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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011


A hummingbird sits

upon the feeder
taking a sugary sip.

Along comes another
hummer and now
the two of them take a dip.

The hummers start to flit away
the feeder starts to tip and sway.
'It is a windy day
for trying to feed hummers.

      My mother's favorite bird was a hummingbird.  She had figurines, candles, plates, tiles, even a stained glass window with hummingbirds.  I always feel a little closer to her when I see a hummingbird.  Today they have been darting around the feeder outside my window.  They sit on the feeder and watch me.  I can see the long thin beak open and close, as if the bird is talking to me.
      What is your favorite bird?  Can you write a poem about a bird?  Have fun.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


There is something
magic about

I'm sure
a scientist
could provide
a formula
for wave lengths
of light
and an explanation
for bending rays
a prism
of color
and how rain
and sunshine
make the rainbow.

But for me
I'd rather
about the beauty
of the colrs
and the magic
a rainbow
me feel.

     How does seeing a rainbow make you feel?  Can you write a poem about that?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Native Artist


She paints nuts—
Brazilian, pecan, hazel, buckeye—
Hard-shelled beauties.

Her soft hands
Add warmth and sheen
To the dark shells

As she sands the surface,
Then brushes the colors
Of butterflies, lizards, toucans.

When, as her brush gets finer
She paints whole scenes--
Women in white blouses

With skirts the colors of her tropical flowers
Bright pink, orange and turquoise
More radiant than sun shining on waves.

The native men in her pictures
Wear wide round hats to protect their brown skin
From the sun. On their feet

A fine one-hair brush paints
Black stripes of huaraches, the soles
from used, old bus tires.

The people she paints carry
Guitars, drums and pipes
Fipple flutes—the siku, kena, and pinkillo.

She sells the nuts on the street.
Some tourists crack them
to eat the soft meat inside.

Sunday, August 28, 2011


OK, we're trying this again.  The text reads:

I fly
on a zip line
through the trees.


          This is a concrete poem in that the final letter is supposed to make a zip-line through the poem.  I recently read an article about one of Elizabeth Bishop's concrete poems and the author made the point that in the days before computers the poet had to position each letter on the typewriter platen.  I'm not so sure it would be harder because I often end up at odds with the computer program that wants to take out spaces, wrap, or put the lines hard left.  Hence, I drew what I wanted and then took a picture.  
          This poem is also an acrostic.  The last letter of each of the first three lines forms a word--the title of this poem.  For such a short little poem, I'm not sure if it isn't more trouble than it is worth, but I'll keep trying to get it right.  Have a great Sunday.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Rain Again!

It's raining outside my window.
I can hear its pitter pat.
It's raining out the window
as I sit here with the cat.

The rain is bouncing on the glass
making all a blur.
It's raining out the window
while the cat sleeps here and purrs.

It's raining out the window
and all is getting wet.
I stroke the cat and watch her
stretch, she's such a lovely pet.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Memory Poem


Cycling in fifth grade
I pedaled a ride
with the girl scout troop.

The leader's
dimpled daughter,
with the platinum pageboy,
Loyal, bicycled first.

Packed in the middle
I was told
not to go ahead
of her complaining
I went too fast for
her aching knees.

The troop leader took
the rear
though there was nothing
to fear because she was
the only one
to go so slowly.

For two hours
I turned my wheels
to the sounds
of Loyal's silky, taunting,
"You can't' go ahead of me."

"You mustn't go in front."
"Do NOT go beyond me."

Her words a rasp--
the cheese grater
biting into my skin.

I'd had enough
of NOTs and CAN'Ts,
wanting to feel
wind through my hair,
I made my dash--
pedaled for freedom
fast as I could
raced to my house,
hid in the closet.

Mother was shopping.
Loyal's mother chased.
She pumped so hard
her pedal pushers
showed the sweat.
she knocked on my door.
My older sister answered
said I wasn't home.

Lately I've been working on some memory poems about things that happened when I was a kid.  Can you write a poem about something that happened to you today?  This morning there was a lizard running around in my bedroom.  I couldn't catch him. Every time I'd get close, he would scoot away.  I was trying to be careful because I didn't want him to drop his tail in fright.  I finally just opened the door to the outside and chased him to the doorway and he found his way out.  I'm thinking about that poem.  My friend Sally Buckner told me that Theodore Roethke had things he called thinkies the beginning thoughts for poems.  I think this event is a thinkie.  Have a good time writing. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Mom has pretty feet with rosy painted toes.
Dad has hairy feet that curls as his hair grows.
Baby has feet with nails that Mommy has to clip.
I have two strong feet to run and jump and skip.

