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.

Saturday, April 30, 2016


purple orchids dance
swaying in the soft spring breeze
hula dancer's lei

    Happy Saturday.  Can you try writing your own haiku today?  Try to include a season word.  Write it in present tense to make your haiku more immediate.  Have fun writing.

A self that goes on changing is a self that goes on living. Virginia Woolf

Friday, April 29, 2016


Come to me.
Bring a poem.
I will be fed
on your hearts words. 

  Your poetry challenge for today is to add the next two lines to this poem.  Can you see I have set up a pattern?  The first two lines each have three words in them.  The next two lines each have four words.  Your two lines should each have five words.  Can you do it?  Challenge yourself.

I couldn't think about what to write today.  When that happens I often go to my book, DAY TO DAY: a calendar of notable birthdays and events, written by David E. Johnson.   I found out today was the birthday of Rod McKuen.  At one time he was called the unofficial poet laureate of the United States.  He helped to make poetry popular for the American public.  His life story is fascinating and hard for me to imagine.  McKuen was born in a Salvation Army Hostel in Oakland, CA.  He never knew his father.  He ran away from home when he was 11.  He never completed high school.  He worked as a ranch hand, surveyor, lumberjack, railroad worker, rodeo cowboy, stuntman for the movies and a radio disc jockey.  You can find out more about his life here and here.


Today's Poetry Friday Round Up is being hosted by  Buffy Silverman on her blog.  You can find more poetry posts here.  Thanks for hosting us, Buffy.

It doesn't matter who you love, or how you love, but that you love. Rod McKuen 

Thursday, April 28, 2016


As I drank
from the fountain
someone slapped my head.
It got my shirt wet.
He just laughed.

At lunch, someone
tried to step on my shoelace.
It caused me to stumble.
I almost spilled my tray.

Someone poked me in the ribs
with his elbow.
When teacher saw
he said, "Sorry, it was a mistake."

Someone stole my ink pen.
Someone called me Jap.
Pea brain.

All these things
could upset me,
but I won't let them
throw me
off my game.

I just think
they are 
I let the chaff
blow away.

    Have you ever been teased?  What did they do? Say? How did it feel?  Can you write a poem about your feelings today?

For me to live without hate is easy,
for I have never felt hate. 
To live without love
I think is impossible, happily impossible, 
for each one of us.
Jorge Luis Borges

Wednesday, April 27, 2016


Yellow and orange hibiscus ,
green fields and mountains,
anthurium and red ti leaves,
brown monk seals and plovers,
blue waves and blue, blue sky,
white clouds in the wind,
egrets winging by,
a rainbow necklace overhead
making a strong people--
all the races, blended together,
here in Hawaii,
the land where all colors
call it home.

  * From a line, All colors blended together, suggested by Clo Ann Smith.  This free verse poem is the result of her suggestion.  Can you try writing your own free verse poem about where you live?  Can you include at least one simile?  Have fun writing today.

  What pictures does this poem make you think about?

Ho-ne-ho-ne: adj. Playing tricks, teasing, fretting; not letting one alone.

A human being is nothing but a story with a skin around it.  Fred Allen

Tuesday, April 26, 2016


Lucy Sabrina Miranda Lu
would not learn to tie her shoe.

Her mother, her father, her grandmother too
were worn out from tying as Lucy Lu grew.

Her laces got dirty and splattered with mud.
Her shoes were soon all covered in crud.

Last Monday Lucy Lu 
tripped on her lace.
She fell on the ground,
got dirt on her face.

Lucy thought of a plan
so her laces would not trip her.
Now, Lucy Sabrina Miranda Lu
goes barefoot
or she wears
her slippers.

    Do you know how to tie your shoes?  Do you know how to make your bed? Today's poetry challenge is to write a poem about something you do to take care of yourself.  Do you put your seatbelt on in the car?  Do you make your breakfast?  Have fun thinking about all the things you do and have fun writing your poem.

Fill your poetry with music.

Monday, April 25, 2016


Peter Allister Murphy McGraw
read every book
he ever saw.

When he stepped in the road
he was reading a book.
He didn't pause.
He didn't look.

A car was speeding
down the street.
It didn't stop
for our young Pete.

Peter Allister
made a horrendous mistake.
He still reads books,
but now he's flat




    I'm so glad we have libraries and librarians.  Because like Peter Allister I like to read books.  Can you write a poem today about your library or about books?  Have fun writing.

You must have a silver penny to get into Fairyland. Blanche Jennings Thompson

Saturday, April 23, 2016


My manticore is
a Tri-le-key.
He has a triangle head,
the body of an eagle
and the feet and tail
of a monkey.

Who says a trilekey
can't be a regular guy.
With eagle wings,
he can soar and fly.

