Seventh Grade Poems

I would again like to offer a special welcome to Ali Kretschmer’s seventh grade students from LaGrande, Oregon.  They have been writing some poetry, and here are some of the results.  These poems definitely painted pictures and planted feelings in my mind!  I can also see evidence that these students incorporated some of the poetry writing tips that I shared with them in my previous post.  I tried to replicate exactly the capitalization, punctuation, spelling, and spacing employed by these poets; if I made any mistakes, I’m so sorry. Thank you all very much for your contributions! 



Lazy Days

Stay up late, wake up late

Old disney movies time!

Hungry, starving it’s the Hunger Games!

Shop until you drop!

Soak up a little sun

Get a refreshment!

Starbucks all the way!

End a great day roller skating

Fall down


Brittany Robles




ACL Surgery

The mall is crammed

with all different types of people.

Zig-zagging through the crowds,

we search for the next store.

Eating our vanilla ice cream cones

on a bench

outside the shoe store,

an occasional stare as I sit

in the mall wheelchair.

People asking,

what is wrong with your leg?

As my mom pushes me

to our next destination.

Smiles growing

as another shopping bag fills my hands.

Karsen Williams



Beach Day

Hot sand burns the soles of my feet,

Sandals dangle from my fingertips.

Footprints show the way I’ve come like train tracks,

But disappear with each passing wave.

My towel on the sand is warmed by the sun

As I spike the volleyball over the net.

Sand explodes around the ball’s impact.

Tight fins are strapped to my feet,

The mask suctioned to my face, as

The tube whistles quietly with each breath.

Cool water saturates my skin;

Salt on my lips.

Colorful parrot fish crunch coral,

Aquatic plants sway,

Beach day

Lara Insko




My Spring Break 

There’s nothing more

enjoyable than this!

The blazing sun brighter

 than pure white snow.

The warmth in the

 air warmer than California.

The blooms and blossoms

are better than Florida’s sky.

And the wind blowing

your hair into your eyes.

Unlike the overheated

Stuff from New Mexico.

All of these are

part of my Spring break.

Jaylynn Madison




The clouds are rumbling.

Heat bounces off the ground.

Under the covers we all like to stay,

nestled in our beds.

drizzling rain rolls down our windows,

excitement on our faces

when we hear the rumble,

racing to the windows

when we hear the crackle

then sun is hiding behind the clouds

time flies by.

our spring break has been cold

rainy and wet.

mother says were fine

spring break!

we need more time!

Tori Bowen



My Spring Break days

Netflix is our go to,

Every day of the week.

The nights we never sleep.

Season after season,

Episode after episode,

Pretty Little Liars, Scrubs, Greys Anatomy.

We’re all turning into,

Nocturnal animals…

Jacie Howton



The Majestic Swag of Spring

On Twitch TV

I will be watching Mianite,

CaptainSparklez’s Point of view.

I will listen to music,

Dubstep to be exact.

And I’ll turn my sound up to max.

The soothing bass,

It’s like a hot shower at half past ten on a Friday night.

I’ll be watching Netflix

As I make a cake with some good mix.

Then I will try out my new kicks.

But then, I realize, I’m out of tricks.

Chris Kirby (Techyomo Quintavious-Jasmine Wonder)



Perks of Spring Break

            Spring Break is always fun,

                        24/7 got my music on.

                        Popcorn with the fam,

got the tissues by the couch so if we get sad.

                        Call of Duty with my bro,

My bossness killin’ it while by bro gets scoped.

            I hear a gunshot to the left,

            there’s been a lot of deaths.

Alexia Gray



Movie Night During The Spring

During the day you

fish with friends,

flounders fighting,

friends freaking.


Netflix at night,

chewing on popcorn kernels,

licking butter off your fingers.

Watching movies till midnight,

Action and comedies.


Falling asleep feels like

you’re in the movie,

the wind on your face,

deeper and deeper,


Dahlia Hedges



Spring Break Poem

 he wait is over

spring break is here.

Time for camping,

Dirt bike riding is near!

