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Prize-Winning Poems And Honorable Mentions

Adult Category

Young Adult Category

Children's Category

Adult Category (age 18 and over)

FIRST PLACE:

Star Gazing

by Robert A. Wilcox, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

To be out on a dark, clear night,
And let your mind reach up:

Reach out past the inner planets,
Dive headlong down the galactic spiral arm,

Swim in a sea of stars and nebulae,
To the distant rim of the Milky Way,

Then leap for far galaxies,
Mirrored a million eons back in time.

To return, without turning,
Back along the Riemannian path,

And tap yourself on the shoulder
From behind, a million eons hence.


SECOND PLACE:

Within the Science, Art

by Roderick Bates, Chester, Vermont, U.S.A.

The best telescope mirrors
are made by hand.

Grinding machines are precise
steady, regular — and flawed.
As the mechanism oscillates
it establishes wave patterns
unavoidable beats in the motion
which translate into grooves
in the surface
like the flutter
we sometimes hear in the travel
of an overhead fan.

Our human inconsistency
as we move glass against glass
assures the necessary randomness
to create a uniformly smooth surface
regularity born out of the irregular.

How right it seems
that our twitches and quirks
afford us our clarity of vision.


THIRD PLACE:

Haiku for Space Shuttle Discovery

by Christine Rueter, Ellicott City, Maryland, U.S.A.

Through your small windows
we saw our fractious planet
blue and white and whole.


HONORABLE MENTION:

How Do You Say That?

by Linda Boecker, Riverside, California, U.S.A.

Andromeda and Pegasus
Are easy enough for most of us.
As are Triangulum, Pisces and Aries.
It’s Capricornus, not Capricorn
That is below Equuleus (eh-KWOO-lee-us)
And while that amuses us,
Delphinus doesn’t define us.
Aquila (AH-kweh-lah) and Sagitta (sa-JIT-tah)
Are neighbors to Vulpecula (vul-PECK-yoo-lah).
If you Scutum (SKOO-tum) down to the Serpens
You’ll find the odd-shaped Ophiuchus (OH-fee-YOO-kuss)
Sound surprised when you say Bootes (boh-OH-teez),
But saying Canes Venatici (KAY-neez  veh-NAT-ih-sigh)
Will take more than one try.
Coma Berenices (KOH-mah BARE-ah-NYE-seez)
Has lots of galaxies.
Monoceros (moh-NOSS-er-us) isn’t a rhinosaurus,
But it sounds the same.
Camelopardalis (kah-MEL-oh-PAR-dal-iss)
Is a giraffe not a camel,
But I’m sure you knew this!
Don’t get too starry-eyed gazing at
Aldebaran (al-DEB-ah-ran)
And never say Betelgeuse (BET’l-jooz) three times.
Just remember to be Sirius, when looking at
Spica (SPY-kah) or Vega (VEE-gah) because
Fomalhaut (foo-mal-HOUT) is quite the hoot!
And that’s how we say it!


HONORABLE MENTION:

Meteor Showers in August

by Kate Gleason, Keene, New Hampshire, U.S.A.

They’re all the brighter for our dark-adapted
eyes, a sky clear and unpolluted
by the moon, which is in its new phase
where it doesn’t show, and there’s no corona
of artificial glow from a city, nothing damping down
the pitch above the hill where we sit, a chill beginning
to seep through our summer jackets and shorts,
the grass leaving its alphabet in the backs of our thighs.

Falling stars, we call them, but we know they’re specks of dust
from the Comet Swift-Tuttle and that we’re passing
through its tail of debris, these tiny motes that blaze to nothing
in the atmosphere, their brilliance corresponding in scale
to the speed at which they’re going. One by one,
they leap across the night like a nerve impulse in the brain,
a synaptic frazzle, scritch-mark of a struck match.

Above them, the constellations are riveting
the sky together, rising from our wish to see patterns
in the sprawl and lines we imagine closing the distance
between stars, giving the darkness a form we can recognize,
say the hourglass of Hercules, or the Herdsman’s rogue kite,
its string tethered to nothing tonight, or the Summer Triangle
that is just now starting to point toward the horizon’s mound
and the sector of night grown electric with dashes of light
while we sit on a hill and tilt our heads back, counting.

 

Young Adult Category (age 12–17, Middle School and High School)

FIRST PLACE:

The Big Bang—The Secret Behind the Dark Skies…

by Aiman Salva Khan, Srinagar, Kashmir, India

Nothingness, nothingness is there….
Something or someone lurked somewhere
It closed its eyes, and it spun, it spun, round and round,
Then, from the sacred region of the soul’s Profound
Boom!  Came the noise from I don’t know where
The murmur of the spheres I suddenly hear
Throbbing and beating in each of my ear;
The stars appear from the womb of singularity
And turn into infinity
How strange!  How new!
As Time spins off into Eternity,
And Space into the inane Immensity,
And the Finite into God’s Infinity
Perplexing items fade from the large view
The horizon-line is gone, The earth and heaven are one
The earth is born and so is the sun
And even now after a million years
The Sun
The absolute, the world-absorbing One,
Relinquishes half his empire to the moon
We see the star, from the surface of Earth.


