Teen Poetry Contest

First prize winners Sophia Bereaud and Claire Weaver-Zeman

First prize winners Sophia Bereaud and Claire Weaver-Zeman

Swampscott Middle School Teachers

Swampscott Middle School Teachers

The Awards Ceremony for the 10th Annual Lee Golomb Cadiff Teen Poetry Contest was held on April 30, 2014. From over 300 poems submitted, the judges selected 12 finalists. Their prizes are listed below next to their poems.

From Swampscott Middle School:

Sophia Bereaud -grade 8, Annie Burgett– grade 7, Luana Dos Santos – grade 8, Brian Hoang – grade 8, Gina Hollenbach – grade 8, Ruby Jacobs- grade 8, Lori Kholomyansky – grade 7, and Troy Levine – grade 8

From Swampscott High School:
Erica Markarian -grade 12, Deanna Mazina-grade12, Luke O’Brien-grade 11, and Claire Weaver-Zeman -grade 12

Sophia Bereaud
Swampscott Middle School
Grade 8



Sticks and Stones

In days of old, I have been told, she was a beauty queen
Admirers surrounding her, for friendship they were keen
In popularity, she had the better of the fight
There were chick flicks and outings, and laughter in the night.

Paint the backdrop pink, and our killers take the stage
A breakup, lies to make up, social media outrage
Long fingernails to keyboard, they kept their weapons out of sight
And she read those harsh comments via whispers in the night.

These unrelenting demons subjected her to such pain
She succumbed to relief, through the bottle and the blade
And when society discovered that this girl was not all right
Enter therapy, and arguments, and sobbing in the night.

And now, we wonder fearfully, how does this story end?
In all honesty, dear bystander, I simply can’t pretend
If she’s ventured too far in the dark to now embrace the light:
Then what I fear most, is silence in the night.

Annie Burgett
Grade 7
Swampscott Middle School



One note
a drop of sound
in the cacophony
of life.
A few notes
huddled together
in a simple pattern
that precious few will stop for.
A bundle of notes
going deeper
tying together
complimenting one another.
A crowd of notes
emotions interspersed
blending and mixing
to begin a story.
A symphony of notes
overpowering all else
an ocean of sound
tales layered and compressed into

Luana Dos Santos
Grade 8
Swampscott Middle School


Dark Corners

Don’t look again,
in the dark corner.
you know what you saw.
a hungry stare,
a row of sharp teeth,
but don’t look again.
It knows.
Don’t fall asleep,
it’ll see.
Don’t scream,
it’ll hear.
Don’t hide under the covers,
it’ll come closer.
Don’t turn on the light,
it’ll be mad.
Don’t look under the bed,
It’ll appear.
Just remember,
Don’t look again.
at that dark corner.

Brian Hoang
Grade 8
Swampscott Middle School


Look Well to This Day

On a bitter, turbulent night,
incapacitating waves smash against the side of the boat. Broken
pieces of the structure fall deep into the bottomless space of the sea.
I look around at my deck. It is empty and I stand aboard unaided,
which means I must face the tide alone.

Trying to steer the ship into safer waters proves to be absurd.
There is no one to help me and my body trembles with anxiety.
There must be a reason for my loneliness aboard the boat.

At this point I do not care and I do not know how to move into calm waters.
I close my eyes and prepare myself for what is to come.
With both hands I grip one side of the boat.

The vessel begins to draw into the storm and
the absolute waves begin to rip apart the boat.
My body is rapidly yanked to each side of the boat.
My stomach throbs and my watered eyes are blurred, but this is nothing new.

As the waters fill up the deck and the waves smash down on me,
I rise from the hard, wooden floor of the deck.
I sprint down the sinking ship and I stumble many times.
But a boy learns to stand.
I then take a far leap into the sea.

The salt water feels cool on my mucked up skin.
Swimming up the surface, I witness the shipwreck.
I paddle to a thick wooden chunk of what appears to be part of my mast.
From there, I heave my soaked body over the mast
and my gut is crushed from the pressure of my body.
As I dangle from the mast, I feel the beaming sun and the warmth it gives.
As I open my eyes, I take in what appears to be calm and prosperous waters.
I have cracked but I will not be broken.

Gina Hollenbach
Grade 8
Swampscott Middle School


Broken Promises

You made me a promise,
that you’d come back from the war.

That war could never tear us apart.
That being apart was only temporary.

You promised.
You swore.

And I believed
your words were true.

But now proof
you were a hero
and a worn American flag
is all I have left

of you.

