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PENDRAGON

2011


Pendragon is a publication of the Greens Farms Academy Middle School, 35 Beachside Avenue, Greens Farms, CT 06838. Front cover: Design & Layout: Printing:

M.J. Freeman, Grade 6 Mr. Ben Gott Granville Printing, Fairfield, CT

Pendragon Board Members (* denotes a student in 8th grade) Alex Davenport

Alexandra Wagner

Daria Locher

Hope Tierney*

India Carpenter

Fin Ong

Juliet Fontana*

Kate Bundy

Maeve Flaherty

Lily McGonagle*

Ethan Petno*

Hayes Marcus*

Rachel Treisman*

Riley Grady*

Shira Friedson

Faculty Advisors:

Thanks to:

Mr. Ben Gott Mrs. Robbi Hartt Mr. Griffen Stabler

Ms. Elizabeth Cleary Mr. Drew Meyer Mr. Matt Norko

http://www.gfacademy.org | pendragon@gfacademy.org All submissions were reviewed anonymously and chosen on merit alone.

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“I am impelled, not to squeak like a g rateful and apologetic mouse, but to roar like a lion...” —John Steinbeck

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Table of Contents ! “Writing a Poem’s Impossible” ................................................................4 “Winterscape Poem” ..................................................................................5 “Her Journey” .............................................................................................6 “Where I’m From” (#1) .............................................................................7 “Where I’m From” (#2) .............................................................................8 “The Sauce of Our Italian Lives” .............................................................9 Two “Plein Air” Poems .............................................................................12 “The Old Dirt Road” ..................................................................................13 “The Art of Speaking Nonsense” .............................................................14 “Father Kleinsorge” ...................................................................................15 “The End” ....................................................................................................16 “Vermont in the Fall” ................................................................................17 “Shadow and Haze” ..................................................................................19 “Summer Sprain” .......................................................................................21 “Night Is Here” ..........................................................................................24 “A Winter Night” .......................................................................................25 “Winterscape” ............................................................................................25 “The Minnow” ............................................................................................27 “White Blanket” .........................................................................................30 “The Mystery of the Sword” ....................................................................31 “Chess” ........................................................................................................32 “What would the world be like...?” .........................................................33 “A Spiral-Bound Notebook” ....................................................................35 “The Falcon” ...............................................................................................36 “Forever London” ......................................................................................37 “Mine” .........................................................................................................39 “Sand in my Toes” .....................................................................................39 “The Voyage” ..............................................................................................40 “Awakening” ..............................................................................................41 “Especially Family” ...................................................................................43 “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” .................................................................47 “Rhapsody’s Final Hour” .........................................................................49

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“Writing a Poem’s Impossible”

! Writing a poem’s impossible, I thought as I sat right there My teacher says it’s possible, But you can’t just grab it out of air. It seems as if it has no heart, As you can plainly see Well, writing a poem’s impossible— At least it is for me. —Brendan Valentine, Grade 6

Photograph by Matthew Leone, Grade 6 4


“Winterscape Poem”

! Snow falls slowly down to earth Each snowflake differs in its own way They pile on the ground Covering everything under them Soon the piles will be so high Everything will be a white wonderland Winter is here Winter is everywhere. The trees, once dark and green, are now light Nothing can be seen through the thick curtain of white Everything is calm and peaceful Nothing stirs outside No one wants to disturb the unruffled scene Winter is here Winter is everywhere. Soon, children wake to find their windows foggy They rush outside and grab their sleds to create the perfect track Shrill shrieks sound from everywhere Cries of pure delight come from every child enjoying the snow Winter is here Winter is everywhere. —Olivia Lennon, Grade 8

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“Her Journey”

! SNAP! The camera flashed intensely. Her hair was in two goddess braids. She had soft hair like a Cherokee Indian, A dark chocolate brown. Her eyes were shaped like a fawn’s eyes And could tell a story about her journey. Her pearls displayed a sign of luxury. Her white floral dress gave her comfort As her white shoes—her only shoes—clinched her toes. A coat, a fedora, her dress, her shoes, a few items and Her passport were the only things she obtained. She never expected this. Becoming a foreigner was what she never pondered. She wondered about all the belongings that were left behind. As friends and family said, “Yuh guh leave Jamaica fe America” In their heavy Patois accents. She stepped on the plane, and a new journey began. —Zoe-Alijah Vaz, Grade 8

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“Where I’m From” (#1)

! I am from the poems and quotes of Edgar Allen Poe Words drifting slowly from the page, Creeping up into my mind: “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.” I am from the mean monsters in my closet and under my bed And the nice ones that protect me at night I am from my brother “winning” Monopoly every game And then beating him in cards I am from the do-dads and the whatchmacallits The trinkets and the whoshewhatsits In the drawers with my last history test And my first drawing of myself I am from knee-length skirts and collared shirts My skates, my kneepads, my racket, and my glove From “Wait up!” And “That was the homework last night?” From the cold winter nights before Christmas, Gathered around the fire with family and friends Talking and feeling like the night will never end To the warm summer nights, outside playing wiffle ball As the sun sets and the fireflies come out To share hours of darkness. —Liz Hogan, Grade 7 7


