National Poetry Month Contest Honorable Mention Poems

The Griffin Roar is happy to announce the poems selected to receive honorable mention in the 2018 poetry contest.

After a rigorous selection process, the Griffin Roar is happy to announce the poems selected to receive honorable mention in the 2018 poetry contest. Congratulations, to Claire Baur, Joe Depczynski, Meghan Graf, Isabel Hotop, Ian F. Farmer, and Ariella Rovinsky! 

The poems appear below, presented in alphabetical order by author. 


Control Mechanism, by Claire Baur

My mind and heart are a mess

But at least my room is clean


Under My Porch, by Joe Depczynski

Starving children live under my porch
weeping up through cracks in the boards.
Cold nights fester in their bones.
Sunken eyeballs peer up at my long face.
I choose to ignore them.
I choose to live in my state of existence
because I have nothing
but distant dreams and
half empty glasses to offer them.
They “mew” in resentment.

I press the door closed;
yet, they linger like boots
crusted with mud.
I can hear them shuffling,
clawing at the muck below.
They shy from our tainted light,
our neon-blitzed broadways and
missile defended cities,
our high castles grasping at the clouds
that seldom watch a body fall and shatter.

I can taste guilt creeping up my throat
bubbling and frothing into a crackling groan
when one passes me on the sidewalk,
and I cannot help but feel I am not fit for
this expanding verse.
A crescendo of cries pelt my temple
as I watch and listen
while the last of them
sink and their final breathes
boil up and pop through


What if I Stayed, by Meghan Graf

So, what if I stayed?
Would you kiss me or someone else?
Would you hold my hand?
Would you lay next to me like we always do?
Would you hug me and kiss my cheek like you do while I cook?
So, what would you do if I stayed?

Or, would you kiss her forehead instead of mine?
Would you play with her fingers while you laugh?
Would you dance with her even when you never danced with me?
Because you know how much I love to dance.
Would you tell her how much you love her and you will never love anyone that much?
Now, what would you do?

Mmmm me?
I would hold you hand every day
I would rush my fingers through your hair while you sleep on my lap
I would ask for your lame jokes
I would help you up when you are down
I would wipe those unnecessary tears from those dazzling eyes of yours
I would stay in your arms, because your arms to me are home
I would kiss your lips to gain the strength I need to keep going
I would just stay next to you

But, I didn’t stay
I left
I left your side
I left love for work
And I left my desires for “adventures”
Or so they say

So I lay here, and ask was this worth it?
Can an A+ give me what your hugs give?
Can awards give me one of your delicious pizzas?
Can scholarships and recognitions give me your voice telling me how great I am?
Can my parents pride give me the love you gave me?
The answer is no.
Because like my fortune cookie once said, “Love, because it is the only adventure.”


Love Boundaries, by Ian F. Farmer

We grow gray and great,
us that stay sipping sadness,
thoracic thumping pumping think blood.
Not holy, we’re lonely, only though
with fish eyes spying lying.
telling us not to shine,
mining our minds.
They tell us we’re broke,
that our hearts and minds are smoke. Ash,
I’ll be, if I be me.

We’re burnt up I guess.
Light from our chests too much to ingest.
We’re not caring,
swearing up and down that we’re

marrying who we want.


Stories, by Isabel Hotop

So many stories
Not enough time
To learn every one
To read every line

Many I’ve never read
And most will never be transcribed
Yet every day I see them encapsulated
In the faces I pass by

I smile when I see them,
Maybe whisper a, “hello”
Acknowledging their surface
But never knowing what lies below

These beings smile back
Occasionally nod their heads
They seem pleasant enough
But what struggles are they up against?

All these tales
So personal and individual
No two are the same
They are unduplicatable

So many stories
Not enough time
Yet too often I forget this
And become preoccupied with mine


When Love Turns Blue, by Isabel Hotop

What do you do
When love turns blue?

When flames are gone and it is cold
Replaced only by azure tones.

When something that once was red and burning
Has now reached its final mourning.

Does that warmth just fade into the night?
Taking with it the crimson colors so bright?

Or perhaps the love that was thought true
Was really only ever blue.


Not the Jewish Bible, by Ariella Rovinsky

The first time I saw you I fell in love,
carefully pouring over your words— scroll
crinkling ink dried letters singing dancing
alive alive, never changing, constant,
you still evolve along with us—same words
same dance old souls new hearts new steps. New years
tracing the letters with the handle, too
fragile-precious to stain with oil. You bind
us free connecting all generations
adding new voices commentating on
your contents, debating and arguing
and thriving though we may be small, alone—

Never lonely, carrying you in our soul
I watch new-old letter written in your scroll



The Griffin Roar team would like to thank everyone who participated in the contest. Please feel free to submit more work for publication consideration.

Interested in joining the team? Register for ENG/COM 208: Digital Publication Workshop.

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