Ruby Jacobs
Grade 8
Swampscott Middle School


Square With Three Corners
Same mind, different people,
your problems are my problems
her problems are your problems.
Sharing concerns via text therapy,
instant results in the digital age.

Our circle is tight,
the line unbroken
together we shall stay.
We are a square with three corners,
no one will ever fill the fourth,
a geometric family
never even,

Lori Kholomyansky
Grade 7
Swampscott Middle School



Surrounding me is a silence
that no one else can hear
the last note of the song I heard
vibrates in my ears.

Flowing like a river,
clouded with sharps and bass.
Singing, swinging, cheering, screaming
through crowds and empty space.

Gathering inside of us; our savior,
our rebel, our lifeline.
So passionate, so profound,
so deep inside our lifetimes.

Fills you with a wonder that you
always want to feel.
Fills you with a fire that you
swear that you can hear.

Nobody is listening and yet
you can tell that they can hear.
A language we’re all born to know,
it vibrates in our ears.

Troy Levine
Grade 8
Swampscott Middle School



The wind in my face blowing
moving swiftly down the slopes,
excitement and fear, confident and clear
mastering the mountain, blues to blacks,
difficult diamonds and smooth greens,
tall pines on paths, lots of laughs,
fearless and nervous at the same time
twisting turns, conquering the peak,
vacation all week,
navigating moguls and stopping on a dime,
sometimes it seems the whole mountain is mine,

Erica Markarian
Grade 12
Swampscott High School


Written In Stars

I tell myself
That we must be caterpillars
Before we’re beautiful butterflies

That the sun will beat
The darkness that’s deep inside

That flowers grow
From the soil dampened by tears

I consume my own lies
In hopes of some truth
You can’t force pain away
You can only make room for it

My thoughts linger with you
Mind immersed in uncertainty
Breathing is difficult
For love has closed my airways
Not knowing where you are

At night I close my eyes
To dream of you once more
One day I’ll find my butterfly
For there’s not much space between the moon and stars

Deanna Mazina
Grade 12
Swampscott High School


Black and White

The color black quickly became familiar.
But what if the color black is not supposed to be gloomy?
What if the color black represents all of the words that the corpse said while he was alive?
What if everyone wears black at funerals because each person is filled
With all of the things, words, acts that the dead did while alive
What if black is meant to be the symbol of life?
The representation of fullness, completeness
Not the end, just the summary
What the person did to create everyone’s black
How many small words contributed to the black apparel?

The color white is fading
What if the color white is the enemy?
What if it isn’t angelic but rather demonic?
Full of nothing
No words or memories
Except all that could have fit on the white
All the words that should have been said
All the memories that should have been
All the love that never will be
What if that is the color of destruction?
Because in the end
What good is purity?
When it caused no one to wear black?

So maybe the meaning was lost
The origin forgotten
For the black
And it began to be negative
To represent death
Rather than all that was lived
So when I am the one whose body is pale
I hope there will be a sea of black
Not because people are sad
But because they were affected

Luke O’Brien
Grade 11
Swampscott High School


Sweet Harmony

There seem to be an infinite amount of songs
That I want to listen to with you
I wish we could lie on your bed
And listen to the phonograph spin for hours


Drive around and say nothing
Just hear the music playing
Feel the songs surround us
Create an endless melody


Create a bond of sweet harmony
That spans miles and state borders
A link that is unbreakable
by any strain of time


A love that will not die
Decrescendo, or go flat
Something as permanent as a song
A moment that feels like an infinity


I will sing this song to you
Everyday for as long as I can
And we can share this song together
Until we both can no longer sing

Claire Weaver-Zeman
Swampscott High School
Grade 12



It rains and
The leaves,
Bright and stiff like
Hammered tin,
Slice our thighs
As we
Rush by

The water
Licks our fresh
Cheeks pink and

Shining hair cups our
Misty faces with slim
Wet fingers

Gather at our throats
Richly feathered

And puddles polish my shoes


Jonas Schultz

Jonas Schultz

Thomas McEnaney

Thomas McEnaney

On Wednesday, April 30th at 7:00pm, we will have The 10th Lee Golomb Cadiff Teen Poetry Contest awards ceremony. The ceremony will honor the local poets from grades 7 through 12 who submitted the best original poems. Last year, we were thrilled by the quality and diversity of the poetry. Come and hear the winning entries—all are welcome. Refreshments will be served.

