2016 – 6th Grade National 2nd Place Winner

Rose Whelan, Virginia.


At first there was nothing in the very distant past,
Then bang! There was everything, a universe so vast;
All splendid and magnificent, terrifying and mundane.
But before we knew all this, before we could explain,

About a giant, burning, swirling gas balls,
And dark vortexes that swallow worlds,
Before we knew what made the light,
Our ancestors named the stars at night.

Polaris, Leioarstjarna, Sea Star, the Great Northlode,
Not 424 or 308, not numbers and codes,
But the tail of a dog, the little bear’s story,
The explorer’s hopeful guide towards glory.

The heavens were filled with loved ones now gone,
With archers and lions, heros and swans.
Every star had a story long before we knew
Their weight, their size, their age, their hue.

Without imagination, would the sky draw our gaze?
Would we ever see the Northern lights, its colors all ablaze?
We can feel the ground, we know it’s there,
But we have to imagine the sky and the air.

Looking up, we watch the birds in awe,
Their graceful glides and swooping soar.
We are not birds; we know we cannot fly,
But imagination makes us ask “What if we try?”

So Leonardo draws a helicopter from imagination’s sight;
The Wright brothers undertake the first plane flight,
Blimps and hot air balloons take to the sky,
And now man experiences how it feels to fly.

Every scientist already knows,
Without imagination no great idea grows.
From that first humble wheel to the latest lamborghini,
From the first hot meal to the finest shrimp linguini.

From flickering candles to a bright electric light,
From using feathered quills, to keyboards when we write,
From burning wood and coal, to nuclear fission,
From dreaming of the moon to our first manned mission…

Knowledge helps us build a ladder, but can only go so far;
It takes imagination to reach of the stars.



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