Camp fire burning the rear,

the s’mores are here!


arms reeling,

steelhead fighting,

silver flashes blinding!

Spring break is here!

Craig Romine



Ups and Downs of Spring Break


Popcorn and movies

With fruit smoothies.


                                                            But also getting sores

                                                            From doing all my chores.

Camping at wallowa lake,

And eating my birthday cake.


                                                            Vacuuming my floor,


And walking on the shore.


                                    Now as you can see

                                    This is spring break to me.

Brixton Walker



Warm Days

Camping with the fam bam

Music loud, Sun out

Cool breeze, Iceez

Tanning and fanning

at the beach.

Aspyn Wallender

Famous Poets

Students are frequently asked to analyze poetry.  This can be challenging, and can also reduce enjoyment of this genre.  Part of the reason for that, I think, is that students worry that they’re not going to come up with the “correct” analysis. 


It’s important to remember that it’s really only in a testing situation that such a thing matters.  In that case, the object of the “game” is to come up with a response that is likely to make sense to the person or computer doing the scoring. 


People understand literary writing in their own ways.  That’s actually a good thing, especially if you can explain why you reached your conclusion - backing it up with evidence from the text.


Below you will find some poetry analysis pointers and some poems on which to try them.


1. After reading the poem silently to make some initial understanding for yourself, read it aloud – relying on the punctuation to help you pause and stop appropriately. (You don’t usually need to pause or stop just because a new line is starting – regardless of the use of upper case letters in some cases).


2. Take the title, if there is one, into consideration.  Does it give you a mindset that helps you understand the body of the poem?  If there is no title, why might the poet have made that choice?



Dream Variations


To fling my arms wide

In some place of the sun,

To whirl and to dance

Till the white day is done.

Then rest at cool evening

Beneath a tall tree

While night comes on gently,

     Dark like me –

That is my dream!


To fling my arms wide

In the face of the sun,

Dance!  Whirl!  Whirl!

Till the quick day is done.

Rest at pale evening . . .

A tall, slim tree . . .

Night coming tenderly

     Black like me.


Langston Hughes



3. Be prepared to read the poem multiple times – beyond just once silently and once aloud.  Do you see additional possible meanings as you read it again and again?


4. Could you put the poem into your own words to tell someone about it?





Dear March, come in!

How glad I am!

I looked for you before.

Put down your hat –

You must have walked –

How out of breath you are!

Dear March, how are you?

And the rest?

Did you leave Nature well?

Oh, March, come right upstairs with me,

I have so much to tell!


(excerpt) Emily Dickinson



5. Try guessing at what the poet’s intention might have been, but consider other possibilities, too.



The Red Wheelbarrow


so much depends



a red wheel



glazed with rain



beside the white



William Carlos Williams



6. Does the poem have a speaker (other than the poet) – like a character in a book or play?  Does that help you to understand?


Incident of the French Camp


You know, we French stormed Ratisbon:

     A mile or so away

On a little mound, Napoleon

     Stood on our storming-day;

With neck out-thrust, you fancy how,

     Legs wide, arms locked behind,

As if to balance the prone brow

      Oppressive with its mind.


(excerpt) Robert Browning



7.  Remember, every word or phrase probably means something; poets generally try not to use extras.  That said, don’t worry if you encounter some unfamiliar words (or words you can pronounce used in unfamiliar ways). 


Just like with any kind of reading, much meaning can be made without knowing every word.  Don’t get too stuck.  (Of course, if you will be reading aloud for an audience, you will want to be fully prepared).



A Time to Talk


When a friend calls to me from the road

And slows his horse to a meaning walk,

I don’t stand still and look around

On all the hills I haven’t hoed,

And shout from where I am, “What is it?”

No, not as there is a time to talk.

I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,

Blade-end up and five feet tall,

And plod: I go up to the stone wall

For a friendly visit.


Robert Frost



8.  Some poems aren’t meant to have definite endings or meanings; they are more open-ended and lend themselves well to personal interpretation – and that’s OK.  (If you can’t ask the poet what he/she meant, it’s really not possible to know for certain, right?)




