2020 New York Browning Society NYC Poetry Contest Winners

2020 New York Browning Society NYC Poetry Contest Winners

Jillian Louie, 12th Grade
The High School of American Studies at Lehman College
Tribute to Mr Murphy – omurchadha1@juno.com


the winter begs for mercy on broken knees and worn-out jeans,

she tried to turn herself into a gun
but the hollowness wasn’t enough.

you reach for crooked alleyway encounters,
steal her purse and his heart,
have you ever mugged someone so beautiful?

she tilts her head and you are a ghost.

but you love me,
don’t you?

tell me you do,
tell me you’re not miserable tangled up in my chafing veins.
tell me you’re awake when it is three in the morning
and I am terrified of Virginia Woolf.

your shadow opens on an empty stage,

welcome to the party! the mad hatter is dead, i
shall lead the ceremonies to lower gun
to chest and man
to dirt.

diamond-tipped shovels to breakthrough December’s embrace–
laid forgiven in nameless concrete grave
glanced only by neon lettered lights.

— Based on My Heart and I by Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I fear I am weary, my heart and I.
A bit of passion through and through
But nothing ever speaks the truth.
The cards and open serenade
In front of friends and foe alike;
a stillborn silence settles twice
In me, my heart and I.

I wheeze, I tire, my heart and I.
A fling with love no longer stable
To care I fear I am not able
Without a safety net or guard.
In truthfulness, I might remain
A commoner to royal pain
I can’t repeat, my heart and I.

A bit alone, my heart and I,
I sit polite, no happy grin,
I’ll never let you in again!
Indifferent, but he wanted me,
The glance not more than conscious choice,
I’d run to him without much poise.
I am still here, my heart and I.

A broken sound, my heart and I.
Much like a bird whose wings go slack
I beg like Winehouse, don’t go back.
No longer do I meekly fall;
A dalliance of upper crust
I run around but never touch.
No more “my dear’s,” my heart and I.

In this I mark, my heart and I,
A figure-eight of fantasy,
The world has now brought you to me!
The day of turning heads and eyes;
Yet when I wake I still breathe out,
The air is but grey-black smoke now;
I do not hope, my heart and I.

But I am strong, my heart and I
The careful stitching not undone
Repaired with deeply forthright love
In debt to friends from foreign lands.
Here comes again, the man to tempt
But I am clean whilst he’s unkempt
No more indeed, my heart and I.

If I had loved, my heart and I
A combination lock removed
The locker painted over, blue.
No longer will I have the past,
But loved I had, crashed meteor
I hope one day will fade some more.
I am content, my heart and I.

Bridget Farrell
Grade 10
The Mary Louis Academy
Dr. Mary-Patrice Woehling
(718) 297-2120
Free Form Entry

My battery is low and it’s getting dark.
It’s hard to keep on going when you don’t have the spark.
Fifteen years I’ve spent trying to help others to see;
But all this time I was helping them,
No one ever thought to help me.
I’ve heard all of your wishes and
I’ve spoken from afar.
And when you look outside your window,
I’m watching the same shooting star.
You know the stars up here,
They match the universe in your eyes.
You are a piece of the cosmos, darling;
You are one with the sky.
Little girl by the window,
Little boy in the field,
I promise if you spread your wings
Everything will be revealed.
The sky is full of diamonds,
And your heart is full of dreams.
You are called by the heavens in you,
By the stardust in your bloodstream.
We began as wanderers and we are wanderers still.
Keep on looking up, star sailor;

You’ll find me, I know you will.
Dear mother, keep the faith,
And brothers, keep on searching.
I may now be dying but
On will live the human yearning.
A voice comes from the stars that’s telling me to come home.
I hope your life will carry on the spark.
My battery’s low, and it’s getting dark.

Inspired by Robert Browning’s “Love Among the Ruins”

As the winds of recollection caress my hair,
They whisper tales of yore.
The dark waves of memory pull back to high tide
Then crash upon the shore
I hear in their echoes tales of lovers past,
Stories of you and me.
A once mighty kingdom that crumbled long ago
Now lacks a queen and king.
The bard left, and the only music that remains
Is found in the bird’s song.
The art and handiwork of are now gone;
Love’s labours have been lost.
But despite the sadness that Mnemosyne brings,
You’ve cleaned my looking glass.
Where gilded words and golden tongue once deceived me,
Hope shoots from the green grass.
I was blinded by your handsome charm and sweet smile;
It won’t happen again.
The fires of passion have long been extinguished;
Nothing but smoke remains.
The gardens in which you planted seeds of deceit
Now are only green plains.
Beyond the misty gray of your indifference,
My lover proudly stands.
I know a betrayal like the one you gave me
Could halt potential love.

