High school can be a pivotal moment in anybody’s life. It marks the time that everyone is starting to figure out who they are, what they like, and how they are able to express themselves. For some, they express themselves through athletics. Others show self expression through music. A select few students in Lebanon High School, though, have found their main form of expression in words. More specifically, they are able to speak their minds through the art of poetry.

Senior Taylor Cripe lived through one of her pivotal moments in her junior year. Her father was going through the process leading up to a long-awaited heart transplant, and nobody’s hearts were beating faster than those of Cripe and her family, who were hoping for the best—but preparing for the worst.

In the face of adversity and heartbreak, Cripe was assigned to write a poem for her AP Literature class. Through words alone, Cripe was able to not only understand how to write poetry in a way that made sense to her, but she was offered insight into her own state of mind as well.

“I was able to get all of my emotions out. I hold a lot in, a lot of people do not know that. I am an open book, but there is a lot that other people do not realize I fight on the inside. Poetry became my way to get all of that out,” Cripe said.

There were times, Cripe mentioned, that she had felt she completely lost herself. However, she soon found that when she wrote all of her emotions and thoughts onto paper, she realized that she saw the pain right in front of her. She was finally able to understand herself, something she had struggled with in the past.

“Throughout all of last year I was taking care of everybody else but myself. I was making sure my brother was okay, and that my grandparents were okay. I was so worried about everybody else, that I feel like I forgot about myself,” Cripe said.


Ballad Poem, by Taylor Cripe


Bright and full of life the daffodils sway

The wind pushes them around with force.

“Be still wind,” the child whispers;

He knows that mother nature is the source.


Dim and bleak consume the hospital walls

With the smell of clean and death filling the air.

“Has he come today?” the creaky voice asks.

The nurse says no as she begins a prayer.


Sunshine and warmth surround the child;

He walks along a beaten trail.

“Flowers bring her smiles,” he says to himself.

He always brings her daffodils without fail.


Dark and cold fill her room today;

She knows it’s for her this time.

“He will come,” she whispers;

She will wait for him and that can’t be a crime.


Light meets dark as he walks in the building.

He feels the suddenly dramatic change.

“She’s been waiting,” a nurse spoke,

“She’s been waiting for your daily exchange.”


He walks down the dimly lit hall– 

Stops at the room he knows by heart.

“Hi momma,” he calls out softly.

Death will never keep them apart.


She waves him over with a grin;

Her baby boy with flowers in his hand!

“My favorite flowers,” she says to him.

He gives them to her with a kiss on her freehand.


Beams of light fill the dim room now

Her monitor beeps slower as she looks at him

“Time to go momma?” the boy asks her sadly

 She nods her head; the air feels grim.


“You’ll be ok,” she whispers softly

The flowers she holds in her palm tight.

He cries quietly as he watches her color fade

“Don’t cry my child, I’ll be with daddy tonight.”

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“The true meaning of this ballad is that death should not be seen as a sad moment but as a relief because the person is no longer in pain and is with the people that went before them. Death causes us pain on Earth but it’s freeing for those who have passed. I wrote this about two months after my dad had his heart transplant surgery and, fortunately he made it through but I know how I felt during that time and that the little boy in this poem is actually me in a sense. I didn’t bring my dad flowers, but his nurses all knew who I was and would tell me that he was waiting for me or that he had said I would be there later to see him because I would always come to the hospital at around the same time every day. It is a sad poem for sure but it truly does emphasize that we should understand that they are happier when they are at peace,” Cripe said.

Junior Camille Sanchez began her venture into poetry in her sophomore year speech class, where she was assigned to read a poem aloud. Instead of looking on the internet to find one, she decided to write her own. Even though she began to pursue writing as a hobby in middle school, poetry opened her eyes to a talent that she had not realized before.

Sanchez contributes her pursuing poetry to the consistent encouragement she received from her teachers. She stressed the importance of the effect that the feedback had on her that made her want to improve and grow into her writing style. She showed many of her poems to English teachers Emily Wolfgang and Molly Shover.

