Ninth graders wax lyrical at annual Poetry Slam
Posted 03/13/2014 12:00AM

A morning of original verse, friendly competition, and camaraderie was held at the Wards' house on the day before March break. It was the annual ninth grade Poetry Slam and students in Steve Farley's and John Fitzsimmons classes performed in self-selected teams, with the groups wearing inspired costumes that ranged from vintage tweed jackets and caps to white shirts and pastel bow ties and calling themselves team names such as Thoughts Fired and Team Bella.

Mr. Fitzsimmons served as emcee and Eden Dunkel, Peter Bradley, P.J. Libby, Gisela Hernandez-Skayne, Laurie Byron, John Sharon, Jeff LaPlante, and Dave Duane were judges. Lorraine Ward read a moving poem titled "What this house needs, little man, is you" and readings were also offered by Mr. LaPlante and Mr. Duane.

The boys shared verse about family, culture, personal experiences, and observations of the natural world and after several rounds of competition The Three Musketeers (Chad Arle, Maahin Gulati, and Leo Kafka) emerged the winners in what the judges called a close contest.
Here is one of the poems offered by the winning team:

A Poet Dreaming

eyes flutter:
closed again.
shifting under a mountain of warm down
breathing slow,
like a dragon sleeping on her gold
movements minuscule
but movements nonetheless.
blinding sun
heaven on skin,
hell on eyes.
sleep! sleep!
come back to me.
take me back,
back to Poe,
back to Dreamland
nothing gold can stay.
--Leo Kafka
Here is a poem by Tim Jones, who was on the Thoughts Fired team:

Where I am From

I am from eastern roots and a western admirer,
A small town heart but a big town world.
The stepping stones of my ancestors,
The pit of my family.
I am from a deep admiration of the outdoors,
The woods, the mountains, the rivers and oceans;
Trap shooting on Saturday afternoons.
I am from the drive on late nights up Route 27 to Sugarloaf.
The Ragu on the stove that traveled upstairs,
The call for dinner that always came more than once.
I am from a normal family with an oh so abnormal dog.
I am from the dog toys on the lawn that get buried in snow.
I am woven into the fabric of Montana, Cape Cod, Maine, and Massachusetts.
I am from the insightful days of everlasting joy,
The smell of laundry detergent on all of my clothes.
I am from the boxes under my bed full of memories and crafts,
The friends and family that get me through.
I am from the nights and early mornings.
I am from the long hay field that lies across my fondest memories,
The real maple syrup, never the fake.
I am from my uncle's interest and constant fulfillment of life.
I am from my aunt's creativity and exceptional care.
I am from Saturday mornings, always with pancakes and waffles.
I am from countless hours of reading the never ending story
And the barefoot summers of grass stain and sunburn.
I am from endless ski slopes and endless hours of fishing.
I am from the wood fires burning, crackling, and popping.
I am from the yellow house on a curvy road,
With the planes going by every minute, hour, and day.
I am from the big front yard with a big imagination.
I am from the happiness in life and the happiness to come.