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2015 Winning Sonnets

This year marked our 18th season for the Anne Dittrick Sonnet Contest. After receiving 93 adult and student sonnets, our judging panel of professional poets and Shakespeare Scholars voted the following sonnets as our winners:
Adult/Post-Secondary Winner

Response to Sonnet 19
By Michael Harty

When glorious morning yields to afternoon
And thence to evening, should we then be grieved?
If clouds turn gray that seemed to once festoon
The east with strands of gold, are we bereaved?

When dewy blossoms dry, the grounded lark
Goes songless to her forested retreat,
And shadows lengthen with advancing dark,
Is Nature's face less comely, time less sweet?

I hold the evening equal to the morn --
The shaded colors lovely as the bright,
The new-fledged leaf not finer than the worn,
The glow of sunset fair as dawn's new light –

For fading beauty's beauty nonetheless,
And all the sweeter for its passingness.


High School Sonnet Winner

Gemstones of Night
By Mary Johnson
Millard North High School
Teacher: Jan Amidon

When the proud sun departs the azure sky
The shimm’ring opal moon comes out to shine
Her handmaids, glitt’ring diamonds ‘hind her fly
As constellations, stars in wild line

Their gentle light encompasses the world
Enveloped in night’s spreading sapphire cloak
Illuminating leaves by moonlight pearled
Made emerald, crystalline upon an oak

In contrast to that silv’ry light so bold
A far off planet sparkles ruby red
The richest lord decked out in wealth and gold
Has no jeweled crown so glam’rous for his head

‘Tis true that human kind, while rather bright
Can craft no gems as fine as those of night.


Middle School Winner

Fiery Love: Taco Bell
By: Dayton Linhardt
Gretna Middle School
Teacher: Lori Wewel

I like to eat tacos in my freetime.
I really like to eat at Taco Bell.
When I can’t have it, sometimes I do cry.
When I can’t have my tacos, I’m in Hell.

Green apple and cherry are the slushies.
Fountain drinks and free water are my life.
Strawberry lemonade and ice-cold tea.
You find the sauce and napkins by the knives.

Crunchy and spicy cinnamon twisties,
Cinnabon delights and the churros too,
Why their food is so good is a myst’ry.
Sometimes Taco Bell makes me have to poo.

Taco Bell will 4ever be my life,
I wish that I could make it my own wife.
Adult/Post Secondary Honorable Mention

Where Wisdom Hides
By Neil Brothers

A destination barely understood,
Its every inch obstructed by conceit—
Ahead, two paths that split the darkened wood,
Philosophy and poetry compete.

The former builds its castles in the air,
With moats, both wide and deep, to bar the way—
That path, circuitous as spiraled stair,
Provides no light to guide us night or day.

Philosophers might say what poets write
Affords no brighter lamp, nor moon, nor sun,
But I prefer to think that poems light
A path, if not for many leastwise one.

Two paths, and each forbidding in the dark,
And yet the choice seems clear as I embark.


High School Honorable Mention

Nebraska
By Sierra Horan
Millard North High School
Teacher: Rhonda Betzold

When human skin starts blistering from heat
The sidewalks bake and fry a dozen eggs
The pairs of flip flops click on backs of feet
Bikini tops match up with sun kissed legs

But once the leaves turn gold and or’nge they fall
The warmest colors decorate the town
The stadium glows red to watch the ball
And cinnamon is dusted, floating down

The bitter cold has swept the plains all dry
No crystal flakes a like upon the sills
These sheets of white reflect the moon’s good byes
The groundhog marks the hope for no more chills

Fresh smell of rain that breaks from evergreens
The hibernation ends and awakes spring.


Middle School Honorable Mention

Wanderlust
By: Emma Budzinski
Ralston Middle School
Teacher: Tyler Barna

I haven't a problem with wanderlust,
For reality always meets my dream.
And home being the place I most distrust,
I long to be somewhere: not just to be.

Would rather be an unattached loner
Than committed and stapled to one home.
Exploring the world and its four corners
Is better than having life set in stone.

I have ached for places I’ve never seen,
I have become the meaning of fernweh.
I’ve fallen in love with my unforeseen,
And thrived off of my life’s uncertainty.

True wanderlust finds true, agonizing
pain when not in and ‘round the amazing.