Margaret Smith wins Great Adirondack Poetry Contest

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I've taught in my 33 years here at LLCS," he said. "It has little to do with me, however."

Farrell noted that Smith arrived in his classroom as a seventh grade student with the writing skills of a college student.

"Her parents and elementary teachers are the ones who deserve the credit for her brilliance," said Farrell. "I have simply tried to stay out of her way."

Despite Smith's dedication to writing, she is looking in another direction for her future. She hopes to continue her passion for the arts, however, and one day become a costume and set designer in college.

"I just love everything about art," she said.

Margaret Smith's winning poem: Llamas

In the black-and-white days of long ago,

When my grandfather was only nine and a different person,

Untouched by sorrow

He lived in the snow-capped, mist-shrouded mountains of Peru

Where the air was scarce

And bridges made of string and toothpicks spanned the gorges.

He and his mother, fiery and determined,

Like the llamas that roamed the mountainsides,

And his brother Bruce, only a year and a half,

And his father, a mining engineer,

Lived in a dynamite shed

(Although they didn't know it, then)

And they called it Shirihuain

Which is Quechua for Box of Wind.

In the night, when the cold Andes air

Could freeze the marrow in their very bones,

They snuggled together in a single bed

Wearing scarves and mittens,

Breathing smoke.

Grandma Jean refused to give in to the cold, whistling South American wind.

She sat up against the sheet metal wall

And read, by the light of a kerosene lamp, classic literature - The Arabian Nights, or Treasure Island -

To her bundled little family.

At midnight, she would close the novel

And listen as her strong voice bounced once more

Off the walls of the gorge that enclosed her world,

And think that even though

The native women would not accept her,

Even though her husband's job was dangerous

And there were tarantulas,

She would persevere like the llamas,

The tough llamas, dressed in warm wool, grazing the sparse grass outside.

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