Poetry
bullet June 7
bullet Somewhere Out There
bullet SUICIDE
bullet Away
bullet A Cry in the Darkness
bullet Coastal Days
bullet A stream of consciousness
bullet Tiny Shoe
bullet Just For You
bullet On the edge
bullet Midnight
bullet Earth's Soul speak
bullet Anger
bullet Amber's Eyes
bullet Completely Useless
bullet What Is Left After Love
bullet Asphyxiation
bullet Lost Again
bullet Grandfather 
bullet Apologies
bullet The Candlebox
bullet Alone
Essay/Prose
bullet  
Short Story/Book Review
bullet THE CATCHER IN THE RYE Book Review
bullet A Few Inches Away . Father
bullet Acid
bullet For the Love of Books Book Review
bullet "Dreaming of Sneaking Cookies and Asking Questions"
bullet The Doomed Romance
bullet Book Review on Armageddon Summer
bullet Eternity
bullet Dynamic Music of the storm
bullet The Loral Tree
bullet The Numbers Game
                                                                 June 7
                                                                                                                                                         
                                                 Standing there in uncomfortable shoes
                                                 Twisting my hands in agony
                                                 I memorize every line of your face
                                                 Every detail in your icy hands
                                                 I don't acknowledge her heavy arm
                                                 Hanging on my
                                                 Trembling shoulder
                                                 It weighs me down and I struggle to
                                                 Stay standing
                                                 I've become weak these past few days
                                                 But you wouldn't know anything about that
                                                 He told me you didn't fight hard enough
                                                 But I don't believe it
                                                 Why are your stubborn eyes closed so tightly?
                                                 Stop it, open them
                                                 And see what you have done to us all



Kate
10th grade
Grand Rapids MI, US
About the Author: My name is Kate and I'm almost 16. I'll be a Junior in just a little bit, a big upperclassman! I've been writing for as long as i can remember. This specific poems is about my parents divorce. It's an older poem and i really hope you like it.
Somewhere Out There

Somewhere in those deep blue skies
There lies
Something more
Somewhere in those blackened holes speckled with stars
There lies
The many answers
To life's hardest questions
Somewhere deep inside us
There is goodness
We must seek to set free
But somewhere out there
There is more for you and me


Oh just wait beyond the sunsets
Just wait beyond the moon
Anything can happen, baby
If we just set the mood
Somewhere out there lies the truth
Let's get going
Let's set the mood


It sits waiting
Waiting for us to make the first move
Like that hottie that seems to always smile from across the room
It surprises us on those lazy afternoons
Leading into peaceful nights
That bring us such good news


I met him at sunset
On a night I never dreamed could be
He amazed me with his ease and comfort
And how funny he seemed to be
He took my jokes
And threw them back my way
And I was damned if I wasn't going to get him to stay


Oh just wait beyond the sunsets
Just wait beyond the moon
Anything can happen, baby
If we just set the mood
Somewhere out there lies the truth
Let's get going
Let's set the mood


Let's just set the mood
To fall in love
Break off those sonnets
And start telling everyone you know
Memorize your lover's face
So no one else could ever replace
Their smile in your heart


And love's a tragedy
Livin so far away
But I can tell you this:
It's so worth the wait
Somewhere out there
Lies that perfect one
The one you wish for on shooting stars
The one whose laughter brings such sweet dreams to your heart
And somewhere out there
Lies that perfect one...
The one whose kiss gets you weak in the knees
The one whose smile sets your whole soul free

Oh just wait beyond the sunsets
Just wait beyond the moon
Anything can happen, baby
If we just set the mood
Somewhere out there lies the truth
Let's get going
Let's set the mood


Oh just wait beyond the sunsets
Just wait beyond the moon
Anything can happen, baby
If we just set the mood
Somewhere out there lies the truth
Let's get going
Let's set the mood

May 31, 2001

Caitlyn
11th grade
Seattle, Washington 
About the author of "Somewhere Out There" -- I rarely write lyrics, so sorry if these aren't exactly...Hmmmm...? Yeah, but I'm 17 and in my last week of junior year.
SUICIDE

I stood at the brink,
My mind in a daze.
My thoughts were spinning
Reality into a haze.

The pain was so great,
I could no longer stand
And was ready to end it,
Even with my own hand.

Step by step
I thought it out.
I was ready to bring
The end about.

Ready to end it
To take my own life,
With all that I had;
The blade of a knife.

Death and I
Were coming near,
But then I shuttered
And gasped in fear.

I realized I'd gone
To far on the ledge,
And if someone didn't help me,
I'd go over the edge.

I'm only 15!
My heart cried in pain.
Yet already
I'm going insane.

I fell on my knees.
What more could I do?
Of fighting and trying,
My strength was threw.

This life I was given
Is not mine to take,
I realized that moment,
The choice is not mine to make.

With  help from others
And struggle and strife,
I will have to keep trying
And keep choosing life!
Rachel
USA
I am 16, and have Social anxiety disorder.
Away

There are times when all I want is to get away
Away from everyone I know
Sometimes I wish I could take off
and go wherever I pleased
To the lakes of Southern France
or the white sand beaches of the Italian Riviera
When life gets hectic
all I really want to do
is take off and leave my world behind
To the Rainforests of the Amazon
or the waterfalls of the African Jungle
When no ones on your side,
all the world makes you cry
and you don't like where you are
When all you feel is hurt and pain
and never any joy
All you want is to get away
Maybe to the green, magical forests of Ireland
or the Heather-covered hills of Celtic Scotland
All you ever want
is to be on your own
where no one can find you
hurt you
or make you cry
Megan
12th grade
Baltimore, MD USA
I wrote this piece when I was upset about things going on in my life. I learned the best way to deal with things is to write about them.
A Cry in the Darkness

A cry in the darkness
     That no one hears
A scream into silence
     Containing the fears

A stone down the well
     No one heard the splash
A burning matchstick
     No one saw the ash

A tear moving slowly
     Evoking no stares
A mountain immobile
     And nobody cares

A ripple of water
     Unseen in the stream
A question posed loudly
     Unheard in the dream
Claire
8th grade
Boulder, CO, USA
About the author of A Cry in the Darkness.

I enjoy writing a lot. Writing is such a way to be yourself and create things. I enjoy writing poetry and long, long stories. During my free time I play soccer and hockey, but writing is my favorite hobby.
Coastal Days

let the fog come.
these sunny days are letting me down.
the ferocious blue skies,
faint wisps of clouds
clear with overwhelming truth.
let the fog come.
shade my sight,
embrace my being
and remit the afterglow
beaming from my hidden bafflement.
let the fog come.
and shield the lake
until the reflected sun
is something i can take.
Yellehs
San Francisco, ca
what can i say? I'm a genius, i know.hey, i needa poetry partner, a bud to bash.bring it on baby! let your e-mail visit me at
THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, is a splendid novel describing a young seventeen
year-old man named Holden Caulifield.  The story begins with the adolescent narrator (Holden )
recovering from a nervous breakdown in a California rest home in the 1950's.  He begins to tell
about his life starting with the previous December on the day he was kicked out of his
upper-middle-class boarding school, Pency Prep, for failing four of his five classes.  Holden leaves
Pency to return to his home in New York City where a psychological breakdown gradually
overtakes him. Caulifield ends his story from a mental institution.
Pency Prep is a well-known and acclaimed school across the nation.  It's motto is "Since
1888 we have been molding boys into splendid, clear-thinking young men."  Holden doesn't agree
with the school's proceedings and doesn't like anyone there.  After Holden is told by the
headmaster that he is expelled from his third high school, he returns to his dorm where he has a
brawl with his roommate, Stradlater, and an unpleasant chat with his friend, Ackley.  In the
middle of the night, Holden decides to leave the school for good by taking a train to New York
City in hope to find solace in his disturbing evening.  Before returning home to his family in
Manhattan with the bad news of his expulsion, he gets well rested in a hotel for a few days,
allowing time for the headmaster's letter to arrive to his parents explaining the bad news.  While
in the city, he has many encounters with adults and his hatred toward their world increases as he
sees how hypocritical, insincere, and dishonest they are.  Increasingly miserable, he goes home
one night and sneaks past his parents to awaken his ten year-old sister, Phoebe, who is ecstatic to
see him.  Holden is overjoyed as well to be in the presence of youth and purity especially Phoebe
since she is very affectionate and generous to him.  She even gives Holden her Christmas savings.
He promises to return the cash to her and then leaves to stay with his former English teacher, Mr.
Antolini.  When Holden arrives at Mr. Atolini's home, he is given a long talk and good advice
concerning his future.  Holden goes to sleep on the sofa and is awakened by Mr. Antolini patting
his head in the middle of the night.  Surprised and fearful that the former teacher is making
homosexual advances towards him, Holden leaves.  Holden decides that he will leave New York
forever and hitchhike west.  He wanders the streets of the city, observing children and talking out
loud to his dead brother Allie.  He meets Phoebe to return her money but she begs to travel with
him.  Holden is appalled and refuses her invitation but he does take her to the park where he
watches her ride the marry-go-round.  As he observes her amusement, he is overcome with a
sense of happiness.  Realizing Phoebe is uncorrupted in society he feels comfort and hopeful
about accepting responsibility for his own life.  Holden concludes the novel by refusing to discuss
anything that happens after that.  The important thing to him is that he finally accepts his life
because he returns home, is sent to a rest home to find help, and will continue school next year. 
Throughout the book the reader develops a strong grasp as to the type of person Holden
is.  As I read the novel, I started to see a relationship between myself and Holden.  Holden is very
intelligent, perceptive and sensitive, yet he tells his story in a critical and cynical attitude.  He feels
alienated in the ugly, disillusioned and unbearable adult society of which he is becoming a part.
He would like to identify himself as "the catcher in the rye".  He would be content if he could
stand at the edge of a cliff  by a field full of rye where children are playing a game.  As the
children would come close to the edge and fall off, he would catch them.  This displays Holden's
want for the protection of the innocent and his great moral values.  He wants to save the youth
from the pain that he is presently experiencing.  Holden proves to be a strong and courageous
character when he realizes that he can't rely on someone else to save him from his "fall"; he must
do it himself.  Holden is truly concerned about people and wants to fight against the world's
corruption to return morals to society.  Society causes his fall downward, but he uses it to also
lead his way back to reality and a new point of view.  In my opinion, he is displayed as a genuinely
noble character.
I enjoyed reading this novel because of Holden's language.  His familiar manner of
speaking helped me to associate and understand the characters' personalities.  As time went on, I
became more accustomed to his boyish word usage and slang language.  This type of writing
made the story more realistic on account that it is actually a rebellious teenager telling the story.
Holden's manner of speaking helps to develop his character more thoroughly.
The Catcher in the Rye's theme is "growing up and coming of age". The story
communicates a message that someone should not fear or reject the future (for Holden it was
adulthood), rather work to make it better and more appealing.  This message is very important to
me because I am in a time of my life that I have to make serious decisions about my future, such
as college.  Holden did not look forward to or want to accept his life ahead of him, he was
disgusted and appalled by it.  Although, at the end of the story he does acknowledge that he needs
to accept his life.  This theme is derived from Holden's character.  Holden represents the lost and
lonely adolescents that are searching for meaning and stability in their life.  There are many
teenagers in today's world that can relate to Holden's frame of mind.  Every teen has to face
adulthood and Holden's story displays the struggle some people have making that change.  High
school is a time when people face many obstacles in society and still must "find themselves"
somehow.  Holden is a character that many people can look up to because he didn't change for
society or turn his head the other way.  Holden stood up for what he believed.  
Bonnie
11th grade
Bowling Green, Ky/U.S.
A Few Inches Away . Father

