2021 New York Browning Society NYC Poetry Contest Winners + Shortlist

2021 New York Browning Society NYC Poetry Contest Winners



Bridget Farrell
Grade 12
The Mary Louis Academy
Dr. Mary-Patrice Woehling
Inspired by Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “The House of Clouds”

Head in the Clouds

Chandeliers of stars
Tapestries of rain
With prisms to refract my joy
And mirrors to reflect my pain

A mighty palace,
Once upon a time
A castle stood erect and strong
Opaque against the seaglass sky

The storm rumbles from a distance
With a vengeance swift as its light
It will crack the walls and set the curtains
Alight against the dark’ning night

Towers turn to wisps
Walls dissolve to tears
Battered by the great howling winds,
The winds of sorrows of the years

With footsteps soft upon the floor
I tread these old and empty halls
Of a heavenly edifice
Whose history the sky recalls




Olivia Zino
The Mary Louis Academy 2022

A Lover’s Promise
Inspired by How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43) by Elizabeth Barret Browning

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways
I love you more than the horrors I loathe the very most
There’s no darkness, dragon, or monster that will keep me from your reach
I love how it’s always you I talk to before I fall asleep
How you take my small and whimpering voice and make it a lion’s boast
I love when you craft sweet memories I long to always keep
And when you whisper that you love me, providing sweet relief.
For you, my love, I would run coast to coast
And to the moon, I would dare leap
for our love that runs so deep.
I love the way your love only seems to grow
If you asked me to climb the tallest mountain, I would race up to its peak.
And if you wanted me back, I would jump no matter how steep
I trust your love as much as I trust the waters to flow
Although our love is passionate, and there are still bounties to reap
It’s impossible to promise that trouble will never come sweeping
our love into knots and cause anger to overflow
I will always love you and the way you turn words melodious, just by speaking
We could live in fear of the conflicts always creeping
Just as in these oceans, we live in fear of the mysteries below
Yet, this love is one for the ages; the stories will guard it for safekeeping.
We are the example; the one they continue teaching.
Juliet bid farewell to her dear Romeo
Orpheus to Eurydice, promising no peeking
Gatsby and Daisy, some loves are every fleeting
As the waves crash with Katerina and her sweet Arturo
You, my love, I’ll treasure until my heart ceases beating.





Caitlin Leahy
The Mary Louis Academy
Class of 2021

Artificial Ocean

Do you ever notice that
Every single fish moves

in such a way that it expresses its own individuality in one single stroke?

It’s kind of a silly thing I’ve taken into account

I must admit
It’s not something that
Keeps me up at night though
I don’t lie awake in bed
Thinking about something
Even when my body even attempts to do so

I get so anxious my body shuts down completely And I fall asleep


I remember the last time I truly thought about that

Other than now, of course
I was at the aquarium

I loved the way the tank glass reflected each room or exhibit
Creating this peaceful pacific light shining
Ever so delicately on your body
It instills some sense of tranquility in your brain that
Maybe, just maybe, everything will get better
I love watching the blue tangs timidly waltz
Back and forth; back and forth
Routine is their regime

The clown fish carefully guiding their young

The seahorses gliding upright with their almost Mutant minuscule fins

All fixated on getting to their desired destination
Do they know that they can’t really escape the tank?
I feel this dragging sense of pity when children Press their

Grubby young faces on the glass
Watching these marine creatures
Float on and on
On and on and on
And dreadfully on

Repeating the same swimming pattern from the
Last time they cycled around their enclosure
Like a hamster on its wheel
If a hamster was idiotically drowning in the
Infinitely cerulean waters of Purgatory
Do fish know they were trapped for a reason?

Do they have any idea that they’re no more than a Vehicle of entertainment
For the worst primitive form to ever live on this earth?
Do we know that we die, suffer, and weep for the

Sake of the unknown?
Aren’t we unknown to all
Yet known by many?
Aren’t we?
Aren’t we?

Even still, we shrug our shoulders
Rub off our days of sleep and unrest,

And float along to the ebbs and flows of the Artificial ocean
A mere plaything for some alien life form above





Rosario Pastrana- Palmer
The Mary Louis Academy

Take Good Notes
Quarantine has helped me
discover myself as another character.
In this world I am sick of being nitpicked

because of the body I was born in and the gender roles that come with it.

For fifteen long years I’ve shed unnecessary tears and I have been taking constructive criticism

from a few fake peers.

Apparently life without God has no love but what about the other religions we know of because
of our human ancestors? It seems hypocritical to call each other immoral when we people are

so judgmental.

People can still be faithful but care for others too please. I’ve already been born on my knees

and I refuse to kiss your feet.

Us queer and transgender people are everywhere. We are in both school and outside, hopefully
we’re in your hearts. Our existence is worldwide. Please answer this question with a grain of

salt: “Do we show all inclusive love?”

If we don’t that’s okay! We can even change that today. Don’t worry about labeling, just
embrace that we are all growing. For teachers who work at same sex schools please listen
closely: Stop assuming our gender identities and just call us “everyone” or “everybody”. See that
wasn’t too bad. As a student myself please trust my feedback. When you properly acknowledge
us students we will want to learn. But as a whole educational force that is some news you
deserved. I am one to talk, that is because I am still learning things myself. But at least I am
saying something. That alone is a struggle that previous, LGBTQIA2S+ alumni

know all too well.

And just so you know my pronouns are He/They/She. I swear I'm almost done. Just bare with

me, please.

I want to thank you for listening to me rant this whole time. If you asked me how I changed

schools I

would have never even thought that “I am capable or worthy of using my time for spreading
both love and wisdom.” yet here we are. Hopefully I can learn from you all like you have seen

things through my eyes.
I’m so sorry if this was really cheesy.
Sincerely, your gay friend, Rosie