The following sonnets were selected as winners of the 21st annual Sonnet Writing Contest.

Middle School Division Winner

Sleep Little Sheep

By Simon Teft, 

Grade 6

High School Division Winner

Father and Sun

By Lindsay Erickson, Grade 12

Papillion LaVista High School

Adult Division Winner

The Bard in Omaha

By Karen Hughes

Champaign, IL

Lying down at bedtime in the clover

All was silent but for one little sheep.

Wiggling, for he was awake all over

He struggled with the quiet he must keep.

A great idea formed within his head:

To help him rest his siblings he would count.

‘One and two, three and four,’ loudly he said.

Of relatives he had a large amount.

Everybody woke and caused a riot.

Complaining that he was a noisy guy.

His mother gently whispered, ‘Be quiet.’

And softly sang to him a lullaby.

Cradled in his mom's arms he fell asleep.

To think a little lamb was counting sheep.

The man inhales a quiet breath, the one,

The songs he finds inside himself are two.

The first is sweet as sunshine like his son,

The second song's a mountain stream, so blue.

His hands are graceful, touching keys--the three,

The softer notes are swelling, now to four.

He dreams; his stranded soul is flying free,

His sun, his son, beside him, just to soar.

The waging waves, they wake his son of five.

The father plays the notes and only six.

So glad his boy is calm, enthralled, alive,

He's always near, whatever life inflicts.

He'll teach his sun, his son, his songs of love,

Until he's watching down from high above.

Traversing all the world, his spirit flies:
How many earnest players “strut and fret”!
Each line he knows by heart; the laughs and cries
Bring happiness to Stratford’s ghost. And yet

A special company has caught his eye,
Rehearing on a verdant summer’s lawn.
Delightedly he settles in to spy
Invisibly upon them. Not ’til dawn,

New-breaking in its blazing brilliance, shines
Once more, does our fair ghost—now free from strife—
Meander off, quite moved to see the lines
And characters he penned so brought to life.

He glows with joy to see the crowds they draw
And proudly sighs: The Bard in Omaha.

Honorable Mentions:

The Sneeze

By Billy Teft,

Grade 5

Yesterday I felt a little funny.

Just like a little itch inside my nose.

My shnozzle was just a wee bit runny.

And made me shiver right down to my toes.

My eyes began to water and to twitch.

I wink and blink but still it doesn't help.

On my body I feel quite a big itch.

I feel weird all over me so I yelp.

My yelp called Dad who gave me a tissue.

I wiped my nose, it did not help at all.

I held it in, a tear dripped on my shoe.

I fear my nose looks like a big red ball.

From deep down in my lungs I start to wheeze.

Finally, Achoo! A gigantic sneeze.


By Emma Todd, Grade 10

Omaha Burke High School

Curls of limbs stretching, exposing gaunt paws

Its twitching tail rising like coffee steam.

Yawning sleepy-eyed unhinging its jaw

Coiled back, shiny gleam is like whipped cream.

Sharp eyes growing wider as it stalks prey

Adjust haunches, getting the per-fect pounce.

The small breeze in its ear sounding like May,

Little dead fowl weighing but an ounce.

Sleepy cat, strong warrior, fierce but calm

His shadow in the ally never stopped.

Always comes home, never late for the psalm

Laying in the back of the small bookshop.

But now in ashes he lives in my heart,

Used his nine lives but we’re never apart.

Dear G

By Claudia Mooney, 

Omaha, NE

I fear I’ve found you to be kryptonite,

Regret is in my heart, the body’s core

Your hand ‘round my waist, O that lovely night!

‘Twas poison my veins had not met before

I feel your breath, so sweet and so divine

We danced so slow, no music to distract,

Your velvet soft lips not an inch from mine,

Debating, as to act or not to act?

I can’t deny you, yet cannot accept,

You’ve made my mind so paradoxical

It bleeds emotion, suddenly inept,

My once carefree life now an obstacle

But all I crave is your head on my chest,

You rugged, dark, strong; me light, fragile, blessed.