Let the voting begin

Hi everyone,

I hope you had a good Thanksgiving.

Today we begin the general election for our November Hall of Fame Poet and Hall of Fame Young Poets. That’s right, we’ll have TWO Hall of Fame Young Poets thanks to Lisa Martino and her high school students in Crescent City, Florida! Yesterday Lisa posted two poems by 9th grade students and one by a 10th grade student.

Since the beginning of Word of the Month we’ve had two categories for our young poets, one for grades 3-7 and one for grades 8-12. Until yesterday we’ve only received one poem from a student above grade 7 — Priya Shah, who was our Hall of Fame Young Poet last December. Sadly, with only one entry in the older age group, I couldn’t put up a ballot box just for Priya. But Priya, if you’re reading this, let’s hope that in December you can try again and we’ll have more kids your age posting their work. I’m very excited!

I’ve posted the ballot boxes below and below that you will find the list of poems that were shared during November. My special thanks to Gay Fawcett for turning her students on to Word of the Month. We have enjoyed numerous poems this month by Gay’s college students. My thanks to all and apologies for my limited time to respond.

I’m also notifying our panel of distinguished judges that they may now begin their selection process for the November Word of the Month Poet and Young Poets.   For a reminder of our outstanding panel of judges, here’s how to find them. https://davidlharrison.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/very-important-announcement/ Ready? Here we go. Let the voting begin!

REMINDER: You may vote once in each box. Check the circle beside your choice then scroll to the VOTE box and click on that. Have fun!


UNTITLED, by Mommed Out

What is a word without action,
What’s action without words?
Lines on paper stuck in traction,
Unsung deeds, like flightless birds.
Legends of the deepest dark,
Airy ascensions climb cloudy peaks,
Adventures of the moon do hark:
Write the words in rice on trembling knees!
What is this obssession with THE WORD?
Why must we find the perfect phrase?
This scribbled choice now seems absurd
May summon purple plummy haze.
Wordplay gets me through the day
Of momdom’s endles cries of MORE
I think in color: quick-don’t-delay,
Write a rainbow, save the vibrant core.

KEY WORD by Oya Mwanza

 Risk-Taking—-———
Charming life into your own hands,
Is not an easy task
To go up against grit and grain,
To totally unmask
To unmold and create new structure
Key Word: DARE
Courting it is a consideration
Betting on it, fateful
Flirting with it can be costly
Defending it, problematic
Understanding it, empowering
Living it, Unpredictable
Key Word: DREAM

THE FRIEND I LOVE, by Lindsey Branham

You are one of a kind,
Someone I would never thought I would find.
A treasure hidden in the bluest of oceans so very deep,
A face I see when I fall asleep.
I dream and dream for you to always return,
Laugh, cry, hold my hand and help me learn.
Your presence and embrace I can’t get enough,
You are my conscience and guide when things get rough.
You are as sweet as a Sunday and funny as a Monday,
Honest as a Wednesday and positive as a Friday.
Your touch is an automatic reassurance that things will be alright,
I pray for you every single night.
I listen to your voice, breath, every word you say,
Let me say this to you in every single way,
I love you.
Mr. and Mrs. Word
White haired and eyes like magnifying glasses,
they sit together on their front porch.
Through the dusty and cob-webbed window pane are piles upon stacks upon towers of books.
They sip lemonade, she prefers pink
and they creak and swing back and forth.
His dark red suspenders are hanging loose on his body and she wears fuzzy blue slippers that have seen better days.
His thick mustache dances and his eyebrows
cut in.
“What about worfabap?” he suggests.
“Why not?” she smiles. “Adjective or verb?”
“Verb, meaning to hit someone over the head.” he excitedly pitched.
She writes it down on a small scrap piece of paper
and tucks it away in a wrinkled envelope.
“Its my turn to think of a word, I want it to be a verb that means to make your wife dinner.” as she rests her head on his shoulder.

ONE WORD by Silindile Ntuli

One little word with so much power,
it can make respectable man act badly.
One small word, four letters in it,
it can create havoc in families.
Emperors have fallen over it,
yet more and more fall prey to it.
One word can change a dull night,
girl sees guy from across the dance floor.
From then on they gotta fulfil the need,
the need of one little word.
Before long dull is gone, word fulfilled.
A short word can destroy bonds,
but also has a power beyond compare.
It is not all bad, just do it with the one you adore.
Be careful not to fall head first,
Be careful not to hurt those you hold dear.
A powerful word…. LUST

DECEMBER 12, 2008, by Gay Fawcett

Eyes on the sky,
I am patient with the hot sun,
Grateful for a cloudless day.
Scores of people,
Cameras and binoculars poised,
Jostle for the best places.
One careless push,
Sends me sprawling from the fence rail
Saying words I rarely say.
Then someone shouts,
“There it is!” All eyes look west
As I struggle to my feet.
Cheers and applause,
High fives and slaps on the back,
No more pushing, only pride.
The space shuttle,
Piggyback on a 747,
Regal and victorious
Brings us together.

UNTITLED, by Toby Speed

I like words that sound
like what they do.
a paper cup
dropped on the floor sounds like
and ocean
rolling and rushing around your
ankles at the beach
sounds like ocean and
lullaby definitely sounds lullabyish
and clock
sounds a bit clocky.
but bite into an apple.
does it sound like apple?
no. it sounds like


Should I delve blindness to the word of old
And open their minds anew
Should I continue on the course ahead
And connect them, unscathed newborn
Or inspire, muse, arouse sleeping wit
Entice all, magnetic lure
Do I assist them, relate, painless thought
With modern themes, common words
It’s an enigma, a challenge to me
Ancient deliberation
Or conspicuously apparent sound

for Gay Fawcett
WORDS, by Nile Stanley

I like to say them
like jitterbug, fudge and tangerine
I like to play them
Like hackysacks
Catching and bouncing them
Off my tongue
I like to weigh them
Like bittersweet and jumbo shrimp
Most of all
I like to devour them slowly
Savoring each sound

CONQUER OR DESTROY, © by Mary Nida Smith

Babies are made of words
Like alphabet soup
Floating to connect
A word or short sentence
Words continue to surface
Like surprises beneath the earth.
One word, two words or more
Create useful sentences
Of praise or destroy
Dreams of creating poetry
Or stories allowing readers
A glimpse of magical words.
A word is easily spoken
Be careful using words
A dream is easily broken
Each word forms a powerful
Tool to achieve honesty
Or to generate treason.
No greater service
Each word performs
Than to light the world,
Creating a better place
For all God’s creations.

BEST OF A BAD SPELL, by Steven Withrow

Losing the Williams Junior High School
spelling bee, on “eleemosynary,”
was, I now see, an act of charity.
Knowing the Latin root for “alms”
(could you use it in a sentence?)
guarantees no one a varsity letter.
Although it burned me that I flubbed
the double e’s, entreating the floor
for the proper etymology
before retreating to my seat
to small applause, conciliatory
(c-o-n-c-i-l-i-a-t-o-r-y, conciliatory),
Worse by far would have been
the booming backlash in homeroom
next morning, hearing my name
among the roster of brainiacs,
“loo-zer” in any language, certain
I’d perish (part of speech?) a virgin.
Copyright 2010 by Steven Withrow. All rights reserved.

A SONG OF ONE, by Barbara J. Turner

Just one word.
It’s all I need.
A word to share,
to dare to be,
that says I am you
and you are me.
And we?
We are the letters,
two entwined,
melded and molded,
twisted and folded,
into the word
that is

WORDS, by Tania

My word are powerful and strong
I alone choose what words I say
They can be good or bad, I decide
We tell the children, “Use your words”
But words can wound just like a fist
And cause invisible damage inside
There are times to use strong words
When I see someone being hurt or wronged
I need to use my power then.
If I use strong words all the time
Their power is cheapened when it is most needed
Caution is required with my words.
A positive encouraging words
Will likely never be forgotten
Words stick like glue, good or bad, I decide.

GUARD YOUR TONGUE, by Janet Kay Gallagher

The power of life and death
is in the tongue.
Spoken words can not be
Speak life, joy and peace
Speak death, pain and fear
makes your heart pound.
Think before you let words fly.
You’ll have to face them by and by.
Good words bring rewards.
Harsh words shame you afterwards.
Think of others hurt and pain.
For your words you are to blame.
Make all you words; encouraging,
loving and kind.
This will bring you peace of mind.

