Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Springing Surprises

April showers bring May flowers, and to beat out the rainy blues, we are "showering" you with some of Holicong's most fantastic poetry and artwork!  We hope you take the time to celebrate National Poetry Month and enjoy this positively pleasant post!

Flying On Water

Six in the afternoon
Fiery-orange sunlight released from inside the clouds
Surrounding the heavens like a great big wall
Two blood-red knives slice through the glistening aquamarine waters
With points as sharp as a needle

Ducks swimming out of their way
Drifting across Lake Galena
They laugh and talk
Paddling the whole time
Gripping onto the sharp jet-black propellers

So peaceful
A breeze develops
Blowing proud and strong like a lion’s roar
Night slowly creeps into the afternoon sky
Amethyst-purple and apricot-orange clash for control of the sky
Slowly it turns into night

Nine at night
Animals drift off to a peaceful night’s sleep
The riders head to shore
Their black truck rumbles off into the distance
The kayaks mounted 

by Christopher A., Grade 9

Portrait by Gillian S., Grade 9

The Half-Whole Moon

and I discovering
the half-whole moon unravelling
a gift into the light diminishing to dusk,
the half-whole moon displayed its dismembered husk.

Upon it I glanced
to find somehow it stared back,
beckoning until I was forced to ask,
what great stories do you dare grasp?
Your holes,
your caverns,
your mountains,
they all resembled nothing more than a mask.

But the half-whole moon continued to turn,
relishing what I could only hope to learn,
to earn,
but it only churned,
ignoring my pitiful yearn,
it continued to turn.

Your pits!
I screamed
craters and calderas,
nothing more than sheaves encompassed your layers.
Tell me the odyssey that has led to now,
your epic voyage of when and how.

But the half-whole moon continued to churn,
to burn my wishful hopes,
as I lay helpless,
earnest yet stern
and it laughed
and mocked
and cackled as it whirled.

The half-whole moon continued to turn.

by Joshua C., Grade 9

Artwork by Janice C., Grade 9

The Window

Have you ever been outside?
in a snowstorm?
at night?

Have you ever felt the grass?
as it freezes?
as it dies?

Have you ever sat and thought?
and prayed?
and cried?

Have you ever closed your eyes?
in disimpassioned silence?
And screamed for something?
in sticky silence?
And called out?
without opening your mouth?
In cacophonous interminable silence

There's a light on
Behind you
Do you feel its warmth?
feel its noise?

Its strange orange glow
Lends a shadow
With which you talk
With which you argue

You approach the light
Touch its surface
But it's a window
Not a door

You wipe away the dirt
The sludge
The streaky fingerprints
Left long ago

A hand appears
Not your own
You reach for it
But it's cold and gone

You smash the glass
Tears streaming down your face
But it's not there

The warm air floods over you
Like the first drops of rain
After years of unforgiving droughts

Inside you see paradise
You dive through the shards
Once vicious
They now protect you

And as you fall
You ponder
Why you sat
for so long
in the dark
in the cold
in the glow
of the window.

by Danny H., Grade 9

The Other Side of Society

I had been there all along
Clawing to get to the surface
I found that I was not
Moving forwards and finding my identity
But rather
Sinking deeper into the depths of society
I am not
Doing what is right
My ideal has always been
Doing what is best for me
Nothing is
It’s true that you are
Only an insignificant individual in this large universe
It’s foolish to imagine that you can be
Existing in peace
Differences are
Plagued by derisions
Never again will we fear being
The cruel and malicious tormenters
Humans no longer
Distinguish between righteousness and baseness
We are always ready to
Accept the destruction we create
Continue to move on for more
We cannot just
Believe everything is perfect
Nothing is what it seems to be
But we can shatter that mask
By living in hatred
A veil has been drawn over our eyes
Deep down, everyone is aware that
Nobody can escape from their fate
It’s not true when specialists say
Wounds can be healed
I tell you this
Time is not capable of patching up the gaps
People are mistaken when they believe
We will see the light at the end of the tunnel someday
Humans are intelligent
However, I concede that
Life sets obstacles incapable of being penetrated
The world knows
We have always lost
It’s irrational to trust that
There has always been another side to the story
(Now read it in reverse)

by Ling X., Grade 9

Artwork by Rachel C., Grade 8

From our recipe editor Emily W., put a spring in you step with the monthly recipe for April: Lemon Bar Peeps. Hop to it!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March Sadness

March came like a lion and we hope it will exit like a lamb. Even though March Madness brackets are turning into a bust, hopefully the wonderful March entrees will stop all the fuss. As the snow begins to melt and the basketball comes to a close, read these to settle your woes!