A few inches away. He never fell apart, his strength never ceased to. He never was restricted. Then comes the morning, as my father goes for his business trip to Virginia, on a small 19-seater, a 19-seater plane to the afterlife. He never had an excuse. A tough survivor. But was a few inches away. His plane flies, as it was the turn of dusk, and the mountain appeared. A few inches away. Crash, boom, lights out as he moves towards the line. A few inches away. He crawled away, as the white bird turned into a giant black crow of ashes and fuselage, a crow of fate. It burns, the fire hell, torched, flames of wrath. Its mission failed. Father . a few inches away. But alive.
My father fell and fractured his hip, but was not far from falling awkwardly, to be paralyzed, to be burnt to ashes, a few inches away. And still it haunts, the memory, the fear before he flies, like a malicious spirit of darkness, lurking among a forest of memories. The spirit seemed to destroy him after the accident, but a survivor did what he was to do - survived. Falling apart like a water balloon, fallen on the ground and destroyed, letting its strength, water, to disperse away from the soul. Because it was but a few inches away from the line. A warrior who came close, but revived from trauma. Although with a bad hip, unable to do the physical activities from before, he does not act so. No excuses. It was but another experience - I think it made him "unafraid to die" perhaps, for he was so close to the line. His fear he utilizes as his strength. The spirit only traces itself in his eyes once in the airport. The spirit reminding him he was a few inches away, reminding me what I could have lost. Someone who taught me how to deal. With life. With problems. Now with trauma. Who taught me to reach my dreams through whatever it takes, by telling stories of his immigration from a foreign nation, to a new country, a new life, to find something. His hardships. My hardships. I relate, and I am grateful for what I have, and the father I have.  
Safiyy
10th grade
Congers, NY, USA
About the author of "Blank", Safiyy  is a 10th grader in High School. He participates in soccer and track, as well as other literary and math activities. He plays the viola, and enjoys playing basketball in his spare time.
Acid
   
    Blazing light blinded Marvin as he woke up on a smooth, hard floor that was giving him back pains. There was a sharp pain in the back of his head and Marvin had a hangover and it seemed as if a dark, rumbling thundercloud was brewing inside his head. He felt around his head and found a bump on the back of it that was quickly swelling to the size of a baseball.
"Where am I?" he thought as he staggered up and rubbed his eyes. As his sea-green eyes focused, he saw that he was in the cul-de-sac of a hallway with whitewashed walls that stretched as far as his eyes could see in front of him. On the walls were paintings and other works of art. There were enough of them for the hall to look like an art gallery.
"The last thing I remember is walking home. What the heck is going on?" he thought with only mild interest and not fear, which was soon to come.
    Curious, the sandy-haired European who was part Irish, which he knew, and part Ethiopian, which he did not know, stretched his arms to feel the texture of the wall and his fingers met with the same material that made up the floor. He looked closely at the pictures and found that all the art works were by surrealists. There were even some that he could recognize such as DalŪ, and Mirů. These bright, abstract paintings contrasted sharply from the white walls and made the hall seem grotesque and unreal. As he looked around with increasing curiosity and anxiety, he noticed that he couldn't see the ceiling at all. To him it seemed that the walls rose up well beyond what he could see. To infinity and beyond.
    Marvin, head spinning with confusion, started walking out of the cul-de-sac with greater alarm building in his chest. Soon, Marvin couldn't see the cul-de-sac anymore. He continued on in what seemed like an unending hall filled with a countless number of dream-like art.
    "Hello? Is there anybody out there?" yelled Marvin with the edge of panic creeping on him. "Hello?"
    He only heard the infinite echoing of his own voice.
    Abruptly, Marvin could sense the faint smell of what seemed like cheese, faintly spiced, and the corridor in front of him was suddenly now winding and curvy where before the whole hallway was straight. Strangely attracted by the smell, Marvin started trotting forward, becoming more and more intoxicated by the smell. He began jogging and soon he was running through glass-smooth corridor.  Frenzied, he ran past the corners without any notice of time or space and chose random paths when forks came up. Abstract painting after painting flashed by him in brief flashes of color. The pungent odor of cheese was getting stronger with every step and soon was overwhelming all of his senses. Marvin could now tell that the cheese was spiced with peppers and garlic. He ran toward the smell until his lungs burned for air and his muscles screamed for rest.
    Suddenly, the hall fell dark and Marvin jerked to a stop in the utter black emptiness.
    "What the.? What's going on?"
    Then he grunted as he felt a sharp pain in the back of his head. The world went blacker still as Marvin fainted in the musty scent of spiced cheese.
    Marvin woke on a green, Formica table in a sterile, white room with a sharp pain in the back of his head and a hangover, once again. He groaned as he pushed himself up with his elbows and rubbed the back of his head. There seemed to be a ridiculously big lump, about the size of a grapefruit, beginning to rise on his head, which throbbed and sent pain into his body with every pulsing thump.
    "Where am I? Who are you?" with wary eyes like that of a tortured and panicked animal, Marvin circled the table which dominated the cavernous room. Like the hallways that he had just come through, the walls were made of a solid, white material that was smooth as glass. The only break in the monotonous white was the table, Marvin, and the other man. 
"I am called, Janus, the Keeper of Chronicles, by my people. Welcome to my laboratory. Please, come into my study and sit. I will explain there," said the silver-haired man as he gestured to a door that Marvin had not noticed when he woke up. The Keeper had long, silver hair that grew past his shoulder and was tied back with a golden band that went around his above his ears. His skin was a sun-tanned bronze with a look of youth that belied the silver hair. He wore a silvery gray robe, which was lined with gold. The man was of no great stature yet he dominated the room like a mountain. He dominated not with the threat of violence but with an aura of infinite knowledge and wisdom. With steely, gray eyes, he beckoned once more and strides across the room to the door.   
Still wary, Marvin hesitantly followed the man through the doorway and was met with a sight that astonished him. With sharply contrasting fluorescent colors, the Keeper's study was furnished with yellow and green, plastic chairs and shelves of well-polished, red plastic. The wallpaper was a mass of swirled colors punctuated by abstract paintings. It was a 70's fashion nightmare with garish paintings and sight-blinding colors. There was a merry, green fire blazing in the blue octagon-shaped fireplace on the far wall, and Marvin noticed that on the mantel of the fireplace were blue-sand hourglasses of various sizes. The sand had run out on all of them except for an immense one that was on the verge of running out.
"Please sit. Make yourself comfortable." Gesturing with his hand to the yellow chair, Janus himself sat in the green armchair by the fire. "When you walked in, you asked some questions. I have answered one and now I will answer the other thoroughly. I have already said that this is my laboratory, but it is also the storage area for all my experiments. Those hourglasses on top of the mantel are timers set on each experiment and as you can see all experiments are finished except for one. That one, you see, is one of greatest importance to me and it is near time for the final stage of the experiment."
"What's the experiment?"
"Well, you see one of the major components of the experiment was you, Marvin."
"Me?" he asked with exceedingly greater alarm, his eyes beginning to look like the eyes of a dumb, petrified deer that Marvin himself had run over that morning.  
"Yes, you were the main component since the whole experiment was about you. You, young Marvin, have lived for thirty-years in my artificially created environment where programmed psuedo-human beings prodded you through different stages of the experiment. They prodded you to behave well, to do well in school, to work until you became a zombie with routines like an animal. Not with gentle, guiding prods but sharp, cruel prods. They also were programmed to pile more grief, responsibility and work until you became so depressed and desperate as to become slave to money, alcohol, and drugs. This experiment was to see how far a man could be pushed until he broke like that ripe watermelon you dropped yesterday. That, Marvin, has been your life for thirty years."
    Slack-jawed, Marvin stared at the Keeper with disbelieving, green eyes for what seemed like an eternity but which was only about ten seconds
         "Really?" asked the semi-European.
"Yes, I am sorry, Marvin, but it is true."
Marvin stared off into space for a few more moments and then turned to look into the fire. The Keeper saw Marvin's shoulder's start shaking, slightly at first but soon harder and harder. And soon the Keeper could hear slight noise, which sounded like sobs. The Keeper's eyes began to water with terrible regret. But then suddenly, Marvin fell out of his chair and started laughing while rolling on the ground holding his stomach.
"Oh, you're a riot! Oh, ha ha. You actually sounded serious!" said Marvin as he wiped his eyes and struggled to stop his laughing.
The Keeper just sat and looked at the other man with sad, gray eyes.
Then, suddenly, screaming profanities left and right, pigs burst into the room.
The fact that they were talking amazed Marvin yet he was amazed further by the fact that the pigs were purple and were flying with wings attached to their backs.
"Oh, my god! What are those things?" Marvin screamed as he hid under his seat trembling with terror.
The Keeper and the pigs glared at Marvin with the expression that clearly and sharply said, "Stop being rude!"
"Now, what can I do for you fellows?" said the Keeper with a congenial expression.
"Yeah, well, you see, Keeper, this idiot over here just ate all of my lab samples! I need some more to carry out the experiment," said the pig with the yellow wings.
"Well, how the %@$# was I supposed to know that those were your samples! You left them in the fridge!" ranted the pig with pink wings.
"You, idiot! That fridge is specifically set aside for lab samples! Just because you keep your lunch in there doesn't mean everything in there is food, you greedy hog!"
"Slime-sucking bacon!"
" Son of a wild, uneducated boar! Mud-eating sausage!"
"Sausage! I've had enough of your name-calling, you little swine! I'll teach you a lesson!" said the pig with pink wings that were beginning to turn red.
The pigs flew straight at each other and began ripping into each other with hoof and mouth. With feathers flying, they were involved in a brawl so furious that individual pigs were indistinguishable and all that could be seen was a mass of writhing, purple flesh and multicolored feathers.
During this whole ordeal, Marvin was crouching under his seat, still trembling, and sobbing with fear, occasionally shouting random things such as "Live in the trees!", "I'll get you, I'll get you in the end.", "Fornicator!", "Soda pop!", "James Arthur Prescott!", " Logarithms rule!", "Elephants!", and "You can't pick a flower without jiggling a star!"
Just then a short Russian with a bushy, white beard rushed into the room.
Waving his arms around, he said, "Ha! I've done it! Come and look what my dog can do!"
"What can it do, Ivan?" asked the Keeper with an extremely disinterested expression.
    "If I show it a treat, it slobbers and when I ring a bell, it slobbers too! It's the greatest revelation into human and animal behavior! I'm a genius! Ha, ha, ha!" the mad white-bearded man said as he raced around the room with his stuck out in front of him.
    "Get out of here, would you? You're interrupting my time with a client and moreover you're an imbecile! Dogs slobber all the time! Next you'll be saying that people didn't evolve from pigs!" The enraged Keeper bodily dragged the protesting man out and slammed the door. 
    The Keeper shook his head and clicked his tongue with exasperation as he firmly locked the door and turned around toward Marvin again. As he turned, he saw the terrified and delirious form of the young man cowering under the plastic chair.
    "Oh, come out from under there! No one is going to harm in any way, I assure you. Come. I need to talk to you."
Marvin slowly slid out from under the seat with only occasional muscle twitches and spasms. Yet when he got to his seat, he sat hunched over and crouched like a rabbit that found itself trapped in a cave with a bear.
    "As I was saying, Marvin, for the past thirty years you have been living in a experiment designed to find the test the threshold of the breakdown of the human mind. However, funding has been cut from my project so I can't carry on the experiment. This means that you have no further use to me and therefore are free to depart into the free world. I have to go on with my new experiments. Oh, wait until you hear about them. In one of them, I get to make a whole planet full of people like you and carry out the exact same experiment but on a greater scale! Don't you think it's wonderful? I get a whole planet of people to mess with! I think I'll have them call me God when I occasionally drop in. Then I'll say some random stuff like, 'I offer eternal life,' and, 'Do this in memory of me.' Then I'll have crazy men preach what I say to the hoi polloi.  It'll be great fun!" he said with brilliantly twinkling eyes.
     Marvin stared at the Keeper with a blank stare that said, "Whah?"
    "It means that you're a free man, Marvin. You're free to go, but I can't support anymore. You're not the equivalent of a fully evolved human being, but you're close enough to not stand out among modern humans even though your intelligence is significantly if not astronomically lower. You're free to go, Marvin. Goodbye, now."
The two pigs froze in midair at this and looked over at the pair of men with deep interest.
"You mean you have a free primitive-human lab sample?" said the pig with pink feathers.
"Yeah.why?" replied Janus with a suspicious look in his eyes.
"Get him, Pollux! I'll share him with you!" shouted the pig with pink feathers as he sped towards Marvin with carnivorous fury.
"I call the brains and the heart, Castor!" shouted the pig with yellow feathers with a ferocious glint in his eyes as he flapped furiously.
"How come you get the good parts? I want the heart!"
"Shut up! You can get the liver and the eyes!"
"Really? I can get the eyes? Cool! He has green eyes! I've never had green eyes before! Thanks, bro!"
With his green eyes wide open, Marvin stood up and then he froze. He couldn't move a muscle and all he could think about was a calico cat, sadly mewling, inside a box. In his mind, Marvin saw that inside the box with the cat was a hypodermic needle on verge of injecting the cat with clear, golden fluid. Somehow in his mind, Marvin knew that the cat was dead even though it was mewling.
In a matter of seconds, the pigs simultaneously reached the sandy-haired human and knocked him over the chair. As he fell over, Marvin felt something hard hit his head sharply in the exact same spot as before and room began to become dark. The last things of the crazy world he saw were the two pigs sitting on him and grunting in his face. Darkness enveloped him and he sank deep into the blackness. 
Vision came back slowly, blurry and fuzzed with vague figures with two bright eyes rushing past him. 
"Where am I?" said Marvin as he staggered up from the cold, hard cement. The first things he saw clearly were twinkling stars, which winked at him with sardonic humor from the dark cloudless sky. As he rubbed his eyes, he saw that it was the middle of the night and he was on the sidewalk five blocks away from his apartment.
"Oh, not again! God, in heaven! Never again! I'm never going to mix that *#&@^%$ stuff again!" said Marvin as he staggered towards his apartment. As he passed a trash can, he threw out a brown bag that had $300 dollars worth of acid inside. Marvin, the Irish/Ethiopian bum, lurched and reeled off into the night.
Andrew
10th grade
Glen Mills, PA, USA
About the author of Acid.
I'm a immigrant from South Korea using English as my second language. This is my first attempt at a publication though I've had the urge to do so before. I wrote this for a class and found it to my liking and under the encouragement of friends and family decided to submit it in various places.
For the Love of Books

