This is my playground for poetry written for children with ideas and inspiration for writing your own poems. Come on in. Sit for a spell, have a cup of words to swirl around and make your own cup of poetry. I'm so glad you are here. I hope you'll find the Kingdom of Poetry a fun place to be.

Sunday, July 31, 2011


flipped idle boats
waiting at the lake shore
who will paddle them

      Have you gotten to go out in a boat this summer?  Can you write a poem about it?  Did you get wet?

Saturday, July 30, 2011


 by the garden path
bluets wave in the wind
promises for spring

    Go through some old magazines and pull pictures that appeal to you.  Can you write haiku to go with your pictures?

Friday, July 29, 2011


blue bottle rocket
rests on a dry stick
silence of the pond


Thursday, July 28, 2011


Hurray! Hurray! Hurray!
Today is a special day.
For all the posts you have read.
This is poem 100!

    ♪   ♫   ♪   ♪   ♫   ♪

Do something special today to celebrate being wonderful you.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Just when
we are thinking
to erase the word
rain from the dictionary
the monsoons arrive.

The golden barrel cactus
grows round, plump,
and full.

The seams
of the saguaro
fill and their deep creases
flesh out.

Even the small yellow
creosote flower
permeates the air
in heavy, heady fragrance.

We all
heed the signs:
Avoid arroyos
during flash floods. 

    Poets have been writing poems about the weather for a long time.  I can remember when we were in England people used to say, "If you don't like the weather, wait 15 minutes.  It will change."   This is why they carry umbrellas, the British never know when it might rain.  Can you write your own poem about weather? 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011



I put on my shirt. 
I did it.

I button my shirt. 
I did it.

I pull on my pants. 
I did it.

I put on my belt. 
I did it.

I buckle it. 
I did it.

I pull on my socks.
I did it.

I put on my shoes. 
I did it.

I did it all. 

Will you help me tie my shoes?

      Take one of your daily tasks like combing your hair, brushing your teeth, feeding the dog, making your bed.  What are the tools you need to perform the task?   What are the steps you follow to complete the task?  Try writing a poem about the work you do to get out the door each morning, (or to get into bed each night.)  Have fun writing.

Monday, July 25, 2011

T.J. Discovers Braces


On Monday
at Burton GeoWorld Magnet School
a young autistic boy
names body parts.

He touches my neck and says, Neck.
Touches my necklace. Necklace, he says.
Eye brow.
When his warm fingers touch my lips,
I smile,
show my teeth and braces.
His dark eyes look inside,
he pauses, considers,
then, proudly announces--
A teeth necklace.

    Some of the most rewarding work I have done is with special needs children.  I always get so much more than I give. They teach me so much.  I love this new word for braces that T.J. taught me.  He made me glad that I wore braces. He taught me to see them as jewelry--gems. Do you have a special needs friend you'd like to write a poem for?

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Here is another poem from the novel in verse.  I actually enjoy trying to include some math in poems.  Your comments on this one are certainly welcome.


Mr. Harker tries
to stretch
our minds.

He says
is easy.

He rushes
to the board
turns back to us.

It's like playing pool
or my favorite video game PONG
I played it as a kid.

Simple easy, peasy.
Just remember this:
the angle of incidence
the angle of refraction.

It's a physical law.
I'm not sure about this.
What is his angle?
I've learned
everyone has one.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Magic Roadrunner


This morning
on my morning run,
I spied a roadrunner
in the sun.

He ran with me
for a while
then paused 
to say, “Bleep!”
it made me smile,
Good morning to you.
Have a good day.
Then he cocked his head
and ran away.

Friday, July 22, 2011


I'm a curious kid
always asking why
always wanting
to know how things work.

My best friend,
I figure out
is a little plastic card.

I carry it
in the zipper pocket
of my blue school backpack.

It lets me check out
books from the library--
my library card.

Each time I learn
with my library card.
Next time I know
I'm checking out
a book
on geometry.

     Do you have a library card?  What does it mean/do for you?  Can you write a poem about your library card.  Since an ode is a tribute poem, perhaps you'd like to title your poem Ode to My Library Card.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


walking in the creek
when I step on a sand bar
yellow swallowtails
tickle the backs of my knees
fly off into the pine trees

     This poem is a tanka, a Japanese form from the 7 century.  It is like a haiku, written in the present tense with a 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic pattern.  Tanka were love poems written by women of the Japanese  court and were some of the earliest poems published by women who wrote the poems in beautiful calligraphy and left them on the pillows of their loved ones.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Desert Couplet

Everyone hides from this broiling desert sun,

Tarantula, snake, lizard, and scorpion.