“After I wrote my first poem I showed it to Mrs. Wolfgang, and she told me it was really good. So I decided to keep writing, I kept showing them to my teachers, they kept saying they were good, so I kept going,” Sanchez said.

While every person deals with struggles, everybody must find their own way to cope. Sanchez discovered that confiding in her teachers through her writing helped her in the most important way.

“During my sophomore year I would talk to Mrs. Shover almost every day. She became that person I could just easily talk to. Since she knew my struggles that I was going through, if my poems were about my struggles she understood it better than anyone,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez believes that she is not the only person that can be benefitted from reading poetry.

“Since my style of poetry isn’t exactly limited to one topic, I think that it can be relatable to a lot of other people,” Sanchez said.


More than a speck, by Camille Sanchez


We are all just a speck

A microscopic dot

In an endless sea of space

Living a life we can’t quite explain


With our endless questions

And our constant hesitations

We spend the limited time we have

Dwelling on all our thoughts


We focus on what others think

Instead of our own beliefs

And we care way too much

About others opinions


And most of the time

We doubt ourselves

No one, nor yourself

Should stop you from living


Sometimes we feel small

And very insignificant

Because after all

Aren’t we just specks?


But there is so much more

To every aspect of life

We just need to believe it

Although that can be hard


We often find ourselves stuck

Scared to take the first jump

Scared that we will fall

So, we stay on the ground


Despite us feeling stuck or trapped

There is so much worth to life

So much enjoyment to live

And so much happiness to enjoy


But I will tell you this

The ground is no place to be

It is dark and dirty

And the sky is pretty and free


So yes, you are a speck

But one with worth

And one with potential

And one with strength


Although you may doubt it

There are always those people

Who will remind you

That life is worth living


“My poems have really deep meanings, but they always naturally have a motivational aspect to them. Although they can sometimes be dark, I tend to use my poems as a kind of positive therapy,” Sanchez said.

Junior Alyssa Smith began writing poetry when they were twelve. They were motivated to start writing poetry through their girlfriend at the time who was very into it as well. After that, Smith followed suit and began to find their own style of writing.

After beginning to write, Smith realized that poetry became a great method pouring their feelings onto the page in the most effective way possible. While Smith did not feel comfortable with any other style of writing, they felt that poetry was different and that it was something with which they could show confidence.

“Before I began writing I never liked poetry because the poetry we read in middle school is never really good. I thought to myself that if I can write it, I can make it my own thing and make it better,” Smith said.

For Smith, writing poetry helps them cope with their problems associated with mental health.

“There’s a lot of thought processes that go through my head that when I put on paper become easier for me to understand, and for other people to understand me as well,” Smith said.


Dreams of You (And the Simple Joy of Being In Our Own Skin), by Alyssa Smith


Her hand on

my back,

her breath on

my skin,

is all so



And the touch reminds me

that I am


My skin

is my own,

my body is a body,

I am alive.

I have

two hands

a heart

that pumps blood.

And so does she.

And so it seems,

there is a world out there

after all.

I can only be me,

can only be what I am,

because she chose me,

skin and all,

and there is nobody else I’d rather be

than the person that she has decided to love.

When my eyes

open in the morning,

the birds will sing,

the sun will shine,

and I’ll realize

that she wasn’t here, after all.

My bed is still just that;

my own,

not yet ours.

And my body

will feel

a little less than real

a little more than fake.

But for now,

the delicate remains,

and, in her, I



“There’s something about love that changes something about you. It makes the whole world feel like something more. For me, that means feeling connected. I struggle with feeling disconnected from myself and from the world around me, feeling uncomfortable in my own skin, and I often say that I struggle to feel like a person at all. But it’s easier to exist, and it’s easier to be comfortable with yourself, when somebody loves you,” Smith said.

When it comes to poetry, authors feel that there are no boundaries or rules that should hold one back from writing what they truly feel. Poetry, for some, is a way to vent or even become more introspective. Poetry exemplifies how important it is to find your voice, whether it is showcased to others or not.