Let the voting begin

BULLETIN: After the cutoff yesterday I received three lovely poems from Jana Smith’s sixth grade students, Ricky Kaser, Claire Tipton, and P. Andrew Pipatjarasgit. By then the ballot boxes were set to go and I couldn’t add the poems. I’m so sorry that we can’t vote on these poems but I have now added them below the ballot boxes so you can read them. If you would like to leave comments for these young poets, I’m sure they will appreciate it. Click on Young Poets W.O.M. Poems, scroll down to the last three poems posted under Grades 3-7, and leave your thoughts. Thanks!

Hi everyone,

Thanks to all who participated in the Word of the Month Challenge for March. Today we begin voting for our favorite poems for March Word of the Month. You’ll find three ballot boxes below, one each for adults, young poets grades 3-7, and young poets grades 8-12. For the high school students this month I suggested trying either haiku or limericks. I hope you’ll enjoy the results. Each voter is entitled to vote once in each ballot box.

Below the ballot boxes, I’ve placed the poems so you can find them by scrolling down. According to the rules, no one can be named Hall of Fame Poet of the Month more than once during a 12-month cycle. You can certainly vote for anyone of your choice but previous winners have to wait until the next cycle to be named again.


1, Rooting by Steven Withrow

Hooray hurrah huzzah—for tap, sap, font, and source,
For fingertips of gymnosperms planting gymnastic handstands,
For bending straws of sycamores slurping the groundwater,
For xylem and phloem fixed in daylong, nightwide flux,
For germinating aspen groves, aerating mangroves,
For upgrowing ivies that crack the faces of gravestones,
For anchor point, radicle, rhizome, meristem, cambium—
Yay for every deep, diffuse, inscrutable root!
©2001 Steven Withrow, all rights reserved

2, Untitled by Don Barrett

My wonderful, beautiful, dearly departed mother
always had a special saying
one way or the other.
“always wear clean underware with no holes in sight”
if you get in an accident the doctor would be
in for a terrible fright.
In my younger day I heard her say
“money is the root of all evil”
“mind your manners”
“don’t make deals with the devil”
It was later in life when I read the passage and it said
the love of money is the root of all evil.
By that time not wanting to be bad,
I kept giving away all the money I had.
Now in todays world,be it good or bad.
The need and not having money makes a lot of people sad.
In a couple of years we will have an election,
and the world will make a new correction.
“keep your head on straight”
“keep your feet on the ground”
your roots will grow and your wealth will abound.
Maybe dollars should not measure our wealth.
Family and friends is the true test.
Lets drink a toast to our good health.

3, Sandpiper by julie Krantz

He scurries
to the water’s
edge on skinny
piper feet.
He roots
around the frothy
sand with spiky
piper beak.
He noodles in
the silky surf
for tiny clams
and eggs—
then scampers from
the rising sea

4, Survival by Mary Nida Smith

Stumps in the woods
Display above the ground
Long finger roots
Reaching, searching
For life everlasting
Wild boars’ root
To unearth a treat
Of truffles hidden
Near large oak roots
A murder of bright-eyed
Ravens root them on
Waiting for just
A small morsel
Of a dinning treat.

© Mary Nida Smith

5, Untitled by Yousei Hime

deep gnarled
flooded torn splintered
I found slivers embedded everywhere

6, Root Veggies in the Buff by Ken Slesarik

I despise that shameful swagga
of an unclothed rutabaga
and radishes are very rude,
especially when in the nude.
So close your eyes, try not to gawk,
at a naked carrot stalk
and prancing parsnips never clothed,
that’s one sight I’ve always loathed.
I’d like to coldly cast a curse
on unbecoming beets and worse
those turnips lacking underwear,
it pains me so but I just stare.
Lastly, lowly burdock roots
are clad in nothing and in cahoots.
It’s all wrong and so distressing.
I prefer them in ranch dressing.

Copyright 2011 by Ken Slesarik
All Rights Reserved

7, Untitled by liz korba

Rooting a Bonsai
In a pot of clay –
Approaching waves

8, Mysterious Math by Beth Carter

The square root of 8
is 64.
Or is it the other
way around?
Let’s get to the root
of the problem.
Math and writers
don’t often mix.

9, The Outfielder by Jane Heitman Healy

I got to play left field!
Coach said to go way back.
I stood next to the fence line
And peeked between the cracks.
I waited and I waited
For a ball to fly my way.
I kicked the heads off clover
And watched the treetops sway.
At last a ball came soaring!
I reached my glove up high.
I heard the crowd call, “Catch it!”
As it went sailing by.
“You shoulda got it, loser!”
I stood rooted to the spot.
The ball just kept on flying
Into the parking lot.

10, A reason to write by Shalander Samuels

He chuckled beneath a tired smirk,
Gazed across the empty room and sighed.
Many a days had perished and a paper had not seen his pen.
His soul is empty, there are no words,
But a poet must write to retain his title.
Can a tree be strong if it has no root?
Can a poet be a song if he has no melody;
—No rhymes… No symphony, no harmony?
Give him a reason to write, but first an inspiration,
Give him a reason to love but first a heart,
Give him a reason to laugh, but first a smile.
All he needs is a reason to be,
All he needs is a meaning for life.