  From Whatever Happened to Janie, to Whirligig, there are so many books that I have read this year but only one stick's out in my mind. Yes, all of them were very good and well written, some were full of suspense, and others were heartwarming. However, one magical book inspired me to somewhat change for the better. It encouraged me to think about others and to really love life for what it is. Stargirl has been my favorite book of the whole year. Given to me by a very special person, who has also motivated me to work hard and achieve my goals, this book I will cherish for the rest of my life. As soon as I opened the book, I knew I was going to be hooked. Every sentence I read was full of detail, but also it was an account of a guys love for a girl that was different. He didn't care what she wore or how she acted, he cared for her because of her kindness and spirit. I loved this book because Stargirl is full of kindness, whether it is writing a little note to someone, or singing to them on their birthday. She cared, and that is a very rare thing. In reading such a great book, it taught me a lesson- to be true to yourself and don't change for anyone no matter what. Even when times got rough and no one liked her, she didn't change. I was really happy when she didn't because she would have lost the one true person who cared about her most, Leo. No matter what he was there for her, and he knew how special she was.  In the end the magic was still there, unconditional love you would say. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli is a well-written book, full of inspiring detail and caring. So, never change for anyone, because you may lose someone who really cares about you, stay true to yourself and that's all that matters.
Mollie
9th grade
Windermere, Florida
Mollie is a ninth grader at Windermere Preparatory School. She loves to write any time and anywhere!! She started to write when she was in the 5th grade and got hooked as the years went on. She has written many stories, which at school, they are very popular to read! So go ahead, hope you like it!
"Dreaming of Sneaking Cookies and Asking Questions"- an excerpt from DREAMS OF LONG AGO

I held my tired old body upright as the priest rambled on about how precious life was. Did he think I didn't already know that! I furiously dabbed at the tears that threatened to spill. I let my mind wander as words continued to come from the pulpit that I had learned long ago, when I was still a girl.

I let myself remember the feel of his arms around my waist every morning when he came downstairs for breakfast, leaving a lingering kiss on my cheek before sitting down to pull on his boots. I would turn around and dish some food onto plates moments before all the children would come running downstairs. My eldest would be last, making sure that the youngest didn't fall down the stairs. We would all sit down together, and say grace before even sneaking a morsel.

There was always a constant, happy chatter going on in our home. I thanked God for every minute of it, even when it was starting to try my nerves.

When we finished eating, Nate would help me clear the table before he went outside. He would take me in his arms, every morning, and tell me he loved me. And I would say it right back. We would smile at each other, and exchange a quick look before tending to the children. Nate would take the older boys out to help with whatever, and the girls and I would open the windows, water the plants, and tend to the rather large garden that I kept. If it was winter, we would make sure that everything was closed up, to keep warmth in. I'd send them out
to play, and get started on the waiting dishes. As soon as they were done, I'd have to tend to whatever odd job that was waiting before starting on lunch.

By that time, the kids would have come back inside. At lunch,
everyone would say one thing that they were thankful for. When they were little, the children would always be thankful for a new coat, or toy, or for a cookie that I had let them sneak. As they got older though, it changed. I would hear things like friends, family, the farm, a new book, Mom and Dad. It never failed to touch my heart, and bring a smile to my face, whatever it was. Nate and I never really participated in the ritual until our youngest was about six. I could still hear the tiny voice.

"Momma, why don't you or daddy every say what you're thankful for?"

I wasn't really sure how to answer that. I had told her that I was thankful for little girls asking questions all the time, and little boys who snuck cookies, and snuck out at night to avoid having to do the dishes. I told that I was thankful for husbands who always managed to mysteriously disappear whenever I needed them to fix something.

Nate had cleared his throat and looked pointedly at me. I merely smiled, took a bite of my food, and asked the children what they had done that morning. Later he had snuck up behind me, and picked me up like he used to do when we were teenagers. As always, I had laughed and asked him to put me down. He kissed me, and whispered in my ear "I love you."
I asked him what he wanted, laughing and really enjoying myself. He grinned, and I knew exactly what was on his mind. I had playfully punched him in the shoulder. "I love you," I had replied, and he put me down to kiss me again. I remembered that I had felt exactly like I had when I was fifteen, before I had gotten sick.

My mind wandered to when I had really woken up for the first time since they had brought me home from school that day so very long ago when I had been so very sick.

Daddy had been sitting by my bedside, his eyes half-closed as if he were falling asleep. His hand was laying on the bed, palm up. I slipped my hand into his, and squeezed it tight. His eyes slowly opened and looked at me. I looked back at him, not knowing what to expect. I knew that he had been there a lot while I had been sick.

"'Morning," he said.

I smiled, relived. He smiled back, and helped me sit up.

"'Morning, Daddy."

"There's someone who's been waiting to see you."

"Can I take a shower and change first?"

"You need to eat, too."

"I know. I'm hungry."

"You should be. You haven't eaten anything in over a week."

"Is that how long it's been?"

He nodded. "Your fever didn't start coming down until yesterday. Doc Baker doesn't want you out of bed for another day or so."

"Can you help me up?"

I remembered how shaky my legs were. I didn't trust them at all. Momma had to help keep me standing while I stood under the hot, soothing water. I had felt so much better after that. It had been amazing. While I had been getting cleaned up, the boys changed my sheets, and when they finally let me see Nate, Momma went downstairs to make me breakfast. He insisted on staying while I ate. Which I really hadn't minded, since I wanted company of some kind.

Five years later we married, and lived with his parents until we found a place of our own, just down the road. Our first baby had been born the following spring. I had borne nine children, and only seven of them lived past their first three weeks.

Those babies that hadn't made it nearly killed me. I had loved them so much, wanted them with all my heart. We agreed after that that it would be wiser not to have anymore children, as much as we both wanted them.

My brothers and sisters visited us constantly, even after some of them moved to the city. Chris eventually had a family of his own, still living at home even after all those years. He inherited the farm that we'd both grown up on, and now it was his son who ran it, even though he and his wife still lived there. Charlie bought the Thomson's old farm, and he too had a family of his own. Bryan eventually moved back to Denver, never really adapting to farm life.

We never really heard much from Sam, but we knew that he was a sports coach somewhere.

Every fourth of July, we would have a big family reunion. I loved it. Everyone would bake and bake and bake, and we'd bring everything over to the farm we'd all grown up on. There would be dogs, kids, sheep, chickens and stories running all over the place. Joe would have come in from wherever it was that he had been training, and we would find him already up and dressed at seven after having run for an hour and a half already. Laura would turn off her cell phone, more than eager
to take a break from doctoring sick patients in the city, and Greta would have her family home from the small town that had always tortured me. Momma and Daddy would sit out on the porch, greeting everyone, and giving out hugs, kisses, and pats on the back.

Charlie's family would walk across the two farms, and Nate and I would bring our kids over on an ancient wagon that everyone always got a kick out of. It was funny even to us; it was also an old joke. Long ago, Joanna had told me once that she wouldn't be surprised at me if I came into town one day driving a horse and wagon. I told her that horses normally didn't pull wagons, that oxen did. She rolled her eyes, and Kate and I simply looked at each other and laughed.

The reunions were always a long, loud, noisy, fun occasion, and relatives always had stayed in town for days afterwards. Joe would have dinner at our place a few times, telling the children all about the famous athletes he would meet all the time. I always made sure I told him how proud of him I was. He never really considered himself my brother, no matter how many times I told him as much. Everyone considered us all family, and grouped us together as such. Kate would show up for a while to visit and it was a tradition that she sit by Joe, and drop hints. I'm not sure if he ever realized what was going
on. I thought about the day I finally told him. He smiled a goofy smile, and told me he would see me later. I found out that he went to see Kate, and they had a long talk. A few years later, they got married, and traveled around the world for years and years. Now they live in town, and Joe writes about his career as a gold medallist Olympic athlete. I have been proud of him every moment of every day since he took that first step of finding a coach all those years ago.

Even then, he had his doubts about himself, although I don't think he ever really got over them.

I thought back to our days in the publications lab. The short,
balding teacher whose name I could not remember for the life of me anymore, and Kate and I sending 'illegal messages' using the ancient message system. Our senior year I had been senior editor, which had been a huge honor, considering most townsfolk didn't trust my ability any farther than they could throw me. Although I think for most of them that wouldn't be a problem, considering that after my illness I had never weighed very much, until our first child. And even after that, my weight had gone back down considerably. I could never figure
it out. But, it never seemed to be a big deal, so we never even thought about it.

I thought about when we had slept under the stars as kids. Chris and Joe would build a bit of a shelter using marbles, a cotton canvas, a few sizable sticks, and some rope. We spread a few quilts on the ground, with a few blankets in case we got cold. The last time I did that was when I was seventeen. Chris had just come home from college for summer, and Nate and I were thinking about getting engaged. We had just graduated from high school, and Bryan was about three years old. He had curled up with me, and I had been thinking about a future life while gazing at the stars. I had one arm around the small child, and he nestled closer to me, making me smile. I thought about the things that had been said to me while I was sick when people thought I hadn't been listening.

