Poetry Moves on Transit

Welcome to Poetry Moves on Transit, a program that places poetry on ETS (Edmonton Transit System) vehicles.

The Poetry Route Top 26!

We received a ton of great entires for our latest round of bus poems, currently circulating on Edmonton Transit Vehicles (January / February 2016). Our call went out to school-aged youth, and WOW did we receive some awesome work! The top 4 poems will be seen on ETS vehicles, but we thought we’d feature the top 26 here on our website, as a way of congratulating all the student who submitted fantastic work! Here they are:

Cliffhanger
Michelle Yang, Grade 10
Winner, Fall 2015 Submission

Are you going to leave me on a cliffhanger like this?
With words unfinished, and ink running still?
Are you going to leave me on a bridge broken like this?
With the sides undone, and ends all dead?

Maybe I should have written the next page for myself,
But I gave it to you.
Maybe I should have run for the train as it left,
But I gave it up.

I left myself on a cliffhanger like this,
And now I’ve nowhere to go.

pAUsE . PLaY . rEpEAT
Joanna Chan, Grade 12
Winner, Fall 2015 Submission

People appear at 7 and return at 4
Holding buss passes, tickets, change
life begins to become a cycle.
I wish for you to STOP and just
 
pAUsE , to look at your surroundings
PLaY, as to have no more regrets
rEpEAT, to remember these moments.

Twelve Little Kings
Tiana Ranta, Grade 10
Winner, Fall 2015 Submission

Twelve little kings on their little thrones
Watching the soldiers march their way home
Tick-Tock Tick-Tock
Gears power the quiet rifles
Little hands running round
Endless march, only stopping when the tired mechanics
Give in to their own demise. 
Long war now over, silence and stillness
Twelve little kings on their little thrones
Watching tired soldiers march their way home

Misconceptions and Explorations
Madura Katta, Grade 12
Winner, Fall 2015 Submission

Jackets. Mittens. Boots. Gloves.
Coat every surface of exposed skin 
I hate the vengeful cold; something about the unforgiving 
air, sharp- But as I walk out today 
leaving footprints on uncharted sidewalks 
I can’t help but marvel the deathly silence
wispy smoke curling near my nose
electric trains chugging into oblivion. 
My boots make solitary noise as they meander 
filled with warmth in what was once an icy journey

En Dormant
Zoë Oswald, Grade 12

In November, the world falls asleep
It’s body temperature falls combatting this with a transpiration of crisp powder
An anabolic state, leaving us cells dormant
We honk our car’s through It’s bloodstreams 
And through the high pressure and low pressure, 
I prepare for the day when the world will awaken

Dance
Abigal Stormer, Grade 8

The curtain is up and a spotlight appears
Beneath the halo of light is a young girl
Clothed in a flowing dress
She pauses
Her eyes sparkle
Music plays
Suddenly she is alive, twisting and turning, leaping and spinning
The music stops
All is still
Her eyes sparkle

Child of the Sun
Tadiwa Nemutambwe, Grade 12

The soil to which I belong
My roots, the fundamentals
That must become known
Some foreign to me, yet most close to home
Rattle and shake, move and wake

In transit I am, wherever I go
In my homeland
My spirit is not at rest
For I have higher treasures than here below

Apathy
Joanna Chan, Grade 12

Sitting on the back of the bus,
a woman pauses to looks out the window
Grief clings to her, pours out of her
 
A students plays on his phone, shuffles
through the doors, does not look up
Headphones to block the noise, the emotion
 
It’s not that no one hears,
but that no one listens.

Growing
Peeha Luthra, Grade 11

I’ve been thinking about what it means,
To grow from being a girl,
Into being a woman.
For your body to twist and turn and swell,
Into something new and something foreign,  
Into something you have to analyze,
Obsess over,
Perfect,
Into something that defines you,
All the time wondering – why? 

Take A Breath
Tallulah, Grade 6

A time of war has happened,
A time of peace is waiting,
Gathered centuries ago, no one truly knows its meaning.
Let us come together, give you a sort of feeling,
Maybe it’s not perfect, not even the best,
But slow your heart and take a breath.
This is our place, yours and mine,
Let’s share it with each other.
We’ll build this place together, you and I.
Take my hand and take a breath.

Classe française
Michelle Hahn-Baker, Grade 12

We’re together in the library, studying
French verbs – the end, and the root – la racine
You ask me how I remember which for when, and I tell you
Le passe composé, the past composed, l’auxiliaire et le participe:
A two part transition for a one-time thing.
L’imparfait, the imperfect – actions interrupted, or times unknown
An emotion – love and fear – never unfelt, always feeling -

When I am done explaining, you blink a little, laugh, look at me,
Say, “Anything is poetic if you make it poetry.”

