On Wednesday, April 29th at 7:00pm, we had The 11th Lee Golomb Cadiff Teen Poetry Contest awards ceremony. The poets were wonderful – they all did a fabulous job of reading their poems. And many Swampscott school teachers went above and beyond and came to the ceremony to cheer on the students.

The finalists have been announced for the 11th Annual Lee Golomb Cadiff Teen Poetry Contest. From over 250 poems submitted, the judges have selected the following finalists:

From Swampscott Middle School:

Elif Bithell -grade 6,
Teen Poetry Contest 2015 Bithell
Elif Bithell
Grade 6
Swampscott Middle School


Awakened, I blink my salt-stained eyes.
I flex my glimmering spear-like claws.
I rise from my golden loft.
Energy surges from my eagle-like wings
to my serpentine tail.
I yearn to take flight,
but I settle in the cave entrance, and I wait.
Muscles tense; I wait.
My eyes turn scarlet from the suspense,
the hunger, the desire,
until a careless goblin enters,
oblivious to my presence.
His eyes rest on my treasures,
Greed sparks in his beady eyes;
a toothy grin spreads across his face.
Now I am absolutely furious!
I loathe that look. I despise it.
I hate it all, the dilated pupils and his haughty smirk.
I feel a sudden fiery rage,
consuming any control I have,
like blazing plumes of peacock feathers,
my temper is exposed.
Then…quiet. I still see my treasures,
but now there is a burning flurry of ash.
Unable to hold back any longer,
I swoop out of my cave and toward a lake;
I spread my wings at the last second,
then brush the cascade of rushing water.
All hatred and anger vanish from my heart
in that glorious moment.
I sweep away the clouds, once dark and ominous.
The sun’s rays envelop me
and everything is splendid.
I blink my salt-stained eyes.
Instead of a cave, I am in my room.
I smile as I stretch my arms
and saunter out of my bed, ready to start the day.

Annie Burgett – grade 8,
Teen Poetry Contest 2015 Burgett

I am tossed
out an open window
toward cracked, dark asphalt.
A place where weeds grow,
persistent in their attempt to thrive.

I plunge down and down
mingling with angry words
spat out into the cool night.
I descend with once cherished keepsakes
now deemed pointless.
I fall without ceremony
tossed away like garbage.

I crash,
suddenly fracturing
on cold, unforgiving ground.
I shatter
into a million shards.

I am forgotten-
left to carry on
in a rich landscape of discarded aspirations,
all uniquely changed by their breakage.
I am adapting to my new form-
waiting for the day
when I will dissipate
and be taken up by the next hopeful spirit.
For then I will escape
the pain
of being cast aside.

I will rise like smoke from a raging fire.
For dreams
never die.

Isaac Dreeben – grade 8,
Teen Poetry Contest 2015 Dreeben
Isaac Dreeben
Grade 8
Swampscott Middle School

Arthritis of the Heavens

He sleeps mostly, the fluffy orange one.
Food is a struggle.
Plain white bowls and water.
Liver pâté.

The bed is far from the ground.
The staircase is infinitely long.
But he keeps waddling down it.
And arthritis hurting him all the way.

And remember …
Remember the hunger and pain,
As he leans over the slimy pâté from the can
That is sharp and metallic,
Food residue stuck on his whiskers.

Alexandra Fisk – grade 8,
Teen Poetry Contest 2015 Fisk
Honorable Mention
Alexandra Fisk
Grade 8
Swampscott Middle School


A place with ancient cobblestoned winding paths,
dawdled on by endless pairs of feet.
Crowds sauntering up a hill carpeted with lush greenery,
greeted by a cream-colored basilica called Sacre-Coeur.
Petite beige-colored cafés infuse the narrow paths
with the radiant smell of fresh croissants.
Gingerly held brushes and pastel chalks
make faint strokes they way and that,
on milk white paper.
Home of the artists, Place du Tertre,
heart of Montmartre.

Clara Harrington – grade 8,
Teen Poetry Contest 2015 Harrington
Grade 8
Swampscott Middle School

The Sun

A class without students
A piano without keys
A fish without water
A jacket without sleeves

An eye without a pupil
A zebra without stripes
A house without windows
A boxer with no fight

A map without a legend
A dog with no fur
A board with no chalk
A cough with no cure

Imagine these things
Think for a second, just one
Of how they compare
To an earth without sun

Aidan McMaster -grade 6,
Teen Poetry Contest 2015 McMaster
Best Sports Poem
Aidan McMaster
Grade 6
Swampscott Middle School

Nailed It!

With my bright green and white board under my arm,
I slowly step into the cold, clear water.
“I am going to do this!” I say to myself.
I grasp the board with both hands;
I sprint down the sandy shoreline.
My hands release the board,
and it slides
on the thin shining sheet of water.
I catapult through the air
after gliding on the board,
and land hard as my feet grip the traction pads.
I look down at my feet,
flicking my front foot forward
and my back foot back.
I watch the board spin 180 degrees in the air,
splashing down on blue water.
The water sprays around me
As I land the trick
I have practiced for hours.
“NAILED IT!” I scream.

Bianna Pierce – grade 7,
Teen Poetry Contest 2015 pierce
Rising Star Award
Bianna Pierce
Grade 7
Swampscott High School


question in my head are never said
i feel embarrassed
i feel like they will laugh at me
they ask so perfectly
you laugh and point
i stop and stutter
i say nothing
i say nevermind
you laugh
i cry
you say the right answer
i say it wrong
i feel like a clown
all you do is make me frown
but now you are still there
i am getting ready
you are still asking those same questions
i am preparing to do open heart surgery
you are still asking questions
i saved a dog’s life
all you just did back then was made me cry
but now i am over it
years later, you are still asking “perfect” questions
and i just made 1 million in the last year
and all you said to me is you will never be good enough
question yourself

Odin Randell- grade 7,
Teen Poetry Contest 2015 Randell
Honorable Mention
Cherry blossom

The cherry blossom
Floating gently in the wind
In serenity

Olivia Reiser – grade 8,
Teen Poetry Contest 2015 Reiser
First Prize
Olivia Reiser
Grade 8
Swampscott Middle School

A Grain From Heaven

I look out my window
And it’s falling yet again
From a sky so paper white
It hurts to stare.
Just like the sun
But brighter somehow.
The fluffy flakes
Fall like feathers,
Slowly hovering to the ground
Taking their time
Too serene for words.
A white mass
Covers the ground
Like a soft silver blanket.
But before each speck
Hits the Earth floor,
The whole world stops
Like a skyscraper fell.
Then yet another
Beautiful little fragment
Of heaven above
Joins the white sheet
That covers the ground.
I watch two puffs
Race in drifts
Down to the landscape.
Now it’s starting to
accumulate heavily.
Small children try to run
Knee deep
In a fluff and lint assortment.
I press my warm lips
Up to the glass,
And a mark is left
As though I kissed the world.
It’s still falling.
I can taste it
From inside,
Imagine it,
Slowly melting on my tongue.
Then even though
I know it’s cold
It somehow warms me
From the inside out.
I should step outside

And feel the

Ethan Runstadler – grade 8,
Teen Poetry Contest 2015 Ethan Runstadler
Honorable Mention
Ethan Runstadler
Grade 8
Swampscott Middle School

One Shot

One step, one shot
The grave decision to be made
The end of life or the beginning
His men; dead
His soul; depleted of life
The bodies, the battle was over
The war was just starting
The cold steel barrel of the gun on his head
The soldier’s depression was his undoing
He thought this was his last choice

Or was it?

Vreni Runstadler – grade 5,
Teen Poetry Contest Vreni Runstadler
Honorable Mention
Vreni Runstadler
Grade 5
Swampscott Middle School


A chuck under the chin,
A hug with delight,
I’m in happy places,
It’s a Friday night!

So many things can happen,
Under the disco light,
With a party at home,
On a Friday night!

Marley Schmidt – grade 8,
Teen Poetry Contest 2015 Schmidt
Honorable Mention
Marley Schmidt
Grade 8
Swampscott Middle School

What I did Then, What I still Do

We sit
in silence
but for slurps and
drips of
popsicles who’ve done their
best in
begging for mercy only
to be
killed for
sweet sensory
chalk on
the driveway and on
our hands
and feet and clothes
the colors
express our
thoughts then
the rain
washes it away and
drips in
unison with
our popsicles
and we
begin dancing


Bella Seligson – grade 7,
Teen Poetry Contest 2015 Seligson
Best Humorous Poem
Bella Seligson
Grade 7
Swampscott Middle School

Poem Of Gratitude

Dear Fridge,
I love you to death.
Your smooth silver face,
And icy breath.

You are my one and only.
You bring me such joy.
I don’t need any other friends,
Or some stupid boy.

You comfort me in my times of trouble,
You give me what I need.
We belong together,
Like a knight and his noble steed.

Everytime I see you,
You always call my name.
You are different to everyone else,
They are all just lame.

