Poetry of Place Reading 2010


















































































































































































































































































2010 Poetry of Place Winning Poets

Grades 1-5

Abigail Borgman (fifth grade, Morton Elementary, Hastings)
Tillie Jones (third grade, Sheridan Elementary, Lincoln)
Amanda Rowley (fifth grade, Cathedral of the Risen Christ, Lincoln)
Katherine Sievers (fifth grade, Morton Elementary, Juniata)

Grades 6-8

Sydney Blome (seventh grade, Chadron Middle School)
Alli Davis (sixth grade, Cathedral of the Risen Christ, Lincoln)
Veronica Parish (seventh grade, Chadron Middle School)
Clayton Thompson (seventh grade, Norfolk Middle School, Hoskins)

Grades 9-12

Jacob Bradley (Senior, Chadron High School)
Alexandra Dennis-Renner (Senior, Brownell-Talbot High School, Bellevue)
Chase Rock (Senior, Papillion-LaVista High School, Papillion)
Tiffany Truong (Freshman, Brownell-Talbot High School, Bellevue)


The True Country
by Abigail Borgman

A beautiful scene
Never ending prairie lands
The perfect tranquil feelings
With sights that just take your breath away
This is the true country
This is where I'm from

The cornstalk soldiers bow down
To a wind howling like a lone coyote
A graceful meadowlark's song
Breaks through the silence like an Indian cry
On the vast prairie stillness
As before the prairie is silent
Like that in the first of spring

Trees dance around the small woods
In the light breeze
Children are acting like wild Indians
Running and playing in the whispering woods

Autumn is just coming into the air
A wet earthy smell
Comes out of its hiding place
To play a quick game of hide and seek
Joined by the leaves drifting slowly
Down to the wood's floor
As if paper in the wind

The true country is here
This is where I'm from

Mystery Lady

by Tille Jones

The lady right next door to me scares me.
She never goes out.
How can she get her groceries?
How does she feel?
What does she look like?
We only know that her husband died.
Once when we got her mail, the doorbell did not ring.

She scares me, she scares me, what will I do?

Her house is crusty with old paint.
Does she have a pet to give her company?
I bet she is so lonely.
I wonder if I can do something for her like give her flowers.

I wonder, I wonder, I wonder.

What if she dies? No one will know.

A Night on Grandma's Farm

by Amanda Rowley

The darkness covers the earth like a blanket
With holes for the stars to poke through,
I look up at the moon above me
That shines with a yellowish hue.
The tall rolling grass
Waves in the breeze
Like it is bowing to a king,
Or worshiping the trees
The cornstalks stand tall and proud
Casting shadows in the moonlight.
The stalks seem to go on forever,
And the field's end is out of sight.
Here is the place
Where nights are peaceful and long.
I may be from the city,
But the countryside of Nebraska is where I belong.

The Prairie

by Katherine Sievers

The grass swaying

In the wind

Like fingers

Running through hair,

The prairie, a wonder

Like the ocean floor

Like fish swimming

The cattle are running

The Holstein cows

Munching on

The swaying grass

That is being blown

By the wind

The silence calming

Our souls

That is what

The prairie is like

Lewellen Nebraska

By Sydney Blome

A small town

         filled with stories of the past

An old soddy

         just outside of town

 The grave Ash Hollow

         with the corpse of Rachel Pattison

                  hidden in the valleys of Windlass hill

A cave within the trees

         the tragedies of the unknown

Little diners

         and desolate prairie

                  all along the highway

A river set near

         a lake further off

A bridge separating

         the land

                  from the water

A town

         so close to what used to be

                  the Oregon Trail

Just grass


                  and fresh air

If only a stop along the way

         still holds my interest

                  and my love of history

         a frightening thought

                  a touching reality

                           with a fatal ending

         Lewellen Nebraska

A Place of Integrity

By Alli Davis

The cool, rushing water
is polishing the rocks
I can hear the calming sound it makes
from the depth of my backyard.
As I draw near to this peaceful place,
I listen to the frogs
who are talking back and forth
Their small green bodies make splashes in the water
Dragonflies buzz from place to place.
The dark water ripples
where their tiny feet have been.
A snapping turtle comes to the surface.
for a momentary breath of air.
This is a home to these interesting creatures
They have all that they need
in this place of integrity.

