Crop from Ella Wang artwork

2019 Coastal Art & Poetry Contest Honorable Mentions

*2019 WINNERS*

Coastal Art & Poetry Contest Details

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Turtle Carries the World On Its Back

The turtle carries the Earth on its back.
While the dolphins jump with glee.
All the fishies are in a school safely.
All the seastars hang onto the rocks while opening clams.

Alessandra Chapman
Kindergarten, Felton
The Ocean Shiver

The sun is shining bright and clear.
I can hear the ocean shiver with fear.
There is a storm coming,
Oh dear oh dear.
I can hear it bright and clear.

Leila Fleury
Grade 1, Redondo Beach

Listen to Leila read her poem.


Something is out there
the sky is pretty
the clouds and the palm trees
the ocean
the sand
This is what is Happiness

Rachel Smith
Grade 1, Cardiff

Listen to Rachel read her poem.

Painting/pastel of a Western grebe in the water, by Domani Thompson
Painting of a crab and sea stars on the beach, by Patrick Pan Yang


Watercolor painting of a orcas off Point Vicente, by Vincent Cho
Drawing of lots of people enjoying Pheiffer Beach, by Natalie Henriquez
Colors of the Ocean

The water, blue, green, and indigo
Has more colors in it than what you see
Salty wind whips my hair into my face
As I gaze at the sunset,
Wondering what these colors hold beneath the surface
Maybe they held each and every dream in their own bubble,
Floating under the foamy surface
Every one that pops is a dream come true
Or they hold mystical sea dragons
Each with a human it's bonded with
Nobody knows what lies in those colors,
And that's what I'm going to find

Margaret Hubbard
Grade 3, San Diego
Painting of a girl meditating next to her dog in a sea cave looking out at the ocean, by Phoenix Li
Watercolor with pencil of the ocean and shoreline of Jalama Beach, by Solomon Montgomery
Painting of a rocky beach with birds with Golden Gate Bridge in background, by Sethu Manigandan Ramu
The Beach

Sometimes I wonder: Is there
a king, who rules over the beach
of Central Coast California? And
is there a pollution king who puts
trash on the beach? Will they
have a fight, and who will win?
There's a mystery for each
grain of sand on Central Coast
California Beach

Sonia Rosenberg
Grade 2, Stanford


On the Winter Sea

On the Winter Sea
Icy waves crash against the shore
Shivering dolphins leap from the silver water
North winds blow the crystal sand
     onto my cold bare feet

from the salt water sea
onto my feet

again and again

the sun sets against the shining water.

Zoey Biondini
Grade 5, Hoopa
Painting of San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf, by Leonard Cyrano Jing Collomb

As I sit on the shore watching the blue dazzling water
with its tiny ripples,
looking like you have given it a gentle push.

I watch as the sun's beams tower over you as they illuminate the water
and make the sand want to jump,
I imagine you looking up, watching the sun
as it warms our planet.

In the distance, I see a blanket of fog rolling over the hills,
coming towards you with its unwelcoming hug.
Although it is not here yet, you know it will be soon.

Be careful when it comes, Horizon.

Isabelle Davis
Grade 6, Tiburon
Painting with watercolor, acrylic, and colored pencil, of a leaping whale and dolphins, by Nathan Kim
Irresistible Desire

Watching every shell wash upon the shore and back again
before me,
an ache wielding the weapon "irresistible desire" swells
inside me,
and I know
if I don't go,
the urge will overpower me,
and I'll be swept away as though
I were a mere shell.

Sydney Mielcarski
Grade 6, Walnut Creek
Pencil drawing of a brown pelican, by Disha Mohanty
By the Sea

The waves are crashing down
            on me
As I sit playing by
            the sea
I build a castle made
            of sand
Shaped and molded by
            my hand
I smell the salty
            ocean air
Leaving me without
            a care

The waves are crashing down
            on me
As I sit playing by
            the sea

Bella Surber
Grade 5, Hoopa
Drawing using marker, colored pencils, and pens, of Morro Bay and Rock, sail boats in silhouette with sunset in background, by Ella Wang


Ink drawing of a mermaid covered in trash, by Josalin Breault
I Just Don't Like the Sea

All the children run from the monster
That strikes a punch
And misses
All that's left is the WOOSH of the creature's failed mission
While its little army comes
and digs up into you
Through your toes and knees
And in your fingernails too
It grinds with all its might
And sticks to you like glue
You will find it for years and years after
Almost like a little treasure
There are those people
That go to this place with pleasure
And don't have to be forced
To go to the place where the sea is bleak
And flying figures roam with bait in its beak
Screaming at you to leave this place
Or you will never be able to get it out of you
The salt sand and the sea
But it's fine because you close your eyes
And take a deep breath and lay in its hand
The army will take you and bring you to another land

Nina Finnern
Grade 7, Tiburon
When the Ocean Sings

Looking up from beneath the surface,
the world above is an abstract painting.
Colors swirl in laces and mix together in hues of blues,
everchanging, evermixing
as waves above ripple and fade,
disturbed from the slightest whisper of wind.