Cats have feet, we call them paws
and puppies have them too.
Fish have fins, they don't have feet.
Oh what is a fish to do?

Ducks and frogs have webbed feet,
for swimming these are best.
Birds have thin, long spindly feet
to fly twigs to their nest.

How do snakes and worms move
since they do not have feet?
My mom she likes them all
but hates our muddy feet.

     I wrote this poem about feet.  Can you write one about hands?  What can you hold in your hand?  How does a snake shake hands?  Have fun writing.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


The first elephant lived in Thailand,
The second elephant lived in the zoo.
The third elephant worked at the circus.
The fourth elephant gave rides in Peru.
The fifth little elephant, the smallest of all,
He kept practicing to stand on a ball.

      This is another of the THIS LITTLE PIGGY counting rhymes.  The fun thing in writing these is you are limited to only five things.  What would you have if you counted clouds, or lightning bolts?  Maybe you could count where rain drops or snow flakes fall.  Have fun writing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Frog Nonsense


I saw a frog, he winked at me.
I wondered what he could see.
Was he tickled by a flea?
Maybe bit by a bumble bee?
Pecked by a bird in a tree?
No his feet are just smelly.

Now for something different.  I have a friend Carolyn Short who published a book of cat jokes.  I thought they were funny and before she sent them off to the publisher, she asked me to look at them and make suggestions.  I had so much fun that when I wrote a frog poem, I wanted to write jokes to go along with it.  Since jokes can't be copyrighted, I didn't think it worth trying to get the things published.  So these have sat in my drawer for a few years.  I think all kids like to try writing jokes, maybe you'd like to try your own hand at dog or fish jokes, maybe insect jokes.  (I personally would rather see your poems, but if you're having fun writing, that is the important thing.)  So here are all of my ridiculous frog jokes.  Once I got started I couldn't stop myself.

Frog Jokes

Q: What did the frog call his aunt?
A: Aunt Phoebe Ann (amphibian)

Q: What do bull frogs eat on a diet?
A: They eat LITE with fireflies.

Q: Why was the frog arrested?
A: He was a peeper.

Q: How do you catch a tree frog?
A: Stand on a branch and make a sound like a baby chick—peep, peep.

Q: Why did the frog get a construction job?
A: He liked to ribbet, ribbet. (rivet)

Q: Why did the frog take a glove to the ballgame?
A: He wanted to catch flies.

Q: What did the frog say to the rabbit?
A: Hoppy Easter.

Q: What is a frog’s favorite dessert?
A: Shoo Fly Pie.

Q: What is a frog’s favorite year?
A: Leap Year.

Q: Where does a beatnik frog live?
A: On his pad.

Q: What did the frog think of the pond?
A: It was toad-ally awesome.

Q: What did the boy yell when a frog stole his backpack?
A: Catch that croak.

Q: What did the frog say about his homework?
A: I’m swamped.

Q: What is green, has warts and weighs 300 lbs.?
A: A really fat frog.

Q: When do frogs have 12 legs?
A: When there are three of them.

Q: What frog was an Indian?
A: Chief Sitting Bullfrog.

Q: What frog is a famous cowboy?
A: Hop-along Cassidy.

Q: What frog is a famous gossip columnist?
A: Hedda Hopper.

Q: What did the tadpole say to the parrot?
A: Hi! I’m Polly too. (polliwog)

Q: What is the frog’s favorite song?
A: Fly Me To The Moon.

Q: What do frogs in Pamplona, Italy do each spring?
A: Watch the running of the Bull frogs.

Q: What does a frog like best about school?
A: Recess, he likes to glide on the slide.

Q: What does a frog do during recess?
A: Play hopscotch and leap frog.

Q: Where do you find a frog?
A: It depends on where you left it.

Q: Why did the frog try out for the baseball team?
A: He was good at catching flies.

Q: What do frogs say on January 1st?
A: Hoppy New Year.

Q: What is a tree frog’s favorite game?
A: Peep-a-boo.

Q: What is a frog’s favorite card game?
A: Go Fish.

Q: What do you get when you cross a frog with an elephant?
A: Swimming trunks.

Q: Why did the frog eat fireflies?
A: He wanted a light snack.

Q: What noisy frog lives at the lighthouse?
A: A frog horn.

Q: In Venice, what do frogs use to move their gondolas?
A: tad-Poles.

