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Today kicks off National Poetry Month. NeXt celebrates with some poetry from young writers across Western New York.

Everything seems different!

Everything seems different to me,
even my face.
When I look in the mirror, I see someone, but who is it?
It may be me, but it's kind of blurry.
I'm trying to change who I am, but until then, it's world's end.
I see my mother's shadow in the mirror.
She whispered to me, "It's OK my angel, you can change."
I whisper back, "How do you know?"
"I know," she said as her shadow faded.
Once again, I look in the mirror to see if she's still there.
She disappeared as I cried to myself.
What did I do wrong? I ask myself.
A tear rolled down my cheek, I wipe it away.
Everything I see is different
My whole world is now strange
I turn around spinning before the mirror, but really it's my life straightening
I look in the mirror another time to see me
Now, I see myself doing better
I'm not blurry anymore, I say
I wipe away my tears of joy.
As my mother appears again
"I told you," she said.

-- Alexis Black, seventh grade, Charter School for Applied Technologies


Different Although the Same

Interchangeable are the two things,
Each arrives on sudden wings.
Alas but only one can bring
the joy that allows my heart to sing.
the other but brings the sorrow and the tears
That drag to light my deepest darkest fears.
Love and death, in the end bring only the same:
Release; the bounds of the heart set aflame.

The wings that allow love to fly
Can be pearly white against a clear blue sky.
Though, forbidden love brings only to sight
Blackened wings to the air take flight.
Death upon swift wings arrives,
And leaves the world again with countless lives.

So alike, truly are these two birds,
And yet as different as any two words.
Similar in the way they liberate the heart,
And the same mourning they leave when they both depart.

-- Kelsey Stanley, sophomore, Lockport Senior High School


Winter Arrives

Winds blow
Snowflakes dance
The time has come
To wear long pants

Biting breeze
Chilly air
Time to hibernate
If you're a bear!

Freezing nights
Frost on the ground
The wind in the trees
Is a bone-chilling sound!

The trees look naked
Windswept and bare
The temperature drops further
With the freezing air

Time to get out
Your snowpants and hat
And leave your new boots
Next to the doormat.

Children's eager faces
And bright red noses
This is when
That ice cream store closes!

Children look forward
To sledding and snowmen
And eagerly create
Christmas lists to send

Temperatures drop
And black nights grow longer
There's a fight for warmth
But the cold air is stronger!

So snuggle up in bed
Content with your lives
While out in the darkness
Winter arrives!

-- Fiona Nocera, 13, East Aurora


Life is a Metaphor

Is life a metaphor?
Can it really be that simple?
To compare life to a game of golf
That nothing matters at the moment
The there and now
Or like a leaf
Blowing whimsically in the wind
As if to say just go with the flow
Things will turn out OK
Is life really that way?
I don't know
Maybe life is just
Climbing a ladder
Comparing each rung as
A life achievement
A milestone
Personally I would like to think
That life is something more
Precious than a leaf
About to be tossed into a trash bag.

-- Steven Dempsey, senior, Clarence High School


Between Hues (Blue Mind)

So am I to shine or decline?
Am I to glide over deep electric blue fins
Or to soar, ruffling the jay's denim feathers?
I haven't a clue
So I wander between the two,

Slowly, Slowly,
I am drifting.

No direction, no cause, no endstop in sight.
Over the sapphire ocean's surface
I rest on my back, arms outstretched
While white cotton becomes drenched, consumed
By tinges of liquid azure.
And once clear eyes begin to reflect
The baby blue hue of the sky above.
And while I gaze at the powdered blue,
My eyes glazing over with a light teal frost,
The skies' eyes look down and into me,
Blankets my mind in a bright haze.

Slowly, Slowly,
I am sinking.

The navy depths of the ocean below
Reach and pull,
Beckoning mind and soul.
Indigo tentacles tug me deeper,
And I quietly oblige.
Pink skin becomes mottled with cobalt shadows
While royal eyes fix on white light blue stars
Shimmering just above the surface,
Their call too muted for me to reply.

Slowly, Slowly,
All things turn blue
Until the midnight depths of the sea
Have turned sky into a distant memory.

Am I alive,
Or just trying to dive,
To delve further into this blue mind?

-- Lilly Damin, senior, Clarence High School


Off to the Beach

Noon. The waves crash gently against the shore, crackling as they recede back to the ocean. Crash, crackle, crash, crackle. I lay on my towel, dusted with sand from the warming beach beneath me. Squinting up into the brilliant sun, I see a magnificent sky above me. Seagulls are hopping along the beach, taking flight when children get too near. I hear their choked warbles as they scavenge for an abandoned picnic basket. My body is wet from the waves now, still lightly dusted in sand. My hair is a knotted curl of string that will never undo, not with the salt and sand already in it. I taste the shore in my teeth as the grits of sand grate against my mouth. I exhale, calm and relaxed, closing my eyes and letting the South Carolina sun kiss my face for a few more hours.

Dusk setting in. The sun is gone; the waves no longer crash. They are but a silent whoosh against the golden sand. I am walking, running, squishing into the sand. My jeans rolled up, I feel the water wrapping itself around my ankles, pulling the sand out from my worries, fears, problems, and responsibilities, letting the ocean wash them away.

I breathe in the heavy sea air, tasting the salt on my tongue and in my hair as it tangles around my face. The air around me is as gray as the ocean's hue is now, predicting that a storm is on its way. So ominous, so lovely. Footprints, left behind. Washed away in my path, as if I had never come. Walking back from the ocean gives me a feeling of renewal, of peace, of tranquility. Knowing that nothing could hurt me in such a beautiful place relaxes me. I see the dark clouds rolling in over the horizon, followed by the Zzt of lightning to follow. A beautiful day ending with a beautiful storm.

-- Meghan Devine, junior, Clarence High School

Readers 18 and younger are welcome to send their original poetry to Poetry Corner, NeXt, Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, NY 14240, or e-mail to Please include name, age, grade and school. Poems must be typed and cannot be returned.

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