Completely still underneath the waves.

There are no coral reefs this deep, no colorful fish. There is no life.
There's just me with my half empty tank, and the sand that flows with the current, the ocean's winds.

Sunlight falls in streaks, reaching out to me,
calling for me to return to the land of my home.
But I can't hear a thing
because water mutes the sounds of the surface world that begs to be remembered.

Then around the earth, a low hum rumbles through the sea
that seems to come from all directions,
just to reach me.

It is a sad cry that awakens the happiest of souls.
It is a mystifying bellow that rocks the sea like a child.
It is a serene lament that sheds the ocean water like tears.
It is the Humpback Whales singing their melodic songs of loneliness
Long wails of mystery and tranquility
I sit at the bottom of the sea, feeling the sound waves washing over me.

Then through the dark waters appear
two silver silhouettes and a song that crescendos and elevates
until the two Humpback Whales glide right above me.

Looking up from beneath the surface,
the world above is the belly of a whale.
Grays and blacks streak in nervous lines
and their moon tails ripple the ocean's night sky.

Completely still underneath the waves.

There are no coral reefs this deep, no colorful fish.
There's just me, a small diver, and two whales whose song controls the currents.

Their bodies cover the sun and cast shadows.
I can't hear a thing
because when the ocean sings,
all the worlds above
for just a moment

are forgotten.

Alyssa Ho
Grade 9, Pasadena
gull of the golden west

you were born in a clutch of three, nest overlooking
        the dark, untamed waters of the California Bay
shards of crushed ivory eggshell clung to your pale form,
plumage mussed with dirt-shaded speckles
you were born singing your song,
a high-pitched melody filled with untainted light

your feathers ever so sleek glinting with the sheen of
        aluminum bottles speckling the sun-kissed dunes
plumes alight with monochromatic shades of
        gray-brown, soot-black, sea-salt white

eyes, obsidian beads ringed in sunlight-gold
watching, attentive to the gentle rise of the waves
against flickering, blinking tars, your
        pupils were a spattering of dripping ink

some days, you were a bird of prey-
the others, you were a looter of human treasure
you spent your afternoons exploring blooming tidepools
sharp-cut crags of whitewashed rock carved by the deity herself

and your song was raucous, detailing the woes of midday
complete with a chorus flat to even the deafest of ears

you were a dip of dark paint against watercolor sunsets
as your wings carried you 'cross the sky, adrenaline
        rushing through your veins, carrying you higher, higher,
lungs shattering, heart speeding, head on an accelerating carousel

your life was a repeating decimal, a looped sequence
(did you ever grow weary of your placid ways?)
it seemed like the sand in your hourglass never fell
as if you held time in a death grip, hoping it would stop hunting you

but no-one can escape time forever
and you fell into the restless sea at last,
your song a fog-like whisper descending
into the deep unknown

a seagull chick is born in a clutch of two, nest overlooking
        the dark, untamed waters of the California bay
shards of crushed ivory eggshell clung to your pale form,
plumage mussed with dirt-shaded speckles

and she is born singing the very same song,
that same high-pitched melody filled with untainted light.

Angelyn Liu
Grade 7, Burlingame
The Marina Elder

Her sage eyes
Reflecting history older
Than sea ammonites
Crease as she warmly smiles at me
She gestures me over
She is mute, but says a million words
As I look into her timeless, glassy, aqua eyes
We hear barking boisterous beauties
As she reveals the sea lions
With quadruplet quantities of
Stable, stellar starfish,
And confronting and clacking
Garibaldi Damselfish
We dive deeper
Hidden, healthy hydrocorals,
Seven senior sea fans,
And brilliant, breathtaking black corals
We emerge and see midnight
The only thing on the water
Is a buoyant, burglarious sea otter
Stealing a mussel from the moonlight
It is really such a shame
That the blinkered misses in life
What the mysterious elder and I
See and hear from dawn to dusk.

Emma Lund
Grade 7, Chico
Sand Crabs

Scuttling bugs, claw snapping, eyes watching,
black beans for eyes, salad tongs for hands,
and sharp knitting needles for arms and legs,
we scuttle and bustle down the beach
and hide under the billowing waves. We burrow
in the salty sand and eat little crumbs
of krill. We play in the tide pools
with the squishy jellyfish and tease
the sea anemones blooming open
to say hello, closing when we say
goodbye. And we dance under the full moon
at night on the pale white sand when no one
is there, our feet scuttling to and fro
to the beat of the waves, clicking our pincers
like drums. Tomorrow we will do it all again.