Journey Into Oblivion

We are humans
Who constantly journey into oblivion.
We are unaware,

Everyday we journey
Into a cavern swallowed by darkness,
With no flashlight,
With no knowledge of how to spark a fire
So that we can see.

Our society does not see.
We are too constantly tangled in oblivion and darkness,
And we have come to accept these arms
That wrap around us,
Keeping us from venturing out.

Rarely do we journey outside the caverns,
Into the light,
So we can see,
See past the rock walls conjured by society,
See what is really going on in the world.

However, there are a few people
Who have ripped holes in the oblivion
To see the light,
And journey outside the dark caverns.
These people are immune to oblivion.
They are aware,


by Gemma L., Grade 9

Infographic by Callie C., Grade 9

Works Cited
Boesler, Matthew. "Bottled Water Costs 2000 Times as Much as Tap Water." Business Insider, 12 July 2013, Accessed 1 Mar. 2017.

"Bottled Water Facts." Ban the Bottle, Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.

"Bottle Water Is Wasteful." The Water Project, Water Project, Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.

Goldschein, Eric. "15 Outrageous Facts about the Bottled Water Industry." Business Insider, 27 Oct. 2011, Accessed 27 Feb. 2017.

Schriever, Norm. "Plastic Water Bottles Causing Flood of Harm to Our Environment." The Huffington Post, Huffington Post,