“Where I’m From” (#2)

! I’m from the roasted chestnuts being cooked on the busy streets I’m from the loud honking And people shouting in different languages. I’m from the classical music playing softly in the air-con-blasted apartment. I’m from the hot, humid summer days in December While on the blue, scratchy surface of the tennis court Or on the luscious green grass on the gold course. I’m from the rain pouring down like curtains on Sunday afternoons. I’m from the ice-kachang and durain, Which some people love, but I don’t. I’m from riding my bike during the spring When the cherry blossoms are blooming. I’m from eating dim sum in Hong Kong Stuffing myself ‘til I nearly burst like a balloon. I’m from the 21-hour plane rides Moving to different countries and being excited for new experiences. I’m from saying good-bye to old friends and hello to new friends. I’m from the fall that caused me to go to the hospital. I’m from going to my grandparents on Christmas, Their house stuffed with memorable items from around the world. And last, but not least, I’m from friends and family. They stay true to you no matter what And will always be with you forever. —Lily Ferry, Grade 7

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“The Sauce of Our Italian Lives”

! I’m not going to tell you about how, when we talk, we accidentally knock things over or about how, after so many years in North America, we still can’t tell which language my Nonno is speaking. I’m not going to mention how, after dinner, he tells stories about how he used to work for his dad in the old country and then dances around with a wine glass in his hand. I’m not going to tell you about how, on our American Thanksgiving Day, my Nonna made a twenty-two pound turkey—even though she lives in Canada. I’m also not going to tell you about how my mom was the only one in her family to move farther away than a few miles from her parents and that, when we gather at Carmela’s house for big hugs and kisses, even breakfast is a multiple-course meal. We eat our salad after dinner and find it perfectly normal. I won’t tell you that, when most family members run to give me a hug and say, “You look so big,” I don’t even remember their names. I won’t tell you how I have relatives who aren’t really relatives. I’m definitely not going to tell you about how it’s unheard of to eat a meal without a piece of bread in the other hand, how there is never a flat surface in the kitchen without food on it, or how we don’t notice we’re talking loudly because everyone else around us does, too. You see, I’m not going to tell you what Italians do—I’m going to tell you why we do it. We do all of this because it brings us together; because the amount of food we make represents how much we love the people who will share it with us. Every year on their anniversary, my Nonna and Nonno gather up the family to make 500 jars of tomato sauce; this year, the sauce will represent the 50 years they have been together. No one else can truly understand how much love is inside 500 jars of 9


tomato sauce. To prepare for a hard day’s work, Nonna is up early cooking meatballs to snack on throughout the afternoon. She squeezes me into a hug as I steal one and repeats “Bella di la Nonna,” as she often does. Crates and crates of tomatoes are delivered to their backyard. Imagine how many tomatoes are needed for each container! Nonno examines them gently with his rough hands and claims, in his thick accent, ”This one is too ripe.” The tomatoes are tokens, not yet peeled into raw affection. That’s the next step: placing them in a machine that separates the skin from the pulp so that only the good part is left. The machine is like my grandparent’s eyes, taking away away all the bad and only seeing the positive in everyone around them. Then a little something special gets added: some herbs and basil that spice up our days and make them a unique part of our family. Everyone contributes something different; not one of our sauces tastes the same, but each one is important for the circulation of our lives together. This pulp is captured in a jar that is then put into a pot of boiling water to keep it sealed and fresh forever, as if it’s in the safety of their everlasting love. I stop to admire everyone working in unison to create the sauce of our lives; the sauce that kindles and protects our family connections. Each person is doing something different, but they are all doing so under the steady watch and protection of Nonna and Nonno. What to do with the jars after they are each carefully made is easy. Some are stored in the sauce pantry so my grandparents will always have some for each other or extras for anyone who may fall short. The other jars are sent away overseas and across borders or given personally to friends and family. To share the love is one of the most important parts of this ritual; even the people not there with them on that day are remembered. If there weren’t restrictions against it, we would receive three pounds of 10


Parmesan cheese and a dozen jars of sauce every month because the distance between us doesn’t numb the feelings we feel for one another. The last jars of tomato sauce are opened and heated for dinner that night so my Nonna and Nonno can enjoy the same circulating love as everyone else affected by them—and their tomato sauce—does. Then come the words that put an end to the day yet make the connection of our scattered family’s bonds tighter than ever: “Buon appétito.” —Juliet Fontana, Grade 8

Drawing by M.J. Freeman, Grade 6

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Two “Plein Air” Poems

! Darkness, emptiness, a lack of something Perhaps it is light Maybe something more Wait! There is a figure! Just a tree swaying in the wind, Lonely as the moon on a cloudy night It screams to me, “I am cold” Please help me I can do nothing but snap back to reality The darkness returns Nothing there I remember the tree It must still be there— Right?

