Harpswell Community School fourth and fifth graders are the poets for the June edition of “Poems from Home.” (ABIGAIL SVENSON PHOTO)

For this edition of “Poems from Home,” I spent some time reading and writing poems with fourth and fifth graders at Harpswell Community School. April was National Poetry Month — a perfect time to break out some Shel Silverstein, Mary Oliver, Gary Lawless and poems of our own invention.

What’s refreshing about elementary school kids is their ability to take a single word and create an entire world inspired by it. Someone suggested the word “burger” as a jumping-off point; someone else suggested “rain” (it was pouring that day). From these simple beginnings, we have lines like Jackson Ramsay’s “the crunch of the pickle / and the spice of the onion” and Marin Larsen’s “Let it soak the dry, thirsty earth / Negative thoughts only make it pour.” In her poem, “Singing,” Maya Wallace plays with the word pour: “The words pour out, unplanned and feeling unplain.”

Some of the students spun their own ideas into verses, unprompted by words we selected as a group. Metaphors about the ocean on our doorstep; stories of cats, tigers, zombies. One that stood out to me in its evocative simplicity was Naytalia Barter’s “Day and Night.”

At its origins, poetry is storytelling in a form that can be remembered and passed on. Here are some stories straight from the perceptive minds of some 9- to 11-year-olds who live among us. May they entertain and delight.

The Ocean Is One of Us

By London Matthews

The ocean is like me.

Why, can’t you see?

The ocean throws a fuss with the waves,

Like little brother, Gus.

The ocean has emotions, too,

Like younger sister, Sue.

The ocean has clothes;

The foam and seaweed make a ball gown,

Like older sister, Dawn.

I Am a Cat

By B.J. Jones

I am a cat

full of laziness,

full of touching and sound,

making noise,

full of wishes about

catnip and fish,

full of running when my owner

turns on the water,

and full of chasing butterflies

and mice and lasers.

I am proud to be a funny-looking cat.

The Burger

By Jackson Ramsay

The grease from the burger,

It drips down from the burger,

Into my mouth,

And the taste of the juicy flavor,

And the crunch of the pickle,

And the spice of the onions.


By Maya Wallace

My lips move as the sweet harmony

that comes out of my throat is at play.

The words pour out, unplanned

and feeling unplain.

Finding the best verses to breathe

while my knees feel as stiff as bees.

My arms flow freely as I move to the beat

that comes out of me.

Even though it’s amazing,

I never knew I had it in me.

Zombie Invasion

By Brody Bichrest

We had a zombie invasion

On my beach vacation,

So I got to the boat,

But it didn’t even float,

So I swam away,

But, wait … I can’t swim


By Addison Smith

You look so good

with your fluffy little bun,

and when I taste the cheese,

I feel so numb,

but when I squirt the ketchup

I shatter like glass

and when I add the relish,

you are safe at last.

Wait! What did you say?

It’s dinnertime!

You tasted so yum!

You are in my tum!



By Bowman Wright

I do not know where I am,

in a woods or on a plain,

But I do know what I am,

I am a tiger,

racing through this place,

after that thing that is just out of my sight.

It darts through the woods,

it hurdles over plains,

so fast that it escapes all my thoughts.

Hello Rain

By Ryan Coulon

Rain says hello by tapping on the windowsill,

by rapping on the roof, dripping along

the clear windows and brick walls, down

down, down. Now we say Hello,

Hello, Hello.


By Marin Larsen

Rain drips down from the clouds,

As tears down my face.

Ignore it.

Let it soak the dry, thirsty earth.

Negative thoughts only make it pour.

Day and Night

By Naytalia Barter

The sun is red,

The moon is blue,

Either way, I love you, brother.

“Poems from Home” curator Kara Douglas is a writer and yoga teacher who lives in Harpswell with her husband and two daughters. Email her at karadouglas2010@gmail.com.