       A couplet is two lines, a pair or couple.  It brings together two things for a complete thought.  Although it doesn't have to be, most couplets are rhyming.  The challenge for the poet is to make the brief lines worthy of notice.  Basically what a couplet does is notice a moment and to say this matters and this matters. 
The animals I list are all from the desert around my house.  What animals are around your home?  What is the weather or the terrain like?  Can you put them together to write your own couplet?  Try several of them.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Teacher

Mr. Harker

My 8th grade math teacher
his smooth bald head glistens
from the over head lights
in our classroom.

He's nuts about numbers,
waves his arms
and starts writing zeros on the board.
Carrying them on and on
to the next board
his arm circles.

A most important number, he says.
nil, oh, circle.

The additive identity of the integers.
Columbus egg,
naught, aught, null.

Place value systems.
place holder,
zero, blank, nix.

Me, I'm not sure.
I think
I'm barely more than

I've started to work on a novel in verse.  I don't know how far I'll get, but I thought you might enjoy this poem about one of my teachers.   Funny, for me it is very hard to write free verse for young children.  This poem is intended for middle graders.

I think everyone has a story about one of their teachers.  Do you?  Can you write a poem about your teacher?  See how many of your senses you can get into the poem.

Monday, July 18, 2011


My Day

Slowly, slowly, slowly
black turns gray
then rose, pink, and blue.
The sun rises in the sky.
Good morning to you.

creep, creep, creep
the sun arcs
across the sky.
Today is a clear day
with time to play.

At last,
silently, silently, silently
the sky pinks to rose then gray
as the sun slips
over the horizon
ending a sunny day.
It's dark and time to say
Good Night.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Pride of Ownership

At our swim meet
used a marker 
to write 
entry numbers
on our arms.

help the judges
identify winners.

My best friend
Lori grabbed
the black marker
smiley faces
on her knees.

our whole team
had smiley faces.

she said,
I want 
happy reminders.

     For me, summer and swim team go together.  What things mean summer to you?  Library reading programs?  Camping?  Going away to camp or family vacation?  Can you pick one thing, one image and write a poem about it.  This poem relies heavily on visual images.  Can you use other senses in your poem?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Monster In My Shoe

I do not know
what to do
there's a monster
in my shoe.

He stinks, and smells.
He even reeks.
He dirties my shoes
and makes them squeak.

When I am running
in foot races,
The monster, he
unties my laces.

He makes me stumble.
He makes me fall.
I do not like
this monster at all!

Look here!
This cranky
mean old mister
has rubbed my foot
raw with a blister.

Oh what can I do?
Should I throw out my shoe?

       Thanks to my friend Jeanne Poland, I'm now going to have to think about a verse that includes the monster leaving his toe jam on my feet.  I'm having fun with this monster.  Do you have a favorite monster, does he hide out in your video game or take over the video controller?  Try writing a poem about your monster.  We could have a whole monster party.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Late at Night

It's late at night
and I'm in bed.
Should be asleep
but I'm reading instead.

I'm under the covers
with my flashlight and book.
I hope Mom and Dad 
don't come to look.

I'll soon be done
and all will be fine
but to finish this story
needs a little more time.

     Happy Friday.  I hope this is the start of a good weekend for you.  Can you write a poem about reading a book?  What kind of book do you like to read?  Have fun writing.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Monster in my Soup

There is a monster
in my soup
He makes my noodles
slurp and sloop.

Every time I  lift
my spoon
the monster sings
a sloppy tune
slurp, slurp, sloop.

The one thing
that has gone wrong
is I join him
in his soupy song
slurp, slurp, sloop.

We're very noisy
when we sip
I try to hush him
but he won't quit
slup,slup, sloop, slurp.

     I must like monsters, or having imaginary friends because here I've written another monster poem.  This time I've put the monster in my soup.  Where else can you put the monster?  In your backpack, in the dog dish, in your shoe?  Under the bed and in the closet have already been done, so try to think of some place new to put a monster and see what happens.  Is the monster at the movies, swimming, or on your baseball team?  Write a poem about it and share it with us.  Have fun writing. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My Dog

My dog pants in hot weather
his tongue lolls and drips.
He barks to let me know
when someone comes.
He likes his ears scratched 
and his back.
He loves to take walks
and to chase tennis balls
and birds.
My dog likes sleeping
and eating cookies
and watching dogs on TV.
What he doesn't like
are cats and fleas.
 I like that my dog likes me.

Do you have a pet?  Can you write a poem about the things your pet likes and doesn't like? 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Birthday Balloon

tie the knot
whipped in wind
floating skyward
caught in the sun
drifts away
good by


Monday, July 11, 2011

Going Barefoot

Take off
your shoes.

Take off
your socks.

your toes.

I love 
summer lots.

      What do you like best about summer time?  Can you write a poem about it? 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Another Concrete Poem



atop the
Eiffel tower

feeling a great
sense of power

when along comes
an April Shower.
Boy does that make
the day seem sour!

