Minot Chamber Chorale announces first poetry contest winners

Mia Wiese, a student at Burlington-Des Lacs Elementary School, had the winning entry in the Minot Chamber Chorale’s first poetry contest for North Dakota high school students.

Runners-up were poems by Lydia Repnow, a student at Minot High School-Central Campus, and Bailey Cowley, a student at Minot High School-Magic City Campus.

The poetry contest was done as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students, grades 9-12, were asked to submit poems written on the theme “Life & Love in the Time of COVID-19.”

Emerson Eads, Minot Chamber Chorale artistic director, will set the winning poem to music. It will be performed either virtually or live this fall.

The students’ poems follow:

The Universe

“Please give me a break,”

I pleaded with the universe,

“My eyes are sore and my bones weary.”

And it answered my call,

Like the twisted wish granted by a genie.

In the beginning I cried

“This is not what I meant!”

But I’ve learned I can endure nothingness,

I can even enjoy it.

Everyday my bed has been made,

And my plants watered.

My stomach has healed from the sores of uneasiness.

My hands sweat more,

But that’s okay.

I have begun to read again,

And I sleep often,

And my eyes stay wide with rest,

And my soul has remembered it’s passions.

I have looked myself in the face,

And seen a new person.

I whisper to the universe,

“Thank you.”

-Bailey Cowley

Life and Love in the Time of COVID-19

Life was normal.

Days were filled with school and work.

There wasn’t much time for anything else.

There was hardly time to breathe.

Until someone could not breathe.

At first, the world dismissed this as any other flu.

A virus that would simply go away.

This was nothing to worry about.

Then, it began to spread.

The world slowed down out of panic.

Everything came to a halt-

Our air became cleaner. Waters turned crystal clear.

People began to realize what is truly important.

We began to realize the importance of our health care workers,

Grocery store clerks, sanitation workers.

Essential workers we’d forgotten.

We lost many lives to Covid-19, people we will never forget.

but we gained a new perspective when

nothing else mattered except keeping people safe:


–Lydia Repnow

Pandemic Poem

What should I do

Should I be lazy

Should I be active

Should I take a chance

Should I play it safe

There’s too many screens

Not enough people

There’s no proper goodbyes

No proper greetings

No proper gatherings

I can’t do this any longer

I can’t play by the rules any longer

But then I hear something

But what is it that I hear

It’s the sound of laughter

It’s the sound of love

I have support from my family

I have love from my family

I can go on

I will go on

— Mia Wiese


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