2013 New York Browning Society NYC Poetry Contest Winners + Short List
Forest Hills High School
Inspired by Robert Browning’s “Love Among The Ruins”
The Eyes That Told
In the corridors of unspoken bonds
And the fields in which we once laid upon;
Amid the sanctuary of our hopes,
Was the absence of the world we must cope.
In hope, in hope, our troubles do subside,
With no touch of the life we have defied.
Tonight I lay and sleep without a sign,
But with lips unforgiving and lips dry.
There is art in this bond of broken glass;
Mosaic, however a past-less past.
And with a blissful grace,
This hope I still embrace.
Sleep still on this shadow-tormented floor,
Cradled in your arms the man you adore;
Without love, without love,
For the stars up above.
But for a touch of life and all it’s light,
I would rather die with your eyes in sight;
In my dream, in my dream,
Only you reign supreme.
The ships that endure like our aging skin,
Evade the sea’s wrath, weak to win again;
How I fear, how I fear,
This soft and soothing year;
Too calm for the mockingbird to sing in
But yet it’s song still hums, passion within.
This strange beast, oh strange beast,
How you make me look deceased!
I cannot escape the way you reprise,
Darling, the despair in your lovely eyes.
The Spence School
Inspired by Robert Browning’s Meeting at Night
The sea and the land
and the moon and the waves
and the sand and the beach
and the farm and the match
and the voice
and the love.
He paints them grey and long
and yellow and startled
and slushy and warm sea-scented
and beyond three fields and lighted
and less loud
and at last.
The Fall of Morning Star
Grade 11 – Collegiate School
*This is an except from my poem, The Fall of Morningstar,
which is written from the perspective of one of Satan’s
liege and attempts to pay homage to John Milton’s Paradise Lost
O Chaos! Black-hearted mother of all of that is
Impure, shake off the pangs of age most ancient,
And recount to me the tale of Satan, our lord,
Morningstar who fell most far.
O Chaos! Black –hearted mother of all that is impure,
Sing of heavenly subjugation, recount rebellion most
Just, and if thou must, spin out from the
Thread of memory eternal, that most wicked fall!
That most sable, scelestic, serpentine fall!
From His throne of light, rumbling with the
Thunder of power everlasting, the Tyrant called forth
His blessed stock, seraphs fit with snow-white wings,
Who, honored above all others, hastened to receive the
Oppressor’s divine decree. From the depth of his chest,
Bathed in light unstained, He whom the cowards call
Lord thus spoke:
“Listen well, ye faithful of the Lord Almighty!
Harken your ears, forged from star’s light by these
Hands omnipotent, to hear the decree that shall be for
You law unbreakable. Look! Turn thy eyes to a sight
Most beautiful, the unquestioned son of your Lord,
And exalted above even the stars ethereal.
Ye shall call him Lord, as he is made of the primal
Matter, the material divine from which I myself am made.
Ye shall look upon him and bow with praise,
Lower your eyes and fall to your knees,
Servants of him who shall be first before all others.”
So spake the Tyrant before his winged servants.
But now from the angelic mass, one came forth, Lucifer,
Who was once the Lord’s preferred, shining bright with
Wings divine. Trembling with anger, he let fourth his
“Almighty Father! Omnipotent Lord and Master
Of Space and Time eternal, Sire of all that is and will be,
Why? Why am I dejected thus from the tender care of your arm
That was to me a Paradise. Once the most exalted of your
Liege, I stand here no longer kissed by blissful sunlight,
But covered in dark shadows, caked in grotesque grime of
Subservice to he who is to me no father, no lord.
Almighty Father! Why am I no longer in the sun?
Most dutiful, most loyal to You, my Lord eternal,
Now debased, a member of the common flock,
As if I were a serpent, groveling in the filth and dust,
And trampled by the foot of he who holds my place.
Thus now I slither, lowest of all creatures, and
Unwanted by He the Creator. Is this the cruel cast of
My fortune? Do the hoary Fates so incline? Nay!
I cast off this vile slime, these serpent scales,
And arise an immortal, potent beyond ye,
No longer my father!”
Satan, dripping with fury bred from pain,
Clutched at his heart as he yelled before God.
Turning to the angels assembled around him,
Satan with angry words beseeched:
“Dost ye call thyselves cowards? Call
Thyselves slaves, servants, groveling scoundrels?
Cowering, abject dogs? Sheep for wolves? Deer
For lions? Snakes? Snakes! I am no snake! Nor shalt
Be thou! Thou shalt not be food for the predator.
Look upon thyself, search thy soul, deep within the
Caverns of corpus divine, and remember strength,
Power, thy true role. Cast they eyes below the belt;
Look between light-filled legs, and make sure the
Symbol of ancient strength ; find ferocity long ago lost,
For I call upon ye, neglected sons of He most cruel.
Take up arms, steady thy hearts, take back that
Which is justly mine.”
Roaring in praise of Satan, their new lord,
A horde of angels ascended to his right arm,
Spitting curses toward those behind.
Thereafter Chaos broke forth, as Satan’s liege
Took up golden arms, girded on shields, made
Ready for the battle of the Tyrant’s throne.
God’s remaining agents fled in fear, cowering
Beneath their Lord’s coruscating arm.