Q: Why did the boy keep a frog in his pocket?
A: It made him feel hoppy.

Q: What do you call it when a boy has a frog in his throat?
A: Laryngitis.

Q: What did the frog family name their babies?
A: Polly Wog, and Tad Pole.

Have fun writing.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Five Cats

This cat went to the cat show.
This cat stayed in his crate.
This cat watched the gold fish.
This cat ate and ate.
This little cat, the smallest cat of all
mewed, and mewed, and mewed
at her empty plate. 

     If this poem sounds a lot like the children's nursery rhyme, it is because it is modeled after THIS LITTLE PIGGY, the toe-counting bedtime rhyme.  You can take any animal and write your own poem to fit the toes.


a plane
or a dish
constantly changing
all day clouds blowing me away

      The form of this poem is a fib. It is a six line poem with each syllable count adding with the lines before for a pattern of 1/1/2/3/5/8.  Are there clouds for you to watch today?  Can you write a poem about something your clouds inspire? 

Sunday, August 21, 2011



Quiet rain falls in the forest,
landing on trees.

The branches drink the cool water,
filling their roots
feeding trees with
waltzing water.

Silver rain rest on oak leaves,
dripping down pines,
prism droplets
of diamond dew.

Saturday, August 20, 2011



Take a walk along the cool creek,
hear the water
race over rocks
rushing, burbling.

See boulders smoothed by the ages,
ripples in the
flowing water,
eroding stones.

Dead trees fallen spanning the creek
so we may walk
over water
across the banks.

This form poem is called a minute poem.  Do you see how it has 60 syllables?  There are 20 syllables in each stanza.  One line has 8 syllables, followed by three lines with 4 syllables.
Can you try writing your own minute poem? 

Friday, August 19, 2011

It's Raining!

Rain drops drum on the roof,
"Go to sleep," Dad says,
and I try .

Lightning cracks in a quicksilver flash
to light up the dark, cloudy sky.

Thunder roars, clashes,
crashes and makes a very loud boom.

Is it any wonder I'm here with my dog
under the sheets 
in my room?

  Lately, we've been having storms roll through in the late evening.  It floods the roads and comes with beautiful lightning and loud thunder.  Do you have summer storms?  Can you write your own poem about rain, or how about a list poem about all the things that go crash and boom?  Enjoy your writing.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Pocket

When my boys were young, I used to enjoy emptying their pockets at the end of the day.  It was always interesting to see what they had collected and thought was important to them on their adventures during the day.

My Pocket

In my pocket
I have a rock
and a piece
of sidewalk chalk.
I have a nail,
and a Monopoly card
to get out of jail,
a foreign stamp
that came in the mail,
a piece of gum
that's very stale,
the rattle from
a dead snake's tail,
a piece of bone
from a whale.
I have a Lincoln Log,
a milk bottle pog,
a tag from the dog,
a metal cog
and, oh yes,
here is
my pet frog.

     Quick, check what you have in your pocket right now?  Can you write a poem about it?  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Dark night
sleeping stars
the only sound
is passing cars.

The rocks are whispering
granite to shale.
They are telling
an eerie tale.

About ghosts and heroes
and bats in flight.
It certainly is
a scary night.

What was your night like last night?  Was it a good one?  Did you sleep well?  Did you have pleasant dreams?  Can you write a poem about your night?  Or how about a poem about your dream?  Have fun writing.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hawaiian Legend for Sand

In Hawaii, native people took bodies to the top of the mountain and cremated them then pushed the flaming ash off into the ocean.  So the legend goes.


Remember in your coma
when you had strange dreams?
You went to unknown, unimagined places;
thought your body was carried
on the shoulders of warriors
to the top of Mt. Haena-
the highest spot in Kauai.

They built a pyre to burn your body,
then tossed the burning bones cliffward.
Caught in a flaming fireball,
an updraft sent your embers floating,
dancing over the ocean for so long,
so far, even the fishermen
out in their wooden boats
saw you sparkle like fireflies.

They called you Goddess as
you drifted down to the waves.
Love, I reached my hand out
to try to catch you
before your ember
turned to stone,
turned to sand.

Does this poem qualify for another story poem?  There is a stone in this one too, so I'm keeping with the rock theme.  What do you think?  Can you make up your own story poem to explain something?  Where did whipped cream first come from?  How were artichokes discovered?   Be as wild and fanciful as you like.  Use your imagination.  Where did dragons come from?  If you were a dragon what would you have to tell us?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Rough Poem


What if you got to the final rough and everything beyond it was sweet and gentle
like gray Persian kittens?

