Announcing the Winners of Our Third Poetry Contest

October 28, 2021

Thanks to everyone who courageously shared their work with us! We received entries that were whimsical as well as touching, in a wide range of styles and lengths. After many hours of reading and rating each poem, Daeus and Cindy made their decisions. The results were close, because they saw potential in several of the pieces, and we hope that will encourage you to compete in future contests. For now, however, please join us in extending congratulations to the finalists!


“Epiphany” by Natalie Davis

Our prayers aren’t prayers;

They’re pleas for our sanity.

A groping appeal

To some far-off Trinity—

Not true religion—

Self-absorbed Christianity.


We tread the worn paths

Of our self-made soul-cages,

Claw at the bars,

Desperate for change,

Then fizzle out, dead,

And we’re still the same.


Our hearts are like ice.

There’s barely a beat

Beneath the cold crust,

And you can’t feel the heat

In our souls any longer—

We’re dead, obsolete.


We’ve fallen asleep

To some gray lullaby,

Crooned by a world

Where hope’s just a lie,

Where truth isn’t truth;

It’s a fad that has died.


Bombard our foundations,

Let us tremble and break,

Then rebuild us, new,

And help us forsake

Our desperate lie that

Sleep means escape.


Meet the Author

Amongst a wild jungle of books, half-empty coffee cups, and insane kittens, you can find the young writer Natalie Davis typing furiously at her laptop. She loves crafting stories with rich themes and real characters—no matter how many millions of hours it might take her. She specializes in both fantasy and contemporary stories, as well as poetry. She’s written several short stories, gotten poetry published on the Story Embers blog, and her current novel-in-progress is a fairy-tale retelling.


Second Place: “Burden of Proof” by JL McCarthy

Evidence is all around me.

I experience miracles daily,

yet why does my head play dead?

Like there is some other game

outside of this bubble

and I am stuck

shaking inside a globe

filled with icy snow

and fragments of life.

It all makes so much sense

that it doesn’t

make sense. These flickers

of light. Fireflies meet

my hand, and I put them

in a jar to remember

what is truly magical.

But the spark dies and is soon

forgotten. “Until next time, friends,”

I say. They don’t say anything

in response because they are

gone. Back to the forest to

hide in plain sight while I try

to recall who I am,

who He is. Like forcing

a mountain into a valley.

I grasp onto the rod, or

maybe it’s a staff, and leave

footprints in the sand that were

never mine to begin with.

They are His feet, His arms, His hands.

“Be strong,” He tells me.

“Keep going,” He prods.

“Until you see daylight.”

And I do. Because I want

to see Him. But the burden

of proof still remains on me.

Well, today anyway.


Meet the Author

JL McCarthy is a Colorado-based author, blogger, poet, wife, mother, and, above all else, a devoted follower of Jesus. Her passion for writing began as a young girl but never turned into much of anything until recently. Her children inspired her to write and publish three children’s books. JL loves encouraging others to see God in new, imaginative ways through creative writing and storytelling.


In addition to her fictional work, her blog, Centered Seconds, focuses on combining poetry and short devotionals to help her readers pause for a few moments and center on God. You can find out more about her on her website or you can follow her on Instagram and Facebook.


Honorable Mentions

“Fighting for Freedom” by Evelyne Holland

“Daisies for Goodbye” by Megan Smith


  1. e.c.colton

    Congratulations!! Both poems were so lovely, and I love the imagery.

    And Tallie—this is gorgeous, so so proud of you!! And excited for your fairytale retelling … 😉

    • Natalie

      Thank you so much! ❤️

    • Rachel L.

      Congratulations, Natalie! You did a fantastic job.

  2. Megan Smith

    Wow! Congratulations to both the winners! Amazing imagery in both.
    And, thank you to everyone at Story Ember for putting this contest on. It was so encouraging to see my name up there! 😊
    I was wondering if I’m allowed to post “Daisies for Goodbye” on my social media now?

    • Brianna Storm Hilvety

      Aww, I’m glad that the honorable mention brightened your day! And yes, you’re free to post your poem anywhere you like since we didn’t acquire it for publication. 🙂

  3. Rachel L.

    Congratulations, everyone! Fantastic job!


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