I smiled, thinking of all the various confessions. My favorite was Charlie's. He'd been so small at the time that he didn't understand about being sick. He told me, in his three-year-old's slurred speech that he had climbed up on the kitchen table and eaten some cookies that I had made a few days before I had gotten so sick. He thought that because he had done something he wasn't supposed to, I had gotten sick. He never snuck cookies without asking again. Or climbed on the kitchen table.

The preacher finished the sermon, and looked down at me to say a few words. I got up, and shuffled my tired old bones up into the pulpit.

I looked out over the faces that were so familiar to me. I smiled, and cleared my throat. "I want to thank you for being here. It would mean a lot to Nate to know that there are so many people who have cared about him. Even if he would never admit it." I smiled. "I have to admit that I haven't
been listening to much of the service this morning." I felt tears start to run down my face. "I haven't been able to keep my mind off of the wonderful life that I've had with everyone in this room, and everyone who isn't. The most wonderful memories that I have include all of you, whether you know it or not. I've been sitting here thinking. Thinking about all those years ago when we used to sleep under the stars during the summer. When we worked together in the publications lab in the same school that my grandbabies go to. I've been thinking about the time I got so sick when I was fifteen. I remember that Charlie had been so afraid that he was the reason I
had gotten sick, because he had climbed on the kitchen table and snuck some cookies that I had baked a few days before. He couldn't have been more than three or four then.

"I can remember when I first knew that Nate and I would spend the rest of our lives together. I can even remember a few dreams about it. In one of them, we died together. But I know now that it's just a dream. A hope that neither of us will have to live without the other. We've never really done it before. Even when we were kids, we were just twenty minutes' walk from each other."

I paused again to compose myself. It just wouldn't do to break down in front of all these people. "Ninety-eight years I have lived here. And all of those ninety-eight years I have been proud of every single person in this room. Joe and his amazing career, Momma and Daddy, God rest their souls, who took care of us all no matter what. Chris, Laura, Greta, Charlie, Bryan, and even Sam who never gave us a by-your-leave when he left. I'm proud of my family for who they are, and everything they're done. I'm proud of them for who they are. I'm
proud of my friends for being true friends. For being there when we needed them. Like when my sixth got so sick... You took in my older ones like they were your own until... "I trailed off.

"I'm proud of you all, and Nathan was too. We love you all with all of our hearts." I paused to dab at my eyes. "I've learned something over the years. I've been searching my memory for every time he said 'I love you', and every time he did something to surprise me. It's all like a dream. I can remember some small, specific details, and in other memories I can picture everything perfect, but others are no more than a blur. A million dreams. But the one thing that is holding
them all together is love. It's a love that goes beyond any distance. It's a love that endures beyond time, and beyond death. I can't quite explain it, but I'm not sure that it's meant to be explained in words." Tears were streaming down my tired old face now, but I didn't care.

"Partings are never forever. Forever is a long time. I won't be without him for long. I'm an old lady. I'll have to live without him for a little while, but it's not forever." I was saying it more to comfort myself than anything else. I closed my eyes for a second. "He wouldn't have wanted any crying. And he wouldn't have wanted a big show, either. Nate was always one for simplicity. He always told me to say what I wanted to say, do what I wanted to do, and not make a big fuss over it. So I'm trying to follow his advice right now. Partly because I already miss him, and partly because I know he's right. He's been right for the past 83 years.

"I've seen people die, I've seen babies enter this world, and I've seen them grow up and have their own babies. I know how quickly life can move, and I know that the Lord doesn't always let us know what He's about to do. He has said that my husband's time is up, just as He told my brother Chris and his wife. He told Momma and Daddy to join him, and He told Nate's parents that long ago. He told Nate's brother that, and He told my two babies they weren't meant to stay here. He told our friend Peter that long ago when he went on that mission trip, God rest his soul. You never know what The Lord has in
store for us. So I want to tell you, while everyone is here, that I love you all. I love my children, and my grandbabies, and my great-grandbabies. I love all my nieces and nephews, and great-nieces and great-nephews, and all my cousins, and second cousins, and twice-removed cousins. I love all my children by marriage, and all my brother and sister in-laws. I love all the friends and neighbors who have been there over the years, and you will never know how much you are to me. I love you all, and I am so, so very proud of you. Everyone in this room is my life. And I wouldn't have it any other way. Not for anything in the world." As I stepped down, I felt a
feeling of love in me that was characteristic of only one person.

And he was so, so very proud of me.
Anne
10th grade
Virginia Beach, Virginia
About the author of "Dreaming of Sneaking Cookies and Asking Questions"...

Anne  lives in Tidewater, Virginia, on the Chesapeake Bay. She is a high school sophomore, and in her spare time can be found either singing, running on the beach, writing, or volunteering at church or Children's Hospital in Norfolk, VA.
The Doomed Romance

The cold wind blew over McPike Manor.  You could feel the icy chill of the wind and the touch of warmth from the cabin fires.  You could hear the slaves singing in the quarters and the horses' neighing.  In the upstairs window, Mistress was telling her daughter what to wear for the evening.  The sitting room was full of men talking about politics and the possibility of war.  The band was warming up for the dance and the carriages creak into the carriage house.  There was only one problem with this scene: these events happened more than one hundred and fifty years ago.   That is because old McPike Manor is haunted with the souls belonging to the time before the Civil War.
 It is now June 14, 1999.  It is a beautiful summer day and the forecast for tonight is mild and clear.  A bad night we would say here in Hegch, a night for spirits to preside over our town.  You may think it is queer, but I have gotten used to it. 
No one ever goes near the manor at night because the spirits are still there dancing and enjoying the night before the war began and terror spilled down on the manor. Some of the villagers' descendents still live here in Hegch, Virginia.  In order to understand the strange happenings you must know the history of the manor.  So all you skeptics, get out your notebooks!  I will take you to a world you will never forget.

Down the stairs came Mrs. O'Keefe.  She had to make sure things were perfect for tonight's dance.  It simply would not do to be anything but perfect. She knew it more than anyone else did because it was her only daughter's coming-of-age dance.  Closing her eyes, she fondly remembered her own coming-of-age dance.  She recalled the look on everyone's faces as she came down the stairs in a beautiful gold-silk dress.
"Those were the years,"  she thought to herself.  Now opening her eyes, she realized how much work needed to be done and practically flew to the kitchen to check on the food.
Outside, Mr. O'Keefe was instructing the horse slaves on how the carriages should be put away.  His wife kept saying how important tonight was so rather than ignite her temper; he simply did what he was told.  Of course, he knew it was an important day for his little girl, but he could not understand why his wife was in a tizzy and his daughter was not. 
"It must be what all mothers do," he muttered to himself.  "All right.  The first carriage will go there, this one here."
Ellen slowly tiptoed into Margaret's room.  She had only been gone for a second, but she did not want Margaret any more excited than she already was.  Ellen almost wished she were white so she could share in her best friend's dance.
"What do you think of the dress?"  Margaret asked Ellen.
"Beautiful.  Imagine: blue silk all the way from France!  I would not know what to do with such finery,"  Ellen answered in an excited voice.  "Wait until Mr. Ford gets to see you!  I think his lip will drop to the very floor!"
"Really?  Do you think so?  That would be very funny if you think about it.  Anyone's mouth dropping at the sight of me."  She turned her head toward the looking glass and gazed thoughtfully at her reflection.  "Maybe, Karl Ford will think I am beautiful tonight.  Mother said that she met her first beau at her coming-of-age dance, but that was ages ago!  Everything has completely changed by now!"  She thought to herself.  Behind her, she heard the creaking of her door opening as her mother entered the room.  It was time to greet the guests.  Margaret silently rose and followed her mother out of the room.  Ellen whispered a good luck as Margaret passed her.  Down the stairs, she ascended, to a mass of people who gazed at her with approving smiles.  Margaret scanned the room for her escort.  Suddenly she felt a hand on her arm.  A soft hello was whispered into her ear as she stepped off the landing.
"Good." she thought, "Now everyone will stop staring at me and go back to their regular criticism of everyone else."
"How do you fare today, Mistress Margaret?  I hope you are well.  I also hear that many beautiful birds come out on nights such as these." Karl Ford said to Margaret.  He saw the laughter in her eyes as she recognized his secret meaning.
"Indeed, I am quite well.  Where would we find such birds?  Would they be out in the fields or the orchards, would you say?" Margaret asked with a big grin on her face.
"Yes, I do believe that we could find them in the orchard.  Would you care to go look for them?"
"I suppose I should go and see them while they are still out.  Lead the way to the orchard, Mr. Ford." As Margaret and Mr. Ford walked out onto the veranda, Ellen handed Mistress Margaret her shawl. Margaret nodded in approval.  Ellen watched from the kitchen as they walked out to the orchard.  Finally, Ellen could go back to the quarters.

"It really is beautiful out here. Mother couldn't have picked a better day for the dance.  I love being sixteen.  It is a new kind of feeling to be grown up,"  Margaret said.
"Well, I am glad you are enjoying it.  You look wonderful in that dress."
"How can you see it if we are in the dark?"
"Exactly," Karl said as he reached down to kiss Margaret. It was wonderful!  Nothing could ruin tonight after this.
Back inside the house, Mrs. O'Keefe was wondering where her daughter had gotten.  Mrs. O'Keefe was looking all over the place for her while she was talking to her guests.
"Excuse me one moment.  I promise I will be right back."  Mrs. O'Keefe said to Mrs. O'Connor. Mrs. O'Keefe decided the only place she had not looked was outside.  As she stepped out on to the veranda, she saw two figures standing together by the orchard.  As the got closer to the house, Mrs. O'Keefe called to them. "Margaret is that you?  Who are you with, my child?"
"Mrs. O'Keefe?  I am sorry for stealing you daughter away.  She was looking flushed so I escorted her outside.  I will bring her inside right away." Karl called to Mrs. O'Keefe.
"Karl?  I thought you were someone else.  It is fine, but please do not let her catch a chill.  We would not want her to catch fever, now would we?"
"Of course not, Mrs. O'Keefe.  I assure you she is in good hands."
"Yes, of course," Mrs. O'Keefe turned around and went back into the house.
"It is a good thing my mother knows you or I fear we would have been in a conflict." Margaret turned toward Karl. She gazed into his deep brown eyes and saw a light so beautiful it was indescribable.
"Our lives will be perfect in time," Karl said as they sat down on the back steps.
"It is just a matter of time."
"I know.  But the talk of war scares me.  I don't know what I would do if ." Her voice trailed off.
"That is not for you to worry about.  War will not come.  No one really wants war.  Everything will be all right.  Lets not worry about that now.  After all, this is your party and I fear I have kept you out to long."  He slowly stood up and bowed. "May I have the honor of the first dance of the evening, Mistress Margaret?"  He turned his head up a little to see her smile as she stood up.
"Of course you may." Margaret said as she took hold of Karl's out-stretched arm and strolled back into the house with him.

The other people watched as Karl and Margaret joined in the waltz.  "What a perfect couple they make" was passed around by word of mouth.  Everyone was talking about how mature Margaret was and how Karl had grown up to be a fine young man.  Karl and Margaret's eyes remained only on each other as they danced.  They could not hear the noise of the kids or the praises of the grown-ups.  All they could see, feel, touch and think about was each other.  It was a wonderful kind of love that only occurs in fairy stories.
The hours passed in a flicker of enjoyment.  Regretfully, the dance came to an end. Just before Karl was about to leave with his sister, he walked out on to the veranda with Margaret's hand in his. 
"Would you like me to visit on Thursday?" Karl asked Margaret.
"Why wouldn't I?" Margaret said smiling
"I don't know.  You women change your minds a lot."
"That is so mean.  I am not like that."  She gave him a small shove.
"Oh, really?"  He grabbed her in his arms and kissed her in a way that she's never been kissed before.  She was almost upset when it ended.  As soon as it was over, he ran to the carriage house to bring his older sister home, glancing back at her in the moonlight. 