He eats snakes,
he spies on the ground,
and when he sees one
he makes a monkey sound.
hu, hu, hu.

   That is the last of the manticores poems I wrote with the second grade students at Kapa'a Elementary School. I was re-reading the Afterword, X. J. Kennedy wrote for the 35th Anniversary Edition of THE REASON FOR THE PELICAN by John Ciardi.  He mentions the made up characters of Lewis Carroll, and Edward Lear, and the Bugle-Billed Bazoo, the Brobinyak and the Saginsack of Ciardi.  These silly characters opened the door to Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky to add their own wacky characters.  Great fun to trace your silly poetry character ancestry back in history.  So your challenge for today is to make up your own imaginary character and let us know what it does.  Yesterday, on A Writer's Playground, in her blog post Linda Andersen wrote about socks getting lost in the dryer.  Now there is a great monster I'd like to know.  One that picks your socks off the floor and eats them.  What would you call such a monster?  Write your poem.  Have fun.

The one who asks questions doesn't lose his way.  African proverb

Friday, April 22, 2016


The earth is here.
Let's hope to stay.
Turn off the lights
when you go 
out to play.

If you go out
with your dog today
pick up after him.
Happy Earth Day.

     What can you do to protect our environment?  To make the earth a better place to be?  Today we are to celebrate the earth, so have fun planting flowers, picking flowers and playing with your dog and picking up after him.  Can you try writing your own poem today to celebrate Earth Day?
      I have one more manticore poem to share with you, but that can wait until tomorrow.

      Today I'm here to celebrate the Poetry Friday Roundup.  All the children's poets have gathered over at  Jama Rattigan's blog to leave links to our poems.  You can find more poetry at Jama's Alphabet Soup.
Thank you Jama Rattigan for another delightful, fun, educational, picturesque, yummy post.  Thank you for hosting us this week and throwing a GREAT party.

Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.  E. L. Doctorow

Thursday, April 21, 2016


My ele-mon-koe
is amazing and neat
with an elephant's head,
a monkey body,
and two canoes for feet!

He trumpets his trunk.
Through the river he glides.
Splash and swish.
Eating peanuts and bananas
is his favorite wish.

    Are you tired of manticore poems?   I hope not.  I'm still having fun.  I enjoyed how the children thought canoes would make good feet.  Remember, I live on an island where children participate in canoe teams for paddling competitions.  This is a part of their culture and certainly good material for poems.

       Happy Poem in Your Pocket Day.  Did you carry a poem today to share with friends and family?

It is Poem in Your Pocket Day
and here's what I'll do,
I'll carry a poem
to share with you.

I'll take out my poem
and learn it by heart,
and then you'll think
I'm very smart. 

Eat more poetry!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Manticore V

My manticore is a gho-che-at.
He has the head of a ghost,
the feet of a cheetah,
and the body of a very scared cat.

He runs fast outdoors
with his cheetah feet
hunting for fish and souls 
to eat.

He wears a Hawaiian lei
to say Aloha
every day.

  Who ever would have thought to put the head of a ghost on a manticore?  Only the children from Kapa'a Elementary School.  I think this came from the idea that a manticore is a mythical beast.  Isn't the creativity wonderful?  And then to follow through with the idea that a ghost eats souls.  Some thinking is going on.  Wonderful!  I've never had a manticore poem go in this direction before and I love it.  Bright and very creative.
   Can you try writing a manticore poem today?  Maybe you can get your friends to help by suggesting interesting shapes to patch together.  Don't forget to try to use your five senses when writing your poem. 

Seek new paths for your creativity.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Manticore IV

My manticore is a go-ti-urtle.
He has the head of a goat
and the feet of a turtle.

With wings of an eagle
and a centipede body
painting his skateboard
is his favorite hobby.

   So we're still working on manticore poems.  Take the head, body and tail, wings or feet of three different animals and see what you get.  Can you make up a name for your creature?  What does it like to do?  Where does it live?  What does it eat?  Can you write your own manticore poem?
   You might also enjoy reading the poem "Eyeballs for Sale" written by Jack Prelutsky from his book PIZZA THE SIZE OF THE SUN. 

May you experience wonder.  May your heart sing and rejoice.

Monday, April 18, 2016


   This manticore has the head of a dog.  The body of a pentagon.  Cat feet and tail, and eagle wings.  I couldn't remember how to make a five sided shape, so I drew a five pointed star first, and then connected the points.  Hey, it worked.  I'm not that great an artist, but I'll always give it a try.  Just wait till I share the goat head.  I love how the kids stretch my abilities.  The name we came up with for this manticore was a Do-pen-at-le.

