“The Top” – Ethan Beutel

2019 winner – Poetry division

The Top

I must tell my story
but not for fame or glory.
All other pathways are in vain
but mine will leave you naught but gain.

As a child
I always knew
The right things I must do.
But, I didn’t follow
So now, I must wallow
In the guilt

That I have built.

Down under.
I hear a crash of thunder,
Casting my thoughts asunder
Feel the doom
Swelling and filling the corners of my room
My only safe haven
is threatening to cave in
but I don’t understand why.

My world, an enigma
I’m trying to dig a
Way out to the surface
Feel the pain in my hurt fist
Still waiting to learn this
Way to break loose
Always confused
Always lose
Always staring at my life hanging limp on a noose
Trying to escape
From this impenetrable shape.

Punching through barrier after barrier
But each time it only gets scarier
I feel the tons of weight above
And just as I get hold of
A solid place to stand
It falls apart like sand.


I hear a voice and I swivel
Around to find none other but the devil.
“Stay with me” eh calls and beckons with clawed hand
But I know that I won’t accept his fiery brand.
I turn, and bid a last adieu.

My hand breaks through
The world smells fresh and new.

The bright light surrounds and blinds me
The darkness no longer pounds and binds me.
Life, throughout me, flows.
And now I know
It was all I needed.
For different power I once pleaded.
A new life has been seeded.

I feel the strength returning from the warm day’s sun.
The deeps are no longer spurning, for I have won
My heart and soul.
I am in control.
The sky lifts me high.
My redemption is nigh.
An angeli choir bursts into song.
As the melody swells, I know it won’t be long.
Before Christ returns, so he can bring
Me to a place, where death has no sting.

The underworld crumbles.
From below rises a rumble
Still others stumble.
Their spirits have been sapped
But lo, I have mapped
The way out of hell’s heat
And something teels to me.
To save the ones imprisoned, and never stop
Making my way down, then back to the top.