City student wins first place in national poetry contest

Lauren Morrison, 13, of Lakeroad School. Troy Shantz

Troy Shantz

A city student has won national attention by winning first place in a Canada-wide poetry competition.

Lauren Morrison, 13, earned the honour for her poem, “Midnight Mulberries,” the top entry selected in the Grades 6-8 category at this year’s National Student Poetry and Short Story contest.

“There’s this one tree near the church I go to, and I just have these fond memories about going there with my mom or my cousins,” the Lakeroad School student said of the poem’s inspiration.

Morrison was one of nine Sarnia-area students in Grades 6-8 — including six from Lakeroad — whose works have been published in a book called “The Pilot,” released by Polar Expressions Publishing.

Morrison and her teacher, Melissa Dent, each received an $80 prize for the first place poem and a copy of the book.

Morrison also gets to decide where an additional $300 in prize money will be used at her school, as long as it applies to literacy.

The class is getting a reward of its own, said Dent.

“The actual assignment was, write me a poem using your senses that is so good that it makes me want that food, and I’ll bring in that food for class.”

Dent said she is proud so many of the school’s students were published in the book.

“It is important to me when you’re teaching writing that you write with an intention and a purpose, that you don’t just write to write,” she said.

“It says to you, ‘This is more important than just an assignment. This is about expressing yourself’.”

MIDNIGHT MULBERRIES

Mid-summer heat fills the sweaty, thick breeze,

I reach up on tiptoes to grasp at the air.

With my purple-stained feet dug into the warm earth,

I jump and I twirl to reach my sweet, plump goal.

The ones on the ground squish under my feet,

The ones in the air hang tauntingly.

In one lucky jump, I catch on a branch,

And a shower of juicy, sweet treats falls on me.

I open my mouth to catch even one

Of the thousands and thousands that seem to trickle down…

And one falls in, the best of them all –

The biggest, juiciest and ripest that I’ve ever seen.

It explodes in my mouth like a breath of fresh air,

It’s juicy and bubbly, it’s superb.

It tastes like a party that’s full of your friends

Who tell you their deepest, darkest secrets with no care.

The taste is addicting, it lures me in,

Each one that I eat makes me want more.

I stuff and I munch, and I scarf down

berry after berry, staining my white shirt,

but this does not matter, not to me,

Because the berries’ rich taste is enticing.

With a belly full of warm, sweet weight,

My clothes uncomfortably tight, a face smeared with a purple grin,

I stroll home, thinking to myself how no one would guess

That I had been under the mulberry tree tonight.

– Lauren Morrison, Grade 8, Lakeroad Public School