LITERARY GALLERY

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

Thank you to WSWHE BOCES and to all of the students who contributed to this exhibit for inspiring us all with your thoughtful creations.​

 2021 Outstanding Artist Award Winner // Literary Art
Unvanquished
Pallavi Datta
Niskayuna High School

"

If we sifted through the faded dust of our ancient past
in the long lost fact and fiction blurred into folklore,
we might see how we built castles made of sand,
waiting to be washed away by the sea of time,
daring to defy our destiny, choosing to overlook our fate of oblivion
relentless, resilient, resolute

"

Where I'm From
Faith Lawani
Queensbury Middle School

"

I am from onions sizzling in oil,

From outrageously rich tomato stew,

and over-mircowaved s’mores

I am from towering mountain peaks

And surrounded by an ocean-length of fiery trees.

(Shimmering gold, dusty brown, and rich red.

The cozy colors of mid autumn.)

"

Sophie Dvorak
Shaker High School
Singing

"

i look and see
Two thousand empty wells
Smiling

 And beneath them i feel clumps
Of earth
Mud and dirt and gravel
Stick to my fingertips

"

 

Unvanquished
Pallavi Datta
Niskayuna High School

If we sifted through the faded dust of our ancient past
in the long lost fact and fiction blurred into folklore,
we might see how we built castles made of sand,
waiting to be washed away by the sea of time,
daring to defy our destiny, choosing to overlook our fate of oblivion
relentless, resilient, resolute


In human hubris we crowned ourselves king, transcending our kingdom,
once hordes of warring clans abandoning our tribal instincts and
escaping our mercurial nature to become creators, debaters, scholars, designers and dreamers
who constructed glittering palaces, cosmopolitan cities and sweeping bridges,

with laws like gossamer threads tethering us to civility,
tying the tattered shreds of a fragmented world into
a united race unwilling to surrender without fight, audacious enough to declare equality as
birthright, with the realization of this dream of peace and justice for all in sight,
emerging unvanquished


With our gold-plated crowns we stand in regal aura,
power lying not in our wealth or strength, but in the depth of our imagination
In that liminal space bathed in ethereal glow between the abstract and concrete
where visionaries and idealists wander, we connect the stars
which shimmer like flecks of silver in the midnight sky into constellations
and look above and beyond for strength and purpose to cloak us in certitude
as we search for our origins


But even gold tarnishes
As centuries of injustice and the dull ache of disillusionment leave masses jaded
aspirations sinking, like a childhood dream now all but faded
From seeming powerlessness stems apathy, lack of empathy--
we fail to recognize that each loss is a light extinguished, a story’s abridgement,
Our victories and creations seem hollow as armies of men slay their brothers without sorrow
The absence of dissent, despite fear, is still complicity
Truth trembles in the face of silence and willful ignorance
and when hatred is wielded into cruelty and terror, our delicate constructs collapse
But even then, hope 
glimmers on distant shores


For we are the heirs to a legacy only we can define
We wait on the cusp of this new chapter where we are no longer chained, bound or divided into
the oppressors and oppressed, the conquerors and the conquered, the powerful and the powerless;
We each stand tall, adorned with our own crowns, not because of the absence of adversity
but in spite of it, reclaiming our purpose and realizing our power, liberated at last
When we speak, our individual voices coalesce, rising in a collective roar
For when we couple courage with conviction—we will soar
like a kaleidoscope of butterflies, magical in harmony
But our metamorphosis is incomplete
The future lies before us, vast and wondrous, pens clasped in our hands, ink to paper, we write it
our story is still unfinished

A Candle's Right
Gregory Ng

The Albany Academies

In the boxes and stores, I waste away, unburnt and unwanted;

Polished, clean ivory dormant in these pitch drawers,

Come the day we are bathed in flame, our unburnt suffering shall never cease.
Dusty, damp, the thick smell of decrepitness fills our prison.
Empty dreams of a phoenix’s rebirth,
Only to be shunned back to our dull reality.


When all light is gone, gather us from where we rest,
So we may see your face in the orange of our luminance,
With every second my flame leaps and dances across my head,
Invading darkness, and chasing shadows.


