2021 Annual Literary Contest
This morning I opened my book, Words on Fire
by Jennifer Nielsen, and thought of how
Johannes Gutenberg improved the printing press
To make books like mine faster. And when I turned on the light,
I remembered how many times Thomas Edison and his team
experimented with different filaments for the lightbulb
and the big, bold letters across the front of the milk carton,
PASTEURISED, courtesy of Louis Pasteur.
Curiosity was a spark in these people’s minds
which led to a fire of discovery.
I popped a chocolate square into my mouth
and thought about how chocolate is something
that has a tiny bit of mass but so much energy
when I eat it, like Einstein’s theory of relativity.
Emmy Noether helped fix a leak in that theory.
Almost no one knows her name. She had molecules of fame
but hundreds of liters of talent because she was curious.
Archaeologists find mummies, Ice Age art,
Assyrian carvings. Astronomers find new stars.
Curiosity was a star in their minds that led them
to the stars in the sky. Books like Words on Fire give me
a torch of curiosity, lighting the way for my mind.
Asking, thinking, wondering, I learned that
Wisteria is poisonous, trees with square trunks
grow in Panama, turtles can climb up rocks
to reach the light, the Mona Lisa has no eyebrows.
I wouldn’t have known that without my curiosity
lighting up my mind, bright like a flame,
A flame that we used before lightbulbs,
A spark that will never die out.