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from Another Four

Raphael H., class of 2025

(loosely based on Four Quartets)

Time present and time past
Are both present in time future – T.S. Eliot

Quartet II: A Painting

The threads of millennia are woven

Walking balls of yarn and dust meander along their crumbling bridges

Into the dark beyond

The needles they carry drag through the ether at their feet

And new bridges appear

Crossing the gap between death gained and life lost

Throw yourself into the gaping mouth between and find purpose


I will guide you down through the void

We will guide you all

Bring your hands, bring your skills, limited though they may be

And as you fall, for you will forever, until forever ends

Weave a tapestry


Come, observer, for the writing on the wall spins words

Listen to the crying, the screaming

Breathe in the fumes and the pungent smell of time future’s victims

Let your mind rest on the fact that you are already one of them


Read it through your tears

Warn the wrinkled sword,

the brain, of what has been

Hold the walls of time past, keep time present from time future

Where, in the waves of null, llun presides

Keep her close to your heart, or lose your organs

Have them ripped from your chest, consumed by the ones who drill in the dark

And blind more than the eyes with the fiery light

Not of heaven, no, that creature was burnt at the stake the day speech died

And the day the words were written

On the crumbling wall, riddled with bullet holes, on a cold, bright april morrow,

Where the clocks strike Thirteen,

And times past tick on.


So before you go,

Toss me a thought

Because I’ll stay by your side, my dear child.

And always will.


Ilaria C., Class of 2022

A golden shovel

after “Separation” W.S. Merwin


I weave your

presence into a red quilt, absence

of mind. Have you eaten? Has

the sky rained and gone?

I am finishing the crimson, through

with ruby. Do you need the quilt, or me?


Natalie S., Class of 2022

After Harmony at Last by Luna dB, Class of 2022


They sit hand in hand in the sea

of clouds colored purple


Waltz on these puffs

that burrowed deep into your head

like pleasant cobwebs


Nothing outside


The red queen sits in her purple basins

with fire hair

She steams the puffs

that water


Funny how she

shields us from the storm


Fire trails

gold drops fall from the sky


I meet you at duskbreak.

Two Lovers, Two Minds

Flavia T., Class of 2025

One bench, one bridge, one bed, we share physically.

Our eyes fighting desperately to look at each other,

Our hearts not letting our hug go, their arms wrapped tightly together.

Trying to hold each other's hand, only to be divided by the sweat that builds up.

Your silhouette dominates your melancholic features.


Do we really love each other? Or have we lost our touch in affection?

The sound of our footsteps creating their own conversation, filling up the silence that lingers.

Devoting our time and pleasure to the people we love,

But sadly, we happen to not be any of those people.

The wind howling our names through the ditch, the void which we have created ourselves.

Not even cupid can solve the misery that lies secretly,

For our spirits have awakened and chosen to part.

Perfect, American English

Sophia T., Class of 2025

Because there is such thing as sacrifice,

the woman will dream

of gold mountains & swelling hills

& bright little hopes. Heimong she says,

the land across the ocean will have

good food & good opportunities and

most importantly

people who look just like her. Danhai

she will say later,

longing for pearl river deltas &

wishing she were not a yellow duckling swimming

in a pond of ugly, hating swans for

Keouidei she explains,

speak perfect American English

and she

does not.


American English,

is a language of humiliation

if you have an accent you are dumb & if you use your mother tongue you are dumb &

if you are different in any way you are dumb &

suddenly the woman, who was—is—very smart

is suddenly very, very dumb.

Deemgai she asks,

do foreign words weigh like foreign rocks & the act of reading books drift

so far out of her closed, reaching palms. The woman is not lonely

foreignness is common, racism more so—

but keouilum sometimes

why her own daughters do not want to talk like her & are ashamed

to eat what she eats & go where she goes.

The woman now dreams

of pearl river deltas & mud-eating catfish &

mountains that shine like jade rather than gold. Yet,

she remains, awzidou she says,

for there is such a force as family and

because there is such as a thing,

as sacrifice.