WORDS, by Ken Slesarik

Most words I find delightful,
rolling off the tongue.
Others to my palate
taste more like fresh cow dung.
Fewer still I just adore
when heard in spoken verbage.
Ask me what the reason is
I’ll tell you it’s their curvage.

REJECTION, by Jane Heitman Healy

I worked hard on my manuscript,
Went over it with care,
Chose the precise words with craft,
Used imagery with flair.
Poetic tricks it didn’t lack,
So artfully applied.
When I read the words aloud
My ego swelled with pride.
I sent it to an editor
Who promptly sent it back.
“Please do not send to us again.
You are just a hack.”


Palette grey and ochre,
brush strokes finely-honed,
render the paralytic—
wilted flesh and gnarled bone—
seductive without umbrage
in stark and sallow fields.
Knuckles torn and bleeding,
violent her claim
to the spare and simple language
of house and barn and grain.
Artist, voyeur, lover,
she pulls him like a sheath
onto her twisted limbs
creeping, ever-creeping
through fallow restive fields.
Her absolute absorption
in the stark and naked landscape
is not unlike a still-life by Cezanne:
I want to be Christina—
sheaf of wheat, spar of wood—
I want to be this woman
without words.

SPEAKING OUT, by J. Bullen

Words play in my mind like a melody plays in a song,
vocabulary building which to use…
notes floating how can I choose?
Nouns, adjectives, and verbs the situation creates the word
the sentence sings out your thoughts and moves.
These words can dictate our life and what we do
so choose carefully and think through.
Words can burn like an open wound
creeping out of your throat to cut you
Softly, slowly creamy butter words flow up
love speaks strongly with a smooth touch.
Choose wisely you will see
how words can make one seem.

A WORD, by Phyllis Chandler Turner

There is a word of such power
Men will kill or die for
In every place and every hour
It’s the prize men strive for.
They followed Moses into the sea
To wander the desert endlessly
They followed Bruce at Bannockburn
Against the odds the battle turned
There is a word of such power
Men will kill or die for
In every place and every hour
It’s the prize men strive for.
In wooden ships they braved the deep
Risked all their conscience to keep
In Concord they hid in silence
Whites of the eyes signal for violence
There is a word of such power
Men will kill or die for
In every place and every hour
It’s the prize men strive for.
Shoeless froze with Washington
To send George III back to Briton
Brothers divided at Lincoln’s call
Blue and Gray they gave their all
There is a word of such power
Men will kill or die for
In every place and every hour
It’s the prize men strive for
Roosevelt sent his very best
From Hitler the innocent to wrest
For King’s dream of righteousness
His life he gave in Memphis
We have a word of such power
Men will kill or die for
In every place and every hour
It’s the prize men strive for

UNTITLED, by Christie Cassaw

Such a little word,
three vowels, one consonant,
but the manifestation of the word
is what powers all seven continents.
An idea, what led to the invention of the wheel,
and to roads, and homes, and boats, and steel.
It is what started the computer and each and every war,
and ended slavery, and was a loss for poor Al Gore.
An idea to create a storybook or an idea to create a new life,
an idea to cut a fingernail, or marry your beloved and call her your wife.
Do you see how each minute idea can grow and grow? Here is an idea I want you to know.
I had an idea about a poem to write. An idea that’s quite ordinary when I look back with hindsight.
It’s an idea to write about the word that has influenced all civilizations and societies the most.
The idea is the word, idea, and I will now share it with the world in my epigrammatic post.

WORDS, by Lauren Perry

W- Wonder what is wandering in your wonderful mind?
O- Onomatopoeia or other optimistic rhymes?
R- Rambling on like a rat running a rapid race?
D- Do you ever hear a word that brings a radiant smile to your face?
S- Similes in my writing help my words become redefined.

UNTITLED, by Shalander Samuels

Tranquility caresses me without permission, how could it be so invasive?
It steals my security blanket away from me, and allows me to shine regardless of my self- inflicted flaws. Peace takes over as I look at this word. It calms me, sooths me, takes control…
I gasp for air, but I am instantly filled with more than what I need to breathe
This word takes me beyond earthly pleasure, beyond what can be seen, heard, felt or touched. Some say you learn about it at church, others say you learn about it as you grow, regardless of how it happens, nothing can change my thoughts on this word, it is what I know.
It is this word that keeps me strong every day, this word that doesn’t let me lose my way…
Even when the times get tough, I barely feel my heart because I almost had enough, yet….I hold on… to this word. For fear that if I lose it I will lose myself and I will lose everything that I have worked for, that I had hoped and prayed for.
Tranquility caresses me without permission, after I have barricaded and lost the war, I relax, I like it’s invasion..the peace that is brings , the energy that it sings.
This word that I hold on to for dear life, my life, this word…FAITH!!

THE USE OF WORDS, by J. Angell

We use words everyday in a different way
We use words to describe
We use words to tell
We use words to express
We use words to describe
Describe the weather outside
Describe how we are feeling
Describe what we want
Everyday we are using describing words.
We use words to tell
Tell what we are doing
Tell our side of the story
Tell someone we love them so
Everyday we are using words that tell something
We use words to express
Express our happiness
Express our desires
Express our feelings
We use words everyday to express ourselves
Be careful with the words you use
Some can have a meaning or two
So remember to use those words wisely.

VERBUM, by Liz Korba

I want to coin a word one day,
To make a brand new word
That no one’s ever read or said
Or written down or heard.
I know my word will hold a thought
That no one’s ever had –
(Whatever this new thought may be
It won’t be dull or sad.)
Though many words have been made up
And there are words galore
Words long, words short, words hard to spell,
Words not used anymore…
I still would like to make my own.
And then guess what I’ll do.
When I invent my brand new word
I’ll share a word with you.

WORD, by Ashley Amaya

How can something so small have so many meanings?
Words can mean sad like sorrow, tragedy, and lost
Words can mean proud like honor, magnificent, and grand
Words can mean happy like blissful, merry, and thrilled
Words can mean angry like enraged, bitter, and hateful
How can something so small have so many meanings?

WORDLESS LOVE, by Wynee Wang

Though I can’t speak and my love remain wordless,
I gave you my love, my heart, and my all.
You sob, weep, and seem so lifeless,
My passing should never, ever be your downfall.
When our eyes first met, I knew it was true,
A perfect match was made by the Great One above.
I followed you everywhere and stayed loyal, too,
But I was silenced from speaking wondrous words of love.
That never stopped me from expressing my trust,
To my noble companion who loves me so much.
“I will bring joy to her life”, I once promised
To God Almighty who grants life with one touch.
So I comforted you through rough nights and days,
By giving you my paw and silent kisses of joy.
I stayed by your side and loved you always,
Even though you had another pup to enjoy.
Wagging my tail as you walk through the door,
Though I wish I could shout : “welcome home, dearest master!”
But you understand how I simply cannot say no more,
You hugged me and gave me your sincere wordless answer.
You are the reason for being and you are Godsend,
We took on the world, conquering every loophole.
But life has a beginning and must have an end,
For illness took over my body and soul.
I must pretend, I thought, she mustn’t worry,
So I tried to fight with no legs and no tail.
I wanted to stay but longed to be free,
You knew that I suffered and your love must prevail.
As I laid down to rest, I gazed in your eyes,
I wanted to say “see you later, dear Wynee.”
But you didn’t hear me and wailed with loud cries,
Became a lost soul who was once so cheery.
I want you to know though I still remain wordless,
My love for you has never faded at all.
I know it is tough but you must feel guiltless,
Since my legs are well again and I may now stand tall!
So beloved master, don’t you shed a tear,
For I await by the beautiful gates of heaven.
Im patiently waiting for the one who’s so dear,
To tell her “I love you” as we walk to the horizon.

POST FOR LAE 6616, by Megan Smith

For some there is nothing more relaxing
Than reading them in a book
While others prefer to speak them
Or say them with a look
Some prefer to write them down
There is no right or wrong
You might prefer to sing them
In the melody of a song
No matter how you share them
As long as you are heard
There is no greater power
Than the power of your words.