The night had been so perfect and Mrs. O'Keefe could see it on her daughter's face.  Karl Ford had given her a lot of attention tonight.  Perhaps there was an engagement in their futures.  Would that not be wonderful?  Of course it would!  Everything would work out just right and Margaret and Karl would inherit the plantation.  Mrs. O'Keefe could not have planned it better herself. 
Upstairs in Margaret's room, Ellen was helping Margaret get ready for bed.  The sun had long since gone down but for Margaret, the Karl's sunlight could keep her awake all night.
"You must be very tired.  I will talk to you in the morning.  Good night, Mistress Margaret."  Ellen quietly tiptoed out of the room.
"Good night, Ellen," Margaret said in a very sleepy voice. "Good night."

After the party, Karl came to see Margaret more and more often.  One day, October 4 to be exact, would prove to be the most delicious of days.  The dawn was the most beautiful purple and the sun seemed to glow with a new light as Karl and Margaret rode to Claver's Glen.  They raced almost the whole way there and were fairly tired upon arriving.  Karl jumped off his horse and ran to help Margaret dismount.  Karl smiled at   Margaret as he gently set her on the ground. 
"Well, should I get out the picnic basket?"  Margaret asked.
"No, I am not hungry just now.  Why don't we go down to the stream?"  Karl had replied while taking hold of her hand.  They were silent as they hiked down the streambed.   When they got to the lake at the end of the stream, they stopped. 
"I have been thinking a lot lately.  If there is a war, I will have to go," Karl solemnly said to Margaret.  She was about to let out a sound of protest, but Karl put his finger to her lips.  "I want to be sure that you know how I feel.  I do not want war to come because the thought of leaving you brings misery to my very soul.  I can't live without you.  I need you in my life.  I love you."
"Margaret Ann O'Keefe, will you be my bride?"  he asked quietly as he looked into her eyes.
"Yes, Karl.  We were put on this Earth to be together."  A feeling of overwhelming delight came over both of them. 

Mrs. O'Keefe was overjoyed when she heard of her daughter's engagement, not that she did not already know of course.  Mr. O'Keefe had told her last night of his conversation with Karl.  It had taken all the strength she had to keep her mouth shut.  Finally, Mrs. O'Keefe had a wedding to plan, Mr. O'Keefe would have a son-in-law, and everything would be as in should be.  That is if, only if, the war did not come.

What were they thinking?  Not two weeks before the wedding did war come.  What were they to do now?  Karl was summoned to fight in the army.  What could they do?  Mrs. O'Keefe wanted them to get married immediately, but Margaret did not know what to do.  Karl knew he had to go, but how could he leave his true love now?  All he wanted was to be with her.  He needed to talk to her and she needed to talk to him.
He realized he could not avoid the subject and took her out for a ride to the same stream where he had proposed. 
He did not speak for a long time and when he did it was only to say her name.
"Margaret," he said with out looking at her, "this is a difficult time for us.  I have realized that no matter how unfair it is, I must go fight with my comrades.  I really don't know what to do.  I want more than anything else in the universe to stay here with you, but I feel if I don't do something, I will have failed you."
"Karl, that is not true at all!  You could never fail me.  I love you unconditionally.  Nothing can ever stop me from loving you.  No matter what you do or don't do."  Margaret could barely keep the tears from her eyes, but she said this all in a strong voice.  She was relieved when Karl looked her with longing in his eyes.  After seeing this, she too began to cry.  It would be more than they could bear to be apart, but somehow they would survive.
"Margaret", he said after the sadness of the moment had ended, "I will always love you.  Nothing can stop that.  After this war is over, will you still consent to be my wife?"
"Karl, nothing will ever, ever stop me from being your wife.  I am yours for all eternity," Margaret said in a voice that spoke of all the love she had.

Karl went into the war on September 15, 1861.  It was a horrible day at McPike Manor.  Margaret was making sure that everything was ready for Karl's departure.  She silently cried as she put together a small satchel, but she wanted him to be prepared for anything.  Karl was outside in the barn, saddling his horse. It was only a few hours before sunrise, a time that used to bring happiness, which turned into a painful sight of loneliness, the time that Karl would have to leave.
Margaret slowly stepped out onto the veranda, the satchel in her arms.  Karl had tied up his horse to a pole near the house and came toward the house.  He could not bear to speak for fear he would upset his beloved.  He stared at her for a moment, before she ran to him. He wrapped his arms around her, taking in the smell of her hair and the warmth of her arms around him.  He would remember them while he was in the bitter heat of battle.  The strength of her love could keep him alive.  He held her for one more moment, before realizing the inevitable.  He kissed her quickly, grabbed his satchel, and jumped onto his horse.  He began galloping, but glimpsed back for one more look at the manor and his lovely Margaret before riding away.  Margaret watched until Karl was out of sight before walking back in the house.  One small tear trickled down her face.

Days passed by so slowly now.  It was as if everyone was in a trance.  Karl wrote Margaret almost every day, pages and pages of his doings as well as those of his comrades.  She would sit on the bed and read over her favorite parts of his letters.

Monday, August 30, 1862
It was a funny day; Greg fell in the pond and had a crab bite his nose.  It is looks like an apple. Days are boring without you.  I long to see your face.  I suppose you have a new beau by now who adores you.  I envy him. 
Do you really have a new beau?  I would like to be informed on my fiancť's doings.
Love, Love, Love,
Karl
  
She looked forward to his letters like as child looks forward to his birthday.  Letters were everything to her.  The days marched on until June 13, 1864.   It had been filled with cleaning and sewing.  She had been working diligently on a coat for Karl to wear during the winter months.  The cloth had come from an old dress of hers because cloth was becoming scarce.  She felt it was more than worth it.  
Her mother had gone to town so she was home by herself.  A light tapping fell on the front door.  Margaret rose to answer it.  Standing outside was a young man in his early twenties holding an envelope.  He cautiously handed the envelope to Margaret before running away.  Margaret was a little bewildered, but she opened the envelope. Inside were a letter and a small piece of paper.  It read:
Lieutenant Karl Ford has been critically wounded.  We wish to inform you that there is no chance of recovery.  Please express our deepest sympathy to the family.  Long live the Confederacy!
Margaret stumbled backwards.  She slowly sank to the floor, the world began to darken like storm clouds before a hurricane.  But before the world became the most uncompromising color of black she whispered but one word in a weak voice, " Karl."
When her mother came home later, she found her daughter lying on the veranda without any signs of life.  She immediately had the two farmhands bring her in the house.  She tried as hard as she could to breath life into her beautiful child.  But in the early morning hours of June 14, 1864, Margaret breathed her last.  Mrs. O'Keefe had lost her daughter.  Her only child was gone.
Mrs. O'Keefe went outside to see the sunrise after Margaret's death.  As she was about to sit down and let her feelings take over, she glimpsed an envelope on the floor.  As she bent down to pick it up, she saw what she knew to be Karl's handwriting.  Carefully opening the letter she found a note from Karl to Margaret.
Friday, May 28, 1864
Dearest Margaret,
My good companion Greg died this morning from a gunshot wound.  I am now without a friend to confide in.  It will be very difficult to give his family this terrible news.  He still had so much life to live.  How I wish I could go back in time and save him. I have seen so very much horror here on the battlefield, which I will not describe to you.
I miss you in a way that I cannot describe either.  I want to be able to hold you and be there with you, to tell you that I am staying here, that I will never be separated from you again.  You are the only thing that keeps me going in this war.  Do you know that I remember every conversation that we ever shared?  I know everyone of them and can tell you of all the wonderful things we talked about and the way I felt and how much you mean to me. Why can't this war end now so I can see your lovely face? They should not make me stay away from you so long.  It should be against the law to keep me from you.  I will come home, I promise.  No power on Earth will ever stop me from coming home to you.
I dream about the wedding.  I can see you in at beautiful dress as pure and white as a rose.  As you walk down the aisle towards me, I turn to see your glittering face. I know that everything will be wonderful forever in that one moment.  When the preacher says that we are married, I feel the most breathtaking happiness.
 I dream about our future home every night too.  I can see a lovely white house with a sky blue veranda.  You made beautiful scarlet curtains for the windows and nothing is ever out of place.  Our days float on unseen wings filled with pleasure.  We have two children, a boy and a girl.  I know that made you blush.  I love it when you blush; it makes me want to kiss your darling face.  I know I am torturing myself with these dreams, but thinking about things such as these keeps me going. 
I must go now, my precious.  I will write more about our future in my next letter.  I hope that you have enjoyed this one, and you feel a little less lonely.  I love you more than life.  Good night, my beloved.  
Love always and forever,
Karl

Mrs. O'Keefe began to cry because she understood her daughter's undying happiness.  Karl had loved her so much.  At least they would be together.  A wedding in heaven is the best in the world.  Her daughter would always have her true love; she would never be without him.  Mrs. O'Keefe whispered a silent prayer before letting the letter fall peacefully to the ground.
On April 2, 1865, a tall, bedraggled man walked up the lane to McPike Manor.  He stood for a long time just looking at the house.  Mrs. O'Keefe was a little scared seeing the stranger and cautiously walked outside.
"Hello," she said in a strong voice.  "May I help you?"  The man looked up.  As Mrs. O'Keefe stared into the eyes of the stranger, memories flooded her head.  She knew those eyes.  It was impossible.  He could never come back. He had died.  Could it be?
"Mrs. O'Keefe," the stranger whispered.  In an instant, Mrs. O'Keefe recognized the voice of the happy young man she used to know.  Karl was home!  Karl was home, but Margaret was not here to greet him. How could she tell him the horrible truth?  She ran and grabbed him.  She held him as though she had never seen him alive while avoiding the truth as long as she could, but before she could say a word Karl asked where Margaret was.
"Karl.  How Margaret wished she could see you. Had she known that you were alive, maybe she would not have.  She wanted to see you more than anything.  She loved you more than life too.  I am sure she is here somewhere, listening and loving you.  She wanted to be with you so much.  She could not wait to be your wife.  Remember?  She was teeming with happiness when you asked her to be your wife.  She would have given anything to be your wife.   I know that had she known you were going to live, she would have done something."  Mrs. O'Keefe released Karl and turned away, tears of happiness and sadness running down her face.
'Oh Karl.  See how this war has changed you and her?  It can never be the way it was before," she continued with her back turned to him.
 "Mrs. O'Keefe, what has happened?  Where is she?  Why are you crying?  Where is my Margaret?  Why is she not here?  Where did she go?  What are you talking about?"  Karl asked in a rush of words.
"Karl," she said as she turned to him, "Margaret is gone."
"What are you saying?" Karl began again.
Mrs. O'Keefe began to tremble.  "She is. She is. She is gone to heaven."
"Mrs. O'Keefe," the words came out painfully, "is. my beautiful Margaret?  No!  She can't be.  No!  You are lying.  I don't believe you.  She can't be gone.  We were supposed to be together!  No one could have stopped that!"  He continued to break down in a mess of words.
"Why, Mrs. O'Keefe, why?"  Tears began to fall from his face. "Why did this happen?  You must tell me!  I need to know why this happened."
Mrs. O'Keefe went into the house and came back a few minutes later holding a small piece of paper.  She slowly handed it to Karl.  It was the notice from the army about Karl's injury.   As Karl read the notice, he put his hand over his face.
"She never read your letter.  All she saw was the notice.  It was more than she could bear to be apart from you.  She became very ill, very quickly.  It was not painful for her.  She wanted to be with you in Heaven rather then without you on Earth."  Mrs. O'Keefe put her hand on his shoulder.  At least Karl knew the truth.  War may bring peace, but it does not bring happiness.


