(Clinton KY) - Ninety five year old poet Dorothy Nell Harper has five books of poetry in her name. She didn't begin publishing her work until after her eighty fourth birthday. Harper, who has lived in Hickman County since she came to the county as a young bride, shares her love of poetry through her books and reading. She wrote her first poem at seven years old. She didn't share her poems for many years until she was encouraged by the Clinton Women's Club to begin writing seriously.
Harper decided a year ago to reward students who could produce the best rhyming verse.She firmly and unapologetically believes that "poems should rhyme." She offered a $100 cash prize to the Hickman County student with the best poem.
This year, the Hickman County Arts Council supported Harper's contest by offering prizes for second and third place poems. Hickman County Schools faculty members monitored the writing and provided judges for the competition.
On Thursday, the Dorothy Nell Harper Poetry Competition winners were announced. All Hickman County High School freshmen gathered in the school library to hear the announcement.
The poet was under the weather and couldn't make the presentation. Her granddaughter, Amy Harper-Hogancamp, a Clinton attorney, presented the first place prize to Sarah Gardner for her poem "Fading Wonders" on behalf of her grandmother. Harper-Hogancamp spoke to the students' of her grandmother's extraordinary life and work.
Second place prize of $50 went to Evan Jackson for "Grandmother's Love" and third place to Delaney Boaz for "Small Survivor."
Pettit reported that the students loved writing the poetry and were excited about the competition.
It's a report sure to gladden the heart of poet Dorothy Nell Harper.
The winning poems follow this article.
Fading Wonders by Sarah Gardner
My little butterfly,
I see that look in your eyes
It’s full of darkness and despair,
Your wings have been torn beyond repair
You feel really alone
Believing you’re on your own
But that doesn’t mean you cannot still fly
You just need something to help you get by.
Look around you
The stars that are the light
Still shine on this gray and stormy night
They’re trying to help you see
Just how amazing you are to me
I will mend your wings
One day at a time
I’ll watch as your pretty eyes
Gain back their shine
Nurse you back to health
That’s what I’ll do
What you don’t know is
You’ll be healing me too
Everything gets knocked down
Bashed and mistreated
All of this happens for a reason
No one knows what it is just yet
But stay with me and we’ll make our best bet
For you are my butterfly
With wings that glow so bright
I can’t look away from the beautiful light
That sweeps its rays all through the night
Please believe me
When I say I’ll never let you go
Because you, my dear
Are the most wonderful thing I will ever know.
Grandmother’s Love By Evan Jackson
Some of my fondest memories
Of being a child
Were playing with my grandmother
Letting our imaginations run wild
Cars and trucks
And crayons and fun
Her whole face smiled
When she saw me run
Long baths in the tub
Tickles on my toes
Soap in my hair
And suds on my nose
She rocked me to sleep
With a sweet lullaby
Giving “boo boo” kisses
When I would cry
Jolly and sweet
And kind and tender
Those are the things
I cherish and remember
Watching me grow
Has been her greatest joy
In her eyes I will always be
Her little boy
Made in heaven
And from above
The wonderful gift
Of my grandmother’s love
Small Survivor By Delaney Boaz
The day we had been waiting for, all so glad
No one had expected things would go so bad
Early in the morning I awoke anxiously
Ready to see my sibling to be
We gathered in the waiting room, bursting with joy
Someone suddenly shouted, “It’s a boy!”
So beautiful and amazing, so precious and small
He had just made his entrance and stolen the hearts of us all
Later that night, the moment came
That changed our lives which seemed so insane
Unconscious and in need, the baby suffered a brain bleed
The doctor began to give orders and the nurses took heed
Too foggy to fly, we began to cry
With tears in our eyes, we realized he could die
In between seizures, the paramedics arrived late
The ambulance was loaded and took off to another state
Alive at the hospital, he was kept for weeks
We felt so blessed as we stroked his cheeks
We finally came home, what a wonderful day
To bring home this small survivor we called Trey.