Thank you for all the wonderful poems that were submitted for our RPL Teen Poetry Contest! We enjoyed reading each and every one! The winners are:

  • Group 1:

    1. The Rainbow Scarf by Samreen M.
    2. Placebos by Stephanie C.
    3. Death Plays the Guitar by Judy C.
  • Group 2:
    1. Equivalent but not Equal by Halle N.
    2. Standing Here, Fighting by Lauren K.
    3. The World Without Gravity by Salisa J.

Congratulations to all the winners!! Please read the winning poems below:

Group 1

The Rainbow Scarf by Samreen M.
The needles go through the soft yarn.
Knit by knit, a new design is formed.
Weave by weave, the design becomes extravagant.
The scarf grows longer.
The colours are as bright as the sun.
With patience and time,
The scarf is finished.
I run outside into the feet of snow.
I feel the chills and shivers of winter.
But in the cold harshness,
I feel a spark of warmth.
My beautiful scarf,
A glimmering rainbow wrapped around my neck.
The heat it gave reminded me that…
One thing can give you the courage to do anything.


placebos by Stephanie C.
you left so suddenly the feeling
was piercing. sharp, jabbed-in-the-stomach
haunting-sort-of screaming that hummed in my throat
until i could no longer hear myself speak.
i tell my friends that no,
it felt more mutual than anything but yes,
it was real and now
it’s over.

sometimes i think that we were only kept alive by placebos.
a sham, a lie, promises that didn’t quite root
and instead began to rot over uneven soil.
we were unstoppable yes, but we were also
vulnerable and oh so breakable.
brittle, but no, not unshakeable.

we were in love with the thoughtless things,
do’s and don’ts, this and that.
things that made us feel better
but never quite relaxed with each other:

a bouquet of wildflowers from the woods behind your house,
a bag of bones from the only cemetery in town,
we were as idealistic as we were unoriginal.
white tic-tacs to match the bleached shoes i brought you,
re-gifted cinnamon candles and stale chocolate-
we knew we could do better but all of this
was already making us feel better.

nothing hurt and nothing felt right but
what did we know? we were young and clueless
and teenage angst is the kind of aching that buries itself
into your lungs until you’re choking. it is stifling
and suffice to say, empty like the contract we could
never keep.

you carved stardust
into the wounds you left on my skin,
saying it would look pretty with the new dress you bought for me;
and i, (perhaps the least innocent)
was a ticking bomb telling you to cut all the wrong wires
and the explosion wasn’t what killed us, no.

it was how nothing felt real until you left.


Death Plays the Guitar by Judy C.
Death plays the guitar
He plays hushed, somber tunes
Each trill of a nimble note
Enveloping an ebbing life.
Death plays the guitar
On grim and silent days
The tranquil melodies
Both an echo of the past
And a whisper of the future.
Death plays the guitar
To guide drifting souls
Away from the cries
And the thousands of grieving hearts;
A lighthouse for the lost
A lullaby for the weary
Death plays the guitar for us all.


Group 2

Equivalent but not Equal by Halle N.
Shall I compare her to a working man?
Thou art as skillful and accountable.
Any problem needing solving, she can.
Tasks she may find hard are surmountable.
Given the same responsibility
And always expected to do the same.
Competent with the same ability,
Motivated by the same firing flame.
But despite her matching work quality
She is not given the reward she deserves.
Instead she’s given inequality.
So long as people judge based on gender
Women less paid will never surrender


Standing Here, Fighting by Lauren K.
I stand here,
Boredom—what to do when the last episode of the season is over.
Technology—when will the next phone be released.
Fashion—which pair of jeans will make me slimmer, taller, prettier.
If only life could be

I stand here,
Cold—what can remove the numbness in my toes.
Hunger—when will my next meal be.
Shelter—which hidden corner can I sleep in tonight.
If only life could be


The World Without Gravity by Salisa J.
Today I woke up
and everything was upside down.
My pillow floated past my face
and I discovered the reason for my shivers was
the fact that my blanket now rippled, like ocean waves,
on the ceiling.
Later, after I’d wrangled on a weightless pair of tights,
and coaxed a sweater down from the crack
where my dresser now floats, wedged open,
with my dad’s fishing rod, I set out to find,
that, Yes, the rest of the world
had experienced this unlikely phenomenon as well.

Little boys zoomed past on wobbly, hovering
bikes, and a man’s necktie kept flying up and
blocking his vision. He cursed,
continuously. The fountain in the main square pumps water—
into the atmosphere, where it floats up
and up and up. I cannot see it anymore.
I wonder, if I drink, will it go up my nose?

It is midday when we meet for our lunch date
and I see her, hair billowing up like her own personal
cloud around her face, and I know the exact moment when
she sees me, because her face lights up in a crooked smile
that matches mine. And as we pluck floating tripiloni
out of the object-filled skyline, I think about
how much the world has changed today,
and I realize one thing that hasn’t—
and that’s way the girl in front me of laughs
and the way her fingers intertwine with mines.

I realize: even if there wasn’t any gravity on this Earth
I’d still fall for her.