Big Apple Contest Winners

Purple Scooter Poetry is pleased to announce the results of its Big Apple Poetry Contest
for Kids. Its purpose was to encourage a love for reading, writing, and poetry. Twenty-two children from ages 5 to 13 submitted a poem, each unique in its own way.

Heartiest congratulations to the seven winners for their accomplished, memorable creations: A Drop of Water by Benjamin Levine (1st place), Simple Perfection by Nancy Lu (2nd place), Minor Incident by Joshua Moriarty (3rd place), Molly Pitcher by Chloe Liu (Editor’s Choice), Revenge is a Flower that Blooms Red by Anna Farber (1st runner-up), Robots by Sadiul Akhanji (2nd runner-up), and Sunflowers by Amy Lin (3rd runner-up). The 1st place winner was awarded $250. The 2nd and 3rd place winners and Editor’s Choice were awarded $50 each. Each runner-up got $25. All winning poems are published permanently in the Purple Scooter Poetry website on the Growing the Kids page (see link at the right).

Congratulations as well to the 15 other competitors. Their poems are compelling and special, too, and some are likely to be among your favorites. For your enjoyment, we are printing all of the entries below, the Honorable Mentions in alphabetical order by the child’s name.

The judges were asked to weigh five criteria: originality, thoughtfulness, poetic form (rhyme, sound, musicality), how well the poem’s theme is realized, and how memorable or touching they found the piece. Of course, every judging effort is bound to be subjective to some degree, and a different panel might have made different choices. So, in a very real sense, there are only winners in a contest like this. Each poem in the collection is a flower in its own right, and every child is. I am reminded that Edna St. Vincent Millay’s world-celebrated poem Renascence did not “win” the contest for which it was written.

After you’ve read these poems, please consider posting a comment about your favorite one(s) or just to show your appreciation to the children for their gift to us all. They will read this blog and it will mean a lot to them.


A Drop of Water
1st Place – Benjamin Levine, age 11, Ballet School NY

Down, down, down from the sky,
A drop of water begins its journey.
Onto the snowy white mountain tops,
Falling…falling from the clouds.

Down, down, down from the mountains,
A drop of water travels its journey.
From the velvet snow, melting to the streams,
Gushing, splashing, merrily playing.

Down, down, down through the streams,
A drop of water hurries its journey.
Dancing with bubbles, flying over rocks,
Rushing down hills and past treetops.

Down, down, down into the rivers,
A drop of water continues its journey.
Mixing with silt, sand and mud,
Slowly snaking along the ground.

Down, down, down into the ocean,
A drop of water rests from its journey.
Mixing with the briny waters,
Whispering with the waves.

Up, up, up into the sky,
A drop of water ends its journey.
Up into the clouds it goes,
Rising…rising from the sea.

A drop of water begins its journey.

Simple Perfection
2nd Place – Nancy Lu, age 13, Staten Island

The sun smiles
in the light blue sky.
The marsh plants stand tall
swaying peacefully in the breeze.
The butterflies—
yellow swallow tails and painted ladies—
dance among the purple flower,
floating lightly in mid-air.
A white throated sparrow sings,
a soprano melody repeated over and over.
And I, the amazed audience,
watch silently from far away,
not wanting to break the perfection.

Minor Incident

3rd Place – Joshua Moriarty, age 13, Hunter College High School

Roads curve,
Lights flash,
Cars swerve,
Drivers crash.

Birds swoop,
Of the destruction
In the air.

Lives go on,
Children play,
And yet for some,
Life turns gray.

Lives are lost,
We must wake up,
And learn to care.

Revenge is a Flower that Blooms Red

1st Runner-Up – Anna Farber, age 12, Brooklyn

Around the bend waits
An innocent honey bee, collecting the nectar of
The flower that poisons
The flower that was planted with the seed of rage
“Nothing good could come of the red flowering revenge”
That’s what they all say
What we all should listen to
But revenge smells sweetest when planted hot
And that’s what we do
We plant, and unbeknownst to us
Our flower grows,
And we feed it
And when unfed, we must suffer
For revenge is a flower that blooms red,
One that grows wild and weed-like until it
Consumes us.


2nd Runner Up – Sadiul Akhanji, age 9, PS#134

Made of metal
Strong and bold
Can’t be beat
By something old
Sweeps the floor
Brushes your teeth
Works all day
And never sleeps
This is a robot
A dandy tool
You should get one
Don’t be a fool!


3rd Runner Up – Amy Lin, age 10, PS#134

Weeping sunflower
Yellow petals
Falling off one by one
Nothing left

Molly Pitcher

Editor’s Choice – Chloe Liu, age 9, Ballet School NY

Molly Pitcher,
One brave young girl,
Fired her cannon
To defeat the English.

Molly Pitcher,
One brave young girl,
Stood up to a boy
Who threatened to throw a rock at her
And kill her cow.
But she was brave
And stood up
For herself.