A young man going to war

Gave me his hand

And in it

I found

A yellow bracelet.

Cheyene-Arapaho (author unknown)

Eloise Greenfield

All of these beautiful works come from Honey, I Love and other love poems.  The poems were penned by the elegant Eloise Greenfield and the dual-style illustrations were provided by multiple Caldecott winners Leo and Diane Dillon.




Went to the corner

Walked to the store

Bought me some candy

Ain't got it no more

Ain't got it no more


Went to the beach

Played on the shore

Built me a sandhouse

Ain't got it no more

Ain't got it no more


Went to the kitchen

Lay down on the floor

Made me a poem

Still got it

Still got it


Eloise Greenfield



Harriet Tubman


Harriet Tubman didn't take no stuff

Wasn't scared of nothing neither

Didn't come in this world to be no slave

And wasn't going to stay one either


"Farewell!" she sang to her friends one night

She was mighty sad to leave 'em

But she ran away that dark, hot night

Ran looking for her freedom


She ran to the woods and she ran through the woods

With the slave catchers right behind her

And she kept on going till she got to the North

Where those mean men couldn't find her


Nineteen times she went back South

To get three hundred others

She ran for her freedom nineteen times

To save Black sisters and brothers

Harriet Tubman didn't take no stuff

Wasn't scared of nothing neither

Didn't come in this world to be no slave

And didn't stay one either


            And didn't stay one either


Eloise Greenfield



Honey, I Love


I love

I love a lot of things, a whole lot of things


My cousin comes to visit and you know he's from the South

'Cause every word he says just kind of slides out of his mouth

I like the way he whistles and I like the way he walks

But honey, let me tell you that I LOVE the way he talks

            I love the way my cousin talks


The day is hot and icky and the sun sticks to my skin

Mr. Davis turns the hose on, everybody jumps right in

The water stings my stomach and I feel so nice and cool

Honey, let me tell you that I LOVE a flying pool

            I love to feel a flying pool


Renee comes out to play and brings her doll without a dress

I make a dress with paper and that doll sure looks a mess

We laugh so loud and long and hard the doll falls to the ground

Honey, let me tell you that I LOVE the laughing sound

            I love to make the laughing sound


My uncle's car is crowded and there's lots of food to eat

We're going down the country where the church folks like to meet

I'm looking out the window at the cows and trees outside

Honey, let me tell you that I LOVE to take a ride

I love to take a family ride


My mama's on the sofa sewing buttons on my coat

I go and sit beside her, I'm through playing with my boat

I hold her arm and kiss it, 'cause it feels so soft and warm

Honey, let me tell you that I LOVE my mama's arm

            I love to kiss my mama's arm


It's not so late at night, but still I'm lying in my bed

I guess I need my rest, at least that's what my mama said

She told me not to cry 'cause she don't want to hear a peep

Honey, let me tell you I DON'T LOVE to go to sleep

            I do not love to go to sleep

But I love

I love a lot of things, a whole lot of things

And honey,

I love you, too.


I love

I love a lot of things

A whole lot of things

And honey,

I love ME, too


Eloise Greenfield



Aunt Roberta


What do people think about

When they sit and dream

All wrapped up in quiet

     And old sweaters

And don't even hear me 'til I

Slam the door?


Eloise Greenfield





Love Don't Mean


Love don't mean all that kissing

Like on television

Love means Daddy

Saying keep your mama company

     Till I get back

And me doing it

Eloise Greenfield

This Same Sky

The following poems come from a volume that I have recommended to you before.  It's This Same Sky: A Collection of Poems from Around the World, selected by Naomi Shihab Nye.  I am so encouraged by the fact that, all around the world, the same kinds of wonders (large and small) fascinate us.  Perhaps there is hope for us all to live in peace one day!






For Luisa


A balloon!  My Daddy brought for me

and it is like my Mama's belly,

and the cord and my arm are one:

            it goes up, I go up,

            I go down, it goes down.