Glass Phantoms
Matthew Hackett, Grade 11

At thirteen, I had already let it in.
The essential modern flaw, insecurity.
Every way I wasn’t perfect was another bullet
An identity shattered with a few words and lingering glances.
I filled the spaces with hollow idols born in spotlights,
But they would never enough to hide,
Enough to vanish from the madness we become.
Only in healing, in standing against the storm,
Can we ever hope to be whole again.
A cracked glass that holds more than phantoms ever will.

Forgotten
Jessica Glinka, Grade 12

The smallest of all
The weakest of each
A tree stands alone
With a single leaf
Shivering in the darkness
Alone in the night
Yet, still manages
To win the fight of
Life

A Reminder
Kallan Thate, Grade 12

“When you feel like you are standing on a cliff over an ocean,

And realize that it’s really just the floor

On the side of your bed,

Remember that not all waves

Are created by the sea.

I know that the current is strong
But so are you.

You will learn
How to inhale the ocean

Without getting salt in all of your wounds.”

Wipe-Out
Shannon Wong

Everyone knows that moment

Legs spiralling out of control, arms flailing in vain

Landing hard on the ice

Gasping and expecting

To see your hockey stick splintered in two

To run your fingers along the crack in your helmet

To find your skate on the other side of the rink

Shakily sitting up to realize

You’re the only thing that is broken

A Boy
Chelsea Verge, Grade 11

I ran away with a boy who
Smelled like pine and
Alcohol
Because they told me not to and
I just wanted to feel in control for once
In my life and I ended up falling in love
With the way his soul was
Replaced with a bottle and every time he
Looked at me he removed me from my body and
Replaced me with the poison.

She Is
Chelsea Verge, Grade 11

Her eyes are blue like hurricanes
And she sets off tsunamis in my lungs,
Each time I see her I lack
The ability to find breath.
She is a work of art without context-
And no context is needed to understand her;
With it she becomes obvious.
And art like her is not meant to be obvious.
She is a poem that demands to be read
Over and over again.

I am Cat
Natalie Lappa

I am Cat.
If you
Give love
I might 
Give a little
Back.
(It won’t
Get better
Than that.)

Empty Freedom
Lanting Chan & Alicia Wu, Grade 12


     F o g   covers   my   vision,

The sun hides behind my shadow

		The Wind               picks up its pace
                     
			Blowing across the snow.

	A strand comes loose         I tuck it behind my ear

Only the wind continues to howl,

	Buried knee deep in the white blanket

Our world                stops spinning

	Until the sun reappears

Stranger
Shuling Yang, Grade 11

There’s a statue of sorrow curled up
At the corner of the sidewalk.
His white marble knuckles
And dewy eyes
Make me want to warm his aluminum heart.   

Soup Satisfies Me
Grant Guo

I find myself waiting at the same stop
Again, surrounded with familiar faces.
Same schedule: two transfers there, two transfers back.
Wake up to fried eggs, fall asleep from warm soup.
Friday is special for everyone, well almost everyone.
Everyone does his or her own special thing-
The man beside me is visiting his mother
The lady prepping for guests coming over
Me? I might make myself some soup for dinner
Or something new for a change. Maybe.

Fire
Neel, Grade 6
He’s like a snake, he slithers and spits
fire. His words are like an art. He raps
faster than you throw a dart. His beats
are heat and it can’t be beat, peace!

Boredom
Jeisha, Grade 6

Can you hear that? Zoomin high,
Planes flying by.
Streets full of beat, as people ride.
Cars driving by, while you sit and sigh.
Inside your room, inside your prison.
Wishing you were the one
Who was walking by.

Today
Kirsten Grade 6

Our Social Skills are no longer a prize
When we think we are communicating on the internet
We are talking to people we haven’t even met
We are turning EMOTIONS into “emojis”
And simple manners into text terminology
Step out into your neighborhood,
Run a marathon
Instead of watching one on the television
Now do you see?
What our world can be?

Sports
Jack Grade 6

1. The crack of a slapshot … Hockey
2. The Boom of a Home Run … Baseball
3. The fight for a fumbled ball … Football
4. The huffing and puffing of an exhausted runner … Cross-Country
5. The splash of a front stroke … Swimming
6. The groan of the crowd after I set the ball terribly … Volleyball
7. The roar of the crowd afgter Curry Swishes a three … Basketball
8. The nice warm, cheerful, and lifesaving from the bitter cold … The ETS BUS!!!!!

After Darkness Comes Light
Arju Grade 6

Hush little darling
Don’t you cry
Don’t slit your skin
Don’t say goodbye
Put down the blade
Put out the sadness and the lighI know it is hard but you will win the fight

About Poetry Moves on Transit

Poetry Moves on Transit is an Edmonton Poetry Festival project that puts short poems into public transit vehicles. Three times a year we circulate a new flight of four poems in 800 ETS buses. Poems selected for the project are funded primarily by the Edmonton Arts Council.