Molly Pitcher,
One brave young girl,
Made masks for men
Who were going to
Get rid of the tax collector.

Molly Pitcher,
One brave young girl,
Helped a friend
Get away from robbers.

Molly Pitcher,
One brave young girl,
Fired her cannon
To defeat the English.


Kareem Adams, age 10, Ballet School NY

I love to dance!
I move like I have ants in my pants
I wiggle I wobble and giggle across the stage
Now I know how a mouse feels
Because when I dance
It feels like I have no bones.
I love to dance
Because it feels like I’m in another land
And sometimes on my own planet.
I’m flying with the clouds
It’s just me
And my ballet shoes.

Lincoln Center Enter Enter

Lola Ballouard, age 10, Ballet School NY

Lincoln Center enter enter
Where clapping echoes through the halls.
Everybody is clapping, God is clapping,
Dancers and singers are living their dreams.
So enter enter to Lincoln Center.

City Nights

Zheng Cao, age 10, PS#134

Walking through the city
With the night sky
Stars and moon
How wonderful
To still see the animals walking
City lights, bright and colorful
People rushing, running
Why can’t people see what I see?

Music Box

Juliet Chen, age 12, Hunter College High School

The sweet music box
Had a blue snazzy case,
A few flecks of gold,
And a fluttery lace.

They opened the lid
And what did they see?
Ms. Twinkle Toes
In her shimmering dress!

Light on feet,
She twirled and twisted,
Round and about,
As dazzling as can be.

The music too,
Swayed and swooned,
A harmonious melody,
Throughout the room.

From each little note
Came a twang and a pang,
As they resounded off walls
Ringing brilliantly.

The charming tune
And it’s dancing partner
Repeats and repeats,
Seemingly full with eternal energy.

Then it finally slows
To a gradual stop,
But no, not yet!
And the knob turns again.

Rice and Beans

Jillian Darcy, age 7, Manhattan

Rice and beans, beans and rice–
the food that’s red,
the food that tastes yummy.
Rice, rice, beans, beans–
could you imagine
a food could taste as great?


Kqavion Foster, age 9, PS#134

The sky is blue
Just like the deep blue sea.
Brown is a toast treat
Like a cocoa drink
Or a chocolate bar.
Green is grass
Like the color of leaves.
Is the color
Of the sun.

Beautiful Blue

Jennifer Levine, age 5, Ballet School NY

It’s a beautiful color – blue is.
Marvelous, fascinating color – oh yes!
The ocean, the river, the sea, the sky –
All different kinds of blue.

Teal, turquoise, sky blue, royal blue –
All of them I do love.
Navy blue, indigo –
Blue is like light. It twinkles in the night.

Blue makes me feel blissful,
Like I have jewels.
I love it so dearly, yes I do.
And I hope you will love it as much as I love blue.

Best Friends

Andrea Marrero, age 10, Ballet School NY

I’ll constantly be alongside you
every second of the day,
wiping all your tears away,
being your greatest friend.

I’ll suffer all the pain in you.
If you are sad I guarantee I will be sad too.
I will bring you up when you are down,
and turn that frown upside down.

Every night I’ll say goodbye,
and wait until the morning rise.
I mostly promise you will always be
My Best Friend Forever.

Black Winds

Priya Nwakanma, age 7, Orlando

A wind blows across the Atlantic.
No boats. No currents. No animals.
All alone.
As its black winds sweep across the calm blue sea,
It feels more careless senseless hopeless.


Sadiya Raiput, age 8, Ballet School NY

Angels white as snow
And fluffy and puffy
As angels could be
Flying silently across the sky!

We’ll say goodbye
It’s time to go.
But we will remember you
In our Hearts!


Lily Eugenia Rudd, age 7, Ballet School NY

Daisies, roses, daffodils, and more,
Spring is the season for flowers galore.
Any time sunshine showers,
Now is the time for the poppy flowers.

Colorful Feelings

Ishmael Senquiz, age 10, PS#134

My feelings come in colors
And I have a pocket full.

When I’m green
I have money in my wallet,
So I’m rich.

When it starts to rain
I can’t play
I feel blue
Tears come down my cheeks
I feel sadness.

When I’m tired
My dreams fade to white.
I’m ready for bed.

The first time
I get back on my bike
I’m excited
My face turns pink
Oh how lucky I feel.

When the sun shines down
I feel hot
I turn red.

What’s the color
Inside of you?

Get Away Bully

Evan Shi, age 10, PS#134

Get away, stay away
For today and everyday
Don’t harm me
Not with your arms
Not with your legs
But most of all
Not with your words
I will ignore you
You’re not here
I can’t hear you
I will tell you this though,
Get away, stay away
For today and everyday!


Thu-Lan Unsoeld, age 12, Hunter College High School

Whoosh, the train speeds by.
The swift subway scratching along the tracks.
The wind blows against people’s faces.
Like a breath of air.