I am the hummingbird awed

by that highest rosebud.

Oh my balloon, where may it be?

It hangs like a wrinkled wing

from the highest thorn of the tree

and the ground bruises and bruises my knees.


Blanca Rodrigues


Translated by Aurelio Major



The Moon Rises Slowly Over the Ocean


It is time

We stand like children

On the silent beach

And calmly wait for the moon

Nothing has been lost on the moon today

A banana kazoo

Sucked between the lips of night

Is no longer blowing out of tune


Crisscrossed boughs set up an easel

The moon wearing a pure white suncap

Slowly comes over like a shy boy

Holding a transparent nylon net

With which to scavenge the ocean

Of its many broken hearts

Bobbing on the sea to the horizon


Xu De-min


Translated by Edward Morin and Dennis Ding



The Squirrel


The first hazelnut trundles down from above.

The second hazelnut, the third, the fourth, the fifth, and

the sixth, trundle down from above.

The hazelnuts trundle down, nut by nut, to the ground beneath

the dumb tree, the tree whose memory the squirrel collects

nut by nut, rolling into his den.

Each year a memory of hazelnuts rolls, nut by nut, into

the den of the prince with the merry tail,

and the tree forgets.


Saleem Barakat


Translated by Lena Jayyusi and Naomi Shihab Nye




Winter Poems

Laughing Boy


In the falling snow

A laughing boy holds out his palms

Until they are white.


Richard Wright







I'm very good at skiing.

     I have a kind of knack

For I can do it frontways

     And also on my back.

And when I reach the bottom

     I give a sudden flop

And dig myself in sideways

     And that's the way I stop.


Marchette Chute



The Germ



A mighty creature is the germ,

Though smaller than a pachyderm.

His customary dwelling place

Is deep within the human race.

His childish pride he often pleases

By giving people strange diseases.

Do you, my poppet, feel infirm?

You probably contain a germ.


Ogden Nash



I found these three personally pertinent gems in a collection called Winter Poems.  The works in the book were selected by Barbara Rogasky and the illustrations were provided by the very successful Trina Schart Hyman.  Thank you to Dr. Carol Nelson for giving me this book!

The Random House Book of Poetry for Children

I Heard a Bird Sing


I heard a bird sing

In the dark of December

A magical thing

And sweet to remember.

"We are nearer to Spring

than we were in September,"

I heard a bird sing

In the dark of December.

Oliver Herford



Merry Christmas


I saw on the snow

when I tried my skis

the track of a mouse

beside some trees.


Before he tunneled

to reach his house

he wrote "Merry Christmas"

in white, in mouse.


Aileen Fisher


These are two of my all-time favorites; I hope that you love them, too.  I found them both in The Random House Book of Poetry for Children, an excellent anthology that I've mentioned before.


Sharing the Seasons: A Book of Poems II

As I write this, it is December 1.  Yesterday it was literally November!  What happened to November?!  I cannot give it up that easily – especially because I have been saving a couple of very nice poems for you.


For Crows and Jays


I sing a song

Of thanks and praise

For cranky crows

And feisty jays

Who could have lived

A life of ease

Sailing on a southern breeze

But gave up warm and

Sunny skies

To stay behind and


November's damp

And bitter cold –

With squawk, and

Bellyache, and



Beverly McLoughland




Closing Sale


Autumn's going out of business

Due to threat of snow –

Goldenrod and aster

Chrysanthemum must go.


Bumblebee's out browsing

Nectar's almost gone,

It's Autumn's final bargain days

With Winter coming on.


Beverly McLoughland





Horse in Pasture


All fall the farm horse at the bars

Just stands, not watching the passing cars,

Not moving his eyes across the view,

Not even – unlike the cattle – feeding.

Poor horse, I say; nothing to do,

Like knitting or whittling, rocking, reading.


James Hayford



All of these come from a book that I've mentioned before.  It's Sharing the Seasons:  A Book of Poems.  David Diaz did the illustrations and Lee Bennett Hopkins selected the poems.  As you can see, I really am ambivalent about leaving Fall behind – even though Winter is nice, too!