artwork by Morgan D'Angelo, Grade 9

I Bee-gan a Fight

It was a secret I kept for fourteen years. It was something that I prayed they would not tell my mom.
I sat on an uneven, giant, dark blue rug on the floor crissed-crossed-apple-sauced just in front of the light brown cubbies that were coated with a thick layer of shiny plastic. I waited patiently (well as patient as a preschooler could be) playing with my bleach blonde hair, blinking my crystal blue eyes, and laughing with my friends in an oval. We were just about to have craft time. I loved craft time. I was awfully good at it too, if I do say so myself. I spotted frizzy brown hair floating towards me, gently bobbing up and down like a buoy in the ocean. It was Miss Emily bringing over Elmer's white craft glue and yellow construction paper. I became eyelevel with a stack of paper plates and a tube full of googly eyes. I was immediately intrigued.
I guessed loudly to my friends what we were going to make. I distinctly remember saying, “A bee! We are going to make a bee paper plate!" At this time, I heard other guesses from the wild beasts across the room. Each one trying to top the next answer. A snail, a finger painting project, and a ladybug plate were the most notable. The ladybug plate was said by another little girl across the room named Regina.
Miss Emily hushed our eager bodies moving her hands like she was petting an invisible creature and said, "That's right Regina! We are going to be making a bee paper plate!" I was so excited! I really wanted to make that bee. Craft time was my favorite time of the day (besides snack and recess) but I was especially pumped to make this project. But then, reality sunk in. Miss Emily, my own teacher, had betrayed me. She had given MY credit to Regina. Sirens warped in my head, a warning bell dinging. This was wrong.
I sprouted up as fast as Jack's beanstalk and  immediately shouted, "Hey! Wait! I guessed that! I said we were going to make a bee." I drifted slowly down to my knees. I had just used my outdoor voice inside. This was unacceptable. But I knew that I had bigger problems at the moment. My credit, my shining moment, was brutally stolen from right under me. My face was newly tattooed with a small frown.
Regina stood up and pointed, "Miss Emily! Katie is lying. I said that. She said we were going to make a ladybug!" My face became as red as a firetruck even though I had no reason to be. I was never accused of lying by my own friend before. My jaw dropped ten feet.
All of the sudden, Prince Charming came in riding on his royal horse. A little boy with brown eyes, black hair, who was slightly smaller than me named Mark rose from his spot on the rug.
"Miss Emily, I am pretty sure Katie said we were making a bee. Regina is the one who is lying." Mark humbly muttered, his hanging towards the floor playing with his thumbs like one would a video game. My face returned to its natural color. However, my reign was short lived. Regina stormed over to Miss Emily and not using her indoor voice shouted,
"NO! I said that we were going to make the bee! I said it! I said it! I said it! Do I look like a person who would . . . would . . . lie? I mean seriously. I never lie. Ever. Ask my mom. In fact, if you call me a liar, I'll tell her. And you wouldn't want that would you? Because then that could get you in trouble Miss Emily."
"Katie! Get in the corner!" Shouted Miss Emily. "You lied and lying is wrong. You should not gain credit for something that you didn't do."
"But . . . but . . . Miss Emily . . . I . . . I didn't lie. I said that we were making a bee . . ." I mumbled.
"Katie, that is not nice. You are talking back to an adult and lying. Get in the corner. You are not going to be joining us in craft time today." She sternly said. The deed was done. I could do nothing but stand there in disbelief.
I picked up the broken pieces of myself and carried them in a bucket of sorrow. The walk of shame. My fellow classmates, playmates, friends, all bowing their heads to me -- not in respect but in disappointment.
I stood at the wall near the stand of picture books with familiar faces. These were not welcoming. Everything was foreign. So I lowered by body gently to the floor on the grey tile with multi-colored speckles and I looked straight ahead.
What would my mom think of this? She can not know. Ever.
My soft, light hands caressed my head. My feet shrunk in towards my stomach. My head sunk to my knees. My blonde hair became my safety blanket. The pose of shame.
"Katie, you are allowed to read in time out. Here is a newspaper." Miss Emily told me with a forgiving smile that was all unpleasant to me. "Read." she said, "Now."
I took the adult paper and stared at the scribbles. Torture. "This is punishment," I told myself, "Bad Katie. You should have just kept quiet. Now look what you have done. You can't even make the bee anyway."
The paper became blurry. The paper became wet. I was crying. Red eyes, swollen cheeks, and crying. The cry of shame.
Just as fast as it happened, it was over. The crying, the pose, the walk, the craft, the day. I picked up my backpack, wiping away the stale tears and I made sure it didn’t look like I had been crying.
"Miss Emily, please don't tell my mom." I said. She did not respond.
 To this day I do not know if she heard me or if she did not. All I know is that my mom did not know about this incident until about two months ago when I was in the car with my friend and we were telling stories about preschool. When I first told my mom she did not believe me. She told me that she would have done something about it and my teacher would have told her but then I reminded her that she also did not know about the next day when I hit Regina or any of the other times when I was a bad girl and Miss Emily didn't want to share. . .
This experience was tragic for me. However, the whole incident was so important. Not just because of what happened to me in that small preschool room, but what I gained. I did not receive credit for what I said. I realized that if you focus on what you do and do not do it for the credit you will receive, then you can move forward. When you receive credit because the goal was to receive credit, you stay in the same place you were. You do not move back because you still accomplished it but you do not ever get to move forward. I challenge you to move forward. See how it changes you.
Miss Emily, I am sure does not remember anything about this but who is to say that it is not true. Besides, this is only one of the many stories I have to tell about this class and Mark . . .

by Katie Q., Grade 9

This month's recipe is for the Shamrock Shake, compliments of our chef/editor Emily W.  

Friday, February 24, 2017

The February Thaw

Welcome to February's literary magazine post!  We are happy to announce that along with the new weather that is approaching, we also have new posts for your enjoyment.  We hope that the departure of winter combined with this month's lovely writing and art work will put a new "spring" in your step.  Enjoy!

The Kingdoms

Let me begin with this:
I want to live happily with both sides, but I clearly cannot.
The war has begun and there will not be peace; I am old enough to know this.
The East kingdom has declared independence from the West.
I am the prince.
My territory borders the two kingdoms, and they both ask me to join them.
Now I consider my heart and nothing else.
While the West may be wealthier and stronger, I do love the East too.
Yet, my heart tells me the West has a place in there as well.
Do I abandon my past loyalties?
Do I break the promises I have made?
Where will I be happy?
These questions do not help.
 They leave me viciously between a rock and a hard place.
But the rock has turned to magma, and the hard place is only ice.
The fighting begins and I am left out of it.

I must decide before it is too late.

by Will M., Grade 9

artwork by Emily W., Grade 9

A Journey I Must Find

My lifelong achievement was to tell a tale.
I yearned to tell my future all about the past,
My life dedicated to a journey.
But I remained unsatisfied with the unknown facts.
A journey I must find.