11, My Family Tree by Jackie Huppenthal

my family tree
has buds and blooms
some branches
gnarled, nicked
the trunk is rough
and weathered
but the roots
deep and thick
though it’s not
well pruned
twigs weave
twine and grow
bend backwards
even break sometimes
then gather strength
to sow
we’ve made it through
a few good storms
some tests of time
my family tree
leaves other trees
shaded and far behind


1, The Root of a Story by Taylor McGowan, Grade 5

At the root of every story
is a slightly different tale
perhaps one sad
or a little less glad
where the triumphant hero… fails.
Perhaps that deadly storm
Called something to fear
was on a calm simple day
where not a branch seemed to sway
while the sky was bright… and clear.
And maybe your detention
Was just a day and not a week
And perhaps you slept
Instead of wept
And dreamed of joy and mystique.
But the roots of a few simple stories
Is a tale left unchanged and true
and I hope and plead
as into life you proceed
That one of these comes right to you.

2, My Life by Margaret Roberts, Grade 5

I started out a little thing
From it sprang a seed
As years went by
I turned into a stick and a single leaf
Time passsed and I became
A few more inches high
I sprouted more leaves
And shed them in the fall
My roots spread beneath
To catch the water drops
I grew and grew towards the sky
And now I am
The tall and high

3, Rain by Caleb Kynard

I love it
The rain
On me
Refreshing my roots
So I can live
I love the wind
Brushing my dark green leaves
I feel so free
No one can stop me
I live forever
As long as
It rains

4, Here Comes the Sun by KnowEl Willhight

I walk out of the cathedral
The warm summer sun settling on my shoulders.
I walk down the steps slowly,
I look at the tree that she loves so much,
That she loved so much.
Grandma had said “I remember the day she died,”
She always told me that she loved that tree,
And on the day her grandma died, she looked at it.
And she swore she saw her grandma go right on up to heaven.
She taught me and
She spoke of where she was going
She spoke of a place where people were always happy,
A place where the angels sing of
A place of light.
A place of pure light.
So, right now
I look at the tree,
With its roots reaching out towards me.
And I think of one thing,
And one thing only.
Her all time favorite song-
“Here Comes the Sun.”
“Here comes the sun, here comes the sun, and it’s alright”
I sing softly as I make my way down the steps.
I sit on the bottom step, and I look at the tree,
With its roots reaching out towards me
and it
Reaching up towards the sky.
Towards heaven.
And I say,
“It’s alright.”
Like I’m giving her permission
To go
To heaven.
And after I say that,
After I say those words,
I swear— just like grandma said
That I saw my grandma going right up to heaven.

5, The Kingdom by Ricky Kaser

I feel the salty wind rush through my hair as I stare
At the red majestic mountains that tower before me
With the beautifully orange colored sun just tipping over the peaks
I feel as if I am staring straight into the gates of heaven
the glistening sunset casts shadows
that are like warriors defending the wall
of an unconquerable kingdom
Surrounded by a moat literally the size of an ocean
When I return from my imagination
I am struck by a strong feeling of peaceful awe
I try to find the root or source of this feeling
But I can’t
All I hear is waves crashing,
And crashing

6, A Seed by Claire Tipton

A man and a little girl
Walk out onto a field
Filled with tall grasses
And plants that
Tower over her body
Like a tunnel.
Her father digs a hole
With a shovel just deep enough
For a tree.
She takes the seed,
Moves it in her hand and
Pictures its life.
When it starts,
The roots climb and dig through
The earth trying to find water
To fill its stomach.
Little at a time,
Green sprouts from under
Pop up slowly like a snail
Walking on a trail.
Through the years,
This sky scraper grows
Older and older but
This tree has had bookworms
Lean against its trunk,
Children climbing on its branches
And many more since
The day the girl came.
The father asks if she’s ready
And she nods slowly,
With a smile creeping on her face.
The girl drops the seed, covers the hole
And says goodbye for the first time
But certainly
Not the last.

7, I am Writing a Poem by P. Andrew Pipatjarasgit

I see Jasmyn
so adorable,
Yelling to me
as I write this poem
In a baby talk
“What?” I say.
“Do you want Pe Poom?”
She tries to stand up,
her hands holding the edge of the playpen
her feet as her not-so-steady root holding her up–
And then she falls down.
She is smiling.
Now she is jumping, bouncing
Now Ya Mui is trying to feed her milk
To an unsteady little body
Always wanting fun
and laughing –
No, she won’t drink her milk.
“If you don’t drink your milk,
you can’t go see Pe Poom,” Ya Mui said.
She is trying to talk.
“What is Pe Poom doing?” Ya Mui asked Jasmyn.
I am typing.
I am writing a poem.


1, Spring by Roshod Addison

Amazing sound spring
The trees will fill with green leaves
Playful roots tangle

2, Spring by Katie Hamling

The roots play around
Under the cold, soft terrain
The tree will grow tall

3, Spring by Ashley Swartz

The root of a tree
deeply filled with limbs of spring
weather makes me sing.