Lake and Sumter Style Magazine
1:18 am EDT
Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Lake County library announces winners in annual poetry contest

With more than 400 poems submitted by 165 people, the Lake County Library System’s 16th annual Poetry Contest was a spectacular success.

The competition, organized by the East Lake County Library, attracted poets from as close as Clermont and as far as Houston, a news release states. Participants submitted their poems at the end of April as part of National Poetry Month.

First-place winners in adult, teen, and children categories received $50 gift certificates to Books-A-Million. Second- and third-place finishers also received prizes. (A complete list of honorees is below).

Members of the Palm Writers’ Group judged the submissions, as they have for several years.

“There was so much quality work that it was difficult to choose the winners and honorable mentions,” Bernard Welch, one of the judges, says in the release. “Thank you, teachers, for spending so much quality time in teaching the children to write poems.”

Here are the top poems in the three categories:

Adults First Place

A Posture of Stillness

By Ray Smith, Leesburg

Pain hunts me

I am ever alert

For the fang in the shadow

The claw in the curtain

The needle in the sheets

Oft foil me as I have lost

The assuredness of temporality

The quick and quiet dodge

The immortality of youth.

Reduced to hiding

In a posture of stillness

Behind a face of repose

Wrapped in a chemical jacket

Countered with distraction

Fear lies worst

Alertness fails

No hiding in here

I have little breath for it.

I still cling

For life still seeks the seeker

And she is here

And I was never for shadows.

And God will choose the hour.


Teens First Place

as a little girl…

By Chantey Gingerich, Leesburg

as a little girl

i watched my mother hold herself back

i heard her cry in the dark as she struggled to love herself

i felt my heart break as she was given

the love that she thought she deserved

as i started growing up

she started growing stronger

she found her voice

standing on her own two feet

a shield in one hand

and a sword in the other

fighting any monster that stood in her way

it took some time but

the queen had finally come to slay

and you could bet that she was here to stay

i was 6 months shy of seventeen

when i saw my mother grow weak again

she was laying in her bed

asking Jesus to take her life

this monster was unlike any before

they called him cancer

and few could beat him

but goshdangit if she didn’t try

she put up one hell of a fight

then one day she raised

her white flag in the air

“okay, I’ll go,” she said

the words barely above a whisper

“but you have to promise you won’t touch them,” she demanded

he agreed as he took her away

leaving me with the world’s worst heartache

and no mother to cure it.


Children’s First Place

Thinking of Spring

By Adrian Newby, Altoona

These are the things

I think of in spring;

Flowers, baby cranes

and birds that can sing.

The woods are a twinkling

with firefly light,

And the whippoorwill singing,

in the middle of the night.

The softest of seasons,

spring is so fair.

With the sweet smell of orange-blossoms

filling the air.


If you’re a poet who missed this year’s contest, it will return next spring. Also be sure to check the library website for year-round poetry events and activities at

The Palm Writers’ Group is open to the public and meets at 10am every third Saturday of the month at the East Lake County Library, 31340 County Road 437 S., Sorrento. Contact the group at