—Adam Kaufman, Grade 8

! A half filled glass of water Frost captivating the window pane Snow-capped sand Sunshine beaming against the raw ocean Snow glistening in the dismal sunlight Echos of the roaring swells Icy breeze bites my skin as I crunch my toes in the grainy sand I hear my name in the faint light.

—Madi Sweedler, Grade 8 12


“The Old Dirt Road”

! At the end of the asphalt, there’s an old dirt road—rough and bumpy, forever changing with the rain and snow—where the signs all turn to wood. Twisting and turning through the trees, the road leads to where I belong: the old log cabin, with its creaking doors and its burnt wood floors and the window that shows all of Damariscotta Lake, from the pines to the loons to the lake itself. I belong under the great pine tree, laying and lounging under it in the never ending, never-dying pile of pine needles that lays below it. I belong to the smell of the great pine as it sways ever so gently in the wind, its smell carried over the grass onto the lake. I belong to the lake and its cool refreshing water. I belong to the dark water and all the creatures that inhabit it, from the little minnows to the voracious bass. I belong to the haunting call of the loon as it glides on the water and quickly cuts through the surface, only to reappear again to take flight. I belong to the great eagle as it soars overhead, seeing everything, seeing me. I belong to the old dirt road, rough and bumpy, forever changing with the rain and snow. I belong to the old dirt road, twisting and turning through the trees to the beginning of the asphalt. I belong to the old dirt road that carries me home. —Patrick Friend, Grade 7

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“The Art of Speaking Nonsense”

! It matters not what pours out of your mouth As long as it is a steady river of words, never ending To speak about nothing As if it were something. To say it with confidence, as a president would address his nation One must be firm, a rock against waves and poundings of disbelief Stand up, straight and tall Chest out, just make sure you don’t fall. It could be about cannibals, coconuts, or carnivores Carnivals, cookies, calligraphy Connections, being in absence However, remember, it’s just nonsense. —Walker Schneider, Grade 8

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“Father Kleinsorge”

(a character from Hiroshima by John Hersey)

! Father Kleinsorge walked outside to retrieve His Jesuit newspaper He stopped, looked around, and remembered Why he was in Japan: The birds chirping in the distance The trees swaying in the cool wind And the scent of flowers wafting in the air. Then it hit him: He realized with a sense of relief That the cockroaches hadn’t come out yet. As he walked backed inside, He again noted the outdoors Then he saw something unusual in the distance The flash of light, and then darkness. As he was struggling for breath He got out and nervously looked around He saw no birds; no swaying trees And no scent except for the open wounds around him. But out of the corner of his eyes, he saw something, Something unusual. He realized what it was: A cockroach, unharmed, Watching a city that died and was destroyed And who flew away as if nothing had happened. —Drew Monroe, Grade 7 15


“The End”

! Wind swept over the barren city. Its occupants’ groundless self-assertion was over. They had viewed the world skeptically, and now they had paid. The few survivors were battered and broken, reduced to wrecks of sanity spouting meaningless gibberish. Wind, rain, and sleet pounded the ruined buildings. The few animals left were scavengers, wolves, and ravens. They cowered petulantly in the ruins of humanity, their instinct warning them that the worst was yet to come. They fought amongst themselves. The buildings were already crumbling under the weight of time, snow filling the gaps where mortar once held the walls together. Frost bit at the walls of the ruined structures. The sun was low in the sky. The third successive winter was coming to a close. The wind was bitter and cold, sweeping ice across the broken landscape. It was so cold that the buildings were cracking under the pressure of the ice. Broken structures littered the ground, as though a giant hand had smashed the city. The few remaining trees stood out against the landscape, blighted ruins of their former pride. The ground was grey, littered with dust and rubble. Shadows began to grow over the landscape, lengthening as the sun went down. The humans began to fight amongst themselves for what little remained of their once-proud species. Brother turned against brother in a clash for survival. High above the world, the gods joined in battle. The end had come. —Adam Petno, Grade 8

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“Vermont in the Fall”

! All of the distinctly different trees Coming together to form a forest, Each placed so close together That it is impossible to see where they end; The familiar crisp air and a smell That both smells and tastes as if Someone sprinkled apple cider into the air. The hard ground and the crinkling leaves beneath my feet, Almost as if I was walking on bubble wrap. I can hear my every step. When I stop in my tracks, I can feel the nature around me buzzing, Each bird fluttering, each squirrel scurrying, And even the trees swaying in the breeze, Gently losing every leaf on their branches. All of these things harmonize with each other To make the perfect music of nature. There are so many ways to explore this peaceful wilderness: Biking through the endless trails in the morning; Picnics at lunchtime on small grassy hills; Walks through the woods in the evening, Not seeing a single soul all day, Except for those whom you’ve come to enjoy this with.

