Over 80 sonnets were submitted for the 15th annual Anne Dittrick Sonnet Writing Contest. Our judges chose the following winners:


by Daniel J. Daly

Awash in port, he struggled toward the light
That shone instead upon the one he knew
He could have been if things had turned out right
Or if, he thought, he’d really wanted to.

The brandy that he poured, a sign of change,
Was token of his mood that somber night.
His artful plan allowed the dark exchange,
Restoring one like him to share her light.

“To keep a life you love,” his earnest vow,
Repeated softly when he kissed her cheek,
He kept by doing what he said; and now
He gains the greater light that all men seek.

“It is a far, far better thing,” he said,
“A far, far better rest,” that golden thread.

Hades' Cunning

by Matt Pendergraft, Ralston High School

A story where another hero dies
And because of this, he must prove himself,
A terror raced through his veins, he tried,
To kill the lion, so full of itself.

Sweat covered Marcus, as he sang a hymn,
To live longer, to see his wife again,
The lion saw his chance, blood swelled from limbs
Screaming in pain, he saw above his ken,

His sword slashed skin as the lion’s claws hit
To take for his own, great Hades now sees,
The eyes of Marcus, closed, no longer lit
His face blank, blood now soaked down to his knees.

Death called as Apollo lit the fire,
Of his son, burned upon the stone pyre.


by Amanda Miller

The clouds hang low, a canopy of grey,
all quilted, swollen, stuffed with waiting rain
that shall not overflow and fall today,
but paints the sky, instead, a purplish stain.

Below this heavy ceiling, dark and sore,
the evening sun, its opposite, burns bold,
like bedroom light beneath a midnight door
that whispers in to flood the room with gold.

The sandy hills that roll, dividing earth
from sky, embrace these eager evening beams
to dance and don their dress in gilded mirth;
they twirl in em’rald gowns with copper seams.

This vision, painted firm behind my lonely eyes,
now leads me home, to gravel roads, and sun-blurred skies.

Sonnet 18-Revised
by Savannah Dale, Elkhorn South High School

Shall I compare thee to a zombie’s brain?
Thou art more squishy and so grossly red
Rough winds do shake the ratt’ling bones o’ decay
And zombies life be-ith considered dead:

Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines
And oft his green complexion becomes dimm’d;
And every raunchy stench sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course unhing’d;

But thy eternal grossness shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
But Death shall brag though wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time though growest;

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

Cleopatra Vii--Last Queen of Egypt

by GeneAnn Newcomer

When first you fell from rug to Caesar's feet,
Did eyes behold you as they might a slave?
Or with your smile enchant and cause retreat,
Egyptian wiles on Roman heart engrave.

Like mermaid who with swish of copper tail,
Stirs up the seas in ways that can entrap,
Sailors bewitched while wives back home do wail,
For Antony there is no coming back.

But there is one who knows to block your song.
Octavian thus plots to bring you down.
At Actium the die is cast erelong.
Mermaid, who flees to land, will lose her crown.

Ah… Imagine what change in end could be,
If Caesar’s and thy son, had hid, like thee.


by Jonathan Dale, Elkhorn South High School

The Sun, eruption of celestial bliss,
The seas, deep pools of teal conformity,
White clouds, so innocent yet so amiss,
Extensive canyons of enormity.

Oh, trees, the sleeping giants of forests,
What majesty and grace do you contain?
Destruction of world beauty I detest,
Anni’lation to trees, I must disdain.

Ice crystals, blankets of white on a field,
To give an irresistible allure.
Great willow trees, whose glamour shall not yield,
The charm bestowed upon this earth is pure.

These things of nature I do hold so dear
Forever etched so I can keep them near.