Waynflete Freshmen Participate in Merriconeag Poetry Festival

On Sunday, May 3rd, freshmen Riley Mayes and Payton Sullivan were honored at the Eighth Annual Merriconeag Poetry Festival at the Merriconeag Waldorf School in Freeport.  The yearly Merriconeag Poetry Festival is open to Maine high school students in Cumberland, Androscoggin and Sagadahoc counties, and it serves as a place to honor the myriad voices of young poets in Maine.

This year, poet Jeffrey Harrison, author of the Dorset prize-winning collection of poems Into Daylight, served as festival judge. Out of the over 100 poems submitted, twenty poems were selected by Harrison to honor at the festival, including submissions by Riley and Payton.  At the festival, Harrison spoke of the power of poetry and read from his own work.  Each of the 20 finalists  then read their own poems before Harrison announced the winners. Payton took home first place with her poem, “The Honeybee Unlocks the Universe.”  Her poem, as well as the second and third place winners, will have their poems displayed on a festival poster and distributed to every high school in the region.

The Honeybee Unlocks the Universe

       by Payton Sullivan’18

I threw myself down in the grass

like a fish tossed aground throws

himself back into water.  I delighted

in the splendid dirt enveloping me,

the crocuses clustering around me,

the indifferent heavens above me,


the sleepy air shifting

restlessly about me

like the last gulp of life.

On that late spring afternoon,

I resigned myself.


I allowed the bed of grasses to become my casket,

the doomed light of the plunging sun to be my pall,

and the wind in oaks to sing my dirge.


Oh, I swear the clouds slowed in awe,

and the creeping creatures of the dirt

lamented my passing


‘til I sprung from my grave.

Inexorably, I wandered aimlessly

yet purposefully throughout the garden

until creatures slept,

and breezes ceased to whisper.


Only the honeybees in clover continued

their toiling, as stars shattered

the inky canvas of nightfall.


In that dusky hour, I maintain to this day,

the universe folded back to my meadow.

Every matter-strewn field

was mine to traverse, and every

mystifying vacuum was pulling me in.


And still the bees hummed on,

as if determined to elude time herself.

And as they danced around me, I knew


that the simplest pirouettes of honeybees

can unlock the most complex

happenings of galaxies.


Riley Mayes ’18 poem:


Winter can be as bitter

As burnt toast.

The glare reflecting off the ice

Foreshadows the loss of balance,

And just before you hit the ground,

The image of falling hangs,


Above the head of the victim.

From the ground,

You see a molded sky that hangs loosely,

Close to your forehead,




It could induce hibernation.

The glassy spectacle of icicles

Monopolizes every roof and gutter;

Daggers and swords,


On the precipice of making a connection

Between themselves

And the mourning ground.

Not to mention the air;


Torrents of wind ripping tears from eyelashes and

Encasing fingertips.



Winter clings its fingers

Around the circumference of your throat,

And all you can do is wait for the gentle hand of the sun

To release you.

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