UNTITLED, by Emilie Zayas

Word of the Day.
Word of the month.
Words that play,
Words that slump.
Words of love,
Words of hate.
Words to whisper,
Words to scream.
Words that inspire a dream.
Words from the heart,
Words from your ears.
Words that cause you tears.
Word to tha’ Mutha
Word up!

TELL ME A STORY . . . by Danielle Guerra

I took my son to India,
To China and Kazakhstan,
We watched the sun sink behind a dune
Of a desert in Sudan.
We took a stroll through Paris town,
He munched a fresh baguette.
We watched lights dancing on the Seine,
A sight he won’t forget.
He begged to go to Italy,
For pizza and ice cream.
We packed our bags and hopped a plane,
Enjoyed gelato by a stream.
He’s been to Spain and Mexico,
High-fived the President.
He knows the guards at Buckingham,
They loved him when he went.
Every night at 8 O’clock
We plan another travel.
Anywhere he wants to go
To watch the world unravel.
He’s seen outer space and planets spin,
He keeps them in his head.
We’ve been to countries far and wide,
From the comfort of his bed.

UNTITLED, by Natalie Scott

Vacation is my favorite word
Like sandy beaches and rolling waves
Vacation is my favorite sound
Like laughing with loved ones along the paves
Vacation is my favorite taste
Like steak or lobster some of my craves
Vacation is my favorite smell
Like freshly baked bread among the braves
Vacation is my favorite time
Since I can finally relax in the depths of my caves.

UNTITLED, by Eileen H.

A word brings worth,
Moving the soul with voice,
Its meaning can bring blissful joy
With Love.

MY WORDS, by Lauren

I say many words
But they are never heard
It’s as if they flew off with a blue bird
It’s really quite absurd
Maybe my students misheard
Something must have occurred
Because all of a sudden they listened to my words
Sometimes I feel like I’m leading the herd
And sometimes I feel like I’m falling in third
I think my students must be deferred
But then I saw their creative juices begin to stir
Maybe my students preferred
For me to talk to them in their own words

HOME, by Krista Kabana

Home is a word that will forever bring me peace.
After all, home is where the heart is
For I know this to be true.
When I am not there my heart goes from red to blue.
Inside this home words fill the air with laughter, memories, and love
For even the ones that are missing,
They send their blessings from up above.
There’s a feeling of comfort inside me as I write this poem.
Because when I am there, I know I’m not alone.
Words can’t even express the love I have for this place;
It always and forever will be my own special space.
Everyone has a word that will brighten their day;
As you can see, my word is home
And you will not change my mind
No matter what you say!

NEGATIVE WORDS, by Tiffany Payne

There it is hiding in the shadows,
Similar to an elephant in the room.
Emotions boil over by what is understood.
No one knows what to say.
Say it, write it, think it — it still hurts the same.
Who is really to blame?
The speaker? The writer? or the word?
~ Tiffany Payne
What is a Word?
We use them to speak, write, and sing.
We use them to explain everything!
Look here, look there, and you will see,
That they are used remarkably!
A dictionary, thesaurus, or book contain,
These tools that are always used but, they never complain.
Old ones, overused ones, there are new ones every day,
Have you made one up and used it today?
It’s your name, a verb, a noun, and much more,
We use them to read, drive and explore.
Many overlook their importance, it’s true,
But I know we know we need them, don’t you?

UNTITLED, by Hattie Herring

I heard this brand new word
It sounds very absurd
Why would this be
I bet nobody knows the definition to this word
This word Is crazy filled With twisters of the tongue and who knows what else
And since this word is so hard you have to say it from your gut
So here goes the try and most likely I will fail
But here goes my try and hopefully I won’t cry so here goes

UNTITLED, by Samantha Warren

Words can make your your headache
Words can make your heart break
Words can make your soul shiver
Words can make your lips quiver
Deliver joy, sorrow, happiness, and pain
It is expressed best by what others say
Provoke emotions, thoughts, visions, and dreams
Your words deliver powerful things
Attitude, gestures, and facial expressions are wonderful indeed
But without WORDS what do they really mean.

UNTITLED, by Rachael Ball

God come and take away my fear
Bring me a peace that will never leave
Grant me wisdom to meet the day
Give me grace to light the way
Show me love like no one else
Give me hope that never fades
Fill me your Words so that I can share
With the world who needs to hear

LOVE, by Christiana

We’ve been friends
For many years
Never thought it would be more
You’re hesitant
I’m hesitant
We’ve both been burned before
It’s crazy
And we’re crazy
But I think we’ll be alright
I’m willing
If you’re willing
To stand by you through the fight
I’m positive
You feel it
It’s happening so fast
But I think that
You’re my soul mate
And this is something that will last.

THREE WORDS, © by Cory Corrado

Her mind thought them.
Her soul felt them.
Her heart spoke them.
Three little words.
But he …
he could never return them.
His wounded heart could not hear.
Would not hear.
Dared not hear.
His need deafened her longing
and all his body could offer-
were three empty letters instead of three words.
Facing her fears, she cried copious tears;
life and time saged her painful years.
Their hearts could not spell love the same way.
The ‘I love you’ she sought
was not where she had always thought.
Her mind thinks them.
Her soul feels them.
Her heart speaks them.
Three powerful words:
Now, the whole world loves her back.



A battle against the human race,
We are the one to oppose,
She is the lone defender,
One versus 6.4 billion.
She embraces what we throw at her,
She is the lone warrior.
She shall not strike,
She shall not defend,
She shall wait for the end.
One day,
It shall all end,
It might take years till she decides it’s her time,
Or it could only take you the time to say a single word.
She is our worst nightmare,
She is our savior,
Our number one attack strategy,
We trash her,
We gas her out,
A way to dispose of her.
But the scary thing is,
Only few will live to be aware of this war,
Some may say they do,
But they don’t.
Even scarier than that,
Is when she shall meet her fate,
Her fate is ours as well.
She shall not strike,
She shall not defend,
She shall wait for the end.
She is Mother Earth.

-Zack Safadi
6th grade
Maumee Valley Country Day
Toledo, Oh
Teacher: Jana Smith


I open the latch to your velvety case
I take off your silk blanket
I pull you deep into my arms
I take out your bow and begin playing
It’s like you are singing to me
I look up and down your wooden body;
each line makes you look like a tiger
you are ready
ready to pounce on that half note going into an eighth note
I push the bow back and fourth over your four metal strings
then, we play
we play the most beautiful sound ever imagined
like a waterfall
or the smoothest airplane landing that ever happened
This is how beautiful your sound is
You are my harmony
you are my melody
you are mine
There is a word for this
the most powerful word that there is
The two of us together are like a team
we keep pushing to win the Olympic gold metal
Then, our final turn,
we win,
we keep on playing our song,
as if there is nothing more in the world
just the two of us and our love

-Erin Fankhauser
This poem was for my violin
Maumee Valley Country Day
6th grade
Toledo, Oh
teacher: Jana Smith


A dwarf bounces across a wheat field
Laughing out loud while enjoying the warm summer rays
As pixies flutter through enormous woodlands
Golden dust leaves a trail where they have been
Ogres heave boulders the size of maples
Perspiration runs down their faces with determination in their eyes
Elves race down golden hills
Tumbling and rolling with bursting excitement
Flowers bloom and show their joy
Marigolds and lilies create a rich sweetness in the air
Fairies talk words none of us will know
As they wave their wands and create magical wonders
Centaurs gallop in pride and unison
Hooves beating the ground thundering through the valley
In this enchanted forest, all speaks for itself
Tis the place for creatures to dwell in peace
Tis the world for all
By: Omar Abdul-Aziz
Maumee Valley Country Day
6th grade
Toledo, Ohio
teacher: Jana Smith


Cries of laughter.
Joy was spread throughout the church.
Everyone was talking in hushed voices,
Yet all the sounds combing in my little head sounded as if
Every word a new little firework
Sent out on its journey through the sky.
She walks in everyone goes silent,
Her beautiful white gown flouncing as she appears,
So gracefully,
So silently,
So gently,
She takes a step forward,
My heart’s racing, another step
She walks down the aisle,
Her head raised as if she wasn’t afraid.
Maybe she wasn’t but I was.
As she takes another step
Her train floats over the petals I had softly strewn.
As she takes her last steps
She looks down at me and smiles.
Without a word she calms my heart.