Still, fighting the waters that drowned
Is a single white dove.
Scorched by despair, his black feathers block the moonlight.
A beam of light breaks through.
Heaven’s rays shine forth to illuminate the truth;
Stars dance on the old walls.
A crown of celestial lights adorns his head
As we stroll through the halls.
With my hand in yours, we coronate each other.
A new kingdom is here.
On the crest of a hill where a palace once stood,
Near abandoned by all,
Beautiful melodies of human heart’s Nature
Did not abide by Law.
My kingdom, like a phoenix, has risen once more;
Of this there is no doubt.
Kingdoms will rise, empires will fall, but ‘tis Love
We cannot do without.




Genevieve Burke
St. Joseph Hill Academy
Freshman, Grade 9
Mrs. Tirone


      Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poems, Discontent and My Heart and I, inspired both of my poems. She paints vivid scenes while expressing a heartfelt point of view, this is what inspired my writing. Thank you.

   What summer sells 

Early afternoons, and sunken soles of new shoes

Bare arms and tanned displays, drunken novels stay my sun sunken muse

The temporary focus of summer’s flirtatious loan.

Untimed walks, meadows of nothing, and falling in love happens;

I act as if it only happens then.

I spend these freer days, delusional.

It has sold me a million shades of new green as homes for dandelions and daffodils and whispy white weeds that never sell.

It had filled me up with misty eyes of teenage romances, young dances, homemade songs, and soon-to-be-stories to hard to tell.

The sky is one color, one blue, staggered and sore.

You almost forget it’s just a sublime background for when I’m with you.

Or rather days of rain, but lightly, we only realize when our hair dries in certain freshness.

It’s gift of clouded skies seems disloyal, as if they’ll never abandon us.

I am aware of your distance.

In summer breezes I feel your sympathy as your shoulders shift 

Take my hand, you say, we can’t see

You look away for softer sun and it melts on your nose, you have no idea.

And as soon as the afternoon’s deeds become perfectly even in the coat of glazed dependency, it’s dark.

A blanket on the hood of a car, a golden ring, flowers colored by purple shadows, and your broken guitar

 I wonder if you’ll take me with you, if in life you’ll make it far.

Stars hide patiently, ready to tire us after soaking in salt water oceans between scattered conversations.

And as I wonder why you don’t need me, I don’t mind.

It will return, empty days that bring about your loneliness

You’ll listen to me, when there is nothing that occupies you like me.

These bright days bring you to me, but in a haze of flowers laid in wicker baskets and rain on window screens.

Little by little it becomes beautiful. 

When summer spills through your hands back to a younger smiling you, will you lose my poems?

Will you watch our sunsets and carve our names?

Will you wander through streets as if I have your hands?

Will you still pretend?


Above the reflective sea, pure light outlines each wave’s death, 

Giving movement, giving shapeless sea a beating breath

And chills of the absent sun, grow as it slowly flees.

What is left warm when it leaves?

The cold pressures me, It reds my skin at every vulnerable opening.

Ice water shocks up my body, its surface cuts me with clear emotion

I let it rise up only to my knees, the water is dark and alone

The shallow force of lifeless waves, overgrown.

The birds we see painted in the distance still

nothing roaming, endless time to fill

Think our troubles, aimed at the wind, who carries them overdue

until their meaning has been thinned miles down the sand

Drown them out with wind’s white noise, so even ourselves can’t comprehend.

And on this desolate beach with empty oceans, loneliness was foreign 

On the boardwalk, one seagull perches and at us gazes 

and leaves residue of company that never talked to us.

Nothing is missing between the planks of wood where it had flown away, 

but he leaves a mysterious absence, as if he should have considered his brief stay.

Colors of muted tones comfort the horizon, grow darker than your coat 

Our desperate hands and speaking lips, visible breath as we skip.

Warm continues to hide 

Nothing but the cold we worship.

Our bare feet callus on the lost grains of salt and sea abandoned on the concrete vicinity, 

Back to unfriendly air, backs to the blended shadows still and wild, return to time and place.

Again eventually, an empty beach, a silent sea, eyes like yours that live for me 

Love stained on your weather-beaten face.