Friday, March 10, 2017

Scholastic Spotlight: Michelle Chadraa

Today we begin a series of Friday blogposts about our Scholastic Art & Writing Awards Winners. The Red River Valley Writing Project partners with Plains Art Museum to serve as the state affiliate for North Dakota. 
Davies High School (Fargo) 11th grader Michelle Chadraa at the 2017 Awards Ceremony

In Arduis Fidelis, Lamentation of Hope, Regrets of a Martyr (or: Artifice)

 Chadraa, Michelle

Grade:  11
School:  Davies High School, Fargo ND
Educator:  Nathan Kurtti
AWARD:  Silver Key

In Arduis Fidelis 

I thought I saw a marigold
growing in my neighbor’s garden
But I must’ve been seeing things because it’s the

Tinny screaming of shriveling plants and strangled insects
frittered in the background, drowned out by hungry vampiric gusts,
lost in the incessant moanings and groanings of the frostbitten Mother Earth.

I approached that poor struggling thing
eking out the last of its existence in isolated agony.
Alone, it faces against the blows
armed with cold knives and sharp bullets,
dedicated to eradicating the dynamic colors of individuality, of life, and supplanting it
with the frigid, merciless snow, a plain of petrified beauty.

The gaudy orange uniform, with no armor except its will and its courage, dared to reach out
with its last spindles of strength, mustered from the enduring stalk of former viridian.
The last of the flora mourned with hoarse, desperate shudders
and searched franticly for breaths of sunlight that will never come.

Bloody sunset-reds creeps up the petals, now edged with a silver virus;
It closes its eyes and
lets out ruby tears
for the faith in brighter days.

Lamentation of Hope

It’s a sad bitter truth that penguins cannot fly.
When they look up at the clouds, the sun, the stars
I imagine they feel rather
They’d stare at the sky and wail in despair, in loathing,
Oh to soar! To float and glide!
To gaze in wonder
at the magnificence of the world!
To be able to touch the heavens and skim the breaths of gods!
To be free of these wretched chains that ground us so!
Oh to breathe, to feel, to become the air!
How we yearn to rise with our cousins as one!

And you would feel
as they would feel.
That to be limited is a depressing trap
filled with the tar of broken daydreams and
unfulfilled potential.

But –
To dwell on such somber occasions is to lose hope
And hope is a vital piece of our souls,
a magnificent star that one should not let go of easily.
So perhaps
They’d cling and linger and see
believe in a future, their future of exhilarating visions

They’d finally accept
that the sky is not their limit,
for the sea is as boundless and beautiful as the sky
And to not float or glide or soar,
to not feel alive,
to not create a destiny,
is truly something to lament about.

Regrets of a Martyr (or: Artifice)
It’s the little things that go unnoticed
but, in the end, have the most significance.
They are the recollections of love and hate,
the fanciful stories you litter with white lies and sprinkle generously with sly truths,
those equal remorses of toil and sacrifice,
reminiscent of a youth long past.
They linger in endings, beginnings, middles,
the rock bottoms, the euphoria, and the shadows of doubts.
They run through circles and loops of repeated tragedies and tardy realizations –
the monuments of years undiminished by time.
They are marked by gained wisdom that, ironically,
become dismissed in favor of either more whimsical or less dazzling ideas and
faced with haughty underestimations,       
done by the same unlearned individuals – a mirror of past selves and legacies.
They are the endlessly budding grey hairs – dyed until it
becomes anew to wash away old reminders.
They are a shade of the calluses that are married to your tired, arthritic fingers, softened from age and disuse.
They are the cracked, painted lips, leeched from natural color,
the sun-stained smile crinkles at the edges of milky eyes,
the pockmarked skin with washed-out freckles and moles.
Those unseen scars litter our bodies. They whisper of battles –
battles hidden from others and ourselves and from histories,
battles that erode at the mind and waver the heart and  p  u  l  l  at fragile remnants of morality,
battles that were nevertheless victorious.
They pretend that they are cowards,
crouching underneath a fractured shield of make-believe personas,
constructing an armor of constancy and self-assured smiles.
But they do not fade away –
not in the blinding light or the intense darkness or even the bland greyness of normality.
And in the end, they do not go unremembered. They will not go lost.
There they will remain, in guilt and pities, in dreams and half-formed words, in a past.
There they will stay loved and hated,
untampered but twisted,
to maintain the memory an embellished reality.