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Poetry Out Loud Championship 2021

On this page you can listen to original songs and read original poems, and view the POL Logo design (by a local students).

CONGRATULATIONS to the winners:

Amador High took the top seat with PAUL STRATTON* winning the recitation competition!

  • Original Poem: Joseph Svec III, “The Homecoming”
  • Logo: Lilith Wright, Logo #2
  • Song: Bruce Langston, “What If”, inspired by Fairy-tale Logic
  • Visual Arts: Scarlett Gunn, “Singing Hands”
  • Honorable Mention: Luke Johnson, “Endure Through Your Roots”

No one will ever know who won the adult recitation because of copyright issues*. Meghan Joy O’Keefe and Giles Turner will return to the Sutter Creek Theatre to compete LIVE on the last Sunday of January, 2022.

*Paul was unable to compete at the state finals so RAIN BOYD competed, made it to the top 13 finalists, and received an honorable mention from the California POL Judges!

**Sadly, on January 25, 2021, AmadorArts was notified by the governing agency of “permissions” conflicts with streaming poem recitations of the Poetry Out Loud anthology. Due to issues with licensing rights, AmadorArts was informed that several of our entries do not have permission for streaming. Therefore, no recitations will be made public. If you are a student competitor, family member or teacher of a student participant, please contact us for access to the content. 209-256-8166

What Eden Could’ve Been

You are my white carnation in a sea of candytuft.

You are my pink camellia when the goings getting rough-

Or red or white or any other color you could be.

You are the sweetest love of all in an indifferent sea.


For every blooming dog rose there are daisies pushing through,

And red and white chrysanthemums that find their way to you;

And chickweed cause I don’t think I could ever let you go.

My loyalty will push on through- though pain might surely show.


I’ll sit us down in a catch fly patch and watch your smile shine.

I’ll rake away the dead leaves, colchicums- red columbines.

I’ll shower you in baby’s breath and spin you ‘cross the land;

The pure of heart, where nothing hurts, dancing hand in hand.


You are the love that grows from me and plants its roots within,

And in my heart I’m sure this is what Eden could’ve been.

I often wonder a simple question
Considered simple alas so complex
The question why I have an obsession
It confuses me with with crazy effects

What would be the cause for you to do that?
Half the time nobody knows the answer
I die not knowing what’s under that hat
This is all consuming, like a cancer

What I would do to simply understand
To be able to comprehend the why
And to have a map of uncharted land
To let my brain finally take a lie

I hope one day to be able to know
But until then I will wander solo

I Am From

I am from  pots and pans

From Goya and Vicks

From the city of dreams Brooklyn and Queens

Government Housing—don’t get out of your car, elevator piss,  gunshot sounds

I am from the sun

(One of our Gods was the sun–warm, bright, and strong)

I am from music and dancing

From Fidelina and Unknown

I’m from the people who cook pasteles and lechon

From drugs and alcohol and no lullabies

I’m from no religion, all religions, imagine no religion

I’m from Boriken and from West Africa

Rice, Beans, and plantains, the Tainos gift to us

From my fourth great grand-mother Matilde…She was an African Queen

An involuntary passenger on a boat, headed to Boriken, so called Puerto Rico

Not many photos from the family tree, the lynching tree, the hanging tree, and the burning tree

The only photo, a document from the registry of slaves

I am from I escaped, I am free, I am brave

Self-Inflicted Lonesomeness

I am the hermit that lives in the cave.

I am the ghost that haunts the grave

In shallow ground- on damned soil-

I’m restless. Cursed to sit and toil:

To look for questions never asked,

And answers no one wants unmasked.


I haunt my skin on nights like these,

My body ever waking.

I wake my bones and yawn away.

From disuse I am shaking.


I sneak out of my resting place,

Content to wander ‘round.

You’ll know that I am standing there

When once you hear this sound.


I cry:


“I am the ghost of my father’s son:

A casualty of a long fought war.

A spectral visage- to breathe no more-

My battle never won.”


And in the blazing, reverent light

Of a sky lit by the fullest moon,

You may catch a glimpse of my tear etched face

While I sing my desperate tune.