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A cool breeze floats by. Shivers go shooting down my back, A warning that winter is close to come; That the crisp, benign leaves will be replaced With an eerie white glaze of snow Hiding the ground for nobody to see— Until the seasons decide to change once again And the gentle grass grows from the ground once again And the cycle of seasons starts all over. —Lily McGonagle, Grade 8

Photograph by Celia Bottger, Grade 7

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“Shadow and Haze”

! A sea of shadow rolls in from the west The world is changing; defenses put to test Food is harvested and armies made Weapons are welded, sharpened is every blade. Marching darkness storms the land In its wake, it leaves ashes and sand Its teeth are sharp, its venom strong Who will fight against the wrong? Still yet, the shadow is far away It’s moving faster, not kept at bay Every second, more strength it gains Terror it induces, this bane of all banes. The city is in despair Hope is gone, beyond repair They look for a hero who will battle the gall When he appears, they will follow his call. The cloud of shadow has caught on fire Tearing, ripping, it does not tire Black flames surround the fiend Misery and death it doth rend. Then there does appear from the east The hero, ready to fight the beast Bathed in a golden light Glorious in all his might.

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A silver helm adorns his head And flying behind, a cape of red In his hand rests a silver-white sword A ring of power surrounds this lord. Meanwhile, the burning gloom picks up speed Fueled by hatred, anguish, darkness, and greed Ready to meet the one who has the strength to defeat it The great battle has come, the spark has been lit. The golden war lord waits ‘neath starless sky Tense and quiet, he knows the time is nigh Then, in the distance, a shadow arises out of the gloom It is prepared to make this world a tomb. The battle starts and the flames of the cloud flare in thrill It bares its teeth, dripping poison; it is ready to kill Over the field and towards the warrior king it soars It has begun, a war to end all wars. The shadow is full of anger and spite But the force of evil is outdone by right Drawing on the power of old The hero destroys the shadow and cold. A great evil has been defeated For now, darkness has retreated At the edge of the world, it hides Light comes back and peace abides. But even at this time, a shadow is growing in the west The war to end all wars was a lie; war will never rest Always it is lurking down below, threatening to raze An unspeakable evil, hidden by shadow and haze.

—Maggie Boudreau, Grade 7 20


“Summer Sprain” “It’s definitely a sprain,” said Rusty, the oldest tennis pro at the club. Rusty was the man who taught me how to hit a ball, to play chess, and to live life. “Oh God, I wonder what Mom will think,” murmured my sister, Leila, just as Mom came toddling down the hall in her cute red-lined tennis whites. “Oh, flusterbudget!” exclaimed my Mom, who had again used one of her many made-up words. “I heard on the phone that he jumped off the second story veranda,” she said in a surprisingly jolly tone. I breathed a sigh of relief. “Sure did, and he definitely sprained something,” said Rusty. “I’m surprised he could bike his way up here.” I quivered, leaning back as far as could in my seat trying to hide my sweat layered face from anyone’s gaze. I felt so idiotic doing something as dumb as jumping off that veranda—I was bound to injure myself. Why didn’t I realize that? I couldn’t even say anything, I was so embarrassed. “Is it his toe?” asked my Mom. “I don’t think so,” replied Rusty. “Thank God we don’t have another ‘Lasie toe incident,’” my mom said, using the pet name by which we all referred to my sister. I had to giggle; the story behind how my sister broke her toe could make anyone laugh. For years, we had been told she had run into a statue at night. Little did we know, however, that she had barely escaped from the club security codgers after a midnight swim in our Florida pool and had stubbed her toe in the process. It was comforting to remember that I wasn’t the only one who had stupidly injured himself. “Well, then, what could it be?” my Mom asked. Rusty told me to lift up my legs. 21


Rusty lightly pressed on my left ankle, and I replied, “Wrong foot.” Then he slowly reached for my other ankle and pressed in the same spot. Suddenly, a sharp, surging sting of pain ran from my ankle to my whole foot as I shrieked “Ow!” I couldn’t imagine that he pressed as lightly as on the other ankle. It was the first time I had ever experienced that much pain in my young and sheltered upbringing. “Good goodness, good grief, she bathes in a leaf,” said my mom, uttering another of her fuddy-duddy phrases. “Well I guess we’re not going to be playing in the Parent-Child Tournament. Guess the trophies will have to wait till next year, Bearsie!” “We sure aren’t,” I replied. “So I suppose you want to hear the full story,” I said as I tried to come up with all sorts of scenarios and a long list of excuses to justify my state. “At the hospital, Sausage,” my Mom said again, comfortingly. I, on the other hand, was still flipping out on the inside. I hadn’t presumed yet that I would have to go to a hospital. The thought of it gave me the whoozies. I’d never been to a doctor’s for more than a check-up or the flu, let alone to a large, intimidating hospital for something more serious. Hospitals had long, eerie hallways filled with empty stretchers, sorrows, and pain. What could be more intimidating than this dark tundra of despair? I gaped at her and said, “Hospital?” I started to ask, “Do I really...?”, but I cut myself off. It was inevitable. I was going to the flusterbudget hospital! —Fin Ong, Grade 6

