Thus far, my life has existed in harmony with the tides,
an ongoing cycle where highs and lows collide.
I’ve been scorched and seared—my soul incinerated by the sun,
until everything holding me together had been undone.
But then I was raised up high, floating like a balloon.
Here I danced in the sky and stood proudly by the moon.
I morphed into shapes—weightless and wispy;
I drifted aimlessly through heavens—infinite and risky.
But then I fell so low into puddles of grey rippling gloom.
I waited and observed ‘til my soul found solace in the doom.
Here I was driven over by racing vehicles, trampled on by youth.
Here I lay, bleeding, confused, and seeking truths.
Then I ran as far as I could into surging oceans,
where I swelled and stormed in tempestuous dances of emotions.
I harboured shipwrecks—on shorelines, on my soul.
Here I was polluted as chemicals bled into my spirit’s whole.
Hopelessly, I screamed while the wind howled corrupted cries.
Then stillness was reborn, and the scintillating sun reappeared in time.
I was poured into a glass gilded with paint and inspiration.
Suddenly, my essence served to illustrate imagination.
Creating magnificence on a canvas, I elicited colours like a rainbow after thunder—
ripe, vibrant, hues—swirling, beckoning, enticing wonder.
But the canvas lay to dry in the sun, holding captive my soul.
Like an open wound to the salty sea, the pain beyond my control.
Here I called out in fear, composing a symphony of despair.
My voice reached out until my lungs had no more air.
But as a drop of water in a vast ocean, my cries were muted
I'm trapped in a never-ending cycle, I concluded.

This poem won the Poetry Prompt Prize for February 2023. It is inspired by Rita Wong's prompt "Become Water"

Poetry Editor Brandon Wint writes about "Water" by Elizabeth Todorovic:

"Water" by Elizabeth Todorovic is, at once, expansive and full of restraint. The poem manages to comment on a wide breadth of experiences--told from the perspective of falling rain--while maintaining a consistent rhyme scheme and delightful attention to sound, rhythm and syntax. 

a young woman holding a flower

Elizabeth Todorovic

Grade: 11 / Sec. V
Bishop Allen Academy
Etobicoke, ON

“The prompt, "Become Water," inspired me to write a poem based on the contents of the water cycle in relation to the cycle of highs and lows that one goes through during their human life. In many ways, humans echo various patterns of nature. Personally, I've especially noticed this within the fluidity and transformative qualities of water. Just as water undergoes evaporation and changes states, humans experience life-altering events. This can bring them to pinnacles in their life, where they relish in joy like clouds display their grandeur high in the sky. Furthermore, rain, rough storms over the sea, and the stillness of water in a glass, continue to emulate different human phases of life, which inevitably repeat in accordance with water's recurrence of evaporation. Essentially, water is a key element in outwardly illustrating the patterns and rhythms within ourselves, and this prompt allowed me to express my fascination with this phenomenon. ”

Start here: