Honorable Mention

Anna Swartley

Grade 9

Haddonfield Memorial High School

Teacher: Ms. Holly Maiese


African Stars


A raw land stretches underneath my familiar sky

The wispy infinity I have known no longer sits above my home

But a world I have just barely met


The dusty plain is pierced with ivory thorns and dense bush

Silhouetted by a sinking sun catching her last breath above the horizon

Rays of gold slowly dissipate into indigo like cream into coffee

And one by one stars reign over the land


The black veil of night falls over my eyes

Softening the vibrancy of day

But the pulse of the African veldt remains

Whispers of life echo through the branches

The dark is alive with the voices of the bush

Quiet, hesitant, awake


The call of a lion slices the silky air

The thunder of a thousand hooves respond

Exhilaration to find the hunt feeds the engine

Diesel and dust fall behind us


But the magicians slip back into the shadows

And tranquility finds the land once more

My neck taut, the breeze dancing in my hair,

I face the pinpricks in the inky sky –

A traveler under African stars