Poetry Festival will be held:

Saturday, April 27, 2024

2023 Winner

Sweet World

Our world is sugarcoated


We see screaming neons

But can we wear green-lensed glasses

And let the sweet world turn simple


Can we climb the low-branched apple tree

In the center of a grassy stone-studded meadow

Then pick its fruit


Not making them into candy apples


Can you see life’s

Crooked windows

The mossy wooden floors

Jammed door


And not see sugar


So we form a community — 

Not seeking

Prepackaged waffle fry cravers

Or dewy grass haters


Because we don’t chew the cookies

With dandelion-shaped frosting

We clip dandelion stems with our dirty fingernails

And grind the sour petals to a pulp between our back teeth


We don’t add sugar


We drag our fingertips against horses’ rough manes

Pet their noses, buzzing with mosquitoes — 

We don’t slice them open and sprinkle sugar

On their bloody, broken bodies


Because we don’t sugarcoat life


Maya Ruben

Sidwell Friends School

Grade: 6


Washington, DC


Washington, DC

Favorite Author or Book:

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Dream for the Future:

To be successful and fulfill my potential.

Inspirational Figure:

My mom inspires me most.