Pelican drawing by Mandy Mok

2018 Coastal Art & Poetry Contest Winners


Coastal Art & Poetry Contest Details


Drawing described in Artist's Statement
California Tide Pool

I'm a two-spotted octopus
Crawling through the tide pool.
And I can change colors.
Isn't that so cool?

I'm a little bat star
My arms look like a bat
I come in many colors
What do you think of that?

I'm a purple urchin
I'm about the size of a golf ball
I have some little spikes
And I live beside a wall

Together we're the tide pool friends
And we just have to warn ya
We're the coolest things you'll ever find
And we live in California!

Eleanora Duffy
Grade 1, Culver City


Painting of a cove at Point Lobos, by Eden Yuen
The Incredible Beach Storm

Crash! Boom! Smack!
The waves hit the sandy and rocky beach
Lightning screeches like a lion's roar
Waves are so big, as big as a mountain
Who is the strongest?
The two are battling under the galaxy sky
Waves against lightning
Pouring rain hitting the tide pools
Crabs scuttling trying to find shelter
Who is going to win?

Rowan Matson
Grade 3, San Luis Obispo


Painting of a girl and an eagle playing at Bowling Ball Beach, by Koey Ma
The Ocean is Me

I make poetry out of trash when my waves come boom splash.
Sometimes blue sometimes green but never ever, ever clean.
The salty air whips through me, surrounds me, and everything is around me.
Kids running on the beach, I try to calm them and to teach.
I reach down and grab the sand, before the kids come throw it with their hands.
When the sand castle gets soaked, I try to fill the sandy moat.
If the kids are feeling sad, I wash on shore a smiling crab.
When you put to your ear a pretty shell, you listen, and hear, it has something to tell.

Ella Schumer
Grade 5, San Francisco


Drawing of pelicans, by Mandy Mok
The Flight of the Catalina Cormorants

Wild birds woke one evening
Murmuring soft greetings,
In the manner of their kind;
Gentle, quiet; voices fleeting.
And raising heads and arching necks
As the customs of yore;
'Till noticing what lay above
Was different from days before.
Cormorant, come to me,
Off the coast of Cataline,
Find me waiting, watching thee,
Know that your grace is seen.

Swirling skies held gelid winds
'Till shivers were in beak;
Shore and sea, alike to night:
Dark and silent speech.
Mysteries bade come in mist:
Unraveled, calm, and not yet gone;
So serene they heard the tide
Setting like the peaceful sun.
Cormorant, come to me,
Off the coast of Cataline,
Find me waiting, watching thee,
Know that your grace is seen.

Sable wing and starlit eye:
Golden yet and silver soon;
Hue of day and passing light:
Led by stars and lit by moon.
They shall glide from moon-washed shores
To sweeter seas of sun soaked waves;
Wild birds woke one evening
To soar off to a different place.

Natasha Gupta
Grade 7, Saratoga


Painting of three whales swimming up to the light, by Neeraja Beesetti

humans are like oceans
a sea of shining droplets
all the same, but all unique

and sometimes our thoughts—
they gather like the wrappers and bottles on the seabed
like this thought. confused
no direction
what's next?

we're angry, too, like the raging seas
sinking everything around us
screaming, empty wind howling from our lips like lightning-lashes:
go away go away go away

then when we've sunk enough
the sun claws the clouds to brume,
the light dances on the waves like flowers like stars like diamonds
and in that moment
that moment when we're happy like the oceans
nothing                nothing
has            has
ever    ever
so    so
beautiful        perfect

but no one truly understands the oceans
as we never truly understand each other
mysteries, perfect and flawed and love and hate
like how the waves know how to play with a child
tickling them but too gentle to knock them down
a riddle.

something the ocean could teach us all:
how to love—
no conditions—
give your warmth and light to all those other droplets around you
do you remember the gleam of a rainbow over the waves?
the way all the sea foam bands to crest a powerful wave?
together, we can change the world
so don't waste time pushing and hating
be the rainbow, be the wave
join together. love. be loved.

so in the end
yes, humans are like oceans
except for one thing—
the ocean floor lives in darkness
but take a human
and dive deep down inside their soul, layer by layer by layer
and I'll tell you what you’ll find:
because our light doesn’t come from without
our light shines from within, through everything, through every part of us
and that's what makes us beautiful
that's what makes us strong
that's what makes us—


Anisha L. Johnson
Grade 12, Carlsbad

View the 2018 Honorable Mentions