SECOND PLACE:

Black Hole

by Tanner Curran, Broken Arrow High School, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, U.S.A.

Black hole
Dark and enormous
Sucking, destroying, ripping
Comes from star explosion
Mysterious.


THIRD PLACE:

Heavenly and Serene Is the Night Sky

by Yashasvi Jain, Patparganj, Delhi, India

Heavenly and serene is the night sky,
With the twinkling stars up so high,
The moon is gasping at the lands and seas,
Lo and behold!  It's sight indeed,
The clouds are not where they used to be,
The strong winds seem to have set them free,
I am standing alone gazing at the night sky,
When suddenly I spot a distant firefly,
What looked like one was joined by many,
Their size was no bigger than a single penny,
As I laughed and played with my new-found cronies,
Everywhere there is a realm of peace,
The world wrapped in a sweet dream riss.


HONORABLE MENTION:

Earth

by Cade Watson, Broken Arrow High School, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, U.S.A.

Earth,
Beautiful and unique
Spherical, rotating, terrestrial
Life’s “one hit wonder”
Planet.


HONORABLE MENTION:

The Light and the Dark

by Suhail Karim, Stanmore, England.

As bright as a star
as spherical as the sun
showering its great white light
the luminous moon floating above

In the sky it dances gracefully around
As silent as can be leaving no sound
its power controlling the monstrous tide
to the sun it will never boast or show pride

Surely the moon is brighter than a star
its light bright travelling very far
but alas evil is hovering and watching
the moon's light shadowed by the dark void.

 

Children’s Category (age 6–11, Elementary School)

FIRST PLACE:

Milky Way

by Laura Banica, London, England

Moon and stars another universe,
With its beauty making us gaze out at them falling lovingly.

Milky Way kindly holding them in its arms,
Making them going round.

Every planet has its meaning,
Venus Goddess of Love who makes us
Love people we did not know.

Mars God of War brings us blood,
And hate and war in this world.
With its colours shining so beautifully making us forget what love is.


SECOND PLACE:

Pluto

by Azul Romo, 4th grade, Donaldson Elementary School, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.

Pluto so
Lonely and
Forgotten
As Mars, Venus, and Earth
And other
Planets
Watch shooting
Stars
Pass by
As Pluto is trying
To be known
Once again


THIRD PLACE:

Shooting Star

by Emily Burtnett, 4th grade, Donaldson Elementary School, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.

Gliding across the navy blue sky,
Falling down down down like an asteroid,
Tumbling like little kids rolling down a hill,
Fire bursting like in the 4th of July,
Shooting as far as it can,
Making terrible noise,
After going as far as it can,
It burns out.


HONORABLE MENTION:

The Place of Space

by Kevin Ballard, 4th grade, Donaldson Elementary School, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.

I looked in my telescope,
I looked at the moon,
I looked at the sky,
And I looked at Neptune.

I saw red stars,
I saw blue stars,
I saw shooting stars,
I saw soaring stars,

I saw large planets,
I saw small planets,
I saw the red planet,
I saw the blue planet.

No one knows how many stars there are,
I don’t know that either.
But maybe there’s someone out there,
Who has the answer.


HONORABLE MENTION:

Space Space It’s a Wonderful Place

by Aiden Skidmore, 4th grade, Donaldson Elementary School, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.

Space space it’s a wonderful place
Where the stars go boom and there is a lot of room
There’s junk everywhere but there is no fears
There is a black hole that plays a big role
The sun is on fire when the heat gets higher
Jupiter has rings but it’s not married to any things
There is no end to our big black friend


HONORABLE MENTION:

The Sun Is Up High

by Jaquelyn Santos, 4th grade, Donaldson Elementary School, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.A.

The sun is up high
The sun is extremely hot
But is very cool

 

Our thanks to all the poets, young and old, who contributed to our Astropoetry Contest and helped make Global Astronomy Month a memorable event.  Thanks also to our contest judges—Tony Berendsen of Tahoe Star Tours, Reno, Nev., U.S.A.; Vanna Bonta, Editor of The Cosmos Review, Los Angeles, Calif., U.S.A.; and Andrei Dorian Gheorghe of the Romanian Society for Astronomy and Meteors (SARM) in Romania—who performed the difficult task of picking winners from more than seventy fine poems entered in the contest.

--Bob Eklund, AWB Astropoetry Blog Editor and Contest Coordinator