While we're on the subject of seasons, I would very much like to recommend a beautiful series of books to you.  They're by Edna Miller and my children and I enjoyed them  twenty-five or so years ago.  Judging by the prices, I'd say they're collectibles!  Maybe you can still find them in your library:  Mousekin's Golden House, Mousekin's Thanksgiving, and Mousekin's Frosty Friend.  There may be others; all are beautifully told stories of the natural world, starring a most excellent (realistic) mouse.  The artwork is exquisite, too!

Marilyn Singer Part Two

Beavers in November


This stick        here

That stick        there


   Mud, more mud, add mud, good mud


That stick        here

This stick        there


   Mud, more mud, add mud, good mud


            You pat

            I gnaw

            I pile

            You store

This stick        here

That stick        there

   Mud, more mud, add mud, good mud

            You guard

            I pack

            I dig

            You stack

That stick        here

This stick        there

   Mud, more mud, add mud, good mud

            I trim

            You mold

            To keep

            Out cold

This stick        here

That stick        there

   Mud, more mud, add mud, good mud

Marilyn Singer



Canada Goose


Did I tell you?

I should tell you

Going home

We're going home

Are you coming?

Yes, you're coming

Going home

We're going home

How the sun will warm each feather

How the wind will make us fly

Follow me – I'll be your leader

As we flap across the sky

Are you ready?

I am ready

Going home

We're going home

Is it time now?

It is time now

October's happened

And we're going home

Marilyn Singer


Bullhead in Autumn


     in autumn

I settle

       belly down in the shallows

above me


          red and yellow

     spinning slowly

          in the wind and water

on the shore

     a lone fisher

         casts a line

     begging me to bite

donb't waste your time, fisher

     it's autumn

         and in autumn

I settle

         belly down in the shallows



Marilyn Singer





I promised you the first one in an earlier post; it's definitely a favorite with me.  Perhaps you remember our choral reading (in three groups) of it in Integrated Arts class.  Maybe you even remember acting out the second poem in a small group; it lends itself well to that.  Asking students to act out poems is a fantastic way to grow their brains via creative drama.  The worthwhile challenge for them is in making decisions about how to use their voices and bodies.  All of these poems came from Turtle in July by Marilyn Singer.  The illustrations were done by the equally fabulous Jerry Pinkney.


Do you want to submit a poem or poems for this section?  It could be yours – or a favorite of yours by someone else.  Just let me know via the CONTACT page on this site.




Thirteen Moons

From Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back:  A Native American Year of Moons:


"Many Native American people look at Turtle's back as a sort of calendar, with its pattern of thirteen large scales standing for the thirteen moons in each year."

These pages from the book are perfect for this time of year; we are bridging from one time to another and noticing that many things are happening in our natural world.  I am grateful for the work of both the original tellers and the people who have more recently recorded these ideas in a poetic format.


Moose-Calling Moon (Ninth Moon – Micmac)


In this season when leaves

begin to turn color,

we go down to the lakes

and with birch-bark horns

make that sound which echoes

through the spruce trees,

the call of a moose

looking for a mate:




If we wait there,

Patient in our canoes,

The Moose will come.

His great horns are flat

Because, long ago,

before people came,

Gloos-kap asked the Moose

what he would do

when he saw human beings.

"I will throw them up high

on my sharp horns," Moose said.

So Gloos-kap pushed his horns

Flatter and made him smaller.

"Now, Moose," he said, "you will not

want to harm my people."

So the Moose comes and stands,

Strong as the northeast wind.

He looks at us, then

we watch him disappear

back into the willows again.

Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London

Illustrated by Thomas Locker

Moon of Falling Leaves  (Tenth Moon – Cherokee)


Long ago, the trees were told

They must stay awake

seven days and nights,

but only the cedar,

the pine and the spruce

stayed awake until

that seventh night.

The reward they were given

was to always be green

while all the other trees

must shed their leaves.