Many people ask me how I can tell so much about McPike Manor.  It is not a question of telling, but a question of knowing.  The only answer I can give to that question is my name.  I am Ellen Margaret O'Keefe, Ellen's great, great granddaughter.

Rachel
9th grade
Bay Shore, New York
My name is Rachel.  I am 14 years old and love to write.  This is my first time writing a short story for others.  I have, however, written 3 novels for my friends to read.  I hope you all enjoy my writing.
Book Review on Armageddon Summer

"The world will end on July 26."
This is an undisputable fact for those who are true Believers.  Jane Yolen and Bruce Coville have written a novel in journal format called Armageddon Summer.  We see into the personal lives of two teenagers, Jed and Marina who are not sure what to think when their parents decide to join a fanatical group of people called the Believers.  The Believers, led by Reverend Beelson, are getting ready for the end of the world in a great conflagration. Only one hundred and forty four people will be saved on the top of Mount Weeupcut. Reverend Beelson says that God has decided that only the Believers will be saved and will start the world anew. 
Marina's mom wants Marina to also believe in Armageddon, but does so through force and bitter tactics. Marina wants to believe in something, but she is not sure what. The Mother-child relationship is an important theme in this novel.  The only reason Jed is on the mountain is to watch over his father, another Believer. Jed believes that his father is just there to get his life together after his wife left him. It isn't that Jed's dad told him to believe; it's that Jed wishes he could believe.  While Marina's mom and Jed's dad are true Believers, Jed and Marina aren't sure what they think. Is it possible that the world will end in fire and only a few people will be saved?
The main theme of this book is actually a question: Should you be forced to believe what your parents believe? That is a question you will have to answer by yourself.  Yolen and Coville team up to write incredibly introspective and contemplative book.  Read this paperback and find out how two people asked themselves this question and fought to find an answer.
Rachel
9th grade
Bay Shore, NY
My name is Rachel.  I am 14 years old.  I enjoy writing and i like to play sports.  I want to be a teacher when I get older.
A stream of consciousness

Paranoia is all I can sense,
Crushing me into a white picket fence.
Looking over my shoulder,
My feelings all getting boulder.
My fear is getting smaller,
My anger just stronger.
I feel I'm going to explode,
Into a dusty cloud of rage.
My heart with slowly corrode.
Into a red slimy decay.
No love do I feel,
Yet hatred so real.
So real that makes me shake,
Into a smile that is so fake.
So fake that makes me cry,
For every word I say is a lie.
The lies that made me slaughter,
The love of me to any other.
The love that turned to indifference.
The indifference that I recent.
For I'm no longer human,
I'm no longer real,
I'm no longer a loving woman,
And I no longer feel.
Vikki
9th grade
D.F., Venezuela
Tiny Shoe

                               Red and orange lights flash furiously,
                               Screams resound off the still,
                               Lifeless summer air,
                               And a two-year-old boy
                               Lies dead,
                               Having succumbed to nature's worst nightmare;
                               The baby's body is taken away,
                               His soul has moved to another world,
                               Traumatized neighbors go inside their homes,
                               And all that remains
                               Of the innocent little child,
                               Is a tiny shoe lying on the road,
                               Shoelaces undone,
                               Spots of blood staining the white,
                               As a mother's cries are heard in the distance,
                               And the tiny shoe remains lifeless,
                               A memory of a loved child,
                               Defenseless on the road.

Kaitlin
9th grade
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
I was inspired to write this particular poem when i was in my car one day, and spotted a tiny white shoe lying on the
road, on its side.  It obviously belonged to a toddler, and the image just stuck with me, and kept coming
back until i eventually wrote about it...and it still inspires me to this day!  I hope you like it!!

Stay strong, and keep smiling!  Always!!!
Just For You

You have the most beautiful eyes,
Like no eyes I've seen before,
I just wish that I could see,
Everything that you do,
And how precious you think of me.

I like to see you happy,
It makes everything worthwhile,
But when you don't return the love,
I seem to lose my smile,

I may be smiling,
On the outside of me,
But what is smiling on the outside
If the inside isn't free?

I know that you love me,
You've said it plenty times,
Please show it to me
And it will make me feel fine.

I need you so much,
And you need me too,
We can solve all our problems,
And I'll be everything,
Just for you.
Maryam
10th grade
Sydney, Australia
 About the author of "Just For You"
I'm 15, and I live in Sydney, but I'm from New Zealand. I love to write poems, if you have any comments, then please email me at
On the edge

Feet on the edge,
arms opened wide.
Nothing held back,
nothing to hide.
Feet off the ground,
falling head first.
Wishing for the best,
but dreading the worst.
I fell for you,
like no one before.
You gave me wings,
so I could soar.
I closed my eyes,
and let everything go.
I love you more,
than you shall ever know.

Heather
11th grade
St. Pete, Florida
Midnight

midnight finds your thoughts of death
and what the world used to be.
in-between the cracks of your
numb beliefs you find the reminiscence
of what it was like to love me
and to love yourself and life even more. 
and in-between your hate and
declarations of tragic defeat.....

is your love, still residing quietly,
pondering when to break
into the thick, intense wave of
what it used to be.
Irena
10th Grade
Florida
Earth's Soul speak

say it isn't so
the moon glows
the sun knows
the grass peaks
the birds greet
the stars shine
peace of Mine
love is kind
never lies
God's present
heaven-sent
me, I'm spirit-lit
sufficient grace
beautiful Earth
spring is reborn
spring is rebirth
green leaves
blue skies
purple violets
new lives
Tameka
10th grade
Saint Louis, Missouri, United States
Tameka, a 15-year-old, loves playing the piano, drawing, singing, and serving God.   She hopes to become a graphic artist, and maybe later, release a book comprised of the 60 poems she has wrote since age 12.   She believes poetry is best when it is used as a outlet of self-expression, and a inlet of self-healing.
Anger

You came upon me like
A big red blanket
Suffocating and confining
Never letting go

I lose control
Now you control me
And my actions are not mine
Never easing up

Somebody please help
This solitary confinement
With only one visitor
Is too much
Maura
8th grade
Dover, MA, United States of America
Eternity

Dancing...or so-called dancing. The bodies were crashing against each other, jumping everywhere, most were high or drunk, and the band wasnít even good. I didnít want to be there, but Eva, my friend, coerced me. My face was caked with Evaís unnecessary make up and I felt naked in my halter top and leather mini skirt, I was glad I had a long black jacket on, but it was getting trampled on in the crowd. I was getting really hot, so I pulled myself out of the crowd and sat on the dirty, cold stone floor- alone. Somewhere along the line, I lost Eva in the crowd, but at this point I didnít care. I just wanted out of the hot mass of people and into the open, semi-fresh air.

Looking around, I saw only two outlets to the outside world, and both were locked! I felt the panic rise up in me, but before it could erupt I took a deep breath and told myself to be calm. I said aloud "Why are the doors locked? Theyíre trying to keep us in! Damn bastards!!" I was very angry at this realization. "Wait..no...They wouldnít keep us in here. Would they? Perhaps theyíre closed just keep outsiders out side..." At this, I sat back down and closed my eyes. The band stopped playing, all I heard was clapping and gibberish from the crowd. When I opened my eyes, Eva stood in front of me. Her clothes were torn, yet she looked very calm. I must have looked at her questioningly, because she said "I got tossed in the crowd." Which was to be expected as she is so very petite; 5í2íí and 110lbs. She sat beside me. "Eva, I really donít understand why you like coming to these things." I paused "These rave things are disgusting-unsanitary, swarming with drunken idiots. And the behavior of these people is appalling!!" Eva just laughed "You are such a granny, Aryn!! This is fun, enjoy it. I am."

The conversation continued like that until Cat Eyes Lie, the band I was waiting for, came on stage. I waved at Malakai and blew him a kiss. I didnít expect him to see me, or return the gesture...but he did. He also called us up to the stage, surprisingly, he had an Australian accent. Eva and I were elated, we practically ran up the stage. Malakai told us to go back stage and heíd see us when they were done. He kissed my cheek and sent me off.

Eva and I stood side stage so we could watch the band a little longer, we didnít know where to go once we were back stage anyhow. I donít know how long the man behind us was there, but he got our attention when he brushed Evaís arm. He was tall and slender, with cold gray-blue eyes and almost white hair, very pale, and wearing all black. I later found out that he was nick-named Spike. The man murmured something to Eva which I could not hear, then walked away. Eva followed the man, didnít say a word to me, so I followed her. He led us to a room where four other people were sitting down. A shapely woman of medium height in a black and red skirt, a loose black blouse, long black hair with red streaks, very bright attentive green eyes, and full purple colored lips beckoned to us. "Sit, sit my Dears. I am Elizabeta.". We were aquatinted with the others; Eric, Seth, and Djinn. They were all dressed in garb similar Elizabetaís. Eva, Spike, and myself sat on a medium sized red velvet couch, where Eva couldnít take her eyes off Spike.

The band came back stage, done with their performance, looking tired and hungry. That is when I remembered that the doors were locked, but I didnít say anything. Malakai sat next to me, and put his arm around me, "You donít mind do you, Love?" Of course I didnít. Elizabeta, Seth, Djinn, and Eric left, with out saying anything. Eva and I were left with Spike and Malakai. "Where are they all going?" I asked. Malakai responded "Theyíre going to get something to eat." He smiled. I realized that they were going to the stage, and the crowd hadnít left yet.....Very strange.

Spike and Malakai got up at about the same time. "Will you come with us?" asked Spike, mostly to Eva. Malakai tugged light on my arm. "Yes, come with us..." He dragged the ĎSí out. Spike and Eva were already walking away, but I went along, against my better judgment.

"Where are we going?" I asked.

"Some place a little more private."

"Oh...I...never mind" thatís all I said. Why am I doing this? I thought This isnít like me..WHAT am I doing? Aryn STOP...!

Something pulled inside of me, telling me not to go, yet I ignored it. Malakai pulled me closer to him, I didnít resist. I looked into his face, but what I saw scared me. His eyes glowed yellow, like cat eyes. He smiled and his teeth were sharply elongated. For the second time that evening I began to panic, then Malakai placed his lips upon mine and a certain calm fell over me and all was well. I looked into his eyes again and they were normal, as were his teeth. Maybe I am seeing things.

The others had gone into a room with high ceilings, scarcely decorated, with several velvet couches. Whatís with the velvet couches everywhere? Looking back into Malakaiís eyes, I was completely entranced and words were no longer needed.

bullet  

I snapped back into consciousness in bed, not my bed, not my room. Where was I? Despite not knowing where I was, I was not scared because the room, for some reason, seemed oddly familiar. I pulled the sheets down, sat up and threw my legs off the bed to see that I had a black silk night gown on. "Ugh...How did...? I donít have one of these!!" I murmured aloud. Looking around the room, I walked around the bed to the door, to see a mirror. My eyes, seeming to glow, stared back at me, for the first time in my life I thought I was beautiful. I opened the door slowly, cautiously.

AHHH!!! Ow, itís so bright in here! My mind screamed. The windows to this room were all open, as were the glass doors leading to a balcony. A cool breeze swept through the room. Squinting, I saw Eva stick her head through the open doors. "HEY!!" she exclaimed and turned to her right, telling someone else that I had awoken.

Not saying anything, I glided through the doors to see Elizabeta, Spike, and Malakai sitting at a table, under a purple umbrella. Angrily I demanded to know where I was, what they had done to me, and what day it was. Elizabeta smiled at me, "Itís Sunday." Two days after the concert. "You are in Spike and Malakaiís home. And we have made you better. You are evolved."

I growled, "What? Evolved? What do you mean?"