By: Ella Foster
Maumee Valley Country Day
Fifth Grade
Toledo, OH
Teacher: Nanette Valuck


“Scritch, scratch, scritch, scratch”
My hand flies across the page,
Pouring from my mouth,
Spilling out my fingertips,
Settling on to the paper.
Each one with it’s own sharp taste,
The flavors wiz by going too fast to recapture
Each new flavor inspiring the next,
“Beep beep beep!”
A traffic jam as my hand becomes too slow
I force them to slow down as I sift through, trying to find the right one,
I scribble circle after circle,
Waiting for the ink to come,
But I know this is hopeless . . .
Suddenly reality grips me,
Ink stains cover my hands
I no longer taste the words
Only then is the pain renewed
Eating me away,
Tearing flesh from bone,
Words are the only escape.
I reach for a new pen,
“Scriiiiitch scratch screech!”
My hand slugs across the page
Syllable by syllable,
The flavors,
Subdued now,
But still there
After each flavor is finished I wish there was more
“Plunk, plunk.”
They come out too slow for my liking
I push myself trying to think of more,
But it is no use.
Why? Why? Why? I think to myself.

By: Emma Lavetter-Keidan
Maumee Valley Country Day
Fifth Grade
Toledo, OH
Teacher: Nanette Valuck


Sometimes words have wars,
Good words take over bad,
Bad words take over good,
And they don’t stop,
Until the mean word kills the conversation.

By: Liam Baker
Maumee Valley Country Day
Fifth Grade
Toledo, OH
Teacher: Nanette Valuck



Everyday I wake
I give thanks
To see the sun rise
I give thanks
For a family that is wise
I give thanks
Life, health, and strength
Nothing but thanks
To the one up above

By La’ Joi Word
Crescent City Jr Sr High School
10th Grade
Crescent City, FL
Teacher: Lisa Martino


Thanks is for people that receive.
People that don’t receive still say thanks.
I received something that no one wants,
I received something that no one likes.
Sorrow fills my gift.
No one cares what you get,
Unless it’s something they want.
Even though I don’t like my gift,
I still give thanks to the person
that is still giving those sad gifts.

By Omar Teran
Crescent City Jr Sr High School
9th grade
Teacher: Lisa Martino
Crescent City, FL


Thanks is a way of life
Thanks is a way of passion
I am thankful for things in my life
I remember when we all use to sit around
the table and give thanks
Thanks can go a long way
Thanks is a gift
Thanks comes around all the time

By Jacquanna Gillins
Crescent City Jr Sr High School
9th Grade
Teacher: Lisa Martino
Crescent City, FL

David L Harrison W.O.M. poems

Hi everyone,

Sunday is always reserved for a Poem of the Week that Kathy Temean selects from one of my books. This time I’m preempting. Yesterday I posted all of the winning monthly poems so we can select our Hall of Fame Poets for 2010. The ballot boxes will remain open until October 8 at 10:00 CST.

Today I’m posting my own monthly contributions to the cause over the past twelve months. I don’t include my own work on the balloting for Hall of Fame Poets so here I’m posting my own separate ballot box in case anyone would like to indicate a favorite among the twelve. No obligation of course. I would just be curious. The poems are posted immediately below the ballot box.

October 2009
Word: Dirt

I liked you the first time we met,
at least I thought I would like you
if I got to know you,
except for your nails.
I couldn’t help noticing
the foul moon-rims of grime
clutching at your cuticles.

The thought occurred that dirt,
which you like enough
to pack at your fingertips,
might have a poem buried in it.

Honestly, I had little hope for my subject.
It’s hard to hold something in high esteem
that one tracks in on one’s shoes.
Only my respect for you kept me going.

Turns out there’s more
than meets the eye with dirt.
Roots slow-motionly wriggling down
like moles in the dark after water
prize off tiny flecks of bedrock.
Mix enough rock parts with humus
and you’re getting somewhere, dirt-wise.

Humus is a dry gumbo,
the handiwork of dentrivores,
a multiracial gang of ruffians, mostly
fungi, worms, bacteria, mites, and insects —
mercenary goblins that dine on decay,
slurping dead plants and animals
till you could easily mistake diner for dinner.

Thanks to dentrivores, not all dirt
tastes the same. But considering
the supply you keep handy,
I may not be telling you something
you don’t know.

When you think about dirt,
and I can’t seem to stop,
dirt provides lodging for a zoo
of creatures that grub, grope, and burrow
through its gritty underworld.

Mixed with water dirt fortifies bird nests and
helps mud daubers stick their homes
in annoying places such as
above my garage door.

By contrast, dust courts the corporate crowd.
Swirling like a truant genie,
dust grants wishes to carwash owners
and supports entire industries
of polish, soap, and facial tissue makers,

but I digress. The thing is, I was right
about liking you in spite of your nails
crammed with limestone powder, worm goo,
and the odd molecule of bee leg or roach
(all in a day’s work for humus).

But I can’t resist suggesting that dirt
should stick with dirt and you might consider
returning your private stash to the garden
or perhaps to a trash sack headed to
the dump. Then, I believe,
at least I hope very much, that
I can put down this thing about dirt
and wipe it off of my worry list.

November 2009
Word: Thanks

Once he took me caving,
Maybe I was three,
Small enough
That he could carry me.
He didn’t have to do it –
Let me tag along –
But oh my daddy
Felt so big and strong.
He loved to take me fishing
No matter what the weather,
Dad and me,
Two guys out together.
He chose the wiggliest worm
So I could get my wish
And promised me
I’d catch the biggest fish.
On trips he told us stories,
Sang in silly rhymes,
Said my homemade
Jokes were good — sometimes.
I always meant to thank him,
But years crowd quickly on.
I hope he knew,
Because, now he’s gone.

December 2009
Word: Bone

Mostly I crawl though now and then
I duck-walk until starved
muscles cramp me back
to all fours.
The tunnel runs on for miles.
It is dark yet I see, dimly,
my way illuminated
by thin-walled pipes
that offer a glow the hint of red
and gurgle with cargo pumped
from the engine room upstairs.
Familiarity gnawing at me,
I struggle on for days (years?)
knowing that femurs
aren’t supposed to be
and I shouldn’t be here
watching mint-shaped platelets form
and cells like red and white donuts
roll off assembly lines.
Don’t ask how I suddenly
find myself peering out
my own belly button.
The thought of navel gazing
with a glazed pastry in each hand
awakens me to face yet
of bran flakes.

January 2010
Word: Time

100 million years ago,
give or take a few –
when dinosaurs ran around
stamping and screaming
and scaring small mammals –
there lived a wasp with a sweet tooth,
which is to say the wasp
preferred sugar water
to more traditional diets
of spider juice and grub goo.
What caused this curiously altered taste
is a mystery. One can’t chalk it up
to good judgment, considering a brain
the size of this period.
Call it signs of the time:
time for blooming angiosperms,
time for bees,
time they got together.
The obliging wasp and its progeny
eventually produced a bee.
A little bit wasp but mostly bee,
the nectar lover got busy
sucking sweets and impregnating
coquettish blossomy plants
by wallowing in their sticky seeds
and spreading them around.
Tsunamis of pollen-bearing,
insect-toting plants covered the land.
Some have said the dinosaurs,
strangers to hay fever,
developed allergies that left them
vulnerable as sitting ducks
(to borrow a figure of speech from a cousin)
and ill-prepared for catastrophes lurking
on future horizons.
This probably never happened,
hay fever I mean,
but you have to admit
that a sneezing T-Rex –
a toothy island stranded amidst
a relentless sea of blossoms
while serious bees buzzed its head –
would be something.
And who among those first men,
tens of millions of years hence,
would have risked a finger
under T’s twitching nostrils
to utter an approximated “gesundheit”?
When I see a bee,
sometimes I wonder if its ancestors –
still carrying carnivorous wasp-lust
in their genes –
took on the big guys armed with
the latest technology,
and won.

February 2010
Word: Road

The sign says EAT AT MADGE’S!
I whiz by Exit 12-B,
forfeit my chance to meet Madge
and sample her cooking.
Can’t help wondering though
how Madge is doing.
That’s a big sign, cost her a bundle,
sleep, too, I bet,
all that money nailed onto poles beside the road –
cost a lot of eggs.
Is Madge there now, off Exit 12-B,
hoping travelers inspired by her sign
will swing off the Interstate to see if
she’s really as good as she says?
I imagine her red faced from the heat,
hair showing gray – no time for color –
blowing strays from her eyes,
cracking eggs on the grill,
yelling at someone, “Hey folks!
Thanks for coming! Be right with you!”
hoping this week, this month, she’ll crack
enough eggs to pay for that sign.