I cradle you in my sorrowful song-

Tenderly, I hold you tight

And run off when the morning breaks

(Though try not as I might).


For just a second I know I’m known

Before I run to hide. alone.

Cause though I crave togetherness

And solitude can’t grant me this

It brings me peace, and comfort here,

And lets me live without the fear

That one day we might crash and burn-

That our gentle love could one day turn.

So I’ll be the hermit who lives in the cave

Or the ghost in the grave, my weak heart to save

Till I show up on nights like these

To send my forlorn melodies

Across the wind, both far and near

You’ll feel it and you’ll know I’m here.


You’ll hear:


“I am the ghost of my father’s son

A casualty of a long fought war

Hiding alone, to suffer no more

My battle never won.”


Initially our love was like the spring
Lively and green
Our birds song would ring
Nourished by feelings
A love unseen

Time passed, summer came
Passion and blue skies
Our love,
New flame

But our fire was soon ash
The green colors soon left
The spring birds song now deaf

Late months came cold and bitter
Our love had changed from spring to winter

The moon faded into fiery embers come morning

The moon faded into fiery embers come morning,
I watched the stars soon dissipate into a cloudy abyss,
Every day more of my soul is ripped away with the floating lights.
The sun soon emerged, scorching my skin,
the world punishes me for the endless love for you,
I ask if we were made to be martyrs, but i assume we did not choose.
But even the blistering sun lacks enough power to keep our hearts from illuminating the sky more than they.
Once the heat soon dies, come night again,
A part of my wishes the naive sparks still kindling a flame for you would perish,
But my our divine connection cannot burn with the crimson sunset.

Emerald Court

There is a place
with rolling hills of grass
and one cobblestone street
Where stray maine coons wander
and curl up as the stars rise
It’s at the end of the street
a little house made from terracotta clay
There are old, gold window panes that are softly worn in
from countless days open to the sky
Where breezes have graced doily curtains
in which you could tell were made with love
Every Tuesday you have one visitor
An old man with a gruff voice and a paperboy hat
He tells you of his life and his journeys
the blonde women he fell in love with on the train
and listening is easy
There is a lake over a few heaps
It is entirely clear
The water sparkles the color of your birthstone
and it kisses your skin; letting you know you are loved
It rains occasionally
and water dances along the side of the street
It taps on your roof wanting in
but you stay curled on a velvet green couch
with a knitted throw of muted colors
The same clouds that embrace the dirt will glow as the sun dips below the earth
and when you look up you feel small
like a mouse with a crumb
with a small piece of heaven for you to keep
Here existing is not a task
it simply melts like pastels on a canvas
You ask the old man at times why the poison of an old life could seep into the smile lines of such a place
He musters a glimmer in his grey eyes and tells you
“Keep searching”
and in that wise smile and wrinkled grasp of a hand
You are finally okay


Do I look like Lord Baltimore of Maryland?

Does every viking get a funeral pyre when off he’s sent?

Does Ozymandias now look on with discontent?

Does a king have every record of a man he’s spent?

Do ruling landlords ever worry about their own rent?

And who delivers the mailman’s mail?

Do I look like Cortez in Tenochtitlan?

Were any Bishops ever devil-spawn?

If life is chess then who are the pawns?

If you’re gonna take the doe why leave the fawn?

I thought C. was right but I was wrong,

And what’s the deal with kale?

Do I look like emperor of the world?

Will I start to move if sails unfurled?

Who’s the recipient of stones I’ve hurled?

Why does the son succeed the previous earl?

Is it really the clams that make the pearls?

And soon my memory will fail.

