English II Pieces


Small Town, Big Plans

by Jaeda Moyer

"I remember eating a big carrot by the fire and feeling like I was Bugs Bunny," Emme says, thinking about her childhood in Arizona. She still enjoys mindless cartoons that make her laugh and forget her worries. She sometimes wishes she could go back to her childhood, where her innocence hid her from reality. The move from Arizona to New Meadows protected her three-year-old brain from realizing there were numerous opportunities in other parts of the world. She did not know there was a life outside her small town of New Meadows. Now that she realizes there is a bigger world out there, "I'll never do anything good with my life," Emme declares, worried about her future contributions to the world. Emme has big aspirations and feels like the people in New Meadows do not care about what they do with their lives. "I feel like I have more drive than they do," Emme states. She hopes to solve some of the world's problems, such as eliminating cancer, global warming, or world hunger. Emme plans to accomplish her goals by going to a credible school like her mother did. "My dad thinks I can do anything," Emme says. She values the importance of her parents' input. Emme may solve the world's problems one day, but first she must tackle high school.


by Jaeda Moyer

Bass roars: loud as
a lion protecting its cub,
scaring weakness into
every charcoal shadow.
Beats race, faster than cheetahs on steroids.
Prey hide beneath large clumps
of eighth notes.
Volume dies.
Light pink tangerine sun rises:
a gentle hummmmm
mellows out its tone,
allargando, as the song

Two Species Alike

by Emme Richards

Cats are mysterious creatures. I too, am shrouded in mystery. Perhaps it is because I am shy and quiet like an Abyssinian or elusive like a Balinese. As a cat person, I see similarities between me and my feline companions. Our personalities change with the weather, the food we eat, or even a simple, unwelcome touch. I am affectionate yet distant. I wisely choose the people I spend my precious time with. I am a wallflower. I observe everyone's daily actions from afar. Earning my trust is not an easy task; I have to get to know a person first. At times, I seem like I have no cares in the world but, in actuality, every detail matters.

While I have the complex personality of a cat, I sometimes also long to really be one. I would love to be a lazy kitty, who is fed constantly and receives incessant attention. I want a feline's sharp wit, and warm, radiant fur. Owning cats has put things into perspective for me. I take their purrs for granted when it is really a great honor to be given attention from such a majestic creature. Sometimes, I do not recognize when people go out of their way to do something nice for me. I can hardly figure myself out with my feline personality, but I am glad I can surprise people with all my hidden abilities. With great gifts come great responsibilities. Purrr. . .


by Jaeda Moyer

Procrastination is the key,
though it is not ideal,
it seems to be the case for me:
I want to eat a meal.

I go downstairs to work on stuff,
something besides my job.
Entering our yellow kitchen,
I make corn on the cob,

sit down to eat my veggies,
and hear a little voice.
My conscience tells me to do work,
proceeding with a choice:

do my schoolwork now,
or I can have some fun.
The answer is so lucid - -
I must enjoy the sun.

I play all day. When I return,
my paper is still here.
I look at it once more to see,
that I am nowhere near,

so I leave it be for a minute,
and let ideas flow.
I come back to my desk and find
that it is time to mow.

I mow the grass so it looks neat,
hitting some rocky dirt.
I climb the stairs to my blue room,
and change my dirty shirt.

I work on my English paper
typing all night 'til dawn,
so tired I need some coffee.

I admire my smooth lawn.

I wish I had not put things off,
I want a good night's sleep.
In school, I am so quiet:
I sleep without a peep.

At home I see a field: so lush!
I give my sister sass,
then go outside for some fresh air;
plopping down on my mowed grass.

Global Entitlement

by Jaeda Moyer

I used to make gifts. I put time and effort into presents I thought somebody would enjoy. I had no money, but I had the power to create a present from ordinary materials. I used to make ornaments, sweet cards, and work coupons. Until this year, my sister has not liked the majority of the gifts I have given her. I would spend time and money, only to see a disappointed look on her face. She never told me that she did not like the gift, but I could tell.

The saying "money can't buy happiness," may not be true for many Americans, because greed negates gratitude. Researcher Jasmine Williams reports that fifty-four percent of people return their gifts to the store where the item was purchased.1 People think returning gifts is okay, because everyone else also takes back their unwanted presents. My grandmother stopped giving gifts to an ungrateful family member who only wanted money.

Our society values items that are meaningless, but rare. Early settlers of the American west were willing to give up their belongings and move for a chance to mine a fortune in gold. Society insists on wedding rings made of this material. If a person loves his fiance', he is subjected to buying an expensive ring made of gold. In Utopia, Sir Thomas More creates an imaginary perfect society. There, people use gold for toilets to diminish the value its citizens place on gold. In this utopic society:

". . .their chamber pots and stools both in their public halls and their homes are made of gold and silver. They also use these metals for the chains and fetters of their bondmen They hang gold rings from the ears of criminals, place gold rings on their fingers, gold collars around their necks, and gold crowns on their heads. Thus they hold gold and silver up to scorn in every way."2

In an ideal society, people would not think polished rocks are magnificent, but would value authentic relationships. Brides and lovers the world over fight and kiss, but then place inordinate value on a piece of metal.