March 2010
Word: Life

When Earth was an acned youth given
to volcanic tantrums and cosmic collisions,
certain atoms,
bobbing like microscopic apples
in toxic pools acidic enough to eat a car battery
(if cars or batteries had existed then),
happened to align themselves just so,
thereby acquiring the capacity
to repeat their likeness among other atoms.
Life, of a sort, was off and running.
This accident of chemistry made possible,
four billion years hence,
the pair of Mallard ducks
that just strolled by my window searching
for a suitable place to duplicate themselves.
It wasn’t simply from atom to duck.
Bacteria came early
in numbers too staggering to guess
producing enough oxygen
to clothe our spinning rock,
cool its temper,
keep it out of fights with passing asteroids.
Soon these ducks will repeat their likeness
in the next generation.
So will gnats and elephants
and horseshoe crabs.
Those ancient molecular stews
did what came naturally.
Today, through better chemistry,
so do we.

April 2010
Word: Spring

struts the fence
red as a Valentine,
tail seductively flickering,
issuing throaty notes
of invitation.
without comment,
finds a limb
with a better view.
sails to the ground,
returns with a twig,
his man-around-the-house
not-so-subtle proposal.
does not leave.
She flies,
returns when he resumes
an appropriate distance,
everything considered
at this point in the game.
How this ends
I think I know.
utters urgent yearnings.
seriously weighing
her options.

May 2010
Word: Stone

Before she went to surgery,
I stood beside her bed.
“Granny, please oh please!” I begged,
“Remember what you said!”
Daddy sadly shook his head,
“Son, don’t be absurd,”
But I saw Granny wink at me,
And Granny keeps her word.
I like my skulls and turtle shells,
I like my spider jar,
I like my pickled octopus,
I like my baby gar,
I like my walls of wings and hides,
I like my bugs and bones,
I like my snakes and scorpions, but
I LOVE my granny’s stones!

June 2010
Word: Song

The stillness
of the chill night breaks
as if a tree
has taken voice to sing.
the solo rings,
a second singer
Singers throbbing
ancient issues
riddle the lake by night.

July 2010
Word: Itch

Nothing frightened Bryon Biggers,
Not even lions, not even tiggers,
He spent his life exploring this land,
Knew these hills like the back of his hand.
Striding down the path he came
Always looking for bigger game
But in the end he met his match
In a lowly Ozarks chigger patch.
Byron laughed, “Ha ha!” cried he,
“No bug could be the death of me!”
But halfway through that patch of chiggers
And it was over for Byron Biggers.
He clawed those bites till his dying breath,
Sighing, “I’ve scratched myself to death.
Someday they’ll find me here alone
With chiggers gnawing on my bones.”
He died the way he lived – brave,
And few have seen poor Byron’s grave.
He’s buried high on a lonely hill
Where to this day he itches still.
Here lie the bones of Byron Biggers,
Eaten alive by hungry chiggers,
So if you see poor Byron twitch,
Scratch his bones ‘cause they still itch.

August 2010
Word: Love

He never told her,
not in so many words,
or kissed her,
or said she was pretty.
Sometimes she might have wished
for a hug,
might have wished
to hear the words
Yet she knew, always knew,
he did.
Whatever she needed he’d do –
blow the hurt off a skinned knee,
save his best tomato for her,
take her hunting and let her
carry the squirrels.
When she started school,
he picked her up
in his bread truck
and took her home
for a better meal.
when she lived three states away,
after work he’d drive all night
to see her for a single day,
bring her baby a bunny,
press small amounts into her hand
that made all the difference.
He’s been gone awhile and with him
his favorite expressions:
“You did that to yourself.”
“Boy I like ‘em.”
Gone, his boyish grin, beloved garden,
gone, those words unspoken
but few right deeds undone.
And even now she knows,
has always known,
how he loved her.

September 2010
Word: Book

Okay, the basement needs some work,
The drive is sprouting weeds,
I’ll do them both immediately
And see what else she needs.
I’ll hang those pictures in the hall,
I’ll scour the outdoor grill,
I’ll clean out all the gutter leaves –
I promised her I will.
I’ll straighten up the garage (again),
(I promised that before),
I’ll clean my office till it shines –
I’ll do all that and more
The minute I finish the poem I’m on.
So why do I get the look?
What does she mean by telling me
She reads me like a book?

Voting for 2010 Hall of Fame Poets!

Many thanks to my Featured Guest yesterday, Mary Downing Hahn. If you havne’t read her interview yet, this is a good time to get caught up.

REMINDER: There are 24 hours left to bid on a chance to be featured on my blog. If you or anyone you know would be pleased to step on the stage for a day, please get your bid in. At this point someone is going to get a real bargain! http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130435071748

Hello everyone,Today I’m happy to present you with the monthly winners of our first year of Word of the Month Poetry Challenge. Below the ballot boxes you will find each of the winning poems so that you can refresh your memory and enjoy the poems all over again.

When you are ready, please cast your ballot for one adult and one student poet. The winners of this election will be named our Hall of Fame Poets, 2010. The polls will remain open through Friday, October 8 (until 10:00 p.m. CST), and I’ll announce our winning poets on Saturday, October 9. Good luck everyone, and have fun. Please remember, the spirit of this blog is to write for the joy of writing. Everyone who has done that has succeeded.

Please note that many of our poets have copyrighted their work and all rights to their work are reseverd by them. Copying and using their work without asking their permission is prohibited although I’m sure that most poets are very happy to see their poems made available to as many readers as possible.


October 2009
Word: Dirt
Winning poem: DIRT BLUES
by Mimi Cross, New Jersey
When you talk about dirt,
You gotta talk about dig.
When you talk about mud,
You gotta talk about a pig.
Oh baby . . .
How do I make my way?
When I start with common dirt – I naturally head straight for a cliche.
My Grandma said, “You eat a peck
Of dirt before you die.”
But I say, “What the heck?!”
I can avoid that if I try!
Oh Grandma . . .
What can you tell me now?
I gotta write this dirty poem, but I cannot – figure out how.
I guess I’ll start from scratch.
With a wordy mud pie.
That way I’ll use a bit of dirt
And mix it with these tears
I cry . . .
Out of frustration and fear.
I’ve got a grimy little blues song – that no one else will ever hear.

November 2009
Word: Thanks
Winning poem: YOU’RE WELCOME
by Liz Korba, New Jersey
A gift.
And free
Set free.
(That’s why.)
Need met.
(No debt.)
How powerful!
How unlike prose!
At times
Is a poem.

December 2009
Word: Bone
Winning poem: WISHES
by Linda Kulp, Maryland
After dinner
Mom asked if I
wanted to break the
wishbone with her.
When I said, “No.”
She didn’t say anything
but I could tell
she was hurting.
I was hurting too
remembering how
you and I shared the wish-
bone every Thanksgiving.
You’d always laugh,
wrap your fingers tight
around your half
and pretend to snap it
before I was ready.
But then you’d
always let me win
so I could make
my own special wish.
Well, I’m older now,
you’re gone
and wishbones
have lost their magic.
So what good are they?
Wishes don’t come true,
do they,

January 2010
Word: Time
Winning poem: THE TIME SHIP
by Steven Withrow, Rhode Island
I boarded August Twenty-Ten
That silver ship at Chronos Key.
I’m sure of this, but then again,
It might have been another me.
I signed ship’s log as second mate,
Just nineteen summers to my name.
I perfectly recall the date—
It’s Time itself that’s not the same.
The captain read my duties clear:
To chart our course, night’s watch to keep,
To rouse her crew should bearing veer,
To hail and interrupt their sleep.
We sailed twelve cycles undisturbed,
A glancing headwind at our prow.
Our compass slumbered unperturbed,
Until we reached the Straits of Now.
I stalked the crow’s nest, falcon-eyed,
Regarded marvels in the Stream,
Saw dwarf stars dawning on the tide
And dying there, a sailor’s dream.
Our minds stretched thin, our lives pressed short,
We drifted, time-tossed, toward our berth,
A startling, unfamiliar port,
Though all signs told us this was Earth.
On shore leave, as I write this poem,
The calendar reveals “LV.”
We’ve landed on the sands of Rome.
We’re stranded: Fifty-Five B.C.
And Julius Caesar, six years hence,
Will cross the mighty Rubicon,
And we’ll bear witness, present tense,
Before our Time Ship journeys on!