You make sure to tell me,
“Bella, open my door.”
And as always,
Inside there is food galore.

You are so kind.
You never fail to please.
And I must not forget,
That the freezer also opens with ease.

And because of you my dear Fridgy,
I am never blue.
I love you Fridgy,
I hope you love me too.

Sarah Tribendis – grade 6,
Teen Poetry Contest 2015 Tribendis
Honorable Mention
Sarah Tribendis
Grade 6
Swampscott Middle School

The Engine Room

I trudge up the plank
I look at the grand ship
perched on dark, majestic water.

The sun blinds me
as I lunge into the first room.

My adventure has begun.

I conquer the whole ship,
each room more fascinating than the last.

There is one room left
The thought of going into it pulls me
to where my grandfather worked.

The engine room

With every step I take
on the creaking floor,
I smell the stale air.

As I look around
at the massive machines and pipes

I imagine
how hot it must have been,
how loud it must have been,
how hard it must have been.

Of course I get souvenirs,
but they are not as special
as getting to know my grandfather
even more.

Maddie Winklosky – grade 6,
Teen Poetry Contest 2015 Winklosky
Library Staff Prize
Maddie Winklosky
Grade 6
Swampscott Middle School

My Guitar

It sits there and beckons me to play.
I cannot resist.
The sun streams through the window
and reflects off its polished finish.
I must pick it up.
I must hear its extraordinary sounds.
Each time a new note hits my calloused fingertips,
I take a new adventure in my mind.
Each new note takes me to a new place.
My hands run up and down the neck of the guitar.
I close my eyes and let my fingers work.
My extraordinary trip continues only for me.
I stop only because my fingers ache.
I put my guitar back
only to desire to pick it up again.

From Swampscott High School:

Brandon Adelman -grade 11,
Teen Poetry Contest 2015 Adelman
Third Prize
Brandon Adelman
Grade 11
Swampscott High School

Tears by Spring

My eyes meet the image from the window
The small drips of rain fall free from the roof
As they fall, each one has a story to tell
My odd lover would have agreed
A hidden love it was meant to be
Perhaps it was not hidden at all
Perhaps, it wasn’t even love
I told you to run
Run from my cold, frozen heart
But you tried to make it warm
And yes, a part of me wish you had stayed
But we must both run now
The love we shared was toxic
We must both be set free
Run run lost boy
I said to him
Run run sad boy
He said to me
Now the rain has stopped
The damage still done to my window
As it still remains wet
But the sun will come out instead
And all will be well beyond the horizon

Lisa Gaber -grade 12,
Teen Poetry Contest 2015 Lisa Gaber
First Prize
Lisa Gaber
Grade 12
Swampscott High School


Let me explain
I’d rather write than speak
Through paper you can’t tell
If my voice goes weak

A tear-stained page
Holds nothing on a watery eye
So I may escape the fear
That they will see me cry

My throat catches on rage
But the ink remains calm
My thoughts a smooth river
While my mind a time bomb

My hand may tremble
But my pen will not stutter
So my words might make sense
While my mouth fills with verbal clutter

Some words hurt to say
And seem less painful when read
Excuse my empty words
Perhaps it’s better left unsaid

Ethan Smith-grade 11,
Teen Poetry Contest 2015 Smith
Second Prize
Ethan Smith
Grade 11
Swampscott High School

Infinite wind

Wind makes its presence known
in the trees. It rustles through leaves
with momentum borrowed from the open field,
the sound, an everlasting orchestra.

Wind hides in the woods
protected by thick oak and pine.
The stream sings uninterrupted
in the lush green theater of the forest.

Wind howls on the peak,
rushing waves brush mountaintops.
The grandness of the valley is exemplified
in the screams and howls of infinite wind.

Swampscott Middle School Teachers
Swampscott Middle School Teachers

The Teen Poetry Contest is possible through the assistance of Mrs. Norma Cadiff Finn, Friends of the Swampscott Public Library, the Swampscott Middle School and Swampscott High School, and the Tin Box Poets.

Norma Finn with the Swampscott Middle School contingent
Norma Finn with the Swampscott Middle School contingent

Teen Poetry Contest 2015 005a
Norma Finn, who makes the contest possible with complete underwriting of the contest, and Clem Schoenebeck, Tin Box poet – judge and person who runs the poetry contest rehearsal.

The Teen Poetry Contest is possible through the assistance of Mrs. Norma Cadiff Finn, Friends of the Swampscott Public Library, the Swampscott Middle School and Swampscott High School, and the Tin Box Poets.