For the first time I heard Spike speak, "My dearest, you are no longer an average human. No longer pitiful. You are special, that is why we chose you." I was even more confused than before. "Youíre crazy!! Whatís wrong with you??!!"

Eva spoke, "Aryn, look at me. Watch what they have enabled me to do..."

All of her features began to change. Fur sprouted from every follicle, her hands turned into paws, her face was the likeness of a catís and her eyes fluoresced. I closed my eyes, hoping I was seeing things, but I wasnít. When I opened my eyes, the transformation was complete- she was a very large, sinewy but strong looking cat. I felt as if I were about to faint. Malakai was quickly by my side, holding me up. "Oh, my.." I sighed. "How did...." I trailed off, my voice very soft.

"You can do that too. All of us can." Malakaiís voice came from behind. I steadied myself, "Um..How though? How is that possible? I thought stuff like this was only on TV."

"TV shows come from reality." Elizabeta chimed in, grinning widely.

There was what seemed like an eternity of silence. "Ok..How? How can I make myself into a cat??" They explained that if I just concentrated on it, I could do it, but it would take practice. Meanwhile Eva had turned herself back. Once again, there was silence. I sighed "Why am I special? You said I was special." No one said anything, so I continued "Eva, how long have you been a..um...cat-thing?" She replied quietly, "Three years." My jaw dropped "And why didnít you tell me? I thought...Damn..why couldnít you tell me?" I was angry again. "You planned to turn me?!!!" I slapped her.

That angered her and she turned into a cat again. I tried to imitate the action and succeeded. In my cat form, as in human form, I was larger and stronger. I was very surprised I was able to transform easily, so was everyone else. She hissed, and the fight was on. I swiped at her face, and again at her throat. Eva tried to do the same to mine, only it had little effect on me. Eva, who was injured badly, reverted to human form, nude and bleeding. She bled to near death before I let my cat-self melt away to my "humanness". Spike, her lover apparently, had a cloth of sorts and tied it around her neck to stop the bleeding. Elizabeta took blood in her hands and smeared it on a sharp metal ledge. She was going to tell the paramedics that Eva tripped and fell, cutting herself. Malakai called 911. And I, her best friend, just sat there staring blankly at my hands, and did so until the ambulance got there.

bullet  

I sat beside Evaís hospital bed, watching her carefully, painfully slurp down liquids. I tried to apologize, but I could not force the words from my throat. She looked up at me and said hoarsely, through her almost ripped-out vocal chords, "Aryn, I am sorry. I am sorry for not telling you the truth."

Through my tears I ignored her apology, "I have so many questions, Eva."

She replied shortly "We have eternity to sort that out."

"Eternity?"...

Nicole
9th grade
Bpt, Connecticut, USA
I wrote this story in May, then handed it in as an English assignment. (I got an "A+")
I'm a 14 year old girl and I aspire to be a pathologist. Writing poetry, stories, and reading are my favorite pass-times. I don't know what else I'm Supposed to say.
*peace*
Amber's Eyes

Her eyes are full of tenderness of love of grace and bliss
Her eyes are full of kindness all Heaven must miss
They shine the caring of an angel filled with love
A silent inspiration painted by the Lord above
They whisper silent graces upon people of the land
They wash away the darkness and restore us to His hand
Her eyes offer such comfort they're a wonder and delight
Her eyes defy the shadows to allow us see dawn's light
They guard against the precious earth from evil they defend
My Lord above bless Amber's Eye's forevermore. Amen.

Uzoma
12th grade
Washington DC, 20001
About the author of Amber's Eyes

My name is Uzoma . I am a dedicated helper and poet. I use my inteligence to pursue research into various issues collecting information to help others with. In the past my poems have worn awards and the plaudits of my friends and family.
Completely Useless

fading endlessly are the words - symbolic and holy
how long will it take for the world to be completely absolved
by imperfect gods and meaningless idols?
so many paths to supposed "instant salvation"
lure us into cults and disillusionment
rituals and chants so repetitive and misleading
dreams are to be given up, wasted on pointless mockery
of spirituality - a lifetime commitment to a dormant statue
tortured souls are waiting to be released
deep within their hearts they search
never to find the mercy and grace of the Tried and True.
Roxanna
Graduate
Phoenix, AZ, USA
Roxanna is an 18 year old poet, who is aiming towards being published in the near future. She writes mostly of spirituality and her outlook on life. Soon, Roxanna will be starting school at Arizona State University West to pursue a Bachelor's in Social Work/Psychology. She welcomes comments. You can write to her at

What Is Left After Love

What is left after love
Love for her
Not for me
You live for her
You breathe for her
But nothing for me
Misery of being in the dark
In the shadows of others love
It takes two in love to make it
You loving her
And me loving you
It doesn't count
Love doesn't count for anything
Anything but the heartbreak in the end
Love is only worth the pain
You receive in the end
And that is what is left after love
The pain
The hurt
The memories
The deep down feeling
That you know there has to be
Something there
Yet you know there isn't
and never will be
There isn't any room for mistakes
In love.
No room for regrets or sorrow.
Just room for the pain in the end.
Mackenzie
10th grade
PA
About the author of What Is Left After Love~ This poem was written for anyone who has given their heart to someone who has given their heart to someone else.
Asphyxiation

darkness envelops me
when I need light to thrive
chills embrace me
sun disappears
deprived of necessity
I feel empty within
waiting for nothing
to whisk me away
to a parallel universe
where opposites truly attract
everything I do is reversed with a snap
whatever I need is in my hands
life rides high in my own world
soaring on eagles as I ride rainbows
to ends of the universe
music washes sleep from my eyes
as I fly higher
rounded angles hold secrets
my world
close at hand
Elaine
9th grade
CA
Lost Again

That couldn't be my life.
How could it have gotten there?
It seemed just a moment ago I sat it down
To take a break from the chaos.

When did it grow? When did it change?
When did you leave from it?
I could've sworn you were just there.
Can you tell me when I lost you amongst the rubble?

How did I get to where I'm going?
What path brought me here, and what thorny bush
Covered my way back?

I'm lost--
No one left to cry to,
You disappeared in the nonsense that I ignored.
Can you tell me Where it all went?
When we changed directions?
When i spun around so many times i lost sight of you?

Or perhaps--
You could just help me find me-
Where and when and how I lost myself.
And then maybe it would be easier
for me to find you again.
Wilde
10th grade
Eastlake, OH
i write poetry and stories to vent. its part of who i am to express myself through it.
  Grandfather 

   I sit beside the window
   Wrapped in a warm Blanket
   The tears stream down my face
   Each breath gasped as if claws were clutching my lungs.

   The house is empty and the silence is deafening.
   Nothing is heard only the small tear drops
   thumping softly on the ground.
  
   Outside my window the white snow falls
   to the ground. It is a canvas painted
   black with spots of white.

   I hug my dog for comfort. I close my eyes
   and see my grandfather's face.
   I see his smile and swear I hear his voice.
   I weep harder, and I bury my face in my dogs fur.

   I'll never see him again.
   Never hear his stories
   hear his laugh
   Feel his hug
   It's all too late.
   When I should have listened
   I walked away.

   He meant so much to me
   and he'll never know.
   I loved him
   I still do.
   I'll never forget him.
   Saying good-bye isn't letting go.
   I'll never let go.
   Never.

Danielle
9th grade
OH
Hey.. My Name Is Danielle... Yeah.. well.. This is a poem of mine about my grandfather.. I'm 14 going into 9th grade and i enjoy writing and drawing.. yeah so that's about it.
Dynamic Music of the storm

The rain falls and so do my tears. Both mingling with each other in a complex rhythm beaten out by the thunder. The lightning carves out complex designs in the sky as the energy of the night changes. The weather fits my mood and I feel almost like an ancient goddess who has the mortal realm at my feet. My eyes light up more and more as the lightning increases. The cool drops of rain slide down my skin. I feel the energy rise until I know that something must give. The cool night air whips about me, causing a slight shiver to run up my back. The storm gradually slows down and moves on while I remain. The heavens seal up and eventually I am left alone.
Alone to ponder my thoughts as I long for the climax of the storm to be upon me once more. The rain purifies and I can smell the fresh scent of the earth. It fills my nostrils and I rejoice in the new life the storm has provided.

Yet even in my new found happiness there is a dark corner. The scent of death and decay wafts through the air. It is faint, yet it will always be there. Somewhere in the near distant the dark reaper treads with silent footsteps. As much as this makes me cry I know that it is part of the infinite cycle of life and necessary. Does that take away the pain? Can anything take away the pain? The pain will remain. Always underneath the happiness and always present. Time can do nothing more then dull it slightly. But nothing can take it away. Only death can remove the burden. And there lies the irony. For isn't it death who fastens the burden to our shoulders in the first place? The heavens erupt with silent laughter as they watch us struggle. Yet death sheds a tear. Throughout the eternity he's had to take countless lives, sometimes his service is wanted, desperately needed. Yet others it is feared and hated. Poor death. Having to endure more hatred then any other entity on this planet.!
 Does anyone ever shed a tear for Death's burden? Or is he left to carry his own, ever growing burden forever and ever and ever.....

Cyfarwydd
Graduate
CA
I also have been known to post things on poetryboard.com.  Come see for yourself.
Apologies
 
The spark is extinguished

as the soul dies

The heart is removed

still beating yet broken

and throughout it all the eyes watch

tears fall

yet are caught by the hands

as the mouth moves in vain

to speak the words of apology

yet the sounds are not heard

for the ears have stopped listening

the memories fade

and soon all is forgotten

As it should be
Cyfarwydd
Graduate
CA
The Candlebox

the lid, engraved
with memories past
attached to the clasp
of rusted brass opens
ever so gently. the
sound the hinges make
bring back the memory
of a million different
lives, screaming in
one voice. the contents,
waxen and melted, are
as souls, easily, but
slowly melted away. HE
lifts HIS hand in hesitation,
selectively passing it over
each waxen member, searching
for the purest. having found
that ONE, HE removes IT and
places IT on an archaic
candlestick, alone save two
smaller, impure candles. HE
grasps the match, feeling it
along his fingers, and strikes
it, allowing it to burn only
momentarily before bringing
it to the wick of THE
CANDLE. at that very moment,
when the wick catches, all
voices screaming from the
candlebox stop, and silence
is once again deafening.
the safety of the candlebox
and all contained within is
assured, and the sacrifice of
that ONE candle means the
everlasting salvation of those
left alone in the candlebox.
THAT IS TRUE LOVE.
B-ryce
10th grade
Oklahoma
About the author of the candlebox

My name is B-ryce and I live in Lawton, Oklahoma. I am 16 years old am pretty much your average teen. I am studying web design and even though it was asked that I not share my personal web page with you, this I do not feel to be personal, so come and tell me what you think! <removed>
The Loral Tree

