for the finer things
You find in me
The places even I don't see

[Cirina is a community member.]

Monday, April 24, 2017

April 24, 2017

“Bald Eagle”
By Jennifer Sturzl 

American Pride 
Honor and Glory 
Symbolic Patriotism 
Soaring High 
Perched in a Tree
Freedom and Courage 
Powerful Spirit 
Wisdom and Strength 
National Emblem 
Bald Eagle 

“I am working towards my Associates of Applied Science Degree in Early Childhood Education, with an end goal of being a kindergarten teacher.”

* * * * * * * * * * 

“The Mourning After”
By Jazmyn Chaulklin

A rip in the lace
A crack in the vase
The lines on your face
The way that we invade this space
The lack of grace 
A tight grimace
How I want to leave this place
But love the hurt and so will stay

[No comment from community member.]