Literary Art

The following literary pieces were selected from collected submissions of local student-written poems, essays, and short stories.​​

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Thank you to WSWHE BOCES (https://www.wswheboces.org) and to all of the students who contributed to this exhibit for inspiring us all with your thoughtful creations.​

2022 Outstanding Artist

Lauren Zhu

Shaker High School | Grade 11

I think better with my eyes closed

My mother knows this of me. Though she

believes I think, lone, in chilled

earnest. That shut eyes build dams, and

dehydrate history.

 

Here, in this jagged

ravine of a brain, unforgiving like valleys of

isolation, do my thoughts

ring and accumulate? Or do they echo,

 

rebound in the barren prism of my empty restropsections? Rebound

and repeat, against eroding rock. How they drum and churn

dry and listless, how the wind wheezes on these worn walls, beating and breathing

how an atmosphere can be both ice and parched,

 

here the unwarm Sun is loud

and lone in the sky,

here sound rushes

like searing sand, I can think of nothing. I think nothing.

 

Here, I am nothing.

 

But I do not think lone. Because in this jagged

gorge of my mind, the walls were carved by surging rivers. I do not think

lone because the grooves of my ear and the givings of my eye

carry the age of my mother. I do not think in isolation

 

because shut eyes build darkness like the

womb, warm primordial breath, where air does not exist, and where she forever begins and I

never end. Darkness like placid Earth beneath flowing rivers, like the imprint of

wet soil along water’s edge.

Cardboard Sheets

2022 Selected Works

Lauren Chuhta

Grade 12 | Greenwich Junior Senior High School

The Year I Saw Yellow

that was the year i came to see color

in World’s fragments, i saw through the rouge days

beneath the pink, there is a glass other

crisp new life when one ousts the inner haze

 

turns out life exists by sentient light

the air is heavy with the love of Sun

the trees smile, glad to be held in our sight

i could see this now, no more on the run

 

turns out there is life beyond known to meet

in the hills there is a jade so alive

in the quiet road, dark warmth for your feet

in a sweet slow life, honey to revive

 

that was the year i came to see yellow

royal flaxen canaries- my fellows.

Abigail Poole

Grade 12 | Shaker High School

global pandemic;
pandemia globale;
pandémie mondiale

I like the satisfaction we get from calling this a global pandemic, like every immensity is essential to explain what is happening, that feeling that we are all experiencing the same obstacle. This thing that has evolving effects, distancing and cleansing. But the search for the antibody makes us anti-everybody. It initiates finger pointing, where did it come from, who can we blame. Bans to keep us separate, yet each light blue polypropylene face looks identical. At least we have learned, a world of effort, is required to fix a world of problems.

Written after Etel Adnan

Kevin Lee

Grade 9 | The Albany Academy

Pillars

They say that the world is held up by four pillars

The Learning of the Wise

The Justice of the Great
The Prayers of the Righteous

The Valor of the Brave

First, there is those that listen
To the language of Man’s thoughts and ideas,

Seeking answers to questions that pervade time

And give instruction to the young buds of spring.

Second, the figures that tower over our civilization

Bring the smaller atop their shoulders,
Allowing them to gaze upon the world
In the same light as ordinary people do.

Third, ones whose words inspire
The hearts of people to do good
In the bitter bleakness of this world.

Soothing aloe vera gel of
Hope seeping into crevices of the spirit.

Fourth, the heroes that jump in
Without hesitation, nor a flash of doubt
To step into the heavy, impermeable darkness

And bring others into the glowing light.

Yet, all of these are nothing
Without a ruler who knows the art of ruling

They who hears the language of the earth,
Something beyond the birds chirping cheerily in the trees Or the calm bubbling of water in a quaint little creek, But rather the colossal tides of change
That heralds the coming of New.

May they take these sparkling, indomitable pillars Bind them together with the strongest
Cables of respect and friendship.

Sustain the world with their Shining, bright-star greatness.

Gregory Ng

Grade 10 | The Albany Acaemy

Bitterness Of The Alabaster

Recount the day when that alabaster beauty,

Upon its pedestal of silken stone,
Whose hollow eyes,
Cast woeful terror upon all who met its gaze;

Emerged from its crystalline sarcophagus.

Grey and marbled, scars speckled this stranger;
Complexion fair as it is haunting,
For only the dead know its hue.
Across pursed lips resides a frown of discontent,
A mime, a mannequin, an impersonator of infinite character,

Yet lacking in the ardor of man.

At its feet bows the creator, warm to the touch,

Breath upon his cracked lips;
Chisel in hand as he unravels this phantom creation.

Gypsum dust paints the floor an ashy white,

Linger on, the faint resonance of metal on stone.

Blemished perfection;

An armature of indefinite pose,
Set onto the maddened awe of the masses,
A disproportionate silhouette of its simple origin

An enthralling idle stands this fair hermit,

Kissed by the ages,
Bitter by his petrifaction.

Rachel Beth Mannix

Grade 12 | Queensbury High School

Typewriters

Typewriters

for type A writers,

writers like me,

who question the worthiness

of their words.

But still I love watching

clean paper

become a story of blotches and letters

right before my eyes.

 

My eyes,

they see the world

through a lens slightly cracked,

with a mind slightly bent,

with a heart

a little broken,

but still beating in my chest.

A heart a little broken,

but at least it still beats.


It still beats

in still beats,

like the wings of a bird

in a cage.

“I know why the

caged bird sings.”

I know now

what Maya Angelou means.

 

Through writing,

I can be free.