February 2010
Word: Road
Winning poem: A COUNTRY DRIVE
by Beth Carter, Missouri
I jumped into my blue Chevy truck
Grinning ’cause these drives bring me luck.
As I turned ’round the sharp bend,
I noticed a frayed hole that I must mend.
Soon, I spotted a large frog in the road
Swerving, I barely missing the fat toad.
A soft breeze blew through my hair
As I whistled without a care.
Popping open a diet Coke
I was happy—a lucky bloke.
Driving along with my left knee,
Windows down, nearly stung by a bee.
Sipping my soda, I scanned the dial
As my favorite singer made me smile.
Turning up the sound, I hummed along
Then loudly broke into a song.
I spotted a mooing Jersey cow
Standing beside a lazy sow.
The cow was in a cool pond.
I could drive like this ‘til dawn.
A fast-moving Jeep passed me,
oblivious to the scenery.
Driver’s on the phone–in a hurry.
Where’s the fire? Why the flurry?
A small speckled deer was in sight
As two red birds quickly took flight.
Looking up, I stroked my chin
Dark, ominous clouds rolling in.
Deciding to change my plans,
I turned around to head to Jan’s.
Gonna pick up my best girl
Go dancin’, give her a twirl.
A country drive is hard to beat
“By the way, you can call me Pete.”

March 2010 (2-way tie)
Word: Life
Winning poem: WITHOUT
by Laura Purdie Salas, Minnesota
Without plunging, a waterfall is only a river
Praise the falling, the walling, the surprise of water standing on end
Without sinking, a sunset is only slow-spreading light
Praise the creeping of night and its battle for sky control
Without night falling, the moon just hangs, a pale, cold rock
Praise the backdrop of black, the reflected white glow of sun
Without wintering, summer overstays like holiday houseguests
Praise the sharp freshness of ice, the clean slate before spring
Without dying, life is a treadmill
Praise deadlines and pressure, and the shortness to make time matter
Without ending, the story is unfinished
Praise the anticipation, the fear, the delight of The End

by Jackie Huppenthal, Indiana
“What’d you do today Dear?”
He asks, so I say –
Well, this housewife works hard
gets no glory, no pay…

I weeded the garden
paid most of the bills
cleaned the nasty bird cage
dusted wood blinds and sills

Washed the day’s dishes
then vacuumed the rug
glued the handle back on
my #1 MOM mug

I tackled the laundry
picked up Lego toys
wrapped birthday presents
read books to our boys

Helped with school work
brushed and then walked the dog
grocery shopped (super-quick)
fixed that sink with the clog

The youngest and I
baked a three-layer cake
played several fun games
defrosted the steak

I sewed on two buttons
placed important calls
ran last minute errands
wiped down dirty walls

Finally started the dinner
then wrote this cute poem
so you’d know all I did
right when you came home

Geez… I never relaxed
But the house – Still a mess
Note I did quite a lot
Please don’t add to my stress!

April 2010
Word: Spring
Winning poem: ALL NESTLED IN
by Barbara J. Turner, New Hampshire
With soda and chips
I sit on the couch
put up my feet
slide into a slouch
turn on the tv
click a channel or ten
find a good program
I’m all nestled in
When suddenly a scream
flies off of my tongue.
What in the world – – –
Spring’s finally sprung.

May 2010
Word: Stone
Winning poem: STONE WISE
by Mary Nida Smith, Arkansas
Stone soup is
filled with
apricot stones,
and cherry stones,
that will turn
a person
stone green.
Upon one gravestone
is written:
Here lies
Miles Stonewall,
he stayed away
from stormy
and slippery
stepping stones.
But never learned
to make soup…
with chicken bones.

June 2010
Word: Song
Winning poem: SONG OF THE WEST
by V. L. Gregory, Missouri
How do you sing a song of the West,
Refrains of days gone by?
Start with a banjo, a Stetson, a vest
Then let the melody fly.
The clickety-clack of wagonwheels;
The screech of hawks above;
Son-of-a-Gun Stew for too many meals
Are themes of the West we love.
Around a campfire, many a night,
Keeping the cattle calm–
A mouth-harp plays, assuages their fright;
A comforting, soothing balm.
Prairie grass hums a tedious song
In concert with the wind–
Repeating stanzas all day long;
Tiresome drone without end.
A ballad of storms, strife, and stampedes
Demanding a cowboy’s best.
Sing of your awe of this gallant breed
Of men who conquered the West.

July 2010
Word: Itch
Winning poem: ITCH IN MY SWEATER
by Silindile Ntuli, South Africa
There’s an itch in my sweater, dear granny.
It’s climbing up my arm, dear granny.
There it is moving up my back,
Help me granny, it is spreading all over.
How can I help you now, dear grandson,
When I have an itch up my own sweater, dear grandson,
There it is tickling my back,
Making me jump around and round.
It must be those ants you’re standing on, dear Peter.
Move over to my side, dear Judy.
My side does not cause an itch,
But for now, jump around and get those ants off your backs.

August 2010
Word: Love
Winning poem: MODERN LOVE
by K. Thomas Slesarik, Arizona
Embers, ashes where’s the flame?
Two fireflies don’t feel the same.
A love that once was without doubt,
now it’s gone, the fire’s out.
Sizzlin’ fireworks there’s the flame.
Two fireflies don’t feel the same.
She feels a love with certainty
and hooks up with the bumble bee.
Where’s the fireworks and the flame?
Two fireflies don’t feel the same.
Then in his heart he feels a tug
and moves in with the ladybug!

September 2010
Word: Book
Winning poem: THE BOOK MOMENT
by Euleta Usrey, Missouri
I can recall
the exact moment
it happened.
It was better than
the proverbial light bulb
clicking on.
The teacher was reading
about Dick
about Jane
and Spot
while I held the book.
And I got it
the words on her lips
came from
the letters on my page.
So began
my lifelong love affair
with books.


October 2009
Word: Dirt
Winning poem: MUD PIE
by Alyssa Kirch, Missouri
Yummy, yummy mud pie,
I eat it all the time.
It’s brown, watery, and smells real bad,
But I’d rather eat it with a lime.
Yummy, yummy mud pie,
It looks just like brown mush.
It’s getting weirder everyday,
Don’t step in it! Eww (Squish).
Yummy, yummy mud pie,
Now it’s on your shoe.
It’s getting green and ugly,
I wish I had some too!
Yummy, yummy mud pie,
Now it’s almost gone.
Yummy, yummy mud pie,
I guess I’ll make another one!

November 2009
Word: Thanks
Winning poem: THANKS
by Claire Scott, Maryland
Thanks for Nothing
Thanks for not being there,
when I needed you most.
Thanks for not answering me,
when I had questions.
Thanks for not helping me,
when I needed a hand.
Thanks for not understanding,
when I needed to be understood.
Thanks for not believing in me,
when I needed to beleive.
Thanks for not loving me,
when I needed warmth and care.
Thanks for everything
that you haven’t done.
Thanks for nothing.

December 2009
Word: Bone
Winning poem: A MOTHER’S WISH
by Priya Shah, Maryland
Everyday, I look at
Your face before I left
For a tiring day at work.
Sometimes I came home
A little bit early so I
Could spend a few extra
Minutes with you.

When you grew up
And left home to get a
Good job, I wrote a letter
To you every day saying
How much I missed you,
But I never got a reply.

In the few times I talked
To you on the phone, you
Always said, “I have no time
To visit soon, but I’ll try.”

You never came,
I waited and waited
To see not only you, but
Your child running around,
and I waited and waited
To have a chance to go
And chase after him, but
You never came.

After my body began to
Weaken, I sent one, last
Letter that said, “I spent
My whole life wishing to
Have just one glance at
you, only one, to know
That my little boy has
Grown up.

I needed just one glance
To spend the rest of my
Life in peace. I needed
Just one glance tp know
That my son was okay,
And happy. I never lost
Hope that some day you
Would come and meet me.
I wish I could have come to
Meet you, but my health was
So terrible that I didn’t have
The strength to come.

