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Felton Library Friends is proud to be the sponsor of the annual San Lorenzo Valley Poetry Contest, held for the fifth time in 2009. One hundred and forty-nine poems by nearly as many poets were submitted on the theme of “nature.” Entries in four age categories were judged by poet and teacher Rosie King. Winning poems were read by the poets, and guest readers shared some of their favorite poems.

A moss covered branch
A moss covered branch
for me to jump and sit on
Trees to look at
The wind to feel
and the river to hear singing
Sophia Barrus, 2nd place, Age 4-8
I see a Chinese tree
and a jogger running on a bridge
I like to pick up brown sticks
and mossy twigs
and rocks everywhere
– Kief Laughron, 2nd place, Age 4-8

Keep it Wild!
keep it wild everyone!
keep it wild everyone!
the sun the rain and
the fog all come
down from the sky
and do you know why?
that’s nature. and do you
know what? I’m wild too!
– Madilyn Strubing, First Place, Age 4-8

Armadillo Lizard
There is an armadillo lizard in me
Sharp teeth and lethal tail
It’s silent like the sky
It rolls like a boulder
It lives in my feelings
– Jack Chatoff, Honorable Mention, Age 9-12

Animal in Me
There is a Tiger in me,
a heart of honor,
beating thoughts,
and shyness to my core.
It sounds like the roar of thunder.
It creeps like a thief in the night
It lives in my spirit.
Annabella Castagna, Honorable Mention, Age 9-12Spring
Like fast and furious flocks of
flourishing feathers,
it makes rain run around in a wrath
of worry.
– Charlie Escott, Second Place, Age 9-12

Baby Bird Haiku
Baby bird is born
Safe in its nest as a child
His mother feeds him
Sunshine sings soon now
In summer he learns to fly
Swooping as he hums
Leaves fall around him
He senses something coming
He knows he must go
He must fly from cold
Swooping south looping away
Safe now cold is gone
– Andre’ Collen, First Place, Age 9-12

Dancer in the Night
I sit beneath the autumn sky
The wind rustling through the leaves
The hoof beats softly in the mud
Slowly, I let time pass me by
Hear the whispers of the river
The stars reflected in his eyes
The moonlight casting shadows of
My dark black dancer in the night
– Emily Rose, Second Place, Age 13-17

My Home in the Forest
My home is in the forest:
The glistening dew on the leaves,
The high branches and dark bark,
The silk water of the creek,
The deep roots of the trees,
The soft wispy breeze,
The last thump that echoes as the forest falls asleep,
The chirp of the early bird, the jumping of deer,
The inevitable essence of my home.
I belong to the forest, it belongs to me:
My home is in the forest.
The forest is in me.
– Cole Morris, First Place, Age 13-17

What dead old men decided
That nature ends where I begin?
That boundary that I call my skin
Is how the stuff of me stays in
But also where I join the world
The breath of breeze
The burn of sun
The million cilia that celebrate
Each time I breathe
The cool of air
The tiny bones inside my head
That ring when something sweet is said
My nostrils fringed inside with hair
That beckon jasmine’s perfume in
If I am here and you are there
What fills the open space between?
The sky looks blue
The grass seems green
What difference if my eyes can’t see?
Is nature that?
Is nature me?
How did we come to label us
As only that which can discuss?
The lines that limit you from me
Are just mistaken fantasy.
The edges that set me apart
From all I love with all my heart
Keep me enclosed and make me wait
Until I close my eyes and feel
The way that I connect and heal
Breathe deep and air pulls fragrance in
The zephyr blesses grateful skin
The senses freed, partition dies
I’m nature’s child behind my eyes
– Beth Benjamin, honorable mention, adult category

Good Neighbors
Most trees are preoccupied.
Not the one next door;
she leans in and listens like a curious stranger
in a check-out line,
standing near without intruding,
seemingly disinterested
while the news of our lives goes on below her.
She has heard of the wedding of my daughter,
Marinka’s first grandson’s birth,
Bob’s bad back,
our need for a new roof,
my husband’s hernia surgery.
She has hovered over us for years,
breathing gentle wind above our over-the-fence
meetings while we retrieve the mail
or the morning paper
and chat, as women all the world over do,
talking of our lives and how we suffer, love, and hope.
And mixing care and food together,
to give us something from her heart,
she bends down her generous branches
that are heavy with round benedictions,
whispers to us,
“ Come. Here. Take my pears.
Eat my ripening fruit.”
As loving women all the world over do.
– Nancy Hofmann, Second Place, adult category

Worm Moon
Worm Moon
These are frost nights
And the downstairs bedroom
Never warms up
I can’t slide out from under the covers
Without putting on my socks
When I throw back the curtains
And stand there blowing into my hands
I see that the light coming
Through the trees
Lies on the ground as pale as a shroud
But tonight is the Worm Moon
Which means that pretty soon
All the creatures
Coiled up in knots
Outside in the tangled roots
Will begin to stretch their
Tendrils, feelers and fingertips
Like blind eyes
Sensing a fire in the distance
Coming round again
To warm them up outside and in
Unwinding them like springs
– John Pusey, First Place, adult category.