February 28, 2021

2020 Walk Award
By Qwill Madrone, Grade 6

The middle of the ocean.
Wide and scary.
The calm blue surrounds me.
My iridescent tail flashes and circles underwater.
I have nothing to worry about.
I dive under
The silence presses in on me.
I fill my lungs with the salty water of the sea.
Breath in, breath out.
The water evaporates in me
Leaving me with air.
A school of fish dart around me
Little silver bullets.
I use my tail to propel myself
Forward into the water.
I hold my hand out
The silky water flowing around my arm.
A bale of turtles glide under me
Their fins send water towards me
A small underwater current.
The ocean is alive.
And deep.
And blue.

*Copyright 2020 by Qwill Madrone. Broadside illustrated by Angela Boyle.

The Sea*

August 27, 2017

2017 Merit Award
By Maddie Patterson, 3rd grade

The sea is like a platter of opalescent
blue shine jewels. It is the biggest treasure.
The blood of the world.

. . . . . .
Maddie Patterson was just finishing third grade when she wrote this poem. This is her very first published poem. She likes to watch her favorite movie, Labyrinth, and draw things from her imagination. She likes to read graphic novels and chapter books.

“I wrote ‘The Sea’ while I was on the bus ride home from school. I saw Lake Whatcom and imagined it as a sea. I wanted to write a poem that described what it looked like.”

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Maddie Patterson. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

2017 Walk Award
By Richard Widerkehr

Yesterday, the water tossed me on the reef,
jarring my back, scraping my right wrist.

Don’t fall out of the ocean, says Linda.
I line up a break in the coral

with the fifth thatched shed.
Lying on my back, held by waves,

sea held by blue sky, sky held by the earth,
and the universe — it’s held by what?


I’m standing in the green shallows.
Whomp. Something hits the water

hard like prop wash. Wings thrash.
A brown pelican’s next to me.

The thing has a bill, big as a thigh bone,
that opens and closes.

. . . . .
“In the last five years, I’ve submitted and published widely. I like to sing and play music at a bar called the Green Frog. I used to be a teacher and a case manager with the mentally ill. I’m retired now. My Boynton poem was written at a resort called Akumal in Mexico and worked on later back in B’ham. My third book of poems, In The Presence Of Absence, will come out from MoonPath Press this fall.”

. . . . .
*Copyright 2017 by Richard Widerkehr. Broadside illustrated by Kim Wulfestieg.

George Such ~ Snorkeling with My Daughter at Gili Aire

2012 Merit Award
By George Such

Snorkeling with My Daughter at Gili Aire

This moment, alive in the ocean’s mouth,
watch the world reveal itself:

emperor angel-fish chase their prey,
their blue-striped yellow bodies flash

behind black-sashed faces, Moorish idols,
chisel-tooth wrasses, their sides

like green comb filled with honey,
sweetlips, snappers, groupers, puffers,

butterflyfish with stripes that go straight through.
But you don’t need to know their names.

All you need to do is breathe and see:
eyes that swim close and wonder,

pink lips, silky fins, tails
that drive the ubiquitous body.

*Copyright 2012 by George Such. Placard design by Egress Studio.

Kelly G. Ramer - Song with Grey Shapes - 2006 Walk Award
Read the poem here.
Copyright 2006 by Kelly G. Ramer. This poem appears in POETRY WALK: Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest – The First Five Years. Placard design by Egress Studio.

Wife of a Fisherman*

November 19, 2010

Placard design by Egress Studio
2009 Merit Award
By Niel Pfundt

Do you see that lady? At the end of the dock
In the dark, in the rain; wind tossing her hair?

Do you see how she paces? One way then the other
Stops to look; stares into night, wet jacket flying?

She is the wife of a fisherman and knows that a night,
One like this, dark and dirty, makes the water mean.

She’s been out there too, she knows the sounds,
The constant motion, water, boat, everything aboard.

In the dark rain-thick air, out on the black water
A dim light appears, fades, disappears, shows again.

In a flying cloud of spray, the faint shadow of a hull
Twists in the sea, defined by red and green sidelights.

Rounds the breakwater as men on deck lower fenders
Call out cheerfully; toss lines up to the dock.

The fisherman’s wife unclasps praying hands
Takes a line, drops the eye neatly over an iron cleat.

*Copyright 2009 by Niel Pfundt. This poem appears in POETRY WALK: Sue C. Boynton Poetry Contest – The First Five Years. Info: Book! Placard design by Egress Studio.

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