A sea otter pelt
Koala fur
My sister’s rabbit coat
A baby’s sweet bottom
Magnolia petals
Puppy ears
And tropical breezes
I have felt these soft things
They are not long lasting
Unlike the names you call me
Words, hard as diamonds
Cut through soft memories
And their rough pain
Seems to ring forever.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Rock

So, since I'm on a roll with rocks--oh this is so bad....


Sandstone, quartz, granite
A stone, is a stone, is a stone.

Formed from pressure
It rolls into the creek.

Rippling water burbles
Around it, wears it smooth.

Moss grows, we see only
The hard dark outside.

Tap it and hear music.
Trapped inside is sunshine.

     Can you find your own rock that speaks to you?  Can you write a poem about what the rock has to tell you?  Rock on!   

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fairy Tale Rocks

     This is another of the poems I'm currently working on.  But I've been struggling. I first wrote this poem in free verse, and the durn thing keeps turning toward rhymed verse.  What's a poet to do?  I'm listening to the rocks.
I think this is the third poem this week about rocks.  Maybe if I push it, there might be a collection here called POETRY ROCK!  (Sorry, I couldn't help myself keep from punning.)

Stone Woman/Rock House

Each day on her morning walks
the woman would pick up rocks.
Then she'd take them home,
and caress each precious stone.

At first, she'd place them
in bowls for friends to play
when the bowls began to fill
she moved to the window sill.

She'd place the stones
in groups of two or four
hoping they'd be comfortable
until she could bring even more.

She'd hold them and turn them,
she'd dust and water them.
She placed the rocks in neat little rows
or clustered like an English garden grows
trying to coax them into bloom.

She'd sing to the rocks,
she'd jabber and croon.
She cracked one open
and saw the moon,
and light like stars
sparkled inside.
Each little stone
was her special pride.

She worried the rocks
until the day
when one of the stones
finally said, “Stop.”

He was a sage of a rock,
who started this tale,
“Never has there been a man,
or animals, fish or bird
insect or reptile—no one never--
that hasn't been touched
by a rock.!”

So the woman stopped
what she had to do
and sat to listen to
all the rock had to tell.

He told stories from
the beginning of time
when rocks came together
to make the earth sublime.

Of fruit and flowers
and whiling away hours
from dinosaurs to Indians,
and trains crossing plains,
of farmers and wars
and hurricanes.

The woman grew old
listening to stones
and when she died
she wasn't alone.

The rocks all giggled
feeling her mirth
they rolled to cover
the woman in earth.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Haiku Rocks

simple, plain, round stone
ordinary on the outside
magic lives within

     I love geodes because they are a constant reminder to me that what is dull on the outside may turn out to be something very special and precious on the inside.  It reminds me not to judge people too quickly, or as the old saying goes, don't judge a book by its cover.  Have you ever had a book, a poem, a friend, a relative that changed as you got to know it?  Can you write a poem about your experience?  Have fun thinking about all the wonderful ways you can change too.

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Clacko is a wacko bird
who sings through his beak
*clack*  *clack*  *clack*

He spreads his pink wings
over my desk chair
and I want my chair
*back*  *back*  *back*

He does make me laugh,
this incredible bird.
He gives me poems,
I give you my word.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Today I'm home
and stuck in bed.
I fell down
and bumped my head.

I passed out
and my nose, it bled.
"Stay in bed,"
is what the doctor said.

I feel tired
and my knees are weak.
All I want
is to get some sleep.

Tomorrow I'll be ready
to run and play.
But today I want
to stay in bed all day.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Rock Rabbit

This morning
on my morning walk,
I saw a rabbit.
He looked like a rock.

He stayed there shivering,
as if to say,
"Won't you please,
go away."

I took his picture
then walked on by.
He hopped away
this big eared guy.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Dancing Buffalo

WOW!  I'm sure having fun trying these poems with illustrations.  Let's see how just using a picture works.  

Have you seen
the tap dancing buffalo?
He's dressed in top hat
and tuxedo.
Doing dance steps
like buck-and-wing
in his tap shoes
that go zing!

    I've written poems about dancing with an ostrich and this buffalo.  What dancing animal would you like to write a poem about? 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Another Apology with picture

       If you can't read this poem, here it is and tomorrow I'll just try the picture.