The OVILLEJO form is credited to Miguel de Cervantes. It is a favorite among students and Creative Writing teachers, including St. Stephen’s School’s own Moira Egan. Ms Egan has a rule, as a matter of fact, that she never assigns a writing prompt unless she has done one of them herself. Indeed, she had never written an ovillejo. Inspired by Sophia’s Taco Tuesday Explovillejo and a conversation about the origins of “giovedì gnocchi,” she finally wrote her own ovillejo (or Gnovillejo), which appears below.

A formal explanation from Sophia T.S.: “An ovillejo is a Spanish poetic form that is made up of 3 rhyming couplets and a final quatrain. The longer lines are 8 syllables. The last line of the quatrain consists of lines 2, 4, and 6 (Brewer, Writer’s Digest). When I tried to write an ovillejo, I accidentally added an extra couplet! Ms. Egan encouraged me to go with it, and she cleverly came up with the name ‘explovillejo.’”

Explovillejo on a Taco Tuesday

Sofia T.S., Class of 2024

Tuesdays go all the way to six

The clock ticks,

But the hand inches, takes its time

I write a rhyme

Then through hunger, my mind wallows

On tacos,

And I look on what I have done

For fun

My explovillejo is done

And I am happy now, not tired

For I have accomplished to what I aspired

The clock ticks, I write a rhyme on tacos, for fun.

Gender Neutral

Sara H., Class of 2023 

Chase a word hopping down a page,

bird in a cage

flies far from grammatical rules

How cruel!

This bird escapes tradition;

Vile ambition,

You fly without my permission.

“What’s the bird’s name – what word?” you say

I present to you the pronoun “They”

Bird in a cage, how cruel; vile ambition

The Expedition

Derek M.B., class of 2025

A long and arduous expedition up Mount Gill;

but they will.

A storm is coming, it almost seems impossible to go further.


They will persist and succeed! It will really set the tone when they

reach home.

They will be awarded with trophies polished in chrome.

The mountain looks all so beautiful in its might,

and the storm seems to be clearing out of sight.

But they will never reach home.


Moira Egan, Creative Writing Teacher

(after Sofia T.S.)

If it’s Thursday, it must be gnocchi.

Is it hokey?

Oh, come on, they’re so delicious.

I love dishes

that seem to have a mission,

that reflect tradition.

Prior to Friday’s fishy inanition,

enjoy this carb-load, born of religion,

served with pesto, sugo — even pigeon.

Is it hokey? I love dishes that reflect tradition.




Lixuan D., Class of 2024





This is a translation of a poem written by the Tang Dynasty Chinese poet Li Bai (701-762CE)


Longing Thoughts, Silent Night

Shimmering and twinkling, spilling on the window sill, the moon.

Is it a frost jacket for the floor, newly made, by the moon?

I can’t help but raise my head, towards the moon.

How bright, outside the window, up in the sky, shines the moon!

Deep in thought, I bow my head, away from the moon.

Longing for my homeland, distant, like the moon.


Uma S., Class of 2024

Poem originally written by Gulzar in Hindi:



बस चंद करोड़ों सालों में

सूरज की आग बुझेगी जब

और राख उड़ेगी सूरज से

जब कोई चांद न डूवेगा

और कोई  जमीं न उभरेगी

तब ठंडा बुझा इक कोयला-सा

टुकड़ा ये  जमीं का घूमेगा


मद्घम ख़किसत्री रोशनी में!

में सोचता हूं उस वक़्त अगर

काग्ज़ पे लिखी इक नज़्म कहीं उड़ते-उड़ते

सूरज में गिरे

सूरज फिर से जलने लगे!



In a billion years, when

The sun’s fire dwindles

And ash blows across its surface

When the moon will no longer wane

And the land not rise

When like a cold, burnt-out piece of coal

This earth revolves, lost in its gyre,

Trailing a dying sepia glow

I think then

If a poem written on a piece of paper

Was to waft along

And perchance land on the sun,

The sun would ignite again!


My rendition;

When the Moon Will No Longer Wane


The tears that skim your face, shimmer when

You glance upon the

mystic, marvelous, moon.

Trying to find or will,

that peace of mind, which no

-one else can offer you any longer.

You know what they say;

the light is ever brighter when the crescent wanes.

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