I walk back down,
it takes an hour, all the while
smelling the exhaust of rush hour.

I  guess  I  shouldn't  be  so  gloomy

and dour.                                     But SHUCKS,
only ducks                                                like rain
on their                                                         parade.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Oh Pity the Snake

OH!                   s n                         no                           beat
      P                     a                             fe                               f                            !
        i            e        k                  s           et                     e      o                       Y
         t         h           e               a                                    h          r                 R
          y     t                   h  e    h                 to                 t                           T
                                                                      s   e   t                  P  O   E

      This is a concrete poem.  It takes the shape of the thing the poem is written about.  Linda had asked for a snake poem, so here it is.  Can you write your own shape poem?
      For extra fun, check out my Poetry Musings for today.

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Clutch of Birds


the trail
it's quail!

Lately there have been whole flocks of quail dashing across the road.  The fun thing is they come in large, medium and small sizes, so you can guess how old each of them is.  And, as the summer moves on the birds get bigger and the number gets fewer as the hawks and other birds have quail for dinner.  Can you write a poem about a bird you've observed today?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

One Small Prayer

The lizard
across hot cement.

Small dragon
on four ancient legs

up and down
lizard push ups

the scenery 
all around

across hot rocks

he stops again






I had fun playing with this poem to make it a concrete poem.  Can you see how the words take the shape of a lizard? A lizard is a fairly easy animal to write a poem about because it has a long skinny tail.  Can you think of other animals with long tails?  Maybe a mouse, rat or opossum.  Can you write a poem about an animal and make it a concrete poem so that the poem takes the shape of the animal?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What the Witch Said

Said a warty witch
as she stood stirring
a bubbly stewy pot,
"My tasty friend,
please jump in.
I like my dinner hot."

For something different today, make a list of at least 10 professions. Then think about what a person in that profession does.  Does it require special tools of clothing?  Can you write a short poem about that person?  Can you include dialogue?  For instance,


My teacher claims,
"I have eyes
in back of my head."
I know it's rude to stare.

I've never seen those two eyes
sticking out from there
because the back of her head
in covered with all her hair.

I hope you have fun writing today.  I hope you're having a grand summer.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Are You There


I'm on my head
turned over - over turned

ready to break dance
break up

do whatever it takes
to get your

I'll spin
kick up my heels

in order to
have you
kind word.

Won't you?

     Can you write a poem about doing  or saying something nice to someone?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July

Here's wishing you a really great day today.

             Happy Fourth of July

Flags unfurl for fireworks and family fun

On this special day for our nation--

UNITED STATES with parades and picnics

Respect, the ramparts red glare,

The bombs bursting in air...

Have a happy holiday.

Oh,” we all say as

Fireworks explode to symbolize

Justice in our land

United we stand,

Like Lady Liberty

You and me, together, UNITED STATES.

Bring on the watermelon,
Let's see who can
spit seeds the farthest.

Let's run in the water
sprinklers to cool ourselves
off from this heat.

Can you write your own holiday poem?  Start by creating a word bank to use in your poem.  Make a list of all the things the Fourth of July means to you.  Ask your family and friends to help add to your word bank.  What form of poem will you write?  Free verse?  Rhyming couplets?  An acrostic like I did?  A list poem?  Perhaps a haiku?  What ever you do, have fun on this special day.  Enjoy your freedom.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Shoes Counting Rhyme

This shoe sat in the closet.
This one lay on the floor.
This shoe raced for the playground.
This shoe danced out the door.
This little shoe, the hardest to keep,
fell from baby's foot, while he was asleep.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Another Counting Rhyme

Black Birds
This bird sat on a scarecrow.
This one roosted in a tree.
This crow ate at the cornrows.
This one was flying free.
This black crow sang a raucous song,
Caw, Caw, Caw. All day long.

I  love the This Little Piggie children's rhyme.  I've written dozens of them for various animals.  Perhaps you'd like to try your hand at it.  Pick an animal, it helps if the animal makes a sound.  I tried writing a counting rhyme about bunnies once and had a dozy of a time because I couldn't think of the sound a rabbit makes.  Have fun.  You can share your poem with me by leaving it in the comments box.

Friday, July 1, 2011



Five red pickups parked at the store,
a farmer got in and slammed the door,
drove off,
then there were four.

Four Red pickups parked by a tree,
A painter with a ladder got in ,
drove off,
then there were three.

Three red pickups parked at the zoo,
monkeys picked the lock,
drove off,
then there were two.

Two red pickup trucks parked in the sun,
a clown walked by, climbed in,
drove off,
then there was one.

One red pickup truck let its engine run,
out raced a robber, jumped in,
drove off,
now there are none.

Can you write your own  counting rhyme?  Maybe you'd like to count up instead of down.  Or count to 10.  Do you know the counting rhyme, 10 Little Indians?  That one counts both up and down.