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The Light Experiment by Tierza Burton – Winner of the 2023 Teen Writing Contest – Poetry

A huge thank you to all who took the time to enter the 2023 Solano County Library Teen Writing Contest!

We were honored to read your work, and encourage each of you to continue writing.

Please enjoy the winning entry below!


The Light Experiment by Tierza Burton

You’re drawn to loveliness. I know you are.

Composures like diamonds,

Impressions like gold,

The striking standout at the masquerade ball;

They shine.

You want to be lovely. I know you do.

Go on, darling; experiment. Chase the light…

Anticipating admiration

With a starry wink at the mirror,

Dazzling the entrance to the masquerade ball

Shining bright.

How does it feel to be a standout? You’ve been quiet.

I’ve noticed your roving gaze

As you dance with chipping innocence

Daggered by glances, paranoid by whispers.

Compromise for composure;

Welcome to the game: The dangerous amusement of the masquerade ball

Where they’ll trade anything to shine.

How does it feel to light the heavens? Stars are luminescent but dying; I know you feel the same: Collecting compliments like pennies to climb the rushing tide;

Then, the plunge is terrifying, but you’ve come too far to cry.

Forgotten you have features behind a glittering disguise,

And fingerprints hidden under slender, white gloves:

The sum you surrendered to shine.

Experiments have lessons; I beg you heed yours well:

That no one who chases the light maintains it; now we both understand: The promise shimmers initially, but births unforeseen demise,

Burn everything to be adored, yet never satisfy them all,

Reaching out for radiance, spun shattered in the end;

Vanity of vanities! It’s the tragedy of fame,

How all the dancers break at the merry masquerade ball,

When they trade heart and soul for shine.

You still want to be lovely. I know you do, but how?

The light is no accessory! it beams from deep inside.

Pursuing it is vanity, but a noble heart is bright.

And not just bright, but warm,

Splashing dormant guests off guard

With inspiration and rarity;

At last, it is real shine.

Dare to be noble as I know you can be,

Scorning misdirection by glowing vanities.

Think pure thoughts to speak kind words,

Love in the face of hate,

Cherish mercy, walk by truth,

And upset it! the clockwork masquerade ball,

Where they ache for a shine with heat.

Shine bright, darling, and shine real; I know you surely will.

Strive for virtue, not for praise,

And I soulfully assure:

Appearance’s waning glow can never hold a spark

To the fiery brilliance beaming from your golden heart.


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