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Painting (detail) by Henry Silver, Grade 6

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“Night Is Here” Splashing onto the small waves, refracted by the ripples, running across the sky, invisible, until it creates a pale glow on the ground, a mere sliver, growing with each passing second each in a unique pattern, ever changing, ever growing. Night is here. —Anders Bottger, Grade 7

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“A Winter Night”

! Warm and cozy, safe and sound The fire springs and crackles, As night surrounds the quiet farmhouse. Coat and boots on, prepared for the cold The smell of pine seeps in as I open the door Snow falls heavily in the light of the oil lantern just outside The distant owl sings his song, while the horses respond with soft whinnies The glow from the moon lights the blanket of ice on the lake Fresh snow crunches under my feet The vast sky fills with beautiful stars The sight of the farm is picturesque On this winter night.

—Page Soper, Grade 8

“Winterscape”

! At the end of the bedroom, a door leads to pure white scenery Heavy tree branches lie behind a dirty fence Blue skies dipping into the trees The sun is casting its light, only to be mirrored back by the snow Dark shadows from the trees across the yard, broken up by splinters of light. One tree, separated from the rest, Untouched by endless snow.

—Jad Qaddourah, Grade 8 25


Paintings by Alex Kennis, Grade 8

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“The Minnow”

! I hold moonlight in my hands Dancing with otherworldly grace Out of place among the grit of sand Dusted on tan knees The smell of salt On a scratchy gray tee-shirt It flashes among my calluses— No, it thrashes So I drop it: “Plop” The plastic bucket sloshes Precious ocean drips from within And the moonlight swims, Alive and at peace Its scales shimmer Children chatter But they do not help Scared off by the desperate thrashings Of the beams still in the sand They glow with a dying light Against the green net, Sand dusting their sides

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“That is a sea jelly, don’t—“ Tentatively, the kids lean closer, shadowing the net And still my hands dance a desperate dance Then one child grabs sunlight And tosses it in The first brave kid To touch the dying lights Together we move Against the symphony of learning, The caw of birds. Soon, there are sixty little flashes Glowing in the plastic bucket But one is not. From small hand To small hand it flies, but it does not dance. There is no glow of life; No desperate grace in its movements. Dead, it can now be touched. They feel its scales, Bend its back, Then drop it. The glow is gone. It’s just a minnow, Dead for the sake of summer camp. —Maeve Flaherty, Grade 7 28


Painting by Philip Nicopoulos, Grade 6

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“White Blanket”

! Across the table, two binders, a soggy glove, a stack of notecards, A wet clump of ice attached to the blue marble. Rays of sun shine through the window Two frosted puppies The bubbles boiling from the teapot overflowing The irritable drip-drop of the water quickly falling from the roof. Paws printed in the fresh white powder Empty tree branches shivering The sparkle of melting snow Leftover birds soaring through the sky in a small V. Solid gray A fast current that waves through the dark water. The milky brown liquid oozing with three melted marshmallows The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane resting on the sofa Orange-yellow waves escaping from the fireplace. Seven pairs of boots, wet. —Hanna Refvik, Grade 8

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“The Mystery of the Sword”

! In 1981, when my mother was only 15, she and her friend, Kim, went to Kim’s grandmother’s house. On the way there, they rode in a decrepit blue station wagon. The seats were made of old, dusty leather and the air stank of musty dirt. She and Kim had been friends for life, so this trip to Kim’s grandmother’s house was not uncommon. At Kim’s grandparents’ house, there was always something to do. The first thing that they did was to race through the labyrinth of hallways and straight to their favorite room. All of the floors of this room were piled high with things from the Civil War that Kim’s grandfather had been collecting for years before he died. Right on top were the most recent additions: a letter from a soldier and a diary. Objects that would cost thousands of dollars were stacked haphazardly in this small room. My mother and Kim both dug in. Soon, they found something that they had never seen ever before: a sword that measured about thirteen inches long, including the blade and the handle. It was then that Kim noticed the small note on the sword. The note said that the sword was a gift for Kim’s grandmother on their anniversary. My mother ran upstairs to ask the old woman about the mysterious letter and the knife. Expressionless, Kim’s grandmother told them that they could take the sword away if they wanted to. Kim and my mother both looked at each other excitedly and started to move toward the door. At the door, my mother turned around. Kim’s grandmother had started to cry. —Daria Locher, Grade 7 31


“Chess�

! Two generals facing each other, Both covered in medals and pins And drenched in confidence. Ready for battle, the room was as silent as the darkness of night . In the minds of the Generals, there was a war going on. They saw many chaotic things: Blood and pistols laying on top of the battle field; A swarm of soldiers getting ready to attack; The Queen defending her king; The king staying back, Letting his soldiers fight his battle. Observers watched these battles as if they were just a game, But this game involved strategy, Deciding whether or not they were going to sacrifice their knight. Eventually the war ended, The blood The pistols Now all out of sight. No casualties Or damage had been done. Pins and medals were not on the ratty old shirt. In the end, The Generals had to leave the game behind. —Avery Wolfe, Grade 8

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“What would the world be like...?”