The Land of Eilidh was in mourning for their king who had just died. According to tradition, a mortal queen could not rule a kingdom alone, so Queen Eiger was expected to re-marry a prince from a kingdom nearby.
   One prince, Prince Lugaid of the Land of Penllyn, came to the court and won the Queen's heart instantly. Even though the Queen was twice his age, the Prince offered to wed her. This was because Prince Lugaid had made a promise to his father, who was on his deathbed back home, that he would unite the two lands.
   The Queen, now having her future secured, introduced the Prince to her children. The oldest daughter stunned the Prince with her beauty. Her name was Princess Catriona, and as her blue eyes met the Prince's green eyes, the pair fell in love, but the prince wished to honor his dying father, and the princess wished to honor her mother, so the secret lovers hid their feelings from the world.
   Princess Catriona did tell her younger brother, however, about her deep feelings towards Prince Lugaid. Her brother, Prince Keli, hated Prince Lugaid, and in hopes to rid the kingdom of him, Keli told his mother about the secret relationship. Queen Eiger was furious with her daughter and her lover, but longing for the power the marriage would bring her, she decided to get her daughter out of the way until Prince Lugaid was her husband.
   So The Queen went to the Pool of Iddaiec, home of the powerful Ereshkegal Spirit. This spririt was Queen of the Dead, and a great favorite with Queen Eiger. She summoned the Spirit from the pool, and as the slender figure of Ereshkegal arose from the clear misty waters, the Queen Eiger said,
    "O Ereshkegal, Queen of the Eastern Dead and the Setting of Suns, I come before thee with hopes that you will grant me a wish."
    "Queen Eiger, your husband's soul has been offered to me in the week past. Name that as your offering, and I shall grant you any wish." replied Ereshkegal.
    "As you wish," Queen Eiger agreed, "I want a spell cast on my eldest daughter, Princess Catriona, so that she will not interfere with my marriage to Prince Lugaid. I want her out of my way until the wedding."
    "Are you sure this is exactly what you wish, for no wish can be unwished by the same person as who wished it into existance," hissed the Queen of the Dead.
    "Yes, of course! I am certain!"
    "Then so be it!" and Ereshkegal sunk back into the waters of her pool.
   When the Queen Eigal returned home, she watched her eldest daughter closely. Nothing seemed different, until Catriona stepped outside in the gardens. Suddenly she turned into a Loral Tree bowing in the breeze. Queen Eigal was overjoyed to see her plan had worked!
   On the eve of the Royal wedding, a week or two later, a Royal musician was searching for a strong bough to repair his harp with. He saw the Loral Tree and it's fine branches, and cut one off to use on his harp. As he broke the tree, Catriona's spirit was freed, and suddenly she stood before the musician.
    "Princess! Forgive me, I did not see you! I needed a bough to use to mend my harp for to play at the wedding, so I cut one from this tree. Forgive me if I should not have!" and the musician went to his knees.
    "My kind sir, fear not for you have freed me from an awful spell my mother put on me. I thank you and honor you. Will you take me to Prince Lugaid?" the kindly princess asked.
    "Why of course!" and the musician led her to the Prince.
   The Prince was being dressed by his men, but when the musician told him that it was Catriona who called for him, the lovers fell into eacother's arms and Catriona wept as she explained all that happened.
   The Prince and Princess went to Ereshkegal and asked how they might undo the wrong done by the Queen Eiger. As an offering, the musician gave the Spirit the bough of the Loral Tree he was going to use to repair his harp.
    "Tell to the entire land what the Queen has done before sunset, and her wish will be reversed." proclaimed Ereshkegal. So as there was but half of an hour before sunset, the lovers and their faithful musician ran to where the wedding merriment was. The prince announced to all the cruelty of the Queen Eiger, and said that he would not marry her, but instead her daughter. With this the Queen let out an awful scream, and transformed into a Loral Tree.
   Prince Lugaid and Princess Catriona ruled the kingdom with an iron fist of justice and fairness.
Gynniver
11th grade
Fort Myers, FL
Gynniver is obsessed with Celtic Mythology and Gaelic stories - however, she is a devoted Christian. As you might have guessed, she simply changed the spelling of her name, Jennifer, to Gynniver so that it sounded and looked a bit more Celtic itself. She created THE LORAL TREE with inspiration from her friend Meghan, and a guide of Celtic names.
The Numbers Game

"Mi Dio." was all she could bring herself to utter.  Again and again her mouth would quiver, tracing the words before stumbling with the thought and falling back into a dumb stupor.    Something in her hand fell to the grass as her gaze reached upward to the pale outline of the gray mountains against the cool steel sky.  Her brown eyes searched the dim granite peaks above as her body, stiff with arthritis, hunched over the oak cane.  Occasionally, you could catch the sweet scent of lavender that clung about her in the damp air as she wandered aimlessly about the grass. 
Stoic from the shock, I approached the wrinkled, thick-skinned woman, took hold of her hand and fell to my knees in the bloody clay.  My side ached and my throat felt knotted and dry.  It'd been some ten years since I last allowed myself to let go of the cold apathetic lifelessness.  For as much as I tried, tears still descended my cheeks and fell delicately to her feet.  I'd deliberately forgotten how to cry; now I choked with the sobs, trying to find appropriate rhythm, alternating between each tear and every breath.  All around the bitter wind, harsh with the northern chill of a late spring morning, lashed out at the new buds clinging to the thin trees nearby. 

Life. it is the epitome of the incomprehensible the impossibly vague the ironic the tragic and every other no name adjective in between.  It seems as though life is the cumulative and lasting effect of each detail, experience, story, and gray morose morning we face in our narrowly numbered life span.  There always exists a tinge of uncertainty and inevitability in life that is born anew the very moment the sun breaches the eastern horizon and begins to gently caress the spruce forests, low plains, and suburban sprawls of America.  Yet, with careless apathy and ignorance, we step into each day, arrogantly believing we own it.  The true travesties of life are set aside, rather brushed out of our path as not to disturb the pleasant idealistic illusion we prefer to surround ourselves with. 

But there always comes a day.

Years ago there existed, somewhere, in between the dust-covered junipers and low walls of Tijeras Canyon, a tiny mountain community of a population no bigger than most grade schools.  Lined with old cottonwoods that shaded the slow stream just below, the canyon curled and undulated for a couple miles east before falling wide open into a long green pasture at some unnamed break between the distant peaks.  Caught in the past and fraught with the nostalgia that accompanies the mystique of Historic Route 66, the township, though it was never referred to as such, was a dormant relic of a city, mixed full of aging hippies, quiet cowboys, and local third generation residents from Mexico.  So quiet were the people that modernization, for most, meant replacing the solitary four way stop with a full-blown set of traffic lights to help govern the rush hour standstill of five cars or so.  Little more than run down churches and a couple of old shacks really comprised the town's center.  T!
here was a feed store and a couple small restaurants nearby, all of which were actually small sheds with old weather-beaten wooden menus hanging from a low roof.  Should the afternoon invite you to take a short walk towards Eddies, you'd run into a worn down bed and breakfast to the south off State Road 341.  Yet, just within in the village's tired city limits, in the middle of all the worn elegance and skeleton like specters of the past, was Los Vicinos. 
Los Vicinos, was, at it's worst, a perfectly ordinary baseball field of the most emerald green grass that one had ever seen.  At it's best, it was an outfield of flawlessly flat, green, vistas that stretched forever, lush from the cool virgin rain that fell almost every afternoon.  The infield was a near crimson colored clay, marked out in perfect geometric accuracy that eventually yielded to the green sea that lay behind its bases.  On the whole, the field was surrounded by a couple stands of low oaks, a slight river to the south, and a covering of wild squash towards the end of the left center.  Many a day, both in the humidity of summer and the biting sting of winter, fantastic dreams were played out in the field.  Countless games, sometimes, with invisible players and silent crowds, carried on throughout the gentle twilight of August and into September.  The jade grass and azure sky became Fenway, Shae, Ebbets and even Wembley.  Sometimes, the east breeze picked up and bro!
ught in the stir of some far off cheer as the runner rounded third or scored the Golden Goal.
For three years, fifteen of us, each traveling anywhere from three to thirty miles, stepped onto the field at four o'clock sharp for practice.  Bare feet on the moist turf, shirts strewn by the goals, a couple last jokes, two slow laps around the grass and the ritualistic warm-up commenced. From the long shadows and heavy afternoon air, so thick with verve it clung to your brow, came scattered yells, a couple hard sprints, and a goal as the scrimmage began anew.  The pattern repeated itself, beginning to end, practice after practice, until the dark hush of night fell upon the field.   Mystified, their gaze unable to stray from the intoxicating rhythm unfolding before them on the field, unwelcome visitors, anonymous passerby's, and especially tourists often stood on.  Lined up, they watched the practice, almost in awe, metaphorically stealing a piece of our own green serenity from just beyond the chain link fence. 

Though just a number on the pitch, beyond each jersey was an identity and, for a few, a story.  Some were silent, solemn, and serious; examining each play, deciding the next move in Fisher-like fashion.  Others, equally ardent about the game, merely less cerebral, just got to the ball, made the play, and waited anxiously for the next pass.  Some saw practice as a time to embrace the warm youthfulness of summer, some saw practice as a means for escaping the blows of a switch from an abusive father at home, the rest of us. well, it was just the painful distance that accompanied the wait between one game and the next. 
For us, cleats were shared, jerseys, red with blood, some of it our own, were past on, stitched up, and reused season after season.  There was no element of separation among us except for the literal mileage that existed between farm and shanty, shanty and field.

His boots, black calf skin Adidas when new, were by now a dusty white; taped, heel to toe and baring scuff marks, grass stains, and eighteen different kinds of dirt from a four state area.  From a quiet region just a mile or two away and nestled in a deep cove cut into the rock, he showed up to practice in the light blue Cadillac five minutes late every day.  Stepping onto the field, already wielding a wide grin as a few of us turned around, he trotted over, removed the indigo rosary and small gold crucifix from around his neck, and so began practice.  His graceful lope and boisterous bellows somehow didn't fit the personality and stature of an otherwise outwardly modest and humble 5'6 frame.  "That's four-three, us" he would say, the grin breaking once more. and so it went.     
  By six, the presence of gray smoke and the pulsating roar of the old Cadi heralded the end of a another long practice.  The lights of the rusty 412 slowly contoured the last bend before Dockin's Meats and eventually found their way to the field before making the shallow turn into the long dirt lot.  Luis would pull off his shirt, wipe the mud from his face, pull a couple strands of grass from his black coffee hair, and take in a few last remarks before hopping into the white vinyl interior where his grandmother and two nieces awaited his presence for journey back up the canyon. 

The field of our youth, so far separated from that day, is by now, overrun in sickening stands of wild milkweed.  Uneven patches of lifeless dirt fill the once pristine outfield like some consuming plague of remorseless design.  Forgotten and left behind, the green seas now exist only as memories we become too stubborn or emotional to recall.  No longer vibrant and remembered, the field is mere a gap between fallen churches and a collapsing rail station.  Anymore, the pitch, what's left of it, remains empty and unnoticed by those who pass by.  It's void is a testament to the memorial past that can never be reclaimed in the short breadth of the present.

The indigo and turquoise rosary fell to the grass and the old woman clamored with her cane, suddenly struck by the reality that lingered about in the violent morning air.  She grasped my hand, squeezing harder, indeed exceeding the grip of a woman who'd seen more decades than most vintage cars.  So much stronger than I, she failed to let the gentle ageless tears depart her eyes; still defiant and angry, she refused to respect time's claim on the deed.  Her brown deep-sunk eyes searched about the distant peaks then fell once more to the field, somehow grasping perhaps for his silhouette among the morning gray.   
Justin
Graduate
Tijeras, New Mexico
"...the important thing is not to live, but to live well."
-Socrates from Plato's APOLOGY.
This work was based on a true account of friendship.  One of my best friends was shot nineteen times in drive-by two years ago... the killers have never been found despite a reward topping more than $110,000.  Writing was my way of dealing.  We played soccer together for three years going to the New Mexico State Championship twice... we won it the year he died.
Alone

     Placed alone forever on this merciless Earth
     This is not an existence but a long slow death.
      I scream for help from the bottom of my soul
      Why do you choose not to listen?
      How can you stand by and watch me die?
      As my world falls apart
      For reality's walls are thin.
      Please release me from my cage
      For I have done no wrong
      And committed no sin.
      Please don't forget me
      As I die alone from within.
    
Jennie
10th grade
United Kingdom
About the author of Alone.
     I live in England, UK. I'm 15 and I have been releasing writing to various websites for a while, although this is my first time with this one.
    I hope my poem makes you think. I am trying to voice the thoughts of many unhappy people around the world.