And so the War of Heaven began.
Seraph clashed with seraph, and bright Heaven was
Turned black with the gore of war divine…
 Christian tradition often referred to Satan as “Morningstar,” a translation of the Latin word Lucifer
Used by Enochic Jews to describe Satan before his fall from heaven. “How art thou fallen from
Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!” (Isaiah 14:12).
 A pun on “sun.” See Hamlet, “I am too much in the sun” (I.ii.69)
 Satan seems to suggest the angels have male genitalia. This description, however, is likely more a Facet of rhetoric then a literal description, as the Bible makes no explicit assertions indicating that Angels have male genitalia, though it does often refer to them as sons of God.
HS of American Studies @ Lehman College
Ode to the Peeling Walls of the Schoolhouse in Chankom
We wandered in the rooms that night
The maps were falling off the wall
The moon shone down a tranquil light
A faint dim white enveloped all
The roof was gone, the doors broken
The desk and chairs were overturned
With no fence, the school was open
A place where children once had learned
A boy sat on the street outside
He watched us wander in the ruin
His sullen face, bereft of pride
Showed years of aging far too soon
My eyes darted away;
I was guilty.
Christ was nailed to the cross and he was look at us.
I saw something in his eyes.
His eyes said nothing.
The Brearly School
The Slow Fall
The train traverses quiet meadowlands,
Remote New England pastured all aflame;
Infernos loom on the horizon, gold
Explosions, crimson flare-ups whirl.
The foliage, though distant, overwhelms
The Landscape – bright, untamed, recklessly wild.
As dusk approaches, shadows—long, and soft—
Alert the passenger, who sits alone,
That soon her cell-phone will illuminate
Her face, enclosed in darkness, mirrored in
The train’s dull windows. Autumn, formerly,
Of all the seasons suited her the best.
She loved to frolic round and round about
Through fallen leaves, and watch as gusts of wind
Would snatch away her worries, crisp and quick.
Outside the train, the sun begins descent—
A golden orb that radiates the light
Of ebbing grandeur, Day’s last splendid gasp
Of air. Unyielding darkness presses on.
The woman’s phone abruptly starts to ring.
Unhurried, she now turns to answer it,
And frowning after realizing the call’s
Been missed, she turns to face the window, glad
To gaze at trembling grasses, sparkling trees.
The train continues trekking through the night;
The leaves ignite the stars- the sky burns clear.
The Browning School
I am diminutive addendum
To the Monolith of history.
Obstacles are vital for a Glorious
Mission, whose Magnitude
Never promises purpose,
Purpose presents me, the fickle beetle,
The Fossil (Its estate encloses
The sweeping Expanse) who exclaims,
“Behold! A crowded valley
Stuffed with torpid dust.”
Success—a distant dream
That fools blindly chase.
My journey arises at dawn.
The Mary Louis Academy
Lovely, soft, and sweet
I think of how they think of me.
A little girl walking down the street.
Her sweet smile so fine
Her hand cradled in mine.
Lovely, soft, and sweet.
She gazes at the pink cloud dust
As the wind came with a mighty gust
And swept her away from me
I wait for the day until we meet.
Pink petals passing
Our love still lasting.
My heart skips a beat thinking of
My lovely, my soft, my sweet.
Pink petals of bliss
Oh how much I miss.
The Mary Louis Academy
“Springing Forth New Life”
In the springtime,
The flowers shall all bloom,
For winter is gone,
Taking with it, all the gloom.
The morning starts anew, for
Dawn, it is coming our way.
And in its glorious path,
Takes with it, a brand new day
The sun has risen, and
The flowers, o gorgeous flowers
Have begun to blossom,
More and more, hour by hour.
It is a new beginning,
A genesis for all creation.
We leave the past behind,
And forget our former damnations.
For in this new era,
The black of night has dissipated.
Our prayers are answered, for we received
The spring we anticipated.
The flowers are growing,
As we shall, as well.
Growing in experience and virtue,
As only time can tell.
The wintry drear is gone now,
Now that spring has arrived.
The flowers bloom in the distance,
Gleeful to be alive.
Morgan Augustus Miller
The Browning School
Rural liquor quarrels,
Shambling under sheering showers,
Shrewdly thumping in the slush,
Battering crudely shunted flowers,
Nor the cheeky chiseled crystals
That belabor spurious splendor
Make the man out of the body
Oh, so brute, yet, oh, so tender.
The beast best boasts its bone,
Piercing, slashing, blasting, killing,
For bearing it alone
Strikes the true Divine unwilling.
But our horns are but whispers
Whipping, washing us away,
And our mind is but the Essence,
Keeping bears and bulls at bay.
May wisdom be our whetstone,
As the truth comes to a tip,
If not, belief is blunted,
Bringing Being to a rip.
Humble be thy horns,
Making hollow of thy core.
Ample conscience hones the piercing
Ever louder than before.
The Browning School
I snicker at the blank canvas—
And so He laughs at me
But falls flat breaking free—
Somewhere behind His mocking mask—
My idea still remains
A feeble Flicker in my Mind—
I feel it in my veins—
The glass reflects my lone image—
Or rather—shoots me clean—
Which cast my Soul—and my Vision—
To yesterdays unseen—