Long white columns come to life, as we light the way
Fragile pieces of marble or glass;
Lit by flowing amber.
As my halo burns bright my water-like blood drips to my feet,
With a single breath you may choose my fate


With every second my essence leaves.
As my soul now flickers I weep waxy tears,
Light now fading, for my job is done,
No more purpose left to burn,

All ended with a single breath,
My spirit uplifted by a wisp

Singing
Sophie Dvorak
Shaker High School, North Colonie

i look and see

Two thousand empty wells

Smiling

And beneath them i feel clumps

Of earth

Mud and dirt and gravel

Stick to my fingertips

One thousand dull stones sit before me

And i have an urge

To reach out and feel one

Watch it crumble into ash

And rinse my hands clean

In a stream of clear water

i feel the urge

To reach a stone

To touch it

And I do

Golden sand

And colored raindrops

Pervade the air and settle

 

Snow falls

And

Blood rises

The wells fill

And a thousand birds

With jeweled wings

Leaving dusty teardrops behind

Fly from their cages

Freely into the sky!

Where I'm From
Faith Lawani

Queensbury Middle School

I am from onions sizzling in oil,
From outrageously rich tomato stew,
and over-mircowaved s’mores


I am from towering mountain peaks
And surrounded by an ocean-length of fiery trees.
(Shimmering gold, dusty brown, and rich red.
The cozy colors of mid autumn.)


I am from the lone and mysterious crimson-leaved tree
The countless daylilies
whose elegant, dancing red and orange blooms
disappeared beneath the cruel blades
Of a lawn mower, while the untouched weeds laughed maliciously.

 

I’m from swirling colored pencils and sprawling pillow forts
       from Soric and Amber.


I’m from “Stop being sarcastic!”
       and “Go to bed!”
from “It’s your turn to do the dishes!”


I’m from “Ain't nothing gonna break
       my stride”

       and whispering flutes paired with a jaunty beat
       to create an irresistible melody.

 

I’m from diligent parents
       who work until their bodies hurt so much,
       that I can barely embrace them.
from paprika and ripe fried plantains.
From a bright summer day
       turned dark
by the glowing flames of an untamed fire.

 

In a partially-charred orange box
that can always be found if you aren’t looking for it,
are faded photos that strike like lightning,
rekindling a fire of old memories.
siblings in the dozens,
and some as simple as strawberry
ice cream smeared on the
faces of two toddlers.
I am from the simple things,
but that does not make me boring,
It makes me who I am.

Emerge
Jade Orapello

Broadalbin-Perth Senior High School

Stage One | The Egg.


Born into this world,
life seemed to fit society's mold.
I had a mother and a father who birthed
me,
cared for me,
and briefly taught me the ways of the
world.
Soon I learned,
my father would leave for a new life,
and my mother,
would leave me for drugs.


But one day,
I will emerge
.


Stage Two | The Caterpillar.


At only nine years old,
I had shuffled in and out of foster homes,
desperate to find a family
that would love and care for me,
and take me in as their own,
the way my real ones should have,
should have chosen me,
the way I would have chosen them.


And yet, one day,
I will emerge.


Stage Three | The Chrysalis.


After two years of back and forth,
alone and scared for my life,
I finally found a family,
a new family, that chose me,
the way I chose them.
This new family, my family,
now safely surrounds me,
defends me,
loves, and cares for me.
I am protected by my new family
from the dangers of my past.
I witness affection and respect,
not abandonment and rejection.
In this space,
where
I am protected by my chrysalis,
I will have the time to grow into my own,
to become what I always knew I could be,
beautiful.
I will be beautiful.


Because I know, one day,
I will emerge.


Stage Four | Almost a Butterfly.


As I patiently wait,
to reach the stage of my life,
where I manifest my truest colors
and eventually take flight,
I find comfort in this metamorphosis
knowing who will fly alongside me,
my new family.
My new family will forever support me.
My new family will be there for me when
I fall.
My new family loves me.
They will forever love me.
Because of them,
and because of me,
I will become something I didn’t have a
chance to be.
I will become the beautiful butterfly they
couldn’t see,
What they didn’t want to see.


Because I know,
I will
emerge.

A Philosophy of Life
Kevin Lee

The Albany Academies

Forever is a blink of an eye
Faster than a peregrine shooting from the sky
If after death is an eternal sleep
Will it not go by in a flash
Won’t we need to use our consciousness
To gauge the time we are asleep


Must we reincarnate then
Into a new life


Only our first years have no memory
As we are washing previous ones away
from our souls, our consciousness


Lives pile up, a library of memories
Learning from past lives and mistakes


Perhaps this universe is a classroom
Where I learn and grow
Until the end of time
When the school year ends

16 Years

Claire Pelletier-Hoblock
Schuylerville Jr./Sr. High School

16, Every morning with the same depressing headline,

Who could’ve predicted a global pandemic?