So, each autumn, the leaves

of the sleeping trees fall.

They cover the floor

of our woodlands with colors

as bright as the flowers

that come with the spring.

The leaves return the strength

of one more year's growth

to the earth.

This journey

the leaves are taking

is part of that great circle

which holds us all close to the earth.

Joseph Bruchac and Jonathan London

Illustrated by Thomas Locker

William Carlos Williams

This is Just to Say

I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox


and which

you were probably


for breakfast


Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold


William Carlos Williams



The Great Figure


Among the rain

and lights

I saw the figure 5

in gold

on a red





to gong clangs

siren howls

and wheels rumbling

through the dark city.

William Carlos Williams


The Red  Wheelbarrow


so much depends



a red wheel



glazed with rain



beside the white



William Carlos Williams


These beautiful poems (and others) are printed on the endpapers of a picture book biography of this poet.  It is called A River of Words:  The Story of William Carlos Williams.   It is written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet.  I recommend it very, very highly. 


I think that it’s so important for young people to understand that writers, artists, and other accomplished people have interesting personal stories; they are people like everyone else.  The story of this poet/pediatrician is particularly interesting to me.  His work is widely studied and did much to free writers from strict constraints of rhythm and rhyme.

Sharing the Seasons: A Book of Poems I



Autumn, the year’s last,

lovliest smile.

William Cullen Bryant



The Scarecrow Prince


A scarescrow stands

     among the corn;

his hair is wild,

     his pants are torn,

and on his head,

     a hat quite worn-

crumpled, faded,

     and forlorn.

But when the sum

     shines down on him,

his golden hair

      and friendly grin,

it seems to me

     a prince is born –

Royal Keeper of

     The Corn.

Terry Webb Harshman



I found both of these in a collection I will probably consult again and again.   Sharing the Seasons:  A Book of Poems.  The poems were selected (and in some cases authored) by a giant in this field, Lee Bennett Hopkins.  The illustrations were done by David Diaz.

One Day in Seattle

One Day in Seattle

One day in Seattle

I sat by the Sound.

The salmon were jumping,

the birds flew around.

The seagulls were begging

for morsels of bread,

as ominous clouds

gathered high overhead.


A ferry went out,

and a ferry came in.

It started to rain,

I got soaked to my skin.

Seattle is lovely,

but I cannot lie –

without an umbrella

it’s hard to stay dry.


Jack Prelutsky


I selected this poem for this week, because I know that several of my local teacher friends traveled this (long) weekend – and some of them went to Seattle, our closest regional hub of exciting city activity.  I invite you all to submit your favorite place poems – either authored by you, the kids in your care, or a poet whose work you particularly enjoy.


I found this poem in The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders by Jack Prelutsky.  It is illustrated by Petra Mathers.  It contains several poems based on particular places – as well as a variety of others.  Mr. Prelutsky, it seems, has long been fascinated with places.  You can find lots of other place poems in his Ride a Purple Pelican and also in Beneath a Blue Umbrella.  Both of these are illustrated by Garth Williams; I’m certain that you’ll recognize his work!  These poems are consistently short and would make a nice invitation to your own students to write about some of their favorite places – perhaps even in a rhyming style.