The consumption of goods consumes Americans' - - and especially teens' - - minds. This year, the McCall-Donnelly High School senior soccer girls made the underclassmen purchase some items for their senior night. The seniors suggested candy apples, candy, water bottles, and blankets. The freshmen, sophomores, and juniors purchased these gifts to show the seniors they were grateful for their time on the soccer team. I bought candy and helped acquire materials for this special night; not once did I receive a thank you from one of the honored ladies. The seniors are good people, but forgetting that senior night is meant to allow underclassmen to show appreciation towards their teammates, seniors become demanding, entitled, and greedy.

"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, 'Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.'"3 Greed is one of the seven basic vices. Many citizens neglect people in need. The National Alliance to End Homelessness estimates that twenty-four percent of Americans are chronically homeless. 4 Americans could supply homeless people with food, since forty percent of America's food is tossed out.5 When I was an eighth grader, the Meadows Valley School District middle school recognized the homeless problem in Boise. Students prepared boxes to take give to a homeless shelter with supplies people needed. Giving to someone less unfortunate made me feel like I was helping someone besides myself for a change.

By looking out for themselves, people forget to care about others. America is strong economically, but does not give its best effort to help other countries. In Africa, approximately 3,000 children die per day from malaria.6 This disease can be treated, but many Africans do not have the luxury of medical treatment. Malaria pills cost one to five dollars a day.7 Americans are willing to let children die due to a lack of malaria pills, although providing them would be just a little expense to Americans.

Because I think about inequities like these, and because I am an American, I feel guilty when I am given a gift. I consciously know another person could use may items more than I need presents. I receive a lot of gifts, while many families in my town struggle to come up with enough money to buy food for their children. My friend does not have much money, and her mom asked some close friends for money to buy Christmas presents for her kids. This mom was scrounging for money and I had new toys that would seem old in a few days. I felt ashamed of focusing on what I had instead of noticing that my friend needed help. I don't have a job and my friend works two jobs to help pay family bills. In the end, what matters is how people impact the lives of others. I want to leave the Earth with the knowledge I helped others, rather than having possessions and money in my will.

My aunt bought me a star when I was younger. The certificate that gave me procession of the star was a way for a company to make money by putting my name on a piece of paper, but the distant ball of helium was considered "mine." The star is protected from others' ownership by the slip of paper I was given. The gift did not cost much, but the present will last a lifetime. I was not very grateful for the gift at first, but now I realize this was the best gift. No other presents given to me are going to last like my star. The gift was not only good for me, but for the rest of the world by not adding to future waste piles. If people banish their self-centered behaviors by thinking more about others surrounding them, Americans could focus on solutions to fix catastrophic global problems.

1 -- Credit Donkey, https://www.creditdonkey.com/gift-giving.html, October 12, 2018, Gift Giving Statistics: What Is Underneath Your Christmas Tree? by Jasmine Williams.

2 -- Sir Thomas More. Utopia. Anthology of British Literature. p. 1067.

3 -- Hebrews 13:5.

4 -- National Alliance to End Homeless, https://endhomelessness.org/homelessness-in-america/who-experiences-homelessness/chronically-homeless/, October 14, 2018, Chronically Homeless by National Alliance to End Homeless.

5 -- Live Science, https://www.livescience.com/5919-americans-toss-40-percent-food.html, November 17, 2018, Americans Toss Out 40 Percent of All Food by Robert Roy Britt.

6 -- The Borgen Project, https://borgenproject.org/10-quick-facts-about-poverty-in-africa/, October 14, 2018, U.N. Millennium Project written by Jordanna Packtor

7 -- https://www.howmuchisit.org/malaria-vaccine-cost/, October 17,2018, Health Costs written by Howmuchisit.org Staff

Winter Glow

by Emme Richards

Glimmering crystals;
wonderful pearly world
atop rolling hills.
Chilly birch treetops
shiver in piercing wind.
Lonely blades of barley
resist this blank canvas,
waving weakly
beneath azure sky.

Surplus of Supplies

by Jaeda Moyer

Walking into a store at the beginning of August, any sun-tanned gleeful teen catches a glimpse of back-to-school supplies and suddenly, a darkened mood arrives. Colorful rows of cheap supplies are a harbinger that summer is almost over. I do not appreciate returning to school, but relish the fun supplies I acquire. I have a strange collection of erasers, mini staplers, mini binders, pencils, and crazy pens. I am not obsessed; just a unique collector.

Supplies motivate me for school, because I need an excuse for purchasing school necessities for my collection. As a sophomore, I need multiple colors of highlighters, sticky notes, random items to tinker with when boredom strikes, flash cards, binders, etc. I am able to accomplish anything with my trusty peanut eraser in hand.

I do not know when my collection started, but I will never stop buying stationery. In elementary school, I was cool for having such fun supplies. High schoolers typically have trouble finding a single pencil and ask me to borrow a writing utensil. I have an advantage over other students by coming to class prepared. On bad days, school supplies bring security and a safety net: one task is going as planned. I receive better grades than those students asking for pencils. I enjoy having my schoolwork under control with my well-arranged process. My life is organized so I can tackle my goals, but first comes homework.


by Emme Richards

Tepid midnight clouds blend cotton
into a stony heaven.
Humidity is a harbinger
for impending rain.
Abstract rays of sun
dimly glow through gaps in clouds.
Slight breezes
twist through decaying aspen leaves,
barely latched to skinny limbs.
Melancholy world waiting to be drenched.

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