Like a banner, I carry with me Wallace Stevens’ idea that “poetry is the gaiety (joy) of language.” The pure act of speech is an exhilarating thing, even when the subject or mood is grim, difficult, or sorrowful. This special group of eleven third- and fourth-grade Badgerdog summer campers at The Girls’ School of Austin came out firing their confetti cannons, as this selection of work from camp demonstrates. And goodness, they never did cease. The work you are sure to lose yourself in here, whether happy or sad, whether real or made-up, was created with the spark of joy that can only come from the creation of the written word. I’ll step back now for you to enjoy their awesome stories and poems.
Badgerdog Teaching Artist
Once, a kid found a humongous giant in a forest.
He wasn’t mean. He was kind.
The giant gave him gold.
The giant said, “Use this gold and buy whatever you wish.”
The kid stayed with the giant for three nights.
The kid’s mother worried where he was.
On the fourth night, he came back.
The mom was very glad.
The oldest panda steals all the bamboo.
The weirdest panda gets glasses then turns orange.
The purple panda puts make-up on with the pink panda.
One mama panda turns into the most over-protective panda.
All of the pandas are happy.
My Dad Is My Hero
One day me and my Dad went to a place with big rocks.
It had a sheet of rock for the floor.
There was a cliff there.
We needed to get across to the other side.
When we were walking, I lost my balance
and almost fell off the cliff.
Luckily, my dad saved me.
My dad has slicked back hair and shimmering, light blue eyes.
Also, we needed to get across to get back home.
How To Sneak Candy
- Act normal. Maybe if you have pets, go into the pantry. Call out to Mom or Dad, “I’m going to feed the [whatever pet you have].” Or knock something down and shout, “Something fell in the pantry. I’m going to pick it up.”
- Walk into the pantry, grab the candy, and make some noise. Not too much, because then it’s obvious that you’re trying to fake it. But move stuff around. And if you’re feeding the dogs or animals, actually get the food and feed them.
- Get out. But first, find some place to hide the candy in your sock or shoe, in a pocket, but somewhere. And fast. Now make a quick exit and act normal.
- Eat. Find a secret place to eat, but do it fast. Stop by a mirror or sink on the way out. But make sure there’s nothing on your shirt or face or hair. Go back out and act normal.
Eleven Ways to See the Sun
- When I wake up, you smile at me
with orange, fiery rays.
- You come with grace and shine your light
wherever it is needed.
- You see all — the vast plains and
raging dragons, the moon, too.
- You tell us your adventures,
to Paris, France, and all.
- You come and meet the dragon
of the moon and say goodbye to him.
- Because you are light and he is
dark, you don’t see him often.
- I cry to thee,
“O dragon of the sun, why not come out and
greet us for the day?”
- But so he does and comes to be affray.
He cries, “Good be all, and have a happy day!”
- We shout, “Goodbye!”
and he dives into the sun.
- “Farewell you all, and have a good night!”
he says as he sinks below the horizon.
- “The sun, sun, sun, sun, sun, sun, sun,”
we mutter as darkness falls over us.
Seven Ways to Look at a Dragon
Among the caves of Mount Everest,
you lodge happily, blowing and puffing death
You look for dinner amongst China,
but, what ho?! You steam with rage as
we go to the cellars and shake with fear.
Your 15 minds outsmart man, but we
Dragon plus man : same.
Dragon plus woman : same.
Your vivid color of rich red and gold
shows your fierce soul.
When you see a faint light, f you
contain the goodness of a saint, add fire
and warmth to a poor freezing family.
Do you have a family of your own?
Do you care for a child with a heart of gold?
Why do you turn to evil and munch the flesh of man?
My Crazy Meadow
I live in a meadow where
there are crazy things to do,
books filling the bushes, toys stacked
to the sky, clothes organized
into a rainbow, pillows stuffed into flower beds,
edibles overflowing the kitchen bushes,
hot chocolate, lemonade and milk,
people of candy: jellies, chocolate
Slides for transportation, slides that lead
oceans, underground, and to different
Blankets woven out of
stars, radiating with
Sometimes we just lean
against the trunk of a
tree and let the fresh air
Kangaroo, why do
you like to hop
so high then
Can you run
in the hot sun?
You look around and
Why can you hop with
such speed? It’s like
you don’t need to
You don’t need to
run. You can just have
Why do you just have
fun in the sun as
you hop and
Rooster! Rooster! Noisy Rooster!
On the wood fence of a farmer’s barn,
what daring person could stop you
from crowing so loudly?
Why crow, why not talk?
Your crow is ever so loud.
Stop crowing, if you please.
I’d rather look at the clouds.
What do you eat?
Do you eat worms that slide?
Or do you eat bugs that fly?
Rooster! Rooster! Noisy Rooster!
On the wood fence of a farmer’s barn,
What daring person could stop you
from crowing so loudly?
Dog in a Net
On the last day of school, when all the awards were passed out, I got the Charlie award! The Charlie award was an award for the kindest person in the class.