Marilyn Singer

Monarch Butterfly

Wait I can wait 

     For the fullness of wings

     For the lift     For the flight

Wait I can wait

     A moment less

     A moment more

I have waited much longer before

     For the taste of the flower

For the feel     For the sight

Wait I can wait

     For the prize of the skies

     For the gift of the air

Almost finished

Almost there

     Almost ready

                    to rise


Marilyn Singer




Baron I’m the baron

I’m the duke

I’m the king

     of this piece of the pond

when it’s muggy

when it’s buggy

     in the moonlight

hear me sing

baron I’m the baron

I’m the duke

I’m the king


Marilyn Singer




I hear/I see

     the night

come creeping in

I hear/I see

     a cousin

flutter by

I hear/I see

     the trees

rise in my path

I hear/I see

     a house

where days I sleep

I hear/I see

     in waves of sound

Mosquitos swarm

I ride a breeze

The air is warm

I hear/I see

I fly     I find

I near

     I seize


Marilyn Singer




Web is the work

     is the home

     is the trap

     is the hub

     is the map

     is the night

     is the day

     is the hour

     is the power

     is the pattern

is the way


Marilyn Singer



I found all of these in Fireflies at Midnight.  I will share my favorite Marilyn Singer poem with you in November; some of you have seen it with me before.  I appreciate this poet’s tributes to animals and enjoy her use of repetition.  The illustrations were done by Ken Robbins.

Valerie Worth

Garage Sale


Coming home, carrying

A pair of chipped china

Swans, a scuffed

Jigsaw puzzle, and a

Perfectly good coat

That very nearly fits,


We could not quite

Forget one elderly

Cigar box, holding a

Few brown iron

Bolts and some other

Mournful metal bits.


Valerie Worth



Autumn Geese


One long




The whole



Valerie Worth


I found both of these beauties in a book called All the Small Poems and Fourteen More.  Here is a quote from the poet that really just says so much, in my opinion. 


“Never forget that the subject is as important as your feeling:  The mud puddle itself is as important as your pleasure in looking at it or splashing through it.  Never let the mud puddle get lost in the poetry – because, in many ways, the mud puddle is the poetry.”  (Another Jar of Tiny Stars, Cullinan and Wooten)

Mr. Beefy

Mr. Beefy


I am not thin, but I am beautiful.






                            looking, I steal tubs of butter off the table.


I take them to the basement to eat in private.


                        Once I ate a PIE.


Patricia MacLachlan and Emily MacLachlan Charest


Last week I promised that I would include this poem in my next entry.  I absolutely love it – and so have the elementary students with whom I’ve shared it.  The poets did interesting things with arranging the words on the page; I tried to recreate it as best I could. 

Reading this poem again made me want to start working on one about some of the things that some of the dogs I know and love have eaten.  I’m hoping that I can finish it by next week, but who knows?  (I have some that I’ve been working on for multiple years). 

To get in the mood to write about dogs, I have been looking at a couple of very nice (primarily informational) books:  Dogs and Cats by Steve Jenkins (of paper cutting fame) and The Nature of Dogs by Mary Ludington.  I have also relished Dogs, by Emily Gravett.  She is one of my new favorites in terms of author/illustrators.  I was delighted to get to meet her at a conference a few years ago. 

I mentioned Arnold Adoff’s Eats in last week’s entry.  He has been a master of interesting arrangement of words on the page for quite some time.  Some of the kids in your care might particularly enjoy his Sports PagesAll the Colors of the Race is a collection of poems that explores life in an interracial family.  (His poem about chocolate originally appeared there; it has a special, deep meaning).

Some People

Some People

Isn’t it strange some people make

     You feel so tired inside,

Your thoughts begin to shrivel up

     Like leaves all brown and dried!

But when you’re with some other ones,

     It’s stranger still to find

Your thoughts as thick as fireflies

     All shiny in your mind!

Rachel Field


I found this poem in A New Treasury of Children’s Poetry:  Old Favorites and New Discoveries (another nice anthology). I always like to share it with new groups of students as one small way of beginning to set a collaborative and respectful tone for our journey together. 

New Suit

New Suit

A new suit is crackly

it smells like wrapping paper

and humiliates my old socks. 

-Eve Merriam



Most kids wear T-shirts or other comfortable clothing to school these days, but they might still be able to relate to this poem.  I found it in Fresh Paint:  New Poems by Eve Merriam.  Here are some things that she said in A Jar of Tiny Stars:  Poems by NCTE Award-Winning Poets  (edited by Bernice E. Cullinan).

            “I’ve sometimes spent weeks looking for precisely the right word.  It’s like having a tiny marble in your pocket, you can just feel it.  …  I do think poetry is great fun.  That’s what I’d like to stress more than anything else:  the joy of the sounds of language.”