Son, by the time you read
This letter, I will no longer
Be part of your busy world.
I waited and waited for you
Until, finally, death knocked
At the door. I hope you have
A great life. You and your
Darling family have my
Blessings. Try not to miss
Me too much.”

These old bones perished
After seventy-four long
Years of loneliness.
Looking down from above,
I spot my beloved son
Regretting his action.
At least now I can,
Finally, see him.

January 2010
Word: Time
Winning poem: END
by John Sullivan, Ohio
the end. the Time
has come. My life flashes before my Eyes,
the innocence of childhood seeming Only

yesterday. But those days are gone. Now before my eyes,
the looming grave, bringing terror and relief as I wonder about what will happen when my Time

is up. will I go to the realm so dark and forbidding that my Eyes
will be useless until the end of Time?
or will I go to a place of peace, paradise and comfort Only?

Now as my time comes to an end, I don’t think about that, I only lay back and shut my eyes forever.

February 2010
Word: Road
Winning poem: FAR BEHIND
by Megan Barnett, Ohio
Leaving the state
Leaving your friends
Leaving your school
Leaving your house
Leaving every memory
Far behind
As you travel
On the road
As everything runs through your mind
Every secret
Every friendship
Every crush
You think of everything
That has happened to you
In your life
In this one small town
A tear falls from your eye
Wanting to go back
Wanting your friends back
Wanting everything to come back
Trying to get everything to
Come back
You can’t
Because you’re
Leaving the state
Leaving your friends
Leaving your school
Leaving your house
Leaving every memory
Far behind

March 2010
Word: Life
Winning poem: THE FLOWER’S LIFE
by Colin Hurley, Missouri
In the spring flowers bloom
lots of people assume
that the flowers will be there forever.
But when winter is near
all of the world fears
that the flowers will die
but new ones will come
when spring is here.

April 2010
Word: Spring
Winning poem: SPRING
by Rachel Heinrichs, Pennsylvania
Spring has sprung,
But not just once,
It happens every year.
Now it is here,
The sky is clear,
Spring has sprung again.

May 2010
Word: Stone
Winning poem: SUNDANCE
by Taylor McGowan, Pennsylvania
Staring into the canyon below,
Amazement and awe are the feelings I show.

The fiery sun makes it glow so bright,
The heated orange rocks are a wonderful sight.

I start to climb up the wall made of stone,
without any equipment, and I’m all alone.

But am I, really? Is the canyon my friend?
Or is it my enemy? Is its beauty just pretend?

Friend or foe, I must go on,
But if its the wrong choice, my life may be gone.

Finding a handhold, I climb a bit higher,
Looking down, I find my situation is dire.

My foot slips off, and rocks tumble down,
If the fall doesn’t kill me, in the river I’ll drown.

But I cling to the stone, my heart beating fast,
Next time, will I fall into the canyon so vast?

I move my foot so I’ll be okay,
How long will this take me? An hour? A day?

As I pull myself higher, my arms start to ache,
I’ve started to think this is a path I cannot take.

Sweat dampens my hair, the sun burns my face,
This is a battle, its the clock that I race.

I see the top, but it’s so far away,
I am so tired… I’m starting to sway.

But I have to go higher, it’s my only choice,
I’m sure my reward will make me rejoice.

My hands are raw from the rough orange rock,
But I can’t stop now: I’m racing the clock.

There’s the top! I’m finally there!
I hoist myself up: sights like this are rare.

I manage to stand on the high flattened stone,
I look at the sights that I found on my own.

The bright, hot sun floods the canyon with light,
Its outrageously beautiful… a picture perfect sight.

I sat there for hours, admiring the sun,
And before I knew it, my visit was done.

The sun was sinking, so it was getting dark,
Here in Grand Canyon National Park.

September 2010
Word: Book
Winning poem: IMAGINE
by Courtney Clawson, Ohio
I wonder what would happen
if you jumped into a book
You could meet your favorite characters
and maybe take a look

At the enchanting pixies flying
and the lands above the trees
Look at the dragons roaring
and the fish beneath the seas

Or maybe it goes deeper
right into your heart
And that is what makes a book
such a work of art –

Let the voting begin!


Can you believe that we are about to conclude the first full year of Word of the Month Poetry Challenge? We are! Beginning in October, we start a new year and all the previous monthly winners will again be eligible to be named Monthly Hall of Fame Poet.

On October 2, I’ll put up the ballot boxes for our twelve monthly winners and we’ll select our two Hall of Fame Poets for 2010, one adult and one student.

I’m so pleased this month to see the return of student poets to the blog. Thanks to Jana Smith in Ohio and Marjie DeWilde in Missouri and their talented poets for bringing us four fresh poems to appreciate. I hope to see many more young poets join us in the weeks ahead.

I’ve updated the letter to principals, which you’ll find in the tool box along the top of this page. Teachers, librarians, and parents, please pass along the information to the principals at your schools.

And now it’s time to start finding out who will be our September Hall of Fame Poets. To refresh your memories on this month’s poems, I’ve listed them below the ballot boxes.

Let the voting begin!


Steven Withrow, © 2010

Between commutes, night workers have
Houdini’d a two-lane overpass,
Leaving steel-studded supports
Bookending the old post road,
Totems, tomes, magician’s lore,
A sleight of civil engineering
Conjured wholly out of place,
Span of vanished expectation,
As though traveling a novel
And slamming, mid-sentence, into
Ellipsis … blank caesura
Of a chapter break … cliffhang-
Ing, bridge-defying business,
No job for the faint (the feint?)
Of heart—this morning, are those
Hard-hatted daysleepers dreaming
Of dawn’s interpolation
In night’s rhythm of wreck and rest,
Or are they too done in by toil
To presto forth illusions
On the disappearing scrim of sleep?

Lee Ann Russell, (c) 2007

Library bookshelves hold
volumes and volumes of tomes
reaching from floor to ceiling in pursuit
of life from new to old.
Crisp or musty pages roam
through centuries where authors substitute
the printed page for speech.
Storytelling is an art
Gutenberg perfected in pure pursuit
allowing one to reach
beyond oral counterpart
among gigantic shelves of author’s fruit.

Gay Fawcett

Head out
Heavy load
Once a week
Two miles
One way
Musty smell
Dark quiet
Stuffed shelves
Do things
Her way
Icy glare
Return here
Face up
Neat piles
This way
20 more
I shall
By age ten
Read all
My way
30 more?
40 more?
50 more?
She bought more?
No way!

Ken Slesarik,(c) 2010

To my fellow bookworms, who dine on this book,
before you take a bite, be sure to look.
You’ll find missing some vowels that I’ve devoured
and the c’s and q’s before they soured.
I’ve left you the e’s and most of the u’s
and they are yours to sample, should you choose.
Most of the consonants, for me lacked flavor,
but the b’s and x’s are ones to savor.
Some final advice, I’d almost forgotten,
don’t eat the g’s because they are rotten
and irregular blends, you’ll wish you had waited,
because they will make you constipated.

Liz Korba

From tree to leaf – each side a page,
But now the leaves are leaving,
As did the scroll
(The noun, not verb)
So many years ago.
Do not lament these leaving leaves –
The paper that you know,
Where once was stone, papyrus, clay
And parchment long ago.
From tree to leaf – each side a page
A way to hold us – Words,
But we can’t stay –
For it’s our way
To move
From time
To time.

Euleta Usrey

I can recall
the exact moment
it happened.
It was better than
the proverbial light bulb
clicking on.
The teacher was reading
about Dick
about Jane
and Spot
while I held the book.
And I got it
the words on her lips
came from
the letters on my page.
So began
my lifelong love affair
with books.

Julie Krantz

I ran
deep green
and played
in fields
of corn
Words on paper till the wind…
I slept
the August
and didn’t
till dawn
Words on paper till the wind…
And tho’ I’m
a city kid
who’s never
a farm
Words on paper till the wind…
I ran through
deep green
and played
in fields
of corn.