Written Apology
To my teacher, Mrs. Cavitt,
I'm sorry, my homework,
I don't have it.
I really wanted to hand it in
but my dog ate it, once again.
Your student
Benjamin Babbit

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Apology Poem #4

     OK, today I'm trying something new.  I'm trying to add pictures I've drawn to the poems.  I'm not so sure how well this works, but I thought it was worth a try.  Would you like to try making a picture to illustrate your poem today?  Go ahead, give it a try.  Stick figures are quite alright.  Just have fun.

Here is the poem:

Apology IV

To my teacher, Mr. Muldoon,
I'm sorry I was smoking
in the boys' bathroom.
Smoking really isn't so hot.
I'm sorry that I got caught.
Try it again, I will NOT.
Your student,
David Scott.

And I guess I should apologize to my friend David Scott for using his name.  He definitely is not a smoker. He's a highly respected research scientist.  (Sorry David, but I did have fun writing this one.)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Philip Hunkapillar

Here is another one of those character poems.

Philip Hunkapillar
loved his caterpillar.
He gave it kisses and little hugs.
then put it to bed with the rest of his bugs.

He'd hug each bug 
and hold it tight
then tuck up the covers
and wish it, "Good Night."

     I'm going to have to do some more work on this poem.  Somehow it seems like it needs to have the word snug in here some place.  Have you ever written a poem, just so you could use a special word?  This poem I actually wrote because I liked saying, "Hunkapillar."  It feels really good in my mouth.  Open your dictionary or any magazine to a random page, put your finger down and see what word is under your finger.  Can you write a poem using that word?  Let me know what you come up with.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Today I feel so happy
I'll give a hug to you.
Then you can hug me back, my friend
and feel so happy too.

I'll hug my mom,
I'll hug my dad,
I'll hug my brother, too.

I want to hug
the whole wide world
that's just what I will do.

I hug the cat,
I hug my dog,
and he gives me
a sloppy kiss.

I'm hugging
everywhere I go
and no one
will I miss.

I like the feel of hugging
I hope that you do too.
And here is another hug
I'm sending just for you.

     Did you know that there is a National Hug Day?  I just discovered this.  It is on January 21.  Plus there is a hug your cat day and a hug your dog day.  What would be the strangest thing you could hug?  I'm sure porcupines are missing out on hugs, I wonder how mom porcupines show their love?  Anyway, here is the challenge for today:  Can you write your own poem about one specific hug?  Be sure to include how the hug makes you feel.  The world definitely needs more hugs.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

SPOT, My Dog

My dog sleeps
on the smooth
tile floor

his body stretches
over four
squares in comfort

without thought
he lifts
his front paw

the spot behind
his flap ear

that pit
where the flea

     Can you write a poem about your pet?  Or watch your sibling carefully and write a poem about the movements.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011



The red-haired farm mistress
could have no children.
So she nurtured the soil and
the cows, and cats,
the horses, and hogs,
chickens, ducks, and goats.
She created an Eden to watch
each fruitful multiplication,
and wept her sorrow
under a dead wisteria tree
by the rusty stillwater pond.

From the marmalade cat's mouth
she rescued a wounded robin
to set broken leg and wing.
Five weeks she nursed the bird
with midnight feedings
of ground crickets and
barn spiders;
then set the fledgling free.
She discovered this an uncommon bird
who promised to grant
one wish in one week
for her kindness--
as all good fairy tales do.

But when she returned
in seven days
to whisper her wish
on his wings,
lo, there was no bird.
She wailed a cry of woe,
neglected her chores,
wintered her heart.
But still she strung strips
of orange and apple
on bright bits of yarn she tied
to the limbs of the withered wisteria tree,
hoping to hear
the bird's whispery song.

Come spring
when the tree
bloomed with scented blossoms
in pale profusion
the woman bloomed too.
She welcomed her red headed child--

     Do you like to read fairy tales and folk lore?  Can you make up your own story?  Can you make up a story for how whipped cream was first invented, or what happened to the princess who liked too many bubbles in her bath?  Can you make the story into a poem?  

Monday, August 1, 2011

I Like My Sky Blue

I'm standing under
a sky so blue.

I'm standing here
thinking of you.

I'm listening to 
this sky that's blue

tell me stories
that may be true.

This sky has many
stories to tell,

and each of them ends
wishing us well.

So may your skies 
all be blue

and may the day
go well for you.

     What does the sky look like above you today?  If the sky were to tell you a story, what do you think it would say?  Does looking up into the vast sky make you feel very small?  If you were floating up in the sky, what would you see?  Hear?  Can you write a poem about the sky?