Winner spotlight: Rachel Epstein-Shuman

We are pleased to introduce you to Rachel Epstein-Shuman, who took home a first place ribbon in the Kids Poetry Contest with “On the Steps of My Garden.”

For this very first DC State Fair Kids Poetry Contest, youngsters in first through seventh grade from all over the city submitted their poetry on the topic of vegetables or gardens. We were stunned by everyone’s creativity. The final (and difficult) selection fell to our panel of esteemed judges.

The video shows Rachel reading her poem on the morning of the fair, with microphone assistance from Kid Power‘s Grant Elliott and American Sign Language interpretation courtesy of Birnbaum Interpreting Services. A transcript of the poem follows the jump.

Rachel Epstein-Shuman – First Place, grades 4 and 5

On The Steps Of My Garden


On the steps of my garden I stand
As the morning fog lifts
I look up and see a cardinal.
I think —
Your eyes shine like the solar eclipse
Your mask as black as a moonless night
Your back a scarlet velvet curtain
Your head a fiery red crown
Your strong wings are sails in the wind.
You catch a fat worm
In your radiant beak;
Your milk chocolate babies
Chirp pleadingly
For their tasty treat.
Your now moonlit wings
Fold smoothly and slowly
As you and your babies
With satisfied stomachs
Snuggle up in a circular nest.
You sing them a soothing lullaby
As their eyes steel closed
You sleep calmly and quietly.


On the steps of my garden I stand
I gaze down upon
My beautiful fruit trees.
I take a glass of water
And pour it on their roots.
Something magical happens
On the steps of my garden that night
The stars shine brightly
The sky is purple and blue
Water tinkles in a stone fountain
A brilliant full moon appears
Beams of light climb down a ladder from the sky
And shine on every fruit
On the steps of my garden I see
The cardinal wakes up
Draws his babies close
Looks up, as his babies do the same
On the steps of my garden.

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