Shimer College

Annual Events

Poetry Contest

2015 Winners


The Last Straw

The last straw didn’t touch her back

it showed no interest in the nodes of her spine,

a small mountain range for troubles to tumble over

it didn’t rain down on her shoulders where the weight could be borne

broad and well formed from struggle

she could’ve shifted

like a titan

added this piece to her burden

it slipped past the smooth bright cap of her skull

where she held so much chaos already

the last straw

the one that couldn’t be held

landed soft on her sternum

carried by his voice

and the weight of it

the impossible pressure

the undoing of his love in seven syllables

snapped her clean through

right along the seam she had made just for him

                                                — Melanie Decelles ’15, Honorable Mention


Faith in Us Flounders

What faith found Aeneas

in the vanquished gods

to lay down his hard-won wisdom,

and bow again on bended knee

to worship those whose silence reigned at Troy?


What hope shaded Aeneas

but that those gods would stir again,

and storm his hollowed temple

with the holy burning fervor

that founded ages younger in maturity?


What cries raised Aeneas,

arrested in untaught terror,

seized in the bliss of slaughtered years,

as Fate rushed the unarmed gate

of his childhood city afire?


What sorrow flooded Aeneas

when he his young love abandoned,

and, while old age rode his shoulders,

clasped he in one hand hope, the other, faith,

and hid in tears his face away?


What doubt harrowed Aeneas

as erected he his clay-formed memories

upon the barren altar of his mind,

and sacrificed his pride for the honor

of the gods who failed?


What truth heard Aeneas,

when he, with drooping head,

wrung his idols’ praises from his tongue,

and stooped, again, to worship in spirit

what failed his heart to worship in truth?


What faith, O holy faith!

who, through tremor and tears –

who, through darkest sorrows and blindest doubt –

who, with hope against hope in loveless despair –

who can be true to you ‘til death?

                                    — August Lysy ’15, First Prize Winner