In celebration of National Poetry Month and National Library Week, the West Des Moines Library is pleased to host our fourth-annual WDM Writes Poetry Night. Our event will take place Thursday, April 11 at 6:30PM in the library’s Community Room. All of our winning poets have been invited to read their work live at tomorrow’s event, and it is shaping up to be a wonderful evening.

Published below are each of the winning entries. Congratulations to all, and thank you so much for participating!

K-3 age group


by Alice Roos

What I see is so bright.
What I see gives off light.
It gleams and glitters
Day and night.
It seems like gold,
But it’s not mine.
It belongs to the God that made it all.
I wish, wish, wish it could be mine.
Do you know what it’s called?
It’s called SUNSHINE!



by David Dehner

Sweet tabby cat,
watching the winter sun and shadows.
You hear the wind chimes sounding,
and see the bright snow reflecting.
You see the dreamcatcher swaying,
and your eyes open wide.
Does it make you dream of summer?
Do you long, to feel the warm sun on your fur,
to smell the pretty flowers in grandma’s garden,
to climb a tree and touch a rainbow,
or perhaps to chase a rabbit around the corner?
Like me I think you’ll have to wait.
I will sip on some hot coco and watch,
While you purr happily in your shoe box.


Killer Whale

by Josh Salami


4th-6th grade group


by Lila Mae Reum

on silent feet,
crystal clear,
sunshine dancing on the surface,
small fish perform for the algae,
light dividing into rainbows
of color.
small pebbles add to the
the water cleans the colorful
flowers on the bank,
a beautiful fresh water


What creatures creep?

by Ridge Rutherford

As I lay down my head on my pillow to sleep
I wonder what kinds of creatures creep.
Do birds go and fly and touch the clouds in the sky?
Do the lions sit and roar as loud as can be?
Is the only music playing the wind blowing in the trees?
The frogs all croak with the breeze
Hoarsely signing just for me.
The moon all full, big, and bright illuminating the night.
The dreams all floating in my head.
Sleeping peacefully in my bed.
As I lay down my head on my pillow to sleep
I wonder what kinds of creatures creep.



by Elizabeth Kummet

In my school
Some people will ask
What’s your favorite subject
I’ll say Art they’ll say Recess
And that’s that
But in Art you don’t have to be smart
You don’t have to be fast or strong
Right or wrong
Good or bad
Happy or sad
You can paint, color, sculpt or mend
Art’s my favorite
The End


The Fog

by Ellis Coyier


7th-8th grade group

I Am From

by Trinity Richer

I am from
A broken down house
Fast foods and homecooked meals
Beds clothes and mere tissue
With pictures of perfect models and beautiful faces
The events that are the most degrading
Teasing phrases calling me names
Along with a disgusting smell of cafeteria food
Following with the sound of laughter
Feeling all the eyes on you
But all fades away, everything’s better.. when you come home to that warm embrace of
I Am Trinity Richer.

by Shreya Joshi

Lines that define
your identity and mine
But tend to
dissolve with time
As borders only exist
in our minds
Nature’s boundaries weren’t enough
Her rivers and mountains were too rough
But humans hurling toxic gasses
And showing love to
Just the masses
At these hand-drawn borders
Is well enough
You step over a crayon line
Old enough that the artist
Has died
Their values no longer useful
A pinch of elitism, a spoon of racism, and a heap of superiority
Yet somehow that justifies
what you thought would be dignity
As your shoes scuff
Who decides this inky mark
Which in turn decides your fate
Are you escaping or running
Towards bigotry and hate
I’ll pay that tax said everyone
Before it’s too late
They separate your rights
And mine
Dignity should be across the table
Unless of course you have a label
The label is a border
Yet the only label that Earth has
Is what it is given
Look up at the sky
And imagine looking down
Do you see any

by Uriel Rodriguez

It’s the first day
I walk into the room
The orchestra room
I am given a violin
It’s the start of one crazy journey
A few months later
I and these kids are looking at the WRB.
I see the recorded for the world’s fastest Violinist
“I want to be like that some day” I say.
A kid turns to me.
No, you won’t, you don’t even know the notes
To Hot cross buns.
I try to say it but I get very emotional.
This was something that might have motivated me.
Over the next few years
I work my butt off to do my best.
Practicing and practicing
Even getting some lessons.
It was worth it.
I was the only k id to be in all honor groups in 6th grade
I was the only 7th grader in my orchestra group.
The thing is.
Don’t let anyone bring your dreams down
Never give up.
Because when you work hard enough.
It’s worth it.
9th grade group


by Reagan Mann

Rose colored ashes sink below the black,
Trying to swim but tracing the wrong track.
Masses of cold cover its warmth,
But it travels true East, away from the North.

New matches will strike,
again and again, but
Their heat will fail if there’s nothing to mend.

Words are lost in the burnt conversations
You try and you try, but
Some things are just too hard, let you only slip by.

Never give up my dear,
Even the ashes can go far from here,
You’re not burned out you’re a spark in the air,
Start your fire and tend it with care.

Take time to smell the wildflowers,
Trust your instincts and never cower.
Remember some seeds must explode to thrive,
Sometimes you spend time dead to be alive.



by Kaua’i Cua

Lines trace life.
The scars of many
Remember gashes and blood.
Deep lines above the eyes
Show the pain of disappointment,
And years of sighs,
Sorrow for all that never was.
Wrinkles on hands
Know the cold, dry winters,
And the gone man
Who once warmed them.
Lines that are scratches
On walls that are faded
Play the role the ashes
Of little pets cannot play.
Lines wet to the touch
That have flown down the face
Consoled as much
As thinking of the regrets of life,
And not being able to go back
To the simplicity that once was.