Honk, honk, go the cars, racing by.
The wheels spin round and round,
A merry go-round.
Then screeching to a halt.
Bad smells waft through the air.

Whirr, go the pedals. Whoosh, goes the wind.
The bicycle moves faster than the people,
Slower than the cars.

The Monster

Amanda Zong, age 12, Bronx

Behold! the almighty shining sun
A lustrous blinding gasping stun
You beckon with a shining ray
Come, you say, why don’t you play?

From the shade I hesitate
For I beware a thing so great
What monster dwells inside of thee
That lures me so I do not flee.

And so I step into the light
Oh! It glares! ‘Tis oh so bright!
The flames! The heat! I feel the burn
See true, you say, and you will learn.

I sniff and snivel but do not sob
I open my eyes with a throb
The brightness fades, the heat subsides
A warm tingle spreads from side to side.

                              * * *

Purple Scooter Poetry thanks these wonderful kids for their contributions to National Poetry month, and for gracing our lives as they do.

We also thank the judges for the time and care they gave to the selection process. All are lovers of poetry. They are Jack Anderson (dance critic and poet, NYC), Kenneth Beech (appraiser, NYC), Maryellen Borer (manager of NYS adult care facility, Rochester, NY), Lisa Cordova (nuclear engineer, Albuquerque, NM), Bess Heitner (jewelry designer, NYC), and David Peyton (policy analyst and poet, Falls Church, VA).

We also want to recognize the impressive work done by seventeen 7th grade students at Hunter High School whose work arrived too late to join the competition. There are jewels among their creations, and we hope to print their poems separately at a later date.

Several entries in this first Big Apple poetry competition were transmitted by parents. We thank them for their interest and support.  Most came from teachers, all deserving special mention here:

At Ballet School NY, Diana Byer engaged her several children’s classes. New York Theatre Ballet, with which BSNY is affiliated, may offer a special studio performance in the coming year built around some of the poems written by her students.

At PS#134 in Manhattan’s lower East Side, Judith Dellheim made this contest her 4th grade class poetry project this year. As their project unfolded, the children posted their entries on the school bulletin board for all to see and discuss.

At Hunter College High School, Dermot Hannon and Kasumi Parker involved their 7th grade classes in the project. The students earned extra class credit for their submissions, including those whose poems came too late for the contest.

Gail Spangenberg, Editor

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11 Responses to Big Apple Contest Winners

  1. Joy Peyton says:

    Wow. David and I are very blessed!! I am bowled over by “Revenge is a Flower That Blooms Red” and will never forget it. I hope you keep doing this. It is SO worthwhile!!!

  2. Jerry Wnuck says:

    All I can say is I’m glad I wasn’t a judge. It would be hard to decide who should win. They are all wonderful. Congratulations to all the students on a job very well done.

  3. Mira Tanna says:

    Yay! What a nice collection of poetry. I”m so happy you didn’t go for the sentimental stuff that so many schools make kids write!

  4. Katharina Rich says:

    Some of these poems are really awesome. I liked “Beautiful Blue” very much. Considering the age of the child, it is an amazing poem.

  5. Jane Darcy says:

    My daughter Jillian was so excited when she heard about the poetry contest at school. She wrote three poems almost immediately. She has been anxious about the results of the contest and was beaming when she opened your packet last night. It is so encouraging and nurturing for the children to be recognized in such a formal and public way. Thank you for providing this opportunity to her.

  6. Kenneth Beech says:

    When I began reading the poems, I wondered how children of this age would write poetry. It didn’t matter much. You either enjoyed the poem and were moved by it or not. All were worth the time I spent reading and I enjoyed the experience. I hope the children will be motivated to continue their interest in poetry because that would benefit everyone.

  7. Judith Dellheim says:

    My class and I read all of the poems submitted and published above and we thoroughly enjoyed discussing which ones we liked and why. We are thrilled to have been a part of this endeavor and I am proud of my students against such tough competition. The Lower East Side is a very diverse population and many of our students are at the poverty level. So again, I thank you for this wonderful opportunity on their behalf.

  8. Joan Brame says:

    This poetry is wonderful. What a nice creative opportunity you
    provided to the kids!

  9. Lara Rudd says:

    I am the parent of one of the children who submitted a poem. Thank you for putting together such a wonderful project. Inspiring children to write poetry is a great thing to do and I applaud your effort and the successful outcome.

  10. Connie Kolb says:

    These poems are just wonderful. Having taught science for so many years I really appreciated “A Drop of Water.” I can envision using it as a teaching tool for The Water Cycle. Some of the other poems are quite insightful. Poetry is a way for kids to express their innermost feelings and concerns. Your contest has helped many of them do that.

  11. Nick Thronson says:

    I genuinely enjoy reading on this site. It has fantastic content. “When a man’s willing and eager, the gods join in” (Aeschylus).

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