15, Celine Dion, Cher, and Trisha Yearwood in concert, Best year ever.

 

14, First day of high school,

Mamma doesn’t see me as a kid anymore.

13, First date, first kiss,

At 13 that counts doesn’t it?

 

12, Grandpa decided to go be with God,

Reality sucks.

11, They tell me he is in Texas and I have 45 half siblings,

How was I born? I asked.

10, Life with two moms is great,

I have the perfect family.

9, Third trip to Disney World,

Winnie the Pooh is my favorite.

 

8, I met a girl named Sarah today,

I think we are going to be best friends forever.

7, I haven’t seen the dog in a while,

Mamma said he’s taking a nap.

 

6, Today we sat on the floor in the dark,

My teacher said we had to be very quiet.

5, A boy pushed me in class today,

Whats a bully?

 

4, I cry and cry all day,

Why did my parents leave me here?

3, We got a dog,

My older sister names him Charlie.

 

2, I will only eat scrambled eggs,

Don’t ask me why.

1, It’s called pee-a-boo,

But where do they go?

 

Zero,

I see light,

I am innocent,

I am born.

Life’s Butterflies
Sadie Underwood
Galway Jr./Sr. High School

Growing up is like the caterpillar stage,
Full potential is awaiting.
Wings that provide us with the beauty, confidence, and power to fly away are nothing but a
dream for the future.
One of those dreams that forces you to wake into a state of utter misery.
Will life ever be that perfect?
We watch as the others, the experienced, the monarch butterflies of society stand above all with
pride and elegance,
And we search for answers.
Maybe it’s trying out that harsh side part and winged eyeliner for the first time in middle school,
Or following in the footsteps of an older sibling.
During this journey, we get wrapped up in a cocoon of mixed emotions.
As we shape ourselves into our own unique versions, society’s high standards make it nearly
impossible.
Some want to change everything about themselves all at once.
Parents buying their children phones at as young as the age of ten.
Social media creating this unrealistic standard:
“Go on a diet, curl your straight hair, it’s too thin, straighten your curly hair, frizziness is
unattractive!”
Some don’t make it out.
They become trapped in an endless cycle of not feeling good enough.
I would know.
It is up to you to break down society’s cocoon walls and spread your wings.
Know your worth and set an example for the growing caterpillars.
For butterflies are a sign of the natural beauty of life when it is lived to its fullest extent.
It just takes time.

Sunrise

Elonne and Qwin Pisacane
South Glens Falls High School

Stillness but for the sky above,

Hues of color known only in heaven

Drawn up like a fisherman's net

Clouds, silver lined fish in a sea of roses

The deep is penetrated

Fathoms of the universe illuminated

Gone is the reign of the stars

Only the mightiest now holds dominion

For night becomes day, welcoming revelation

 

Hills that were stained by nebulous ink 

Bathe in rivers of molten gold currents

Cleansed by the fragrance of youthful blossoms

Gone are the whispered words of moonlight

Souls awaken to serenades of sweet serenity

Loveliness clothes the earthen queen

Cheeks blush with the tender caress of clouds

For night becomes day, embracing life

 

I sit amidst the majestic metamorphosis

The heavens above and the ancient lands below

Awash with hues entwining like human hands

All around, the world seems to breathe a sigh

My heart bravely beats as angels paint the sky

A glorious reminder of all it is to be alive

By the Tree

Adam Spero
Queensbury Middle School

I’m still, as I say

Like a simple, unblown leaf

Un-touched by the wind,

Nature’s ever sweeping thief

Leaves compose a swirling dance

As I sit, crouched by a tree

I watch the scene unfold

Unmoving, observantly

I inhale my surroundings

And exhale, silently

My breathing is like a song

The outside air, the melody

I think of our world

So tainted, so impure

Full of all confounding things

Society imposed

But sitting, as delicate underbrush

Brushes at my knees

I feel so simply pure

Like I had just felt lucid glee

Because, out here

Where birds are free to sing

There exists no judgment,

No human-anything

If only the entire world,

Could see just what I see

Yet it’s interesting

That I thought of this

While sitting by the tree

Hope Written in Ink

Jocelyn Gerke
Scotia-Glenville Senior High School

Sentiment to Change: A Slam Poem

Katie Asenbauer

Columbia High School

KatiePDF.jpg
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