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Packer's 2023 Poetry Chapel
April is National Poetry Month. Our Middle and Upper School poets upheld the long-standing tradition of sharing poetry with fellow students at Poetry Chapel. Some selected the work of other poets; many shared their original pieces for the first time. Each reading was met with supportive applause.Scroll below to read some of the student poems recited during Poetry Chapel. 

Vee '27: Poem About a Sweater

The cardigans wear me
Everyone I see is hauling cardigans
Bright, fluorescent colors fill cardigans
The ground is a colossal cardigan
Lady liberty flaunts her own cardigan
Young seamstresses sew tight cardigans
Cardigans are everywhere
Cardigans overflow from purses
Cardigans pour out the showerhead
Cardigan nails are painted
with cardigan polish
Cardigan hair, woven curly or straight
with yarn that is assembled from tiny cardigans
and those cardigans, created from cardigan string
Folks eat cardigans
The flavors of cardigans melt
on cardigan taste buds
Sewn on to faces are cardigan noses
And cardigan planes soar through
cardigan air
cardigan clocks count
cardigan seconds turn into
cardigan minutes
into cardigan hours
cardigan lights push
cardigan luminescence onto
cardigan walls
On my cardigan TV
I watch cardigan sitcoms
When I come home from my cardigan school
and begin my cardigan homework
I write poems about sweaters

Emerson '24: Procrastination

My clock's hand traces the numbers
The sand in my hourglass slips through the cracks
I light each match
and watch it blaze, burn, die
My fingertips were the same raw pink
as the alpenglow of the sunset
The match ends piling up like autumn leaves
Waiting to be raked. by the breeze
Twilight blue windows are now midnight
Evening seeps through the gaps
My matches seem brighter now
My fingers slow, reaching for another
The glow of each flame, more mundane
I reach the bottom of the box
The last match
Despite its familiar size and shape
It glows without being lit
My weak fingers strike the match with graceful bravado
I drop it
At least now something is being done

Graham '30: Delphinus

My face struck with awe
Smooth rubber met my fingers
Exotic to the touch
The water chilled my skin but i didn't lift a finger
scared that i might startle them
Hidden away in a cove with nothing but water and wonder
Lit with ambient lights and laughter my doubts seemed to swim away
I learned how to act around these delicate creature,
how to behave and how to please them.
They seemed to be curious thinking about our coos and questions.
That's how i met those dolphins
In that cold blue water that they were somehow used
to. They gracefully swam as we helplessly treaded.

Jenelle '28: Teenage Girls Make Great Poems

Teenage girls make great poems
It’s a weird title but it’s true
Poems are meant to make you uncomfortable
That's a teenage girls specialty through and through
Poems are supposed are supposed to say everything but nothing at the same time
Have a sense of innocence even though it knows our society itself is a crime
Poems are supposed to derive emotions you never knew you had
Same with womanhood it can be full of pain and sad
But also can feel glad
Poems are supposed to be a form of expression
A form of escape
And Teenage girls are the most accepting people you could ever name
Even if some don’t seem like it
Poems are supposed to be untrustworthy
Poems are supposed to be unpredictable
Poems are often misunderstood
Poems are often underappreciated
Poems are often used as an excuse when you can’t understand something
Poem’s messages are often ignored
Poem’s obvious cries for help are often not seen
Poems are often not seen
Poems are often not heard
It is not until the poem is over
Until the absence of words takes over
That’s when the poem is acknowledged
That's when the poem is missed
Teenage girls make great poems
It’s a weird title but it’s true

Georgia '30: Thunder Horse

The thunder booms in the sky as my hooves pound the billowing dirt
I skid to a stop and rear to the sky telling it that i am not afraid
The lightning flashes as I streak across the desert
I am powerful, strong and brave
My mane blows back behind me like the howling wind
The angry clouds try to race me, pushing and swirling around each other
The air is thick with the promise of rain
Shelter awaits me just beyond the dunes  

