Dominican Junior Sydney Raymond Among National Poetry Contest Winners

St. Mary’s Dominican High School junior Sydney Raymond was among the winners of the National English Honor Society (NEHS) sponsored February Poetry Challenge based on the theme, “Dreamer.” Students and advisors from around the country submitted entries.

Raymond is a member of the Veritas Chapter of the National English Honor Society. Billy Collins is her favorite poet. Her poem, Daydreaming With a Song Stuck in my Head, begins with the speaker daydreaming about her past after hearing a familiar song. Unfortunately, the story takes a darker turn, notes Raymond.

Daydreaming With a Song Stuck in my Head

By Sydney Raymond

Dredging up memories, restringing time,

the song’s melodies pool in my pores, seep,

and distill recollection from rhyme.

Stunning and shocking immersion and I’m

on a long ride gliding across the surface of sleep,

dredging up memories, restringing time.

Crashed back to the pitch of evenings when wakefulness was a crime

tired eyes trip across city lights more vivid than the stars are deep

and distill recollection from rhyme.

But my breath on the window rewinds to choke and climb

back up my throat, cutting along the harmonies of harm I reap

dredging up memories, restringing time.

Window cracking in tempo with voice, drinking in the song’s grime,

brine floods my eardrums. I’ve forgotten how to weep

and distill recollection from rhyme.

The melody drifts away, leaving me shattered to mime

a similar conclusion: I refuse to keep

dredging up memories, restringing time

and distilling recollection from rhyme.

The NEHS, founded and sponsored by Sigma Tau Delta, is the only international organization exclusively for high school students and faculty who, in the field of English, merit special note for past and current accomplishments. Members of Dominican’s Veritas Chapter of the NEHS must have a 3.75 average in English and a 3.5 GPA. Dominican’s moderators are Charlene Ford and Kristin Thomas.

NEHS began a “poetry challenge” creative writing project to encourage and promote more writing. All NEHS members, students and advisors, are encouraged to submit poems from October through April of the current school year. Each month, members of the NEHS Advisory Council and Central Office personnel read and select the best of the entries. The best submissions are published through its social media outlets and collected in an online poetry journal. In May, two “poets of the year,” one from student members and one from NEHS Advisors, will be selected from the monthly winners; those two poets will each receive a $150 award and a certificate of achievement as accomplished NEHS Poets