To celebrate National Poetry Month, the Battleship New Jersey Memorial and Museum asked South Jerseyans to write poems describing what freedom means to them.
More than 250 entries were submitted. Some students participated as part of a classroom assignment. Others submitted poems on their own. No entries were received for the grade 10-12 division.
The contest's judges included Stephen Boyer, associate professor of English at Camden County College and coordinator of the college's Writer in Residence program; Barbara Daniels, a poet and a writing and literature teacher at Camden County College; Ellen Hernandez, a poet and a Camden County College teacher; and Toni Libro, a poet and a teacher in the Journalism and Creative Writing Department at Rowan University.
The other judges were J.T. Barbarese, a poet and assistant professor of English at Rutgers-Camden, and Pamela Bridgeforth, executive director of the Walt Whitman Cultural Arts Center in Camden.
An awards ceremony is being organized. No date has been scheduled. Call Cathy Karmilowicz at (856) 642-6226.
When asked to describe freedom,
There is not much one can say,
It's a feeling, an emotion,
Brought forth in an indistinct way.
Troublesome times occur,
And roll in like the tide,
We simply wish for serenity,
And hope our freedoms will be our guide.
But that still doesn't tell,
Just what freedom can be,
It only symbolizes Freedom
Through words and imagery.
Grade 8-9 division
Gloucester City High School
Freedom sweeps through the air here,
Here in America.
It is the king of importance,
The golden sun appearing on a frosty morning.
The sweet aroma of hot soup,
On a frigid winter day.
It is like the soft, sparkling water to the fishes,
A box over-filled with all our wishes,
That maybe someday,
The whole world will be free,
And freedom will sweep through the air not only here,
Grade 4-5 division
Stoy School, Haddon Township
Teacher: Robin Morgan
Ship of Freedom (U.S.S. NJ)
Sometimes she aches to go back to sea.
Especially on days when storm clouds match her mighty steel
and thunder echoes in her empty turrets.
Now she gently sits like a grandmother,
full of memories, wise by the world,
her heart open to all visitors.
Menacing to enemies and comforting to friends,
her strength bolstered the courage of our men.
She was with the sailors through conflict and war,
obeying their skillful hands.
Count them, there are 16 battle stars.
Learn what each one represents.
Visit her with the freedom she's enabled.
Tread lightly on her bow and
feel the power beneath your feet.
She's the product of a proud nation.
Our ship of freedom is with us,
and all is quiet now.
Under the sun of gold
Along the cobblestone path
All signs of freedom stand strong and bold
Down the playground slide
Across the bright blue bay
Far away I see a boat glide
Beyond the broad leaf trees
Up the bumpy bridge
I see our flag, waving in the breeze.
Grade 6-7 division
West Deptford Middle School
Teacher: Mrs. Jeanne Gasparovic