Pale skin, closed eyes, powdered wig

Makeup, striped tie, frail twig

Hands down, Don’t cry, speech big

Out of time, no rhyme,


Come to me tonight 

Come to me tonight
when your glass is half empty,
When your essence is filled with empty voids,
And your mind is clouded with plethora’s of non-distinguishable noise.
Come to me tonight,
When your soul is gasping for breath,
When serenity only thrives alive in dreams,
And the stars sit lifelessly in the sky and wonder why they don’t seem to gleam.
Come to me tonight,
When melancholy clings,
Aching at your sorrowed-filled heart,
When the meadow of life seems to perish,
And drips of salt begin running down your cheeks.
Come to me tonight,
Let us turn salt into pure honey,
Our hearts may play a roaring symphony when they are intertwined,
Our ageless souls escapes the cages of reality.
Think of me when the moon shines through your window and you are instantaneously devoted to the life above the veil of clouds.
Oblivion sits at the touch of our fingertips,
A safe haven exists wrapped in my arms.


Shoshaku: a mistake that perpetuates in small bites…
We forgot the rhythms of heartbeats in the waters
from where we came, each of us, bursting into need
for waters, honeys, salts, milks of Gaia, Mother everlasting.
We forgot to hold the soils and know fertilities, when to sow,
and when to harvest over and over, without question of
deep and abiding earth..
We forgot how to speak Poetry for one another, hearts
embroidered together into tapestries of meaning in our
searching, spilling, and spending of words.
We forgot what Blessing Means. Grace. Gratitude. Honor.
all words we tossed about on our seas without harbors.
We forgot that we all, early, early, new, ever, Think in Poem,
the clatter of the days in our divisions of cultures more
loved than our common unities of Being. Being Alive. yes,
We reflected in Poems that came from true rhythms and
rhymes of the very Seas from which we came forth, We
The People. early come into the Light from the deep wounds
of the caves of our first learnings.
Inside, we intone the drones of breaths of This Earth.
Inside, we chant the Old Words of our Tellings of Poems
written in the weatherings of Monoliths of Stone, greater
than who we are or have been, and yet, also, not eternal.
We forget that we are Children of Light that would and will
live on all the more within us and without us.
We forget that every birth is the start of a swan song,
unbidden and destined, for All Living, which is all the
Poem that there has ever been, ever, will be.
ribbons of Shoshaku wave as prayer flags in the ever
so winds in coreolis of the songs of the Poems in each
heartbeat of all the humans and Living Beings of which
we are a part of Poem – ever sung in the net of silences,
which is the mightiness of an Infinity that twirls through
circles of almightiness, of which we are a thread, a part.
We remember, cradle to grave, and still, the Poem sings,
moves on….


It’s a backward world we live in
things seem up-side-down.
What used to be important,
now, doesn’t seem to count.

They plot and plan how to cheat and steal
while telling you they are for real.
Some walk around in suits and ties,
practicing to tell their lies.

Products sold and advertised
when used correctly, kill.
Creating games for children
that make cruelty a thrill.

Politicians, businessmen
are vicious to the core.
If we ignore these symptoms
we’ll just have many more.

Are you convinced that you must pay,
to live your life the way they say?

Queen Times Three

I always knew I had Afro Caribbean roots! Yeah, grandma had brown skin

We were Taína Cacique Queens

Brown and Proud we stood!

Famous Admiral of 1493!

His Cargo…scared Black People

African Kings and Queens!

The Nina, the Pinta the Santa María. It’s probably how grandma traveled to the Rich Port that year

She was an African Queen

All in the name of Catholicism

Or was it the Lord’s birth?

The Inquisition…forced religion

Then came the fountain of youth explorer, first Governor

Island of enchantment, Rich Port, Borinquen

But, it was Boriken first

Taína, African, Spanish

Finally free

Still a Queen times three!

Art is a Protest 

Art is a protest
It is the ILLUMINATION of the truth that those in power are afraid to HEAR
Art is the protection of those who are HURT by society
Art can be TAKEN from us
And it has
It has been made PALATABLE
We must TAKE it BACK
We must not SUBDUE
To the White Supremacist Culture that has told us our work must be perfect
So it can be
It must be MESSY and UGLY
And SCARY and Full of TRUTH
It must be something we do for ourselves,
something we create for our eyes only
It must be SHARED
It must be REJECTED
It must be PRAISED by those like us
IT must be FELT
And the VIEWER
It must be

The Homecoming

A crescent moon hung o’er the sea. The waves caressed the shore.
My sister Anne stood silently on her balcony once more.
She stood in silence by the rail, as she did every night,
Looking seaward for his sail, t’would be a precious sight.

