On Monday, May 25, The Lynda Fairly Carpinteria Arts Center hosted a poetry awards ceremony and poetry reading in honor of National Poetry Month. The winners of the 2020 Luschei Family Poetry Awards are: Elizabeth Roberts for children; Phoenix Seal for teens, and Anna Fortner in the adult competition. The theme of the contest was “Gratitude,” chosen by poet and contest sponsor, Glenna Berry Horton Luschei.
By Elizabeth Roberts
Gratitude, such a small thing, yet so powerful.
Be thankful for what you have and why you have it,
be thankful for who you meet and why you met them,
and be thankful for who you are and what makes you YOU!
Gratitude doesn’t have to be hard, just give a little thanks to those
who helped you to get where you are now, and those who will help
you get further along.
Where I Am From
By Phoenix Seal
I am from the cold mornings of the first frost,
Where all the seasons feel like winter.
I’m from hundreds of elk crossing over the hills
Every morning at dawn,
Leaving their tiny footprints in the freshly fallen snow.
I’m from passing moose on the front lawns on the way to school
And half days so we can get out early to ski
I’m from the shuffling noise of ski boots inside the gondolas
And the hours upon hours of ski school lessons.
I’m from that feeling of cold toes and fingers,
The relief of taking off my ski boots at a rest stop
To ease my aching feet,
The hot cocoa slowly reviving me and warming up my insides.
I am from risking the blistering cold on your fingers
To sneak some gummy worms and marshmallows on the chairlift.
From giggling with my friends going up
As we tried to slide the snow off our skis,
Clanging them together hoping they wouldn’t fall off.
I’m from getting home and going out the back to the hot tub,
The sensation of being warm
But with the cold air and snowflakes blowing all around.
I’m from the coffee shop at the end of the street every day after school,
The feeling of the hot toasted bagel against the cool cream cheese.
I’m from Utah,
I’m from what makes all these things home.
By Anna Fortner
Praise the heart you bruise when you say, “I’m too busy.”
Praise the untethering, the whip and burn, the grasping,
the lights of the city burning in the distance,
when still the next morning your husband turns away
as if anything
is of more interest to him
Praise your eldest, in a fit of pique fueled by the kindling of your ire,
the way she slams chicken nuggets to the floor like a deranged magi,
your dog who eats them like manna.
Praise the axons of your brain and the mystery of paradox
for the shame and pride hurled through you when she says,
“I just need you to hug me.”
Praise the wilderness of your weakness for making her good and strong.
Praise the tufted chest of the red tail hawk whirling overhead,
the pounding of the pigeons’ wings as they alight from the sycamores,
the broad leaf that falls
as if sinking through water
into the hands
of your youngest,
the cardboard wings your eldest made for her
looped to her arms
Praise the closed system of yourself,
the solitude of dark mornings,
the weight you can carry,
the joy you spin
like a spider web
glossed with dew
and shimmering in the soft dawn light.