! What would the world be like if everyone was honest Or if trust did not have to be proven? What would it be like if the police were out of work Or if banks were never robbed? What would the world be like if doors never needed locks Or wars never happened? What would it be like if a cure was found for cancer? Would the world be different? What would peace be like if dark and light skin were equal? Would our textbooks deny it? Would smiles be spread from day to day if “equal” meant “each and every one” Or if blood had never been spilled? What if detention never existed? Or if handcuffs were never needed? Would the world be different if forgiveness was easy? What would rule books mean to us? What would have happened if Noah had never built the Ark? How would the world be now?

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What if Eve never ate the apple? Would the Garden of Eden still shelter us? What if I lived in a world where there was no bad or hate? I wish I lived in that world. The world where prejudice wasn’t in the dictionary; The world where rainbows fill the sky The place where the homeless can be sheltered The world where donations were not needed I wish I lived in that world The one with all the smiles ...What if? —Shira Friedson, Grade 6

Photograph by Olivia Paige, Grade 8 34


“A Spiral-Bound Notebook�

! A spiral-bound notebook and a brand-new pen, Empty of words, full of opportunities What magic will spring off of these pages and come to life? A storm ravages the town, sending dust and sand flying in the air The spiral of debris is big but quick, melting into a golden puddle That hardens to become the gold coins in a brass pot at the end of a rainbow That stretches across the sky and fades into the bright blue sea From which appears a school of fish, swimming in the shape of a heart A heart that hardens and turns to stone, kicked aside in the gravel driveway Leading from the door to the Emerald City And yellow bricks that shine like the sun Beaming down on the village below Where a young girl is sitting at a freshly painted desk, humming a song about love And holding a spiral-bound notebook and a brand-new pen. —Rachel Treisman, Grade 8

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“The Falcon”

! It seems like a long time Since the hull sliced through the open ocean. Seems like a long time Since the lines were adjusted. The winch; a circle of gears, Now jammed like a lever. The breeze, a fiery wind, Throws sand around like a tornado. The sailboat, once a streak of lightning across the water, Is now a rusty piece of metal in a junkyard. The area that was ocean, Is now a barren wasteland. The place that was once known as a shoreline, Is now a lump of sand. Walking away from the wasteland, I walk to another area. I begin to sail; it is like heaven. Suddenly, I see a shadow. It creeps upon me like my brother with a joy-buzzer. I see the sails open up, like a falcon’s wings. I see the falcon on the center sail, as if it is trying To fly across it. —Kourosh Saghri, Grade 8

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“Forever London”

! That one, Up in an old, rusty, silver frame. Perched on that bedside table Never brought to life Different, unique, from the rest. Sending off a good vibe of forever-lasting memories Of that one amazing place, That one kind person, That one fun event. Smiling kids, forever friends. Repeating images of that same English flag Settle, progressing all over the image. Red. White. Blue. Colors of the past Create a reminder of that same place. We had always grown up together: Afternoons in Hyde Park, spent together. Heading higher and higher on the London eye, Then that old, dark, brick wall, Hidden in the background of the frame Always used for that same afternoon wall ball game after school. Decorations that scatter around the image Sending messages through my mind; Saying cheerfully: “You will be missed, and you will always be my friend.”

—Charlotte Kreitler, Grade 8

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Photographs by Avery Vanacore, Grade 7 38


“Mine”

! Mine was the unmarked grave, the faded stone Washed away by time; forgotten Mine is the unborn, the long dead The ancients, lost in time, nonexistent Mine is the defeated, the beaten, the shamed The eternal cry of those who tried and failed Mine is the lone hearts, the empty minds The lost souls, wallowing in the mud of eons Mine is the face in the window, faded, blurred Mine Shall be the Lost. —Ethan Petno, Grade 8

“Sand in my Toes”

! Sand in my toes, waves at my feet, how I long for the beach. Waves crashing, seaweed slashing. Seagulls soaring, screeching high. Sun blazing hot and bright, smothered in suntan lotion, I sit there. Mist off the waves covers my skin in a coat of salt. Falling asleep by the rhythm of the waves, Crashhhh, swishhhhhh, swashhhhh... I drift asleep. —Tatiana Crawford, Grade 7 39


“The Voyage”

! Clara thinks luxuries Are as important as necessities. Like a queen, she is polite And acts as if she can provide the solution for almost anything. Her sugared almonds aren’t only a treat They show her character perfectly: Something hard and poor tasting Becomes a delicious snack As it is coated with sugar to appeal much more than the original. Like Clara, its appearance is very different than the inside. Like a mother, she is wise. Looking over the ship as her family, She solves their vast problems From a baby not getting milk To a love first starting She helps mourn the dead and celebrate life And is looked up to by all who know her She is the perfect inspiration on a tough journey like this. Watching over: A smart, wise owl looking out for her young. —Jules Becker, Grade 7

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“Awakening�

! When I was little, I used to think Everyone was your friend. Boys were your friends, Not the people who hurt you the most. Parents were always nice to you. I wished some day to learn more. When I was little, I used to think People died of natural causes, Not suicide. Being a teenager was easy. Dogs were meant for playing, Not for fighting. I wished some day to learn more. When I was little, I used to think Everyone has as much food as I do. Oceans were full of animals, Not plastic trash. All songs had a message That could inspire you to be better. I wished some day to learn more.