A simply complex mysterious item.
What truly is a journey?
Must I go and leave for some preposterous adventure,
Out of the place I call home?
A journey I must find.

Is it the escape of ideas?
The thoughts and feelings within myself?
Or is it the exploration of such unidentifiable entities inside my head?
Some things I did not know.
A journey I must find.

Are the answers about this journey in a book
Somewhere on a discarded shelf?
Will I run out of precious time to carry out my voyage?
Must I find this expedition?
This journey I must find.

As I live and dream and think,
Possibilities bloom from seeds of ideas.
I have not gone to travel far and wide,
I simply dwelled on my vast curiosity.
Is this the journey I had to find?

In the future I tell this tale,
For it is one I reflect back upon.
Why should I search for a journey,
When the journey indeed was my searching?
My journey I had found.

by Katie H., Grade 9

artwork by Blair B., Grade 9

Celestial Nightmare

The cosmos daunts me,
Its fiery stars ablaze,
Speckling the somber sky.
 I float, hanging limply
In a celestial nightmare;
It’s been eleven years now,
And my trip is coming to an end.
 I promised my little girl
That’d I’d be back in no time,
But asteroids and meteors
Have left me helpless and hopeless,
Without shuttle nor oxygen tank
To keep me alive.
 All I want is to be back
Home with my daughter,
To eat cereal and watch
Lousy cartoons with her
On Saturday mornings.
All I want is to see her face.
 The waning oxygen tank on my back
Releases its last molecules
Of precious air--
Deep breath in, Hold.
I see my daughters face,
Her speckled cheeks,
Glistening green eyes,
Her warm smile.
 I hear her voice,
Her sweet, innocent laugh
Rings through my ears and
Disappears into the endless void.
 I hear her call out for me,
I attempt to call back,
Screaming and crying
And tearing at my throat
Making no sound.
 I watch my skin go pale,
And my body grow frail,
It’s all over now.
 I succumb to my fate,
Lift off my bulky helmet,
And drift into the flames
Of a nearby star.

by Madison C., Grade 9

artwork by Bailey S., Grade 8
Fully Present 

From hearing to listening,
In distracted mindsets to deep corners of thought,
Closing out others to engaging in conversation,
One only improves by being fully present.

A state of confusion or the lack of interest,
Morphing to curiosity and wonder.
What is unknown must be explored,
It can only expose new light.

And just the help of a single story telling,
one that has lost grasp of the common interest,
May only provide new insight to those who are lost,
For this means the world to the one who listens.

Those who only hear must fail,
as they lose opportunities to grow upon the unfamiliar information.
When they are forced such a story
but do not devote themselves to processing what is being told to them,  
one more chance to bloom suddenly disappears. 

Just when the loss of interest takes over,
take a moment to listen and absorb.
Not a disadvantage within a mile when spending time on letting the words digest,
the realization of the message's importance will resonate within.

Internalize what is being fed to the soul,
appreciate every bit of knowledge and wait,
until the next time advice is desperately needed.
It will be the most helpful spoonful one has ever eaten.

Sitting there staring does a person no good,
as the details slip right past one's fingertips. 
All of the difference is made with focus and attentiveness,
One will be able to catch it before all has escaped.

Be there with everyone and everything else,
and only there,
not off in the distance ignoring the environment,
Surrounding one's very body providing such comfort.

Do not hear them. Instead listen.

by Carley K., Grade 8

This month's recipe is for Chocolate Truffles. Enjoy!

Friday, January 27, 2017

Do Not Fear . . . It's a New Year!

It is 2017, and you know what that means! No, not failed resolutions. New writing and artwork! This month we have two poems that shows how to handle adversity while young. These poems may not be very cheerful, but since it is the beginning of the year, we can put all our fears and despair behind as we move forward. We also have an essay about a phone obsession, a recipe for a healthy chocolate cake, and some artwork for you to enjoy. So sit back, relax, and pray for snow as you read this month's post.    

artwork by Max R., Grade 8

The Dreaded Ride

Waiting, in the cold dark morning 
For the blinding yellow eyes to distort my vision.
As the bus turns the corner,
The same old dreaded feeling arises from my stomach.
Oh, who shall I sit with today?
Is it the boy who reeks of month-old underwear,
Or is it the girl who purposefully moves her feet so no one else can sit?
I have no choice, I must sit with the cougher.

