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3rd Place - "The Bitter Cup" by Clara Harney

"The Bitter Cup"

How is it we so often stare complacently

At that solemn reminder hewn from wood

A beam across another in humility

How little we give thanks for what we should

To think that when relief was offered willingly

Their bitter cup He for a worse disdained

Refusing any chance to lessen agony

Through poison or a dulling of His pain

How can we gloss over these hours unthinkingly

Even with knowledge of an empty tomb

To think our shame erased His earthly dignity

That torture rightly ours He would assume

His suffering was not less due to His deity

Nor lighter weight to bear as God divine

But as the innocent, it was infinity

Compared to the deserved that would be mine


Clara competed in Stoa for 4 years and considers that experience to be the highlight of her highschool years. After NITOC 2020 was cancelled, she started investing more heavily in writing, launching her blog where she shares poetry, short stories, musings, and novel updates…but mostly poetry. ( More recently, she’s launched a writing Instagram account in order to further build her online presence and community. (@claraharneywrites) She is passionate about the potential Christians have for creatively influencing culture. Her favorite way to do that is through the power of words, whether written or oral. Clara is currently taking online classes with Patrick Henry College and enjoying time in CA with her 5 younger siblings and wonderful parents.

The views expressed in pieces written by guest authors are the authors’ alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of Stoa or the Stoa Alumni Committee.


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