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When I was little, I used to think Colors were meant for pictures, Not for judging people. Dreams of peace could come true. People took drugs to get better, Not worse. Now I am older. Sometimes, I wish to learn no more. —Lydia Picoli, Grade 7

Photograph by Grace Steinkraus, Grade 6 42


“Especially Family”

! I was only eight when I received a phone call that changed my life. The phone rang. “The answer is three,” I told my second grade teacher Mrs. Briganti. The phone rang again. “Hold on one second; let me answer the phone,” she said. “It’s probably just Mrs. Ready saying I have dismissal duty today.” She answered the phone and, as the person on the other end talked, I watched Mrs. Briganti’s face fall as she called me over. “It’s for you,” she said. I remember her handing me the awkwardly heavy phone as I placed it up to my ear. For the first second, all I could hear was heavy breathing. Then my mother spoke. “Honey, everything is going to be all right. I’m in the ambulance with your brothers; Britt is sick and Mimi is going to pick you up from school today. I love you.” And then she hung up. I was so confused and in so much shock I could not speak. My mind was going a mile a minute with all the various scenarios of what may have happened to my two-year-old brother. What did she mean by “sick” anyway? For the rest of the day, I sat in silence wondering if he was going to be okay. Soon, it was Saturday and my other brother and I were going to visit him in the hospital. As we approached his room, all I could think about was how happy I was to be able to see him. When we opened the door, I could see a little blond boy lying in the bed in a yellow hospital gown. Immediately, my eyes were drawn to the dark circles under his eyes; it looked like someone had painted them on. My mom and dad were at his side. Then he sat up. As he did, I couldn’t help but notice the thick, grey, 43


snake-like cords attached to his chest and wrist that led to a monitor. Then he spoke. “Hi Hayesie. I missed you.” His voice was calm and innocent. I remember being amazed at how cheerful he could be with cords screwed into his chest. For the rest of our visit, he showed us around the hospital, giving us tours of the game room and the fridge where he got popsicles to eat with his medicine. After staying with him for a few hours, we went home, but I remember hearing the doctor saying the few words to my parents that I wish I had never heard: “I am very sorry, but I have to tell you your son’s days are at an end. There is nothing we can do to make the seizures stop.” Each word felt like needles in my eyes. How could there be nothing they could do? I could feel my face burning red with anger and fright. The more I thought about it, the worse the situation seemed. My heart was beating faster and faster, my hands were getting clammy, and my vision of the empty hospital room blurred as my eyes filled up with tears. I wished there was something that I could do to make everything better. At that point, everything changed. I realized how lucky I was to have him as my brother, and I regretted every single time I had ever wished he was not around. After hearing the doctor’s diagnosis, I began to realize that anything could happen at any point—and that something important just did. Imagining life without my brother brought tears to my eyes. As each cold tear slid down my cheek, I thought of the memories that I shared with my brother and how my life would never be the same. But here I am now, in eighth grade, sitting on the red and blue sticky, fake leather seats of the train on the way to school, just wishing that I could go back to sleep. During these mornings of complete exhaustion and discomfort, my mind travels back to 44


that day in second grade, a day that happened so long ago but that is so clear in my mind. I look to the seat on my right and I see the same little blonde boy that I saw six years ago in the hospital; the boy who had the dark circles under his eyes and cords attached to his chest. Now I can look at this same boy and understand that, through his near-death experience, he has been able to teach me never to take anything for granted—especially family. —Hayes Marcus, Grade 8

Photograph by Isabel Furman, Grade 8

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Painting by M.J. Freeman, Grade 6

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“Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”