Elise '27: A Thousand Reasons

The shadow of defeat upon your face
As I pace
Trying to find an answer on the phone
You’re outside cold and alone
Torn and Broken
As I tell you you’re crazy
And you retort it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring and so you
Give me a thousand reasons why it was different this time

Looking back at the picture frames
Where the too big smiles
Warned defeat
Warned that you couldn’t press repeat
On a thousand memories so brittle
They would crack
If you tried to hold on
The pouring rain
Erasing all the pain
Behind your clouded eyes
Cracked in between
Showing too many secrets
But giving you a thousand reasons
To make the same mistakes

Desperate to become king
When you’re just a meager pawn
In someone else’s game
Getting eaten over and over
But giving me a thousand reasons why it was different every time you fell

Cold and alone
Making your problems mine
To free up your clouded sight
I tear away my conscience
To piece yours together
Only so you can give me a thousand reasons why it was different this time

But I need you to know
That when you cry
Cold and alone from the same mistakes made a thousand times
When you run out of a thousand reasons
Then and only then will you understand

That when life
Gives you a hundred reasons to cry
You show life
A thousand reasons to smile

So don’t cry because it’s over,
Smile because it happened

Emma '28: Sunsets

I love the colors, the way they blend into a warm gradient.
The way it dips below the horizon, the last beauty before the dark night.
I love the way it looks like the sky's ablaze with the fire of the lowering sun.
The way it doesn't hurt my eyes like the bright beams do in the day.
I love the way It warms me.
The way I still get shivers every time I look at it.
I love the way it’s almost impossible to look at it without dreaming.
The way you can’t think at all.
I love the way that the clouds lay on the sky
The way everything is flawlessly floating like a perfectly painted picture.
I love the way it makes me feel trapped in the moment.
I love the way that it makes me feel free.

Evelyn '27: present phrase of the future

i make an extra cup of coffee for you every morning, 

with a dash of almond milk and a spoonful of sugar

(brown sugar, to be exact), and leave you a note.


the ones on the fridge with my handwriting say:

keep letting your flowers grow, there are no more weeds,

a quote from our favorite book, falling apart at the seams

that phrase we’ve exchanged countless times over the years,

a picture, remember when we were young and full of fear and tears?


we never talk about it, all that is left is a mug on

the counter, a slight brown stain on the bottom,

and the lingering bitterness of slightly sweetened coffee. 


but in return, you read everything i write, 

knowing it is mine,

telling me it brings you the light in life,

in the night, whisper to me your secrets

while the moon cradles us tight, 

lips tired and full of fire,

this is the happiest 

we’ve ever been and it makes me feel like we 

have won a fight already lost,

the cost was youth and bloodied walls 

when the world falls, promise me 

you’ll stay, i’ll make coffee to hold this bond.


we wallow in silence on those nights when we both are tired

to our bones but not enough to not be together, 

gaze out of our home window somewhere in paris, in new york, 

in some small town, in a cramped apartment, in a remote cottage, 

wherever we want to be, and listen

to the cars, the birds, the garbage truck, the saxophone player.  


your face lights up when i wear the ring you got me,

as i place our flowers in vases. we live in our embraces, 

grow from our laughter, shedding the previous phases.


i make you coffee, even though i know you hate it,

watch you drink from the mug i got you, 

staining our past and present. 


when things get rough, we tell each other that things 

have to get worse, to get better. i’ll hold onto you,

even in stormy weather. 

the phrase is always implied but never needs to be said. 


you wear the scarf i knit for your birthday when the weather

dips below thirty degrees, and laugh at my flushed cheeks as

winter weeps and sweeps between the trees barren of green

there are no longer gaps in my teeth, but it is almost like

we are once again merely weeds wanting to be trees.


we watch life pass us by and let go of the reins.

time is slipping past our fingers, all i want is to stay,

stop the minutes from slipping away.

soon we will have wrinkled hands and tender aching bodies,

our eyesight will go foggy.

the candles will get harder to blow out each year,

but our tears will no longer be drowned 

in our crippling fears.


and for now, 

we exchange that phrase

like it holds 

the meaning of our lives.

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