My dopenatle is named Jaxs.
He eats dogfood
with his friends
the dog,
and cat.
His body
is a pentagon.
He flies in the air
and soon
is gone.  

   This poem was written with the help of second graders at Kapaa Elementary School in Kauai, Hawaii.  Can you try making your own manticore creature and then writing a poem about it?  Have fun creating.

   A poem and bubblegum have a lot in common.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Another Manticore

This manticore has a squid head, turtle body and cat feet.  We called him a squiturat.  He also is wearing a tutu and glasses.

Sebastion, my squiturat
loves ballet,
except he's fat.

He can't leap
off the ground,
with cat feet,
he falls down. 

      This is another manticore poem, written with the second graders at Kapaa Elementary School in Kauai, Hawaii.  Can you tell I had a really good time working with the hildren? 
          Can you try making your own manticore poem.  Take three animals, or objects and piece them together and then give the creature you've made a name.  Where does your creature live?  What does it eat?  What does it like to do?  Have fun creating and writing your poem.

E mahalo kakou i ka mea loa'a.  Let us be thankful for what we have.  A Hawaiian proverb.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Happy Manticore

For National Poetry Month I've been working with the children at Kapaa Elementary School to write manticore poems.  First we create our own manticore creature.  Here is a Zeaffigken we created.  It has the head of a zebra.  The body of a giraffe, the tail of an iguana, and chicken feet.

Then we tried writing our poem.


My zeaffigken is an amazing thing!
With his giraffe neck, you should hear him sing.
And when he runs, he goes right past,
With chicken legs, he's really fast.

     You might have fun making your own manticore poem.  Use at least three different animals for a head, a body and legs or wings.  Name your manticore.  You get to invent a new word for this.  Tells us what your manticore likes to do or eat.  Where does it live?  Have fun drawing your manticore and writing your poem.

Do what you love and everyday will be play.

  Today is Poetry Friday and the Poetry Friday Roundup is being hosted by Michelle Heidenrich Barnes on her blog Today's Little Ditty .  You can find more poetry here.  Thank you Michelle for hosting us today.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Who is that bird
out walking loose?
It's a nene, nene,
the Hawaiian goose.

Nests on the ground,
not in a tree.
Once on all islands,
now only three.

Beading brown eyes,
black face and crown
I hope you will
stick around.

  The Nene is the state bird for Hawaii.  It is one of the most endangered water fowl in the world.  Once they were really abundant on the Hawaiian Islands, but now they are only on Hawaii, Maui and Kauai. Cats, dogs, rats, and introduced mongoose have destroyed the population.  Many of the birds have been hit by cars and the loss of their habitat has caused their numbers to decrease.  Each hen usually lays three eggs a season.  The Nene feeds on leaves, seeds, berries, and the flowers of grasses, herbs and shrubs.  You can find out more about the Nene here and here.  What is the state bird for your state?  Can you try writing a poem about your state bird?  This might be a great opportunity to try writing an acrostic poem.  Have fun learning about your state bird.

A smile is a light on your face.  Shine on!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


A mermaid sat
upon the rocks
singing to the reef.

On days the sun
was shining, her smiles
were filled with teeth.

On days the rain
was splashing, her songs
were filled with grief.

   I read something today about a "mermaid mind."  I thought this a lovely reference to wild and fanciful thinking.  Perfect for muse stirring poetry.  Great for dreaming.  What do you dream about?  Can you write a poem today about dreaming? 

Between dreaming and reality, I think I'll take the dream.

Monday, April 11, 2016


My clock ticks in the window.
Chilling rains make me move slow.
At the end of this wet day,
I'm three hours behind.

     I wanted to try another new form today.  I chose a dodoitsu.  A Japanese form developed toward the end of the Edo period, the dodoitsu is all about syllables and not about rhyming or meter.  The dodoitsu usually focuses on work or love and is supposed to have a funny twist at the end.  This one is about work and I hope you can see the slight humor at the end.
     The dodoitsu is a four line poem with 7 syllables in each of the first three lines and five syllables in the last line.  So all together there are 26 syllables in a dodoitsu.
Can you try writing a dodoitsu today?  Have fun counting syllables and thinking about funny things about love or work.

Silver bands upon her teeth.
She fell for my inner wealth.
To each other we were drawn,
as our braces caught.

I like trying new foods.  How else can I find out if I like it or not, unless I try it?


Saturday, April 9, 2016


"I'll be your friend,"
the ostrich said.
"Come, let us go run."

"Nah!" said Lion
arching his back,
"for me that isn't fun."