! I lifted my hands to place them on top of the piano keys so they would just be brushing the edge. I was ready to play, but my hands just froze; it was as if they had been glued to the air. You can do it! Just go! Don’t be scared! You’ve practiced! Move your hands! It was as if I had turned to stone. “Giselle? Are you okay? We can do this another time if you’d like,” my dad said. “No! No!” I replied. “I’ve practiced, and—and I’ve memorized the song, and—and I’m ready!” But I really wasn’t ready. In fact, I wasn’t ready at all. But I had made a promise to myself that I would be able to play “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” for my daddy today. I had started practicing last summer when I had finished pre-kindergarten. It took me a few months to get the notes right and then a few more months to get the whole song right. I had practiced every day for ten minutes, working so hard to get where I was, and I wasn’t going to give up. I tried to force my hands, but they wouldn’t move. I pushed and pushed and pushed, and, when I finally got them to move, I played the first note—then I blanked. I had forgotten the notes! “Is that all you wanted to show me? You playing the ‘D’ note?” my dad asked impatiently “No! I don’t know what’s wrong! I’m trying to move my hands, but it feels like they are frozen, and right when I finally get them to move, I forget the notes! I can’t do it! I can’t!" By that point, I was frustrated. I thought that my dad was going to tell me that I should try again later or that he would come back when I was ready, but he took me by surprise. He 47


knelt down, looked me in the eye, and said, “I never want to hear those words come out of your mouth again. You can do it; you’ve just got to believe in yourself. If you say that you can’t do it, then you can’t. But if you say you can, then you can! I know that you’ve been working hard to learn this song, and I’d hate to see you give up because I know you can do it. So I want you to sit down at that piano and play ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’.” All of a sudden, I felt a wave of confidence rush through me. I walked up to the piano and sat down, giving myself a moment to take it all in. When I felt that I was ready, I placed my hands on the keys and started playing. It was like my hands were doing all the work, and I was just sitting there watching in amazement. When I finished, I turned to look at my dad. He congratulated me and gave me a big hug. He said he was very proud of me—and that, I knew for certain. —Giselle Briand, Grade 6

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“Rhapsody’s Final Hour�

! A faint voice broke through the night sky. Clouds roiled in the dark, obscuring the moon and stars. Lightning flashed, bathing the spire in an unearthly glow. Thunder boomed, its roaring call crashing through the air to burst on the ground below. The rain poured from the sky, drenching the ground. The lone tower jutted towards the heavens, reaching from the ground into the infinite blackness. The voice again called, crying, pleading, but for what, one could not be sure. Then the storm rose again, muffling the sound. Quiet!music rose, slow and interweaved with illimitable sorrow. It grew in volume until it seemed to be competing with the tempest-like contrasting movements of a symphony being played simultaneously. The tower was bathed with light once more; however, this time the light was softer; gentler. The voice called for a third time, but now it seemed to rejoice rather than to plead. Then the thunder and rain rose up and drowned out the theme. The music and storm contended mightily with each other, each growing, seeking to drown the other out with the force of its sound. Darkness engulfed the tower like a wave of malice, but the tower stood tall and proud against it, refusing to be swept away in the maelstrom. The ground shook, roaring, trying to rip away the edifice. Ice formed from the freezing rain, coating the tower.! Winds battered at the citadel, screeching in savage satisfaction as the steeple bent under the blistering blizzard. Wolves howled, adding their voices to the music of the storm. Ravens cawed, still circling the tower, searching for a weakness through which to enter and allow the darkness to fully consume the building. 49


The monument remained proud and tall as the abyss yawned over it, threatening to annihilate the sanctity of the site. Lights appeared briefly from within, but they were swept up and lost in the might of the gale. The firmament gaped beneath it, rent like torn cloth, opening to devour the spire. The spire stood, hopeful and righteous, awaiting the end of the riotous tumult. Anger swirled about it, adding its voice to the composition. A cacophony of sounds battered the spire to no effect. Fiery rage lent its strength to the test, ripping with ravenous fury at the citadel. From the jutting tower the harmony rose, and the singing grew in strength and sound as the storm boiled with resentment. The world whirled around the spike even as it reached higher and further, the music rising, contending with the tempest. The obelisk of crafted stone reached for the abyss as it spun in myriad directions upon the gales of sound. Savage winds swept around it, probing for gaps in the dark stones, but the tower held firm against the onslaught that threatened to uproot it. Frozen pieces of ice wailed around the tower, smashing into it, but they failed to make more than a dent in the smoothly-carved surface of the walls. The music rose, challenging the storm, battling tenaciously with the elements that raged around the belfry, writhing in the wind. The spire bent like a sapling, straightening only under the watchful eyes of the melody, which protected the tower as a shepherd watching over his sheep. The music rose with the storm, and the two danced together, undulating and winding as a pair of young lovers, tempestuous and passionate. A single chord rose, overpowering all other sounds, deafening music, storm, and song alike‌ Then the storm abated and its strength waned. The howls of the wolves faded into the wind, which slowed to a gentle breeze. The dark clouds began to part, inviting the ravens into their infi50


nite vastness. A piercing ray of sunshine bathed the tower in a joyful glow. The spire, silhouetted against the sky, no longer seemed lonely and foreboding but strong and firm, sturdily anchored into the ground. The rain slowed to a halt, and the ground began to dry until there was no trace of the storm. The music ceased. —Ethan Petno, Grade 8

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Drawing by Maeve Flaherty, Grade 7

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! www.gfacademy.org

Pendragon (2011)  

This is the 2011 issue of "Pendragon," the Middle School literary magazine.

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