April 13, 2016
Behold ye the finalists in Southern Shakespeare Festival’s 2016 Sonnet Contest. Choose your favorite, then come to the festival on Saturday to see which are the winners.
Middle School Finalists
by Nirmay Bhanderi & Hayden McDaniel
Bam, Bam. I go down in a curled up ball.
Wham, wham. I fall into a deep, deep hole.
I get back up and do a quick front fall.
I ski straight into a snowy, white bowl.
I run smack straight into a finish bar.
I make my way back up the steepest slope.
I go off course and run into a car.
Crash, bang. Crash, bang. I feel like such a dope.
I make my way to a ski lift swiftly.
I make it on but fall off as swiftly.
Ground raises up and hits me so quickly.
I spin around , hoping to die quickly.
I try to stand and a fat tree hits me.
Pass out in pain as I break my left knee.
by Jake Cooper
I went to a dance once upon a time.
Although the boys and girls were separate,
To not dance with a girl would be a crime.
Like a shining light I saw my soulmate.
I went to a dance once upon a time,
and then I confidently went to her.
But then I suddenly stopped on a dime.
I went white from my feet to my shoulder.
I went to a dance once upon a time,
and someone danced with the girl of my dreams.
Then I realized, my mood began to climb,
She is not as important as she seems.
I went to a dance, once upon a time.
I discovered that now was not the time.
by Spencer Gibbs
Greetings from my perfect humble mansion.
I have enough water for my whole life.
It is here I get so much attention.
I have plenty of food, so little strife.
I’m sharp yet soft with cinnamon-brown hues.
My name, a cloud of precipitation.
I am so small with lots of different views.
I have a mere two month education.
I can’t stand the cold nor the major heat.
My favorite food is a little chicken.
A mealworm or cricket you just can’t beat.
I only must make a simple decision.
In a fight I would be the underdog.
I am nothing more than a mere hedgehog.
High School Finalists
The City That Never Sleeps
by Keegan Cardman
Buildings touch the clouds like metal fingers,
Glass, marble and stone reaching for the stars.
Down below, a firm energy lingers,
Filled with shouts and screams and smoke from cigars.
Prices are high, expectations are low.
Too many people, too many in need.
Mind your own business, give a quick hello.
From this prison, they will never be freed.
Tycoons on Wall Street and stars on Broadway,
With bulging wallets, but nothing to do.
New York life is a delicate ballet.
Unforgiving on most, charming for Few.
New York has an iron heart and steel mind.
Its grace and charm are elsewhere tough to find.
“Immersion of Love”
by Lexi O’Rourke
Calm collected waves, build up emotions
Riptide, taking in pieces of the world
Intriguing thrills, wandering the ocean
The current of movement, sea drifts are curled
Lovers’ footprints, full of past memories
Sand between their toe gaps, a tingling warmth
Tranquil and serene; free of enemies
Days pass leisurely, affection put forth
Heated rays of the sun tickle their backs
The smell of sea salt brings serenity
Shells embraced in the sand of the shore, cracked
The peaceful creatures, their own entities
Bundled feelings of the waves pass through souls
Love of these souls, unable to control
by Casey Palmer
Nothing but dunes for miles ahead,
The coarse sand is slowly eating me away,
Constantly followed by a trail of red,
My body is slowly starting to decay,
stumbling through a hellish wasteland,
where water is valued higher than gold,
I am so thirsty I can barely stand,
then suddenly I see a marigold,
A streamside cottage comes into view,
Is this reality or just a dream?
I can smell the scent of a delicious stew,
I quickly ran to the peaceful stream,
I scooped up some water with my hand,
But all that went down my throat was sand.
To Players And Their Parts
by Dana Gower
The world, and life, continue stage by stage,
And wond’rous parts are writ for all to play.
But there remain with us in ev’ry age
Those which are still loved most until this day.
The child who creeps unwillingly to school,
The lovers lost within each others’ eyes,
And then the kings who over others rule,
And, at the last, the fool who’s really wise.
These roles, these wells, passed on for us to fill,
To reinvent in ways as we think best,
Which we create as if by force of will,
And lay, side by the side, with all the rest.
From (missing) head to toe we keep these parts,
Held tightly always closest to our hearts.
by Linda McDonald
We pause and postpone the spring holiday.
Monsoon casts gloom on the grand plans we’ve made.
Showers pour over us, sun hides its rays
under sky’s cloak, wooly and gray. Parade
of deep thunder rolls lightning overhead.
Rain pools, trees glimmer, green brightens the yard,
drenches the Earth, washing off winter’s dead.
Inside stressed parents cajole and play guard.
Exuberant children’s glee now tainted.
Velvet milk chocolate waits to be burst.
Tucked in the fridge, eggs dyed and bright painted.
Basket hunt begins now, Lucy is first.
Drops slow, drizzle fades, through clouds sunlight peeks.
Teases, come join me in wet hide and seek.
“The Last Lament of Lady M.”
by Bret Wheadon
I walk upon the battlements confined,
With halting steps still searching for guilt’s end
My eyes, bewitched, stare open, but are blind;
Beset by thorny paths I dare not tend;
Color I see – these bloody, cank’rous stains
Forever branded on my guilted hands,
Which water cannot touch, nor quench the pains
Whose waking hours wrench like iron bands.
But in my walking dreams I think I pour
All Neptune’s ocean on my hard-scrubbed nails;
I scratch his murdered visage on each door
Until I wake, and all my dreaming fails…
There is a final step which I may take;
Swift death will silence traitorous hands that shake.
Randi Atwood is the Platform Editor for the Tallahassee Democrat. She is a lover of theater in general and has been a Shakespeare fan ever since she had one line in “Macbeth” at camp when she was 9.
Devon Glover is a teacher, poet, rapper, from Brooklyn New York. He performs Shakespeare’s Sonnets in a dynamic way through Hip-Hop in schools, universities and theaters to young audiences nationally and abroad. The Sonnet Man has appeared on The Today Show, MTVAct, Shakespeare Festivals in Stratford Ontario and Stratford-upon-Avon, and won The L.A. Times Book Award for Inspirational Poetry. The recent release of his debut video “Hip-Hop Hamlet” was selected for the Shakespeare Short Film Festival in Stratford-upon-Avon. For more information, visit www.SonnetMan.com.
Dr. Molly Hand teaches English at Florida State University, where she is the Entrepreneur in Residence in editing and publishing. She holds a Ph.D. in English Renaissance literature and has published articles and book chapters on Renaissance literature and culture. She is currently working on a book chapter, “Animals, the Devil, and the Sacred in Early Modern English Culture,” to appear in the forthcoming collection Animals and Animality in the Literary Field (Cambridge University Press), which she is also co-editing.
If you go
What: Reading of the winning sonnets at Southern Shakespeare Festival
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, just before the production of “Comedy of Errors”
Where: Capital City Amphitheatre at Cascades Park
Information: Visit southernshakespearefestival.org