Link to the photos of the finalist on flickr

On April 23, 2013, we had the Lee Golomb Cadiff Teen Poetry Contest Awards Ceremony. The finalists did a terrific job of reading their poems. Here is the final standings:

From Swampscott Middle School:
Marina Bron-grade 8 HONORABLE MENTION, Elisa Dunleavy – grade 8 HONORABLE MENTION, Ryan Frauenholz – grade 8 DONOR PRIZE, Stephen Hopkins – grade 8 THIRD PRIZE, Matthew Legere – grade 8 LIBRARY STAFF PRIZE, Juliana Mora- grade 8 RISING STAR, Kiely Quinn – grade 8 HONORABLE MENTION, Nate Ryan – grade 8 SECOND PRIZE, and Jonas Schultz – grade 7 FIRST PRIZE.

From Swampscott High School:
Jessica Fagundo-grade 12 HONORABLE MENTION, Sionna Hopkins-grade 12 HONORABLE MENTION, Michelle LaConte-grade 11 HONORABLE MENTION, Thomas McEnaney-grade 12 FIRST PRIZE, Nora Walker-grade 11 THIRD PRIZE, and Claire Weaver-Zeman-grade 11 SECOND PRIZE.

We also had a special presentation for Thomas McEnaney. Thomas has won first prize every year since 7th grade. Since he is graduating high school, we have “retired his number.” Quite an achievement!

Norma Finn & Thomas McEnaney

Norma Finn & Thomas McEnaney


The Teen Poetry Contest is possible through the assistance of Mrs. Norma Cadiff Finn, Friends of the Swampscott Public Library, the Swampscott Middle School and Swampscott High School, and the Tin Box Poets.

Thank you to all the teens who entered such wonderful poems that they made the judges’ task very difficult.

Norma Finn, poetry contest donor, Emily Samson, 2008first prize winner for Middle School, Adina Sweet-Vickery, 2008 first prize winner for High School, and Sandy Moltz, young adult librarian at Swampscott Public Library
Please read the finalists’ poems below. We know you will be as impressed with them as we were.

The poem Shangrila was written by Lee Golomb Cadiff. Her daughter, Norma Cadiff Finn, was the donor who helped make this contest possible. Thank you, Norma.

By Lee Golomb Cadiff

We left the heat of summer’s sun
And stepped within the door;
The welcome sign spelled “Shangrila”;
We knew our search was o’er.
Then from without we heard a bird,
And saw the tall grass sway
In rhythm to its melody;-

It stole our hearts away.
The smell of chicken sandwiches,
The sizzle of the cokes,
The sweet peas in the coffee mug:-
Our swelled hearts nearly broke.

And as I touched a blossom,
In wonderment and bliss,
It stretched its neck, to be my friend,
And whispered with a kiss,

“To Shangrila God sentenced you
Forever and a day,
To work the pattern of your love—-
He, the potter, you the clay.


Thomas McEnaney
Swampscott High School
Grade 12

Thomas McEnaney

Thomas McEnaney


Wakes up beneath the open sky, he is confused.
He has fallen asleep in his tracks just a few steps from his tent.
He unfurls his tiny body and with sleep still in his eyes he looks up in wonder,
Seeing the stars for the first time.
Child shivers, a cool breeze disturbs the night air,
And in a voice too meek, too small, to properly taste the words on his lips he asks me:
Thomas, am I alive? Or am I an angel?

Child, in this moment is Peter Pan.
Welcome to Neverland, this world is yours-
That’s right, its more than just stories, its
The innocence in his voice and, the awe in his eyes
Its almost as if he transcends time, Child is alive between
Point A, and point A,
He sends shivers down my spine as he wakes up to the beauty
Of a world he does not yet understand; doesn’t even need to
As long as he never stops wondering,
Always searching, for the ends of rainbows.

Wraps himself in the blanket draped from my shoulders
Gazes up at the flickering stars in the sky
Every one of those belongs to you, I say
But Child is asleep once again,
To play among the lost boys, and little Indians, and friendly
monsters in his mind, let the wild rumpus begin!

I pull my sleeve over the hook that is my hand,
Child is not ready for that yet.

Jonas Schultz
Swampscott Middle School
Grade 7

Jonas Schultz

Jonas Schultz

Striped Bass

Resting ten feet down
in the mighty deep,
the rim of water
expanding to a clear blue sky,
I saw mackerel stunned and floating.
It started to swim.
A rush of adrenalin and I’m off.
Then, pain in my jaw.
A tightening line,
I pull back, but slip forward
closer to the fish hunter,
his boat, his net,
and drowning in air.

The Teen Poetry Contest is possible through the assistance of Mrs. Norma Cadiff Finn, Friends of the Swampscott Public Library, the Swampscott Middle School and Swampscott High School, and the Tin Box Poets.

Norma Finn with the Swampscott Middle School contingent

Norma Finn with the Swampscott Middle School contingent