Gracious Nebraska
by Veronica Parish

I watch the sunset,
over the golden plains,
and hear nothing but the silent reverie,
of the settled Sand Hill Cranes.
         The Platt Riversâ?¦
           Deep and long,
             Flowing water, smooth as silk,
Sing Nebraska's historical song.

A Western Meadowlark sails over the earth,
and calls to the Cardinal in the south eastern sky,
the urban bird hears his trill,
and returns it to where the Meadow Lark lie.
         Nebraska's ocean, in the air,
                  The spacious sky,
                Graced, blue and fair,
Showing the pursuit of happiness.

Sitting under the Cottonwood trees,
watching the sky, the cotton,
drifting through the whistling breeze,
reminding me of Nebraska's winter snow.
         From spring to winter,
            and over again,
         a silent revolution,
Of my changing Nebraska.

Sun-kissed wildflowers along the highway,
the  old wooden posts, revolving windmills, barbed wire fence.
Giving away all, though there is nothing to say.
It's an endless road that I have come to know.
       From the plains to the heights of the Capital Building,
                  Looking down to the
                           Deranged, industrious streets
The contrast between here and there.

The Grave

by Clayton Thompson

The grave

was like a gorge

with no end.

He was a timeworn


surviving wave upon wave

of play


and love.

It's as if time

clambered on past

slow and steady;

my pal just dreamt

his life away,


No more suffering,


or loneliness while I'm at school.

The grave was a gorge,

dug with care.

We laid him to rest

in a casket of cottonwood and pine

at age thirteen,


old for a dog.

The sparkle in his eyes,


My pal

was an old

lump of love.

The sky seemed gray

and gloomy,

the air thick

with grief.

The ground hugged my feet

as if it knew what was about

to happen.

Today the sun shines

birds sing

children play

and in their midst,

a small headstone

to mark his tomb.

(top of page)

A villanelle

by Jacob Bradley

Drifting dunes, waves of sand
Their voice never be heard
On hills touched by God's own hand
Wind blows across the land
Humming a silent word
To drifting dunes, waves of sand
Might windmills make their stand
Water clean and pure
By hills touched by God's own hand
A place so simple, yet so grand
Throughout beauty is scattered
Across drifting dunes, waves of sand
Peace to find, all men if they can
Are always reassured
By hills touched by God's own hand
A heaven found by earthly man
Not broken but only tattered
Drifting dunes, waves of sand
Hills touched by God's own hand

The Panhandle Trilogy: Nebraska in Three Parts
by Alexandra Dennis-Renner

Night falls on the flat prairie, whispering secrets when tickled by the sweet, warm breeze.
A tree stands alone, paramount, atop a gently sloping hill.
In the dark, the inky silhouette reaches across the horizon, staining the navy blue black--the stars gleaming like drops of water upon a velvet curtain.

The gnarled, undulating roots of the cottonwood make a comfortable nook to rest your tired body.

The weathered grey bark speaks its age, but begs you not to tell.

Listening as the leaves fall from the branches and ride each star down to the buffalo grass is hearing the tales that escaped the lips of the cottonwood--
          Years and years of life on the quiet plains revealed; Tales of  visitors seeking refuge in its shade and warmth from its boughs.
Those like you-- Travelers nestled in the roots; gazing upwards.

The summer night sky stretches into infinity, and as you stare, time passes.
The hours slip away; the heavens deepen, but the stars still shine the same.
Time moves so quickly; You'd assume no more than a second has passed.

You close your eyes for a minute, lulled into slumber by the crickets' quiet song; wrapped tightly in the earth's embrace.

Soon, simple dreams dissipate, blotted out by sun-streaked lavender behind the slowly rising sun.

The flaxen waves of prairie glow pink, as if dawn has set it aflame.

The new day is accompanied by the meadowlark. The air is heavy with poppies and clover.

On blistered foot, you part from the cottonwood, now just a contour against the low, orange sun-- traveling towards miles of empty land before you.



Around me, the world spins:
          A Whirl of color and sound
          Does flat land ever move? Or do we?

We must; since, the prairie stays flat and we end up here.
          Where the world moves.
               Where it honks.
                    Where it changes.

My prairie never changes.
          It rolls with the wind, sinks in the rain, blooms but once a year.
               Disappears at night. Beneath the stars.