How long she’d watched and waited there since when he went away.
Just newly wed, without a care, I recall well the day.
Her tears he dried, “Be brave my dear, ‘tis only for a while.
I promise to return. Don’t fear, now give me just a smile.”

“I’ll give to you my scarf of blue, a token of my love.”
“And I will bring it back to you. I swear by skies above.
I swear by skies, by oceans deep, my promise ever true.
This, my love, I vow to keep, I will return to you.”

Then, off he sailed across the sea on the “Dauntless”, strong and trim.
From oe’r her towered balcony, she waived goodby to him.
And since that day, she waited there, just looking out to sea.
Weaker growing in despair, but wait, what can that be?

A figure walking on the sand, beyond the water’s reach,
A scarf of blue held in his hand, he came across the beach.
“My William, you’ve come home to me!” I heard Anne softly say.
I watched him climb to her balcony, and then I turned away.

I went then to our mother’s room, to tell her he was here,
But over her an air of gloom had filled her full of fear.
“Mama, why do your tears now flow? Our William has returned.”
“Look and read and you will know. Let here the truth be learned!”

She held a paper out to me, a telegraph, and wept.
My eyes grew wide the news to see, as oe’r the words they leapt.
“We regret to inform you now, the “Dauntless” has gone down.
All hands were lost, oh but how they bravely served the crown.

Young William Lane has died at sea. Our prayers are ere with you.
Signed with regrets, most sincerely, The Admiral, David Drew.”
“Impossible! This cannot be. He is here right now.
It is an error, you will see. He has returned somehow.”

I turned and ran then to her door, bewildered in my mind.
I quickly reached the towered floor, and knew not what I’d find.
Then with my heart full sore with dread, I at her door did stand,
but she lay sleeping in her bed. Yet wait, what’s in her hand?

The scarf of blue she gave to him, the day he sailed away,
In fading crescent moonlight dim, I saw it gently lay.
The floor with salt seawater damp reflected in the light.
I trembling lit an oil lamp, and beheld with awe the sight.

A smile lay upon her lips, that no more would draw breath.
The scarf of blue her fingertips held softly in her death.
Young William had come home from sea, from depths of ocean deep.
His promise kept, eternally, together now they sleep.


A Winter sky with Clouds like Angel wings Ruffle feather like memories of childhood

 Can I lay down on dark sweet Earth and make dirt Angels 

With childlike glee like a kid in the snow

 Can I lay down and press my ear to listen quietly to hear her turning

 A Winter sky with clouds like Angels wings ruffling featherlike memories of childhood

Ages Past






















Present, I am present

I am here.

I’m here, I promise


I? Who am I?

Am I here?

How do I know if I don’t know if I’m alive?

Am I real? Like really real?


I can’t see

I can see but I can’t SEE

My eyes won’t focus

They are stuck in my head, in my thoughts

They see what is in front of me yet they focus on my mind.



I am trapped. Stuck in my mind filled with thoughts about nothing 

and everything all at once


I can’t move. I can’t move my body

I am trapped staring at what is in front of me but I can not



The winner’s design will be the featured logo for Amador Poetry Out Loud! VOTE HEREVoting ends on March 12, 2021. Artist names will be added after March 12.





Please enjoy these original songs and then vote on the winner HERE. Artist names will be added after voting concludes on March 12, 2021.

Original Song #1: DID YOU KNOW
Inspired by the poem Father by Edgar Albert Guest

Original Song #2: What If
Inspired by the poem Fairy-tale Logic by A.E. Stalling

2021 AMADOR POL RECITATION CONTEST (non-High School category)

Please enjoy these recitations,

Sadly, on January 25, 2021, AmadorArts was notified by the governing agency of “permissions” conflicts with streaming poem recitations of the Poetry Out Loud anthology. Due to issues with licensing rights, AmadorArts was informed that several of our entries do not have permission for streaming. Therefore, no recitations will be made public. If you are a student competitor, family member or teacher of a student participant, please contact us for access to the content. 209-256-8166.

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