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'Stay Home and Write a Poem' Poetry Contest

April is National Poetry Month and to celebrate Portage District Library hosted an online poetry contest on Facebook. The following are the poems we received from poets in our community.

You will notice each poem is inspired by a work of art. That is because we asked poets to submit ekphrastic poetry. An ekphrastic poem involves a vivid description of a work of art. Our featured artwork was a painting by local artist Anna Barnhart, but some writers chose other inspirations from favorite art or music. View Anna’s painting and some of her other work here.

Stay Home and Write a Poem Submissions

The Wind Blows

by Myra, 9
Inspired by the Featured Painting by Anna Barnhart

People’s Choice Award

The wind blows
The trees sway
The house is still
A flower goes
This and that way
The rest are still
I see it
Then turn away
And it all seems
To disappear

Flowery Language

by Harvey, Adult
Inspired by the Featured Painting by Anna Barnhart

There was a young lady with three
Pieces of canvas, and we
All asked her for flowers
Her artistic powers
Enabled us flowers to see

Venetian Fever Dream

by Zach, 16
Inspired by “Scrabble Board No. 1” by F. Franklin

The Doge, asleep and ill, did strain,
A rider on an ox he was.
His fevered mind rife with the sounds
Of lute, played by an ape.

A war, his husk with ire did wage,
Against the red contagion’s force.
But never did the virus yield,
‘Twas stubborn, like an ox.

“His mind was cloudy”, spake the Doc,
“If a man loved gin more, you’d know not.”
“He’d scan with care his gaudy abode,”,
“To find what, my brain’s shot.”

Now in his dream the Doge was moist,
For he was swimming in the deep.
A woven tunic he did wear,
To watch the fishes weep .

A carp said, “Hi!”, the seaweed beeped,
BAM!” The shark roared with a vim.
An Ahi Tuna turned to him
And cackled like a rat.

“Here’s a quiz!” one shrimp proclaimed,
“Who tags a zo without remorse?”
“Who knows?” the despaired Doge replied.
The shrimp cried, “Yea, of course!”

Then did the ruler waketh up,
No fish or lutists did he find.
And found with time anew to kill,
“What a shame”, the Doge did sigh.

The Dark

by Judith, Adult
Inspired by the Featured Painting by Anna Barnhart

Quiet and at the same time malevolent.

My senses are dulled, yet heightened, trying to find some sense of awareness.

Into the darkness comes a small voice, or is it a cry. It speaks to the darkness saying I’m here, I’m important, hear me!

Slowly, the voice is answered by another, then another until it becomes a celebration of song.

The voices are becoming the herald of the morn.

As I step into the morning air, it is moist, cool and refreshing all at once.

The dark is becoming a shade of Indigo blue, that will soon turn to a light gray.

A soft breeze stirs in the tops of the trees, sending a shiver through my very being.

Soon there will be, more sound, more movement, more light to fill the new day with hope and before me stands a field of poppies.

Mona Lisa Haiku

by Brooke, 11
Inspired by Mona Lisa by Leonardo DaVinci

You are not smiling
not even for your picture
You’re mysterious


by Darlene, Adult

Beauty as far as the eye can see
Is this me?
Something more over the horizon
Is this my path?
Bold and growing fearlessly
Am I brave enough?
The journey unfolds God’s Design
It is here and now


by Caden, 7
Inspired by Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh

Pretty, Colorful
Growing, Shining, Flopping
It is a masterpiece.

Looking for Yellow

by Nancy, Adult
Inspired by the Featured Painting by Anna Barnhart

Director’s Choice Award

In a sea of red
I am looking for yellow.

Distant gold sways
and catches my eye

While chicory blue bob
on dancing green stems.

A grey centurion
with a guard nearby

Stands chaperone over all
in grey shadows like a ghost.

Bees buzz among blades
in the bright warm air.

The prism of nature feels
the rhythm of the sun

While the colorful arena
taps harmony to the sky.

As red heads nod
to the swirling tune

A fine feathered goldfinch
finally fluttered by.

Which Big Bowl?

by Harvey, Adult
The poet encourages you to guess the famous painting that inspired this poem!

On Sunday afternoon, the monkey stares
Past many people, scattered on the grass…

So elegantly garbed, and no one dares
Reveal an impulse foreign to their class.

A lady’s parasol and bustle, proud;
A gentleman’s performance on his horn;

The rowers, pulling hard to flee the crowd;
That carefree skipping girl to leisure born.

Sailboats – impossible,conflicting wind!
A lass with flowers, drawing in the scent;

A lady seeking creatures wet and finned…
All points of light and joy, by painter meant

To point out they are all on island bound –
The scene is set, and puzzle answer found.


by Darlene, Adult
Inspired by the Featured Painting by Anna Barnhart

Artist’s Choice Award

Red expanse popping
Intermingled Blue Dandy
Speaks Freedom, Speaks Peace

Thank you to everyone who participated!