10th-12th grade group

When I Say I Want to Travel…

by Erin Baedke

When I say I want to travel…
I don’t want to stay at commercial resorts
And go on tours with flashy tour guides,
Or buy small keychains from souvenir shops.
I don’t want to be a tourist.

When I say I want to travel…

I want to explore a country
And become a part of it,
I want to walk down streets where
The warm golden rays of sun meet
Aged cobblestone sidewalks,
I want to discover cozy neighborhood coffee houses
and bakeries in Germany, Italy, or France that
relinquish the soft and warm aroma of
Buttery pastries and rich dark coffee.
I want to backpack through the thickest and purest
Forests with running waterfalls and fresh springs
In Austria or Croatia, or go cliff diving into the cold,
And salty, crystal clear blue waters of Hawaii.
I want to get lost among the words in books found in tiny
Used bookstores in England.

I want to meet beautiful, unforgettable souls
Who are not like me- but come to
Love them all the same.
I want to be the person who takes pictures
Of things, and places, and people that are worth
A million words.

I want my mind to be in constant awe of the Earth.

I want to see things with new eyes.

I want to look at a map and remember how I was transformed
By the places I’ve been, the things I’ve seen,
and the people I’ve met.
I want to return home and realize that I have not
come home whole, but left a piece of my heart
In each of the places I’ve been.

When I say I want to travel…
I want to feed my heart that yearns for adventure.

Reverberations & Remembrance

by Jake Henke

I am a musician

Playing piano under the hot, almost blinding stage light
On the glistening black stage feeling the presence of only myself
With the blood red curtain behind and knowing hundreds of curious eyes on me
But the sound is so much more then the picture.

The sound explodes from the piano and into the black void
It reflects back to me, surrounding me with the strain of chords,
notes and unfamiliar syncopated beats.
As it floods over me, I realized the strong and soft melodies telling my story.

The soft touch as my finger presses down on the cold key, and the playing of every note,
like passionately saying the names of the ones you love, ¨Mom…Dad¨
Like the sacred visions in your head of the presence of your people
walking down the old bumpy and dry country road, and the taste of the dust drying your tongue.

The dynamics increase louder and louder, and the darker change in chords put clouds over me, The pounding of anger and depression crowd me like the streets of New York, reminding me
the times I’ve felt so much anger you could almost feel and smell the anger coming from me or
times when I come home, sink into my bed like quicksand in the thick rainforests of the Amazon
and feeling the salty tears build up like fifty foot waves violently swallowing a boat whole.

But as the volume descends and the aggressive playing comes back down to earth
the chords meet each other again like a family reunion
Swift eyesight in my mind as every note plays, I see the happiness of other around me
The realization of who I am suppose to be, and what i’m suppose to do
I go down the street sharing my life through sound and giving my all to make people smile.

The sound is what explains the picture
With the blood red curtain behind and knowing hundreds of meaningful smiles facing up
On the glistening black stage, feeling the presence of ecstatic lives around me
Playing piano under the warm, divulging stage light.

Setting my hand on the bone white key.
Stroking it one more time exposing
Of color
And life

I am a musician



by Morgan Dirx

Silence is a form of communication.
A sign of resilience.
When biting your tongue
While it tries to hiss and breathe fire,
It takes strength and dignity,
Poise and diligence,
Nobility and drive.
Not a sign of weakness or ignorance.
It will be known,
That you have more courage,
To keep words in,
While most spill out.


Adult group

Grief Joins Me

by Holly Messenger

Grief hides behind my smile
Filling each crease and corner
No gaps between my teeth
Each colored in with pain
How to explain
The smile is real – no fake joy
But it comes at a cost
I get tired of paying
While we are slaying
The dragons of disease
Limitations looming
Yet you are blooming
I won’t forget
To celebrate each moment
But grief joins me


Toxicodendron radicans*

by Lindsey Smith

Out of the soil
a climbing vine
clings to the bark of a cottonwood tree
Itching for sun
foliage spread
in all its trifoliate splendor

Autumn appears;
its crimson leaves
wither and fall to the ground
The vine holds tight
with perennial strength
a pillar of life in the wood.

*The scientific name for Poison Ivy


The Universe I Hold

by Manar Yaseen

Would you believe me if I told you
That I hold a universe at the tips of my fingers?

It’s true.

Just imagine the power of holding a universe,
Of pulling the strings of destiny
And weaving the threads of fate.

In my universe I create, worlds
Tainted by my own madness.
It is where my sanity turns insane
As I confine myself away from reality,
To a place where violent currents
Turn to still waters.
My soul is in meditation in this sanctuary,
Built by the words of my creation.

Step into my sanctuary and you will see
The scripture carved on the walls,
Where I have written the universe
In cursive letters, intertwined together
To tell a story.

A story of a queen,
With her name tattooed on her skin
By the hands of an artist.
And every time she sings,
The melody drifts to somber hearts
Resuscitating their smile.

And across my universe
A distance of thousands of miles

Is a warrior.
Set out to save his homeland
From destruction and pain,
To exercise the demons that stain
Vulnerable hearts,
Freeing them from corruption and disdain.

My stories roam in my universe
Indefinitely swimming through my mind,
Pulling together strings of destiny,
Weaving together threads of fate.

But I did not create this universe.
The real one,

Where still waters
Turn to violent currents,

Where my insanity is driven away
To become sane,

Where my soul turns in its grave
In restlessness,

Where my sanctuary
Is no longer in existence,

Where the scripture is
smeared on ruins with blood.

This is not my universe.