Payson's Young Poets' Work Powerful


On a day when Rim country voters are deciding their future, the winners of the Payson Unified School District's annual poetry contest remind us of how much is at stake for our children.

If the override passes, the fine arts are safe -- at least at the level they currently exist. Those who question the benefits of poetry, drama and music need only read through the poems below to realize how very much they provide a means of expression that no other medium does.


Five of the first-place winners in the school district's annual poetry contest read their poems at a recent school board meeting. They are (left to right) Dallas DeLare, Johnathon Campbell, Erin Satterfield, Nichole Ploughe and Ben Myer.

In "My Brave Horse," for example, Julia Randall first grader Ben Myer offers a vivid snapshot of the imagination of a child.

"Mom," written by Frontier Elementary second grader Dallas Delare, captures a child's love for his mother in just 24 words -- and is guaranteed to moisten your eyes.

JRE third-grader Emily Price appears to have written "Australian Zoo" just for the fun of it. It's a contagious poem that you'll enjoy as much as she did.

JRE fourth-grader Erin Satterfield's poem, "My Firefly," captures the spirit of wonder that is too often missing when we become adults.

When JRE fifth-grader Johnathan Lamb concludes "Snow Day" with the line, "There's no school in Payson, have a good night," what reader isn't transported back to a similar childhood moment when, as if by miracle, you didn't have to go to school?

"Call Waiting" by Rim Country Middle School eighth-grader Elena Runion is an emotional poem about the death of a loved one. The title alone speaks volumes about the power of words to convey an image.

Nichole Ploughe, a sophomore at Payson Center for Success, wrote "Summerland Eyes" in both Celtic and English. It's a haunting poem about the ambiguities of life.

In "The Rain," PCS junior Nickia Foss presents a fresh perspective of the topic that dominates life in the Rim country. Who can't relate to these lines:

"The days were hot,

But we kept dancing in the same spot,

Just to make the rain come."

PCS senior Julie Kudlicki's "Confusion" demonstrates how poetry can also be a powerful visual medium.

Tied with "Confusion" for first place was a poem by Payson High School senior Johnathon D. Campbell which speaks eloquently of the power of poetry to convey emotion and feeling as no other medium can. "Dear Mom" is a letter in verse written on the eve of his graduation to the mother who wasn't there for him.

From a second-grader who would "do anything" to make his mother happy, to a senior who managed to survive without one, the winners of the PUSD 2004 poetry contest attest to the importance of the fine arts. Enjoy their efforts:


If I had a horse

I would ride it

He would be fast

He would be quick

He would be smart

And he would be slick.

I could

Feed it

Clean it

Brush it

And help it

Be the bravest horse in the world.

Ben Myer

Grade 1

Julia Randall Elementary School

Joyce Walters, Teacher

District First Place Winner


You are so loving Mom

Sometimes I do things wrong

But you love me anyway

I would do anything to make you happy today.

Dallas DeLare

Grade 2

Frontier Elementary School

Karen Ormand, Teacher

District First Place Winner


Come! Come! Come to the zoo!

You could see a kangaroo,

A koala and dingo too.

So come to the Australian Zoo.

Come! Come! Come to the zoo!

There is a kookaburra that's blue

A sugar glider, or even two.

So come, please come to the Australian Zoo.

Emily Price

Grade 3

Julia Randall Elementary School

Christy Wilcox, Teacher

District First Place Winner


Firefly Firefly you are so pretty,

Firefly Firefly I love your wings,

Can I hold you,

Can I see you,

Can I catch you in my hands,

Firefly Firefly come to me.

Erin Satterfield

Grade 4

Julia Randall Elementary School

Wayne Gorry, Teacher

District First Place Winner


One day, I was walking home from school,

And, all of the sudden, the air started to get cool.

Instead of saying "I think", I said, "I know!"

"Know what", said my friend, "that it's going to snow?"

Sure enough, I was right,

‘rolled a snowball, took a bite.

When all of the sudden, it started to hail.

Looked through the window, heard it ping on the rail.

I woke up so early, sun shining bright,

Turned on the TV, so sure I was right,

The guy on it said with all of his might,

"There's no school in Payson, have a good night."

Johnathan Lamb

Grade 5

Julia Randall Elementary School

Alan Ammann, Teacher

District First Place Winner


I am sitting by the phone waiting for you to call, so I can hear your voice one last time, so that we can talk about our day one last time, so that you can say that you love me, and I can tell you the same. The phone never rings; I never hear your sweet voice. We never talk about our day. You never get to tell me you love me, and I never got to tell you. I know that you won't be calling anytime soon, or ever, because you're gone and won't be coming back. I still can't help sitting by the phone, waiting, praying that you'll decide to pick up a phone somewhere in heaven and call.

Elena Runion

Grade 8

Rim Country Middle School

Nora Lubetz, Teacher

District First Place Winner


Sorcha dorche sochar tiorc

Chugad ainmig forfhais seirc

Cleath stigh sgail

Fos reidh arcill

Clomh air gach aisir

Chugad beil slan gasgag so

Sa smaoin sa ni ni's fidir

Sorcha sa arcill stigh ann thiollane

Cha neamh cha ifrinn

Ach a samhradhfearann stigh bhur sooillyn


Light Dark simple peril

Where doth true feelings lie

Hidden in shadows

Yet plain to see

Contradictions on every path

Where is it safe to tread here

I think I'll never know

A light I see in that tunnel

Tis neither Heaven nor Hell

The Summerland in your eyes

Nichole Ploughe

Grade 10

Payson High School/Payson Center for Success High School

Simone Lake/Nancy Mullikin, Teachers

District First Place Winner


We used to make the rain come

Dancing around outside

All because we wanted to go inside.

The days were hot,

But we kept dancing in the same spot,

Just to make the rain come.

You with a stick in hand,

And a clothes pinned nose.

Me with a jump rope,

Hanging by my nose.

I gave up,

You did not,

You made some rain come,

But not enough.

Your nose was sore,

And red from the clip

But you stuck in there,

And waited for the rain to come.

The rain finally came,

And you were ablaze,

Because it was all you,

You made the rain.

Nickie Foss

Grade 11

Payson Center for Success High School

Nancy Mullikin, Teacher

District First Place Winner


All these thoughts traveling through my head,

Some nights I wished you were dead,

You told me that you were coming back,

I believed,

And I stayed in my room crying,

Waiting for the letters you said you sent,

but I never received

Out at the mailbox I waited every day,

But nothing from you ever came my way,

I sent you a smiling picture,

Type of thing you didn't see,

But you didn't live where you said,

My picture came back to me,

So I dropped it all, went on with my life, didn't try anymore,

14 years later a knock on the door,

You tried to tell me you loved me and you were my mom

But how could you be a mom,

When you were gone all along,

You weren't there for my first kiss or my jump shot

You keep saying, "you're my son",

But I'm not,

I'm not scared anymore,

I sleep through the night,

I'm not mad anymore,

I learned how to fight,

I used to love being with you, you always made me laugh,

I feel sorry for you now, you missed my past,

I'm a senior now about to graduate,

I'm getting married too: it's all love and no hate,

I think it's ironic, I never had a mom,

But I'm about to have a wife,

I promised myself I'd be a good dad in my child's life,

Thank you for not being there,

At least you weren't fake,

Just look at the man,

You didn't help make!

Johnathon D. Campbell

Grade 12

Payson High School

Gail Wade, Teacher

District First Place Winner (tie)

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