When I came home with the Charlie award, my parents were stunned. Their mouths dropped and their eyes widened. Since the Charlie award was a golden figure of a dog, they got me a dog. The dog was three months old. it was white and smelled like flowers. The dog’s hair was as soft as cotton. This dog could do amazing tricks for a three-month-old.
But I didn’t know that doing wonderful tricks could be a bad thing. My mom bought me a wonderful cookie for taking care of the dog. It had rainbow icing and smelled so good, my mouth watered every time I saw the bag. Just after I had made and eaten a grilled cheese sandwich, the dog took my precious cookie. But the good thing was that it was in a bag, so no slobber could get on my great cookie. I had to think fast. Then an idea came to me: a net.
The next idea was a line of paper clips connected. It was easier than I thought. It looked like half a necklace. It took me about ten minutes to build the net. I was impressed with myself, then I thought, “Less thinking, more… uh, um…”
Just then, the dog raced by. He was coming one last time, and then I put the net up. I put a bone into the net. The trap was set.
The dog immediately dropped the cookie bag and raced towards the net. After it was in the net and the bone had fallen, I said, “Thank you, I will be on my way.” After five minutes, I released the dog and the dog learned never to steal stuff. That was a relief.
Koala the Mighty King
Koala King, how do you sleep?
Do you dream, or do you gleam?
Koala King, if you eat, then why
don’t you eat raw meat?
Do you shake or wiggle when you sleep?
Koala Koala, why do you sleep so much?
Koala King, why don’t you play
and nibble Shipley’s donuts?
Koala King, why are you gray?
Can’t you be pink or yellow?
Koala King, Koala King, can you
help me paint my house?
The Craziness of this World!
You saw a unicorn trotting by,
and you rode a pink fluffy unicorn at
the Carnival of Monsters. I saw that you had
a book about reading animals.
I walked over and asked you, “Why
do you have a mustache?”
She said, “I don’t,” and stood up to
go buy a present of balloons.
I walked over to Mr. Bob and yelled at his
pink hair madly, and walked away
sadly. I hopped onto the Elmo Kiddie roller coaster and
was depressed as an old, rusty book.
So, I got off and rode Mr. Bob’s pink hair to the
field of sassy talking flowers.
They yakked at me, like an angry cat.
I grabbed them up and cooked them.
They were so angry, they
yelled their hair off.
I burned my hands and screeched like an old hawk.
You walked away as sadly as a soldier who lost
his underwear. I walked up to you and said,
“Why do I have a pink haircut like
a clown’s wig?” He said, “That’s you,” and walked
away as the sad grass cried and made an
apple. I sneezed and my hair
flew off in a pink bubble. Confused, I
slapped myself 100,000,000,000 times and
drank 100 gallons of water like an
elephant. I was satisfied, so I
happily sang la, lo, la, loo, la, loo.
A couple hobos heard me and
angrily threw you down the
sour. As I fell, I smelled
a salty, sad watermelon.
It ate me and then
I turned into a depressed
turtle and lived sadly ever after in the watermelon’s stomach.
Kayla Patel and Evelyn Constant
You are Playing in the Beautiful Pool, Smiling Birds
Having fun and being happy,
you’re painting and being
grateful. Every morning, you make a bird
painting. You make it with the bird’s
wings out and soaring and being happy.
The happy bird flies to its family right
outside our window. As we glance at the birds,
they all start smiling.
As they smile and wave, we dance and sing.
As we dance and sing, the song gets stuck
in our head because it is “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.”
Grace Schlegel and Mannat Ahluwalia
When I woke up, I
felt super excited
because I was going to
have a sleepover at my friend’s
house. If you could describe this
feeling in colors, it would be
hot pink. I am as excited as a
clown fish going to a dance party.
I feel like I am floating in
a bubble that’s heading towards
the white, lush, cotton candy
clouds. The wind is whispering and saying
excited… excited… excited. I’m so ecstatic.
Amy Xu and Sofia Davis
I Am Funny, So I Like Pickles.
I am so funny, so I like
yellow bananas. I
I hate yellow tomatoes because
I hate green strawberries.
Why do you hate green?
Because it looks
like nothing. Bad bugs
eat your skin. I like
pandas. Pandas are black.
They are also white. What do you
like? I like cute dogs.
I like black kittens who
like brown pickles.
Nico Campanell, Julia Klima, and Callia Haines
The first day I meet you,
and say hello.
You smile back and say,
“Nice to meet you.”
We realize we are both wearing
a shirt of pink and blue. We feel awkward,
so we go to the playground that has blue
slides and sky-colored swings
with red polka dots.
I thought you were as pretty
as the star-marked silk dress hanging in
the store window in the mall.
You are like a mist hanging in the sky by
the soft gray moon,
I thought. The next day, you brought
a silk hat dangling with precious jewels of all kinds.
It looked like a crown for royalty
at Buckingham Palace.
We didn’t say so, but we both thought
we’d be a good match,
so we sat with each other and soon told
each other embarrassing stories
and stared at the gold apple
that never comes closer.
We go plum picking and nap in the trees
happily. We dream
all the flowers dangling
with precious jewels and satin ribbons.
We will always
Lucky Cantu and Ha-Yeon Jeon