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Matilda Bray Recognized in BCCC Poetry Competition

Rising sophomore Matilda Bray was distinguished this year in Bucks County Community College’s High School Poetry Competition and was notably one of only three ninth graders in the competition to earn a finalist title. An avid poet, Matilda has written hundreds of poems, has been published numerous times, and in 2018, published her first book of poetry titled Under the Moon as My Sun. Proceeds from her book sales are donated to the Children’s Literacy Initiative of Philadelphia, where Matilda has also hosted readings of her work to inspire the next generation of poets.

Her writing started with the short stories and poems she composed as a child. It was her first-grade teacher, Ms. Sabol, who noticed her abilities and encouraged her to submit one of her poems into a competition hosted by the school paper. This submission earned Matilda her first formal recognition as a poet. She says, “What I enjoy most about poetry is that you can make it your own [and] you have the freedom to express yourself in any way you’d like. Whether it’s through the words, line spacing, or format, you can create a work of art that’s completely unique."

Throughout her poetry journey, Matilda has turned to guidance from her mentors, including esteemed local poets Lorraine Henrie Lins and Joanne Leva. These mentors have empowered Matilda to defend her choices, using the line “would you fight me in a dark alley for this?” to highlight the importance of selecting every word and phrase with the utmost intention. As she considers her own role as a mentor, Matilda’s message to other young aspiring poets is, “write whatever comes to mind and observe the world around you, as long as you are getting your thoughts flowing.”

Matilda’s inspiration comes from a variety of sources: nature, novels, current events, and personal experiences. More recently, her content has evolved to focus on human rights. This genre of her poetry presents situations from various perspectives and aims to reflect injustices through the lens of marginalized populations. She credits her humanities teacher, Ms. Stoudt, for inspiring her to use her poetry as a vehicle of expression in this way. Matilda also hopes to someday translate her passion for humanitarian causes into a career as a human rights lawyer.

Matilda plans to publish her next collection of poetry later this year. For now, here is one of the poems that earned her recognition in the Bucks County Community College competition this spring:

 

Iris

It stood

head arched in an unintentional peak

leaves leaned over

slightly to the right of the stem

just far enough

to catch the sun

restless winds blew the flower

It all directions

and chilled it

with a cloak of frost

and left it in a wave of solitude

 

deer seem to find the flower

nonexistent

and felt more inclined

to make a statement with

berry bushes

and the tallest blades of witchgrass

 

a little pathway of stones

leads to the purple flower

the stones, perfectly rounded

and multicolored

and brilliant in the rays of light

 

and if a passerby looks closely

they will see tiny carvings in the stone

unreadable

but still there

 

and anyone who sits beside the flower

to look at the sun

in the day

or at the stars

at night

 

will find a certain peace

and find the world to move

just a little bit slower