As I take my seat, the rough leather clutches the fabrics of my clothes.
Then it begins.  It is the same coughing I hear while in the front of the bus,
Only this time, it is inches from my ear.
I try to drown it out with music that pulsates loudly through my ears,
But it is no use.

Cough, Cough!  Hack, Hack!
Sadly, the irritations grow as if they are insects.
I can feel every bump in the road
And I start to develop a bruise due to the unusual amount of potholes.
Finally, a safe haven arrives on the horizon.
As stressful as it can be sometimes,
School can always save me from the dreaded ride.

by Jack D., Grade 9

The Roots of my Obsession: My Phone

I picked up the plastic toy phone which was lined with different symbols on the colorful fake buttons. I was fascinated by the over-exaggerated sounds the buttons would make when I pressed down on them with my little fingers. My easily distracted three-year-old mind was intrigued. I would yell "Hello" to the fake phone and proceed to talk to the non-existent person on the other line.

As the summer rolled around going into my sixth grade year, all I wanted was a phone. All of my friends were beginning to get phones, so of course, that meant I needed one. I begged for a phone, but my parents were persistent with their answer. And that answer was no. Being the technologically advanced eleven-year-old I was, I created a Power Point listing all the reasons why they should allow me to get a phone. To my delight, it worked.

 I finally had a phone. It was a deep red color with a touchscreen and slide-out keyboard. I carried it with me everywhere I went, sliding the keyboard out and typing away. I boasted about my new cell phone the way a proud parent brags about their stellar child who just got back from winning a math competition after returning from their volunteer job at the animal shelter. In those first few weeks with my phone, I do not think I went fifteen minutes without checking it.  I was on top of the world.

After Christmas break of my sixth grade year, everyone returned with iPhones. Well, maybe not everyone. But those who did return with iPhones—which was actually a lot of people-- showed them off and made sure to let everyone know they had one. I'm not going to lie, I was just a little bit jealous. But who would not be? Those kids had the newest technology that a lot of adults did not even have access to. Not surprisingly, I wanted one. But I did not say much to my parents because I knew what the answer would be if I asked for one, and I would not be too excited about that answer. The one time I did mention my desire for an iPhone to my mom, her response was right along the lines I assumed it would be. She said I did not need one.

I remember looking out the window of our new home in Pennsylvania to see the huge truck pull in with the words "Moving Service" printed on the side. I watched with agony as the movers piled boxes throughout the house. My parents knew that moving away from Massachusetts was hard for me. I knew that they knew that, and I'd be lying if I said I did not use that a little to my advantage. If there was any good time to ask for an iPhone, that time was now. With a little help from the tears pouring down my face at the mention of starting a new school, my parents were finally convinced that I could get an iPhone. 

From the very first moment I held the iPhone 5S, silver and gleaming, in my hands, I knew it would never leave them. I was drawn to fact that now I could do almost anything I could do on both an iPod and a phone, but do it whenever I wanted to all on one device, which is exactly what I did. I was constantly on my phone, texting, snapchatting, scrolling aimlessly through Instagram, and listening to music.

            Although my phone may distract me from studying sometimes—okay, maybe all the time—I still take pride in my obsession.  My phone is more than just a device. It’s something that allows me to call my friends when I miss them the most, watch endless hours of Netflix on Sunday afternoon, and blast my music on a long car ride to temporarily tune out the world. I am completely obsessed with my phone, and I would not want it any other way. 

by Melina T., Grade 9

artwork by Camille L., Grade 9

Role Models

Little girl
Shorter than the shorn blades of the garden,
Fragile as the fragments of her mother's heart,
A delicate dreamer of tomorrow. 

Little girl
Watching the remains of her once wondrous mother waste away
Her courage crumbling faster than the coffee cake her brother captured from her rightful clutches,
Dreams deteriorating

Little girl
Wondering as to what would become of her

She's only a little girl, after all.
A beautiful little girl.
But the world wishes to break what is beautiful.
That's just how it works.

by Iliana S., Grade 9

To accompany this month's literary selections, we have this month's recipe, thanks to our editor and baker extraordinaire, Emily W.:
Healthy Chocolate Mug Cake

artwork by Courtney C., Grade 7