G Beauregard

Grade 12 | Saratoga Springs High School

Interdependence

Interdependence

A convenient word

To write a haiku

Jordan Conine

Grade 12 | Queensbury High School

Dependence on Interdependence

I rely on my pain to bring me back

Time and time again
To my own personal place of comfort

Driven by forceful dismay

Discomfort that I have to convince myself is comforting

Time and time again.

Neurological chemicals bombard my every intellect Resurrection hidden away behind bountiful walls

Of insecure, internal dialect

I find solace in my agony
It is my recognizable flaw
Breaking Points, a safe space
Familiarity becomes a prolonged sanctuary

I rely on my insanity for sanity
Purposeful glares shot at myself through cracked mirrors Caused by my own accord

The blame game begins
Everytime my thoughts are brought back

Centerfold

Blinding myself of senses

Destroying my moral compass

Dependability on the remembrance of tragedy
Is always assured in the form of flashing memories

The interdependence in of myself
Accompanied by long term accustomed miseries

Neglectful internal autonomy

Convincing myself it is easier to sink

Where I once knew so well
How to float

Teresa Zhang

Grade 11 | Emma Willard School

We The People

Have we forgotten

freedom doesn’t come

from the hands of one

A strong seed

found by many

planted by many

Can’t be watered by one

Poison is coming
towards ground zero

ridding the roots

The foundations

what’ll happen to

justice, equality,

We the People of the United States

We the people

must remember

the importance of we

Because your bones are mine

we share sweat and blood

we share laughs and joy

We share a home, share a pride

And although at times we divide

we disagree

we might bicker

But we must always remember

at the end of the day

victory only happens

When it’s We The People

2022 Runner Up

Alyvia Gell

Grade 12 | Saratoga Springs High School

Doors

As I open your door,

Nothing will surprise me.

Your superiority complex

With a masculine twist to the edges,

A connect-the-dots piece of the puzzle,

A storyboard that’s been ripped to pieces,

I’ll always find a way to explain this well.

With a quick glance,

Your shoes have been worn 500 times over

Overused is an adjective that comes to mind-

But not for you! No, of course.

Lovely is the picture painted in front of me.

Picking up from where I left off-

My freest words have paid the price

500 times over.

Give a chance that hasn’t struck me

It hasn’t packed itself into place

Or made a home within the edges.

Your jaw has clenched enough to snap

But not enough for it to glow.

I think I’ll bring myself to say

I love the way this will end up.

You skip a beat, for heavens sake-

Don’t let the suspense eat you whole.

Throw those worries into the pond of yesterday,

And sprinkle spite before you’re gone.

You’ve heard me say it twice before,

So, I guess the 3rd times a charm.

I’m building walls,

Building doors,

Building a concrete roof over my head

Because nobody’s going to concave through.

Not even a man.

A man.

Eyebrows that are so furrowed and stiff,

That you should probably take a lavender bath.

I’ll listen to your stories one more night,

Before they become divine literature.

You describe them to me as a castle built high.

A lonesome girl in the cliffs,

Always longing for something.

With each and every crease you put in the pages,

It is still not enough.

Longing for touch,

Or comfort of some sort

You look in the eyes of a foe

And you swear it’s on the tip of your tongue.

Spit it out to justify yourself.

Speak it out to humanize us all.

You’re masculine,

After all.

We are us,

After all.

2022 Runner Up

Pallavi Datta

Grade 11 | Niskayuna High School

Interdependence

In a village forty miles away from Kolkata,

a farmer’s hands are weathered, his shirt is threadbare

and his rickshaw is loaded with gourds, melons, okras and eggplants.

He wakes up in the dark before the first streaks of scarlet have tinged the sky,

while the village lights are still dim and the reflection of the pearlescent moon ripples in the river.

 

He pedals for hours on cracked asphalt and uneven earthen paths,

past villages and banyan trees, empty bus stops and train stations,

the air silent without the rattling sound of trains and only occasionally interrupted by the screeching of crows.

On the solitary journey, he occupies himself by making up stories to tell his children,

and the thought of their giggles brings a light to his eyes and a smile to his lips.

The moonlight paints buildings in shades of muted gray and smudged charcoal and

a lingering scent of night jasmine perfumes the air, mingling with the smell of incense of morning prayer, as he follows the twisting ribbon of roads approaching the city.

 

He arrives at dawn

as the city slowly wakes from its slumber, the ephemeral stillness broken by the rising sun.

Morning fog clears, revealing graffiti on brick broken buildings and sleek five-star hotels,

while the sun hides behind the silhouette of swaying palm trees,

bathing the ink-drawn buildings in soft orange pastels.

 

But the pulse of the city is missing, its streets unrecognizable.

A few passerby dot the streets, hurrying on their divergent paths, faces covered.

The old market looks like a ghost town, empty and silent.

Streets cluttered with vendors selling morning snacks and paraphernalia are a scene of the past, the echoing of the boisterous customers bartering can no longer be heard.

The glowing screens outside malls advertise shimmering satin and silk dresses for weddings now postponed, billboards for canceled tours and concerts are a reminder of a world at pause.

 

In this new normal, he was forced to change his job for survival:

for the people who cannot come to the market, he comes to them.

He goes beyond the facade of urban high-rises, to the homes of the elderly–to flats, narrow alleys and gullies–delivering burlap bags of vegetables on their verandas and doorsteps, bringing the market to them so they will not have to risk their lives doing so.

These necessary acts of kindness do not go unnoticed-

The smile in their eyes convey a mutual sense of gratitude that blue mesh coverings cannot conceal.

 

He bikes back home at sunset, his rickshaw empty,

as crimson and indigo flood the sky once again.

A soft melody playing on the radio drifts out from a streetside store.

The acoustic guitar track recorded in a studio across seas sounds at once foreign yet familiar,

the universal feeling it carries transcends all borders,

binding the moment in time and space.