Oya H. Mwanza

First Bell
Jamal struts across the threshold with a song in his hair, a poem in his heart and a flair in the air…
He’s ready!
Su Lin has her translator dictionary (audio version), 5 questions on last night’s home work, and 5 new vocabulary words she’s learned…
She’s ready!
Pearl smacks her lips, brushes her hair, clicks the makeup case and puts away her copy of Seventeen Magazine…
She’s ready!
Miguel made it today after working a late night shift. He has some of last week’s work done and some questions about make up work….so much work…but he finished the novel…He is determined…and …
He’s ready!
Jonathan enters…looks at the agenda…”Oh, Snap!!! I forgot my homework!!!….Can I get on the computers???”…He walks to the back of the room…
He’s ready!
Actually, Anita was the first to arrive. She has special privileges (because of her wheel chair) … She’s gifted, Ivy League bound and …
She’s ready!
Second Bell
“Good Morning, Class!!!”
“Good Morning!!!”
Instructor Profile: M.Ed. in Content Area, Certified in Content Area, ESOL Endorsed, Reading Endorsed, Gifted Endorsed, Special Education Certification, Tech Savvy, and…

Wynee Wang

Bear, Bear, Bear
By Wynee Wang
“What is this word?” asked my mother,
“Um…um…” my face turned red.
Next comes a slap that makes me shiver
“Bear, bear, bear” she read.
“How many times I have to tell you
This word here is pronounced bear!
You’re dumb, dense, and know so few,
It makes me pull out my hair!”
“Bear, bear, bear” I whispered
As tears streamed down my watery eyes.
“Xiong” should be the word that’s heard,
But Chinese needs to say its good-byes.
“BEAR, BEAR, BEAR” she cried
And throws the book back at my face.
I don’t know why but at least I tried,
I’d rather read at my own pace.
“Please, please, please” I breathed,
Praying this pain will seize.
Some day I will teach children to read
So they may learn in peace.

Jane Heitman Healy

Geese vee across the sky,
Wings spread as open books.
Every wing stroke turns a page
From northern marsh
To southern swamps.
Every flap of every feather
Relates chapters:
New horizons,
Changing seasons,
Fresh fields to feed
On tender grass and grains
Near nests of downy reeds,
Onto the same waters,
Over the same flyways,
Honking vees narrate migration.

Barbara J. Turner

“Welcome to my parlor,”
said the spider to the child.
“Come in, get comfy cozy.
Sit and stay awhile.
I will spin a web and wrap you
in the pages of a book.
Come inside,” the spider said.
“Come. Please take a look.”
The child came in and settled down.
The spider laughed with glee.
She spun a web so wondrous
the child could not break free.
And still today that child sits
enraptured in a book.
“Come inside,” the spider says.
“It’s your turn. Take a look.”

Mary Nida Smith ©

I am
The Book Protector
Be kind to books
For I am watching
I am
The Book Protector
You can not hide
I see everywhere
If you are unkind
To books
I will jump out
Take the book away
For I am
The Book Protector

V. L. Gregory

Along a secluded river strand–
Squatting beside dying embers–
A cowboy stokes the fire he manned
To illumine the treasure in hand.
He sits down, relaxes–remembers.
A comely woman with raven hair
And delicate lavender scent;
Her eyes, doe-brown, her complexion fair.
She sheltered his youth, absolved his care.
Until Cholera–Blue Death–was spent.
He was left alone when Papa died;
An orphaned child of only ten.
Death bequeathed to him this gem, his pride;
A cherished book always at his side.
A book where wisdom changed boys to men.
It was penned in Mother’s sweeping script.
Family tales–joyful and dire.
Lifetime scenes from crib to crypt.
Dog-eared, but not a single page ripped.
Revealing her hopes, plans, and desires.
He mutely mouths words as pages turned,
Each tale etched in his heart and mind.
For the old times, his heavy heart yearned;
Times at her knees when he might have learned
To read these words and name she signed.

Jackie Huppenthal

he looks
crawls over
scoots back
until he reaches my lap
his tiny warm body presses into mine
I load his legs with stories and rhyme
rub my chin over his soft golden hairs…
I read; he listens, he cares
he was so young
but already knew
for it was our favorite thing to do
read his picture books

Cory Corrado

Outside, autumn wind and rain are venting,
unleashing their blustery cold wetness,
sweeping the last of summer away…
Inside, window-side she perches
wrapped in a blanket; delicious warmth
ripples through her body and soul.
On her lap, another world rests.
She fingers the hard cover trying to remember every detail:
the textured jacket, the spine firm and thick;
the bold lettering; the soft rich illustrations.
The title she reads over and over;
recalling how she had been magnetized to it…
In the palm of her hands, a whole universe dwells.
Embedded in every page: the sun, the wind, the moon and the rain;
the birds, the bees, the flowers, and the trees;
the love and energy of every living thing.
Outside, cold windy and wet
Inside, warm delicious and dry
Excitedly, mindfully the reader flips to page one.
The opening lines grab her …
Time stands still.

Silindile Ntuli

It started as a joke,
A dare between young mates.
You knock on the door and run,
She’ll have to step out of the shower.
Knock and run, we’ll take pictures.
Willy was a skinny kid
A wimp (as his peers called him)
He will never do it,
Hicken Willy was his middle name.
“Today is the day” Willy thought,
Charging for the door, heart pounding.
He reached it, thump thump his heart pounded,
But Wimpy Willy was fed up.
He rang the brown door, turned to run south,
His left foot on his right lace,
Willy had no way of knowing,
He wanted to prove a point.
Now he’s screaming in pain,
broken leg, bruised arm.
Banged head, bruised ego.
Book him in, says the nurse,
Look at Willy,
Banged but chicken no more.


Courtney Clawson, grade 6

I wonder what would happen
if you jumped into a book
You could meet your favorite characters
and maybe take a look
At the enchanting pixies flying
and the lands above the trees
Look at the dragons roaring
and the fish beneath the seas
Or maybe it goes deeper
right into your heart
And that is what makes a book
such a work of art –

Maria Ciminillo, grade: 6

A book,
a normal object you think.
you are wrong.
It is a door,
a portal.
To a magic world,
a different place to everyone who enters
It is blank.
No color.
No life.
No sound.
As you flip a page the world is colored in,
bit by bit,
page by page.
The rivers fill with words
The sky with imaginary birds.
Then it is there.
You made it!
Your own kingdom!
When you close the book the kingdom stops filling in,
the rivers stop flowing,
the colors stop rolling in.
It awaits your return.
The book sits there,
your kingdom inside.
Trying to find a way to make you open up and imagine more.
Then you flip again
and enter the kingdom.
And the life
and sparkle in the kingdom
is revived.
You begin to feel like,
you belong in this world
like what you live and breathe for
is finding better ways to develop it
to make it better
more interesting
a bigger and better kingdom.
It becomes impossible to leave,
impossible to shut the heavy wrought iron gate
and lock it away forever.
Leaving the kingdom that
rains words,
the kingdom that can hold every emotion at once,
the one where anything is possible,
where the sun shines at night
and the moon glows at dawn.
And you know that the gate will
remain open.
You will never close your book.

Kaartikeya Raj Gupta (KK), grade 6

I am irritated
I am locked away in a prison
I am trapped inside
I am pinned to homework
If I was free
If I was not inside
If I had no homework
I would be in my Redwood fort
I would take a book and dash to the top
where you can feel the cool breeze against your skin
I’d sit there and …

Clio, grade 5

Books are smart,
books are funny,
books are relaxing,
books are nice,
books are great,
books are cool,
books are super duper,
books are helpful,
you don’t need a computer to read,
books will not be happy if you read the computer,
books are just like us because they are living things, too,
so don’t be mean to books.

Announcing upcoming guest: Gary Dulabaum

BULLETIN: Tomorrow I’ll post Poetry Tip #7: THE QUATRAIN. I hope you will find it useful.

On April 2, Nile Stanley appeared as my guest and one of those who commented on Nile’s fascinating contribution was Gary Dulabaum. I’ve met Gary and enjoyed his enormous talent as a writer, performer, musician, wit, and all-around charismatic personality so I asked if he would be my guest sometime when his schedule allows.Now I can tell you that Gary has agreed. It may be a while before we get him posted here on a Friday but I’m already looking forward to hosting him when he’s ready.

Don’t forget to vote for your selections for May Hall of Fame Poet and May Hall of Fame Young Poet. Polls close on May 30. Here’s the link: https://davidlharrison.wordpress.com/2010/05/24/let-the-voting-begin-4/