I take my prairie with me.
The busy streets of the city are just choirs of crickets. Singing.
Waves that lap the shore become rolling fields of buffalo grass.
               Dancing in the breeze.

I become the cottonwood. Rooted firmly to the prairie.
Foreign gusts donâ??t chill my bark; Floods of new cannot wash me away.

Under the roots, my heart is planted.

     My body might move to this new prairie.
               This busy prairie.
                    This loud prairie.

     But, my heart stays where it belongs.
               In my prairie.
                    Beneath the poppies.
                         Beneath the clover.
                              Beneath the cottonwood.

My roots may be planted, but my branches continue to blow.
Someday, when the breeze decides to settle, Iâ??ll return.
Find my heart
      Beneath the lush, Nebraska prairie.

Until then, I listen to the katydids of the asphalt prairie.

Coming Home

The waves stretch far and wide,
These vast prairie waves do.
The swell of gold, ruby, and green,
Bathed in midday sun,
stretch as far as one will ever see.

December proves far too frigid for beaches,
While brutal summer sun wont allow any
purple, snowcapped mountains.
Prairie land is God's way of saying "Just right."

Unless the breeze blows, it stays pretty flat;
maybe a bluff or two.
Keep your eyes open wide for hills, prairie dog mounds.
Again, just right this grassland is.

Just right for keeping your heart in too--
Once you put your heart down on flat prairie, it won't roll away.
The tall, sweet buffalo grass hides it.
So well, in fact, that only you can come back and find it.

I left my heart in the prairie...By accident, of course--
But the grass hid it well.
I'm not sure if I want to find it just yet.
I'd rather stay here looking.

Just as I lost my heart to the lonely, never-ending landscape,
I handed over my ears, eyes, and breath.
The empty sky, dashed with blue, violet, grey, swallowed my gaze.
The sweet, rich goldenrod floods my lungs with every heavy breath.

The city brings early morning hoots and hollering
while the only hoots heard here are those of the owl
as he bids the stars goodbye.

If you listen closely, you can hear
the far-off hum of a tractor,
centuries old; still surveying the same old corn fields;
Or, the tinny ker-klack of an old, rusty truck
climbing the gravel hills,
each time coming closer and closer to home.

And the rain...there's nothing quite like the springtime rain on these old prairie lands.
Easy summer showers are the best,
bringing with them the gunmetal sky and steel wool clouds.
The taste of warm, moist air and the smell of fresh mud puddles
awakens the senses and the mind.

Nature's own music echoes through the river valleys
and rolls over the placid grasslands
as rain pats and slaps the quick streams as they make their way to sea.

Can you see the beauty in the lonely prairie?
From the lone cottonwood tree; its throne upon a naked winter hill, to
the smallest flower; pushing its head from the dense green backdrop.

The prairie takes all beauty, and with a craftsman's hand, makes it one.

It has also ensnared me in its grasp--
Me and this lonely prairieland become

My Home

by Chase Rock


blue pink orange red purple black

Deep black

        Light only comes from the many midnight suns and the                                        reflections of headlights and flashlights

        in the eyes of
deer dogs owls coyotes cows goats

Sad goats

Ice nights are silent

but the luke-warm twilights in early May are not so peaceful

locusts crickets howls laughter rock'n'roll football

Husker football

black Deep blue red orange white sky

Beautiful sky

Lazy mornings and three-hour breakfasts

Pretty girls and open schedules

sleep party chill kiss drive home

My home

It's Cold, White, and Pretty

by Tiffany Truong


I haven't been here that long, long enough
To have much ý ni&#7879m about this place,
Soon or late, though, I will surely embrace it.

Cold, so cold that
Owls won't even come out, nor any other creatures,
Leaves are all gone; barren branches.

Wednesday morning,
Having to see snow for the first time.
It was pretty, snowflakes
Tung h&#7917ng to and fro, then r&#417i xu&#7889ng pretty much...

Power of the prettiness of snow is
Ready to vanish, it's March.
Everything is getting warmer,
Too little snow left on the góc d&#432&#7901ng's.
There's nothing more I can say,
Yellow bright sun is here to stay!


ý ni&#7879m—concept
tung h&#7917ng—tossing
r&#417i xu&#7889ng—landing on
góc d&#432&#7901ng—street corners