Molly Macgowan
Grade 7, Fairfax
Ink and watercolor gouache of a rocky coastline, by Jackie Oram
Pencil and ink drawing of a diver collecting urchins, by Mitra Brunda Sutar
Mixed media piece of a coyote on the shore and a seal lion in a large wave, the animals multicolored, by Arwen Ullman


Kelp Kingdom

It's one backward turning tumble and I am submerged in to the wild and new ecosystem, the hidden underwater kingdom of the kelp forest
I am a diver, an adventurer, and an inquisitive tourist
Lofty dark seaweed sways as silvery schools of fish swim by
I am surrounded by colorful creatures, viewing me with curious locked eyes
Brittle sea stars hug the wrinkled and warping rocks
Upon which are fastened green-manes and glorious locks
Blood orange damselfish find protection in the leafy coves
behold their home, the vivid and peaceful sea grove
Stipes stretch up like marine branches, using gassy balloon-bulbs as wings
I fly through green canopies with speckled seals, colossal sea lions: the forest's kings
Rolling over, I see the glittering sunlight pass through the brown algae,
Creating a dazzling show of dancing kaleidoscopic wonder throughout the valley
The citizens of the kingdom frolic with me
We each partake in our dances, respectively,
[Mine of land, theirs of sea:]
Mine of undulating feet-flippers, heaving and sighing respiration
Theirs of flapping gills, swishing and flowing of tail or fin
The surge and swell of the waves move us both, one after the other as the ripples pass through
I must return home, and I wish to see my friends again soon

Lisette Atchley
Grade 12, Pomona
Watercolor with marker, drawing of a couple embracing while holding their child, standing on the beach, by Ava Cervantes
Painting of a woman surfing, by Kenneth Godina
Colored pencil drawing of Morro Rock, sail boats and grassy shore in foreground, by Phoebe Jeng
Prisma colors drawing of an octopus on top of dictionary page, by Aidan McMahon
Water Cycle

all at once there was the sea.
the tides rush in
they recede
a beautiful conundrum in front of our eyes.
we were unaware of their violence
two fools tempting the benevolent façade of the waves
desperate for a distraction
vying to fall into the riptide together.
it all seems harmless enough at first,
the way you notice the smell of sea salt lingering longer than it should
they way i catch my eyes on your summer-freckled hands
these things weren't always here before

act1: the sand
we've been stripped down to our simplest
childhood daydreams of
California lovers found on the beach.
throw all caution
to the coastal breeze,
your worries will find you at the summer's end.

act2: the water
pacific tides lapping at your ankle;
hands reaching out to each other
for fear of getting swept away.
giddiness and delirium
set in quicker than sun poisoning
we drink it in with no mind to the consequences.

act 3: the drop-off
to all but the mind's eye and intuition.
no one expects a coastal storm until there's static in the air.
tossed to the deep end to swim with the sharks
losing each other's grasps in the turmoil of impending disaster.
perhaps it was all a misunderstanding,
perhaps the salt water had fried our brains,
but one second you were here,
the next you weren't
and we were sucked into the inky black waters.
what a shame

act 4: the land
spit up following the storm,
palm trees devastated
debris scattered across our once perfect escape.
reality has been righted
the warmth has left the air.
we washed up elsewhere,
perhaps even on different beaches,
doomed to relive it all someday.
the summer will come again,
but this time when it does,
i won't stay.
your worries will find you at the summer's end.

Sophia Moore
Grade 10, Burbank
Under California

Under waters strange and deep
        In their kelp-vines fishes hide
grottoed eels their treasures keep
        Bones and pearls and much beside
Countless shifting sandy graves
Hide new life beneath the waves
Seagulls scream the drowning sky:
                I, I!
Only a bird, yet I, I, I!

Under redwoods tall and strong
        Tiny creatures make a nest
Birds sing out an ancient song
        Looping towards a final rest
In the needles and the pine
Yellow slugs on corpse-shrooms dine
Falcons keen for seasons by:
                I, I!
Daring the winds, yes, I, I, I!

Under poppies brave and bright
        Ants march onwards with their toil
Shadows cast their stripes of light
        Grass gives shade to baking soil
Under ground and under roots
Death will grow the budding shoots
Crested jays call out their cry:
                I, I!
Never a word by I, I, I!

   *Poem uses the rhyme scheme of "Full Fathom Five" from The Tempest.

Laurel Nelson
Grade 12, Oakland
Ode to Angel Island

your beauty is a secret
hidden behind clouds of fog, floating
over whispering hills
and a city of sails
as I dance along your edges
and climb your intertwining branches
you are showing me how
tears are bravery marks
and in my mind
I think of how you heal
and have healed
and how you carry the weight
of my spirited footsteps
all the way up to the place
where I feel above the whole world
as though I am in a dream
my hand traces the tree beside me
my eyes meet the water and melting sun
and somehow I am home

Eliana Rokeach
Grade 10, Oakland

Listen to Eliana read her poem.

Watercolor painting of ocean creatures among a coastal forest, by Sarah Ruyle
Watercolor and pen drawing of coastal water and land creatures, with land and water personified, embracing, by Maxine Schulte