Winter poetry contest

Credit: 
via Unsplash

As the snow began to fall, The Journal sent out a winter and holiday-themed poetry casting call. Our favourites from the contest are featured below.

 

The First Sweater

Paige Kedrosky, Winner 

I put on;

Smooth against my skin,

Cozy-warm within.

 

Plenty to wear

As winter grows,

As December blows.

 

The trees are bare,

The leaves now shed,

Outside, the world is chilled and dead.

 

But we do not mind the grey.

The fires glow rosy,

And Sweater to Sweater we stay,

Warm and cozy

 

The Christmas Hymn

Raechel Huizinga, Finalist

Our starry eyes are burnt out,

our veins are swimming in coffee

and paperwork.

We’re tired.

Our shoes are coffins

rotting through the empty weeks,

collecting dirt and dust.

And then, suddenly,

Christmas?

It’s for children, it’s all lies,

and besides, we’re too poor

to buy it.

Walking along…walking along…

none of us meeting each other’s eyes…

walking along…wait!

What’s that? In the sky?

The grey winter gloom is blooming

little white flowers

that fall softly on the concrete

like bruised fingers kissing a cracked piano,

pouring music into everything.

So we’ll fish out our beat up hearts

like rusty pennies

and share them at the bar

listening to the music man play, getting high,

the kings and queens of Christmas lights.

We’ll hang them all over the city

we don’t need money to make things pretty

because, after all,

brightness is meant for ending darkness

and reaching through walls

not for making your cathedrals glitter.

Don’t be bitter, be alive!

And joyful!

We’re screaming and swearing and drinking and daring

Bing Crosby is blaring,

what the hell are you wearing

that sadness for?

You’ve made it this far,

and you’re not alone.

We’re all fucked up skeletons

dancing and singing like drunk silver bells,

young and shiny,

the old man’s violin romping through our skin

like Christmas carols on ecstasy.

To the business men and homeless,

to the refugees and presidents,

to the crackheads and millionaires,

and single mothers on welfare,

have a drink, and smile,

and share your blanket.

Say Merry Christmas

to the ones who have hurt you,

because every person – no matter who –

can find sleep

under the glow of Christmas trees.

Sounds of laughter

like cheap bottles of cherry rum

spill rosy warmth into the numb streets

that stick out like frozen bones

and into our broken homes.

Here we hold each other,

and kind words between friends

like tiny flames

are all the gifts we have,

and all the gifts we want.

This year has been full of teeth

snapping with hate,

spitting out fear and strife.

But at Christmas time,

we throw away the knives

and choose compassion,

selflessness, kindness, love;

all these to prove

Christmas doesn’t mean having perfection

to have peace.

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