     A Very Lazy Lion is still looking for a friend.  Ostrich has offered to be a friend, but it isn't good enough for Lion.  Have you ever tried to be someone's friend and been rejected?  How did you feel? Friends are people who like to do the same things we like to do.  What do you like to do? Can you think of one new thing to try today?  Can you write a poem about it?
     Have a great Saturday.
Sometimes it is better to walk than to run.

Thursday, April 7, 2016


Happy Poetry Friday

To celebrate National Poetry Month, I thought it might be fun to try some new forms of poetry.  The form explored today is the TRIVERSEN.  The Triversen, an English stanza form, originated with William Carlos Williams. Each stanza, consists of three lines which present a complete clause or thought. A sentence forms the stanza.  No syllable count or meter is required and ideally the poem has six stanzas.
  I found about this form first in my reference book, The Shapes of our Singing by Robin Skelton and then Robert Lee Brewer wrote about it here. And, my Dictionary of Poetic Terms by Jack Myers and Don C. Wukasch has more.  But, basically a Triversen is an American form made popular by William Carlos Williams.  It is:
1. made up of six sentences or stanzas
2. broken into three phrases for each stanza.

   I think that rather than iambics, Williams was arguing that this phrasing better represented American conversations.  Here is my attempt at a Triversen.


In springtime
     why are there so many
          rainy showers?

I am stuck indoors
     for hours
          and hours.

When I am ready 
    for heat
         and blazing sun.

The clouds cry
     their tears
          on everyone.

Spring is supposed
    to be about new beginnings
         and baseballs' extra innings.

But I wonder like a carrot
     with roots underground
          can the best be seen.

Your poetry challenge for today is to try writing your own Triversen.  Remember, it usually doesn't rhyme. And, has a variable foot.  Just have fun playing with a new form.

It is always fun to try on new shoes to see if it is a good fit. 
     My schedule shows that Laura Purdie Salas is hosting this Friday's Poetry Roundup on her blog Writing the World for Kids.  You can go here, to her blog to find more poetry posts.  Thank you Laura for hosting us this week.

The Sleeping Cat

The sleeping cat
didn't want to play.
She told the lion,
"Go away!"

Some days all you want to do is sleep.  What do you do when you want to sleep, but others want you up and moving?  Can you try writing a poem about sleeping today?
  Hey I just wrote one.


  That was supposed to be funny.  Did you get my silly joke?  I don't think I've written a poem about snoring, I'll have to try that, too.  What animal do you think snores the loudest?  Do birds snore?  Have fun writing your poem.

A birdie with a yellow bill
Hopped upon the window-sill,
Cocked his shining eye and said:
'Ain't you 'shamed, you sleepy-head?'  Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), Time to Rise

The Quick Mouse

A gray mouse scampered by.
The lion said,
"Stay and play."

squeaked the mouse
and hurried away.

  Lazy Lion is looking for a friend.  He thought Mouse would be his friend.  But, Mouse ran away.  Why do you think Mouse ran?  How do you think Lion felt?  How do you think Mouse felt?
  Some schools have a "friendship" bench.  When a child needs someone to play with they sit on the bench until another child comes to ask them to play.  Does your school have a friendship bench?
  Can you write a poem today about being friends or friendship?  Have fun writing.

A person of great fortune counts his wealth in friends, but you only really need one good friend.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


copyright Joy Acey 2016

A very lazy lion
slept in the sun.
He awoke one day
said, "This isn't fun!"

"All I do 
is sleep all day.
I need a friend
so we can play."

     So, who do you think the lion is going to find to be his friend?  Who is your best friend?  Can you write a poem about playing with your friend today?  What do you do together?  Or write who the lion will play with.  Have fun writing your poem.

Gather dandelions while you may.  Tomorrow their seeds may slip away.

Monday, April 4, 2016

B is for Buffalo

A buffalo, I once knew
liked to chew and chew.
His bubble gum bubbles
he blew and blew.

Until one day

he caused a stir
when his bubble burst
and covered his fur.

His buffalo fur
was covered in pink,
but the worst part
was his sticky, sweet stink.

He took a bath
to scrape and scrub
but the buffalo fur
stuck to the tub.

   What are some of your favorite "B" words?  Can you write a poem today that includes the letter b?  Have fun writing.

Why go to a store when you can go to a museum?  David Sedaris

Saturday, April 2, 2016


A for ALOHA. 
The hello and good bye.  
The living breath 
of HA at the end
sending love.
One word will do.  

You don't need two
because no one ever 
really leaves us.
You are with me


  My friend Linda Anderson at A Writer's Playground is following a blog post challenge this month, writing about one letter of the alphabet each day in April.  She started with "A" but her list of A words didn't include my favorite ALOHA.  So I had to write a poem about that word.  Can you try writing your own "A" poem today?  Have fun exploring A words.

An aardvark ate an apple and was anxious all day.