Everything is Connected

What a strong community with a welcoming vibe at Hope Lutheran Church’s Memory Connections! Most importantly, this group had a great sense of humor. This group of gifted writers and poets live big lives but can also think deeply. Even when asked to write about something as simple as a flower, they knew that everything is connected in this world, and they weren’t afraid to show it. Their graciousness was delightful, and not only was everyone always eager to share their writing, they were delicate listeners too—you can tell by their haikus.

Mendy Holliday
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

I Didn’t See

I didn’t see the tadpoles in the bucket
But I did see the tiny frogs clutching the metal edge.
Two of them, and when startled, they dived
Like lightening to the bottom to hide.

Rebecca Lowe

 

Those Old Dance Halls

Going to those old dance halls around my hometown Texas was the highlight of my week. I would go every Friday and Saturday night with family, later with boyfriends, then my husband.  I could see all my friends, hear the latest gossip, the good old country music. These old dance halls didn’t have air- conditioning just a lot of windows. So sweaty after dancing awhile. How did we ever do it? These are the best memories of my life. We go to this reunion dance once a year to hear 3 bands from the 70’s. It’s the nearest I come to recreating those old memories, dancing cheek to cheek. Now most of the old dance halls I went to are shuttered, which makes me sad.

Joyce Beversdorff

 

Happy/Sad

Flowers can be part of life in its happy moments or events,
but flowers can be part of sad moments.
I learned early that a bride carries a bouquet,
and flowers are set upon a grave.
My dad died when I was six years old.
I use the phrase happy/sad with my family who understands
that flowers are associated with the happy and the sad moments in one’s life.

Elizabeth Caldwell

 

Summer Heat & the Birds

Summer heat and the birds
feeding off the sunflower seeds.
Hot weather and warm breezes
linked to the changing seasons.
A container of sunshine
with the birds feeding and flying
to and from the station
where sunflower seeds are a valuable.
The changing seasons
as heat moves away
from the warm breezes
and the awareness of the air’s movement
and the possibilities of cooler days.
Pleasant days and anticipation
that all is ok.

Larry Graham

 

The Air of the City

San Francisco was a gorgeous town when I lived there. The many hills of the city went up and down. The air of this city was so wonderful and crisp, always washed clean by the Pacific Ocean. People who lived there knew they could always find good food to eat, no matter which part of the city. The best trip was to get on the bus to go out to sit on the sand at the ocean.

Pat Keen

 

First Glimpse of Ithaca

The first glimpse of Ithaca burst into view. The Little Apple that I had heard so much about rose above the sparkling water of Cayuga Lake glimmering in the sunshine. I could see why the bumper sticker on the car ahead of me said: Ithaca is gorges!

B.W.

 

Red, Pink, or Yellow Roses

Flowers connect beauty and sorrow in my life.
Joy for weddings, graduations, promotions, accomplishments.
Sorrow for funeral, deaths—
Sorrowful blue lavender, black and purple,
Joyful red orange coral, roses, daisies, sunflowers.
I connect flowers with the death of my grandmother who was such a
dear sweet joyful helping person. She always saw the best in people.
Flowers that remind me of her are red, pink, or yellow roses.

Anonymous

 

The Bond Between Us

My wife is the curator
of flowers at our house.
I love seeing the tiny white flowers
on our kumquat bush
and the kumquatinis (kumquat martinis)
they engender.
We also have lilies and daffodils
behind the swimming pool.
I love the tiny flowers
that come on the Dwarf Barbados Cherry
and the Meyer Lemon.
They symbolize the bond between us.

Jim Hadden

Bearing Witness: The Gift of Sharing

It was a joy to spend a month with the writers of Memory Connections at Bethany Lutheran Church. These writers always had thoughtful and insightful feedback to give about the poems that inspired our writing exercises on any given week. We engaged with the simple act of paying attention, and the pieces they created speak to the beauty and emotionality inherent in the simple act of bearing witness: to your surroundings, to to your peers, and to yourself. I loved getting to know this group, and learning the many ways that we can define and explain who we are and where we are from beyond a simple label or a geographic region. From stunning lyrical images to delightful uses of humor, this group proved that connecting with one’s memory reaches beyond introspection, and into the gift of sharing our experiences with one another.

Sarah Matthes
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Texas Flowers

Seeing the springtime Texas flowers
such as bluebonnets, Mexican hats,
Indian paintbrush, and daisies
refreshes my feelings and emotions
toward what beauty is,
refreshes my soul, and strengthens
my resolve with nature.

BJ

 

Roses

I have mixed emotions regarding roses.
They have various colors and smells.
My first reaction is to grab them.

However, every time I try to grab them,
the thorns remind me just how unattractive they can be.

I love their appearance,
but I hate their feelings.

Joseph T. Colarusso

 

Tulips

I remember working with my dad, planting tulips
while the first snow of the year was coming down.

It was a cold and miserable time,
but in the spring, we were weeding the beds
and the tulips were in full bloom.
It was beautiful, and such a difference
from when we planted them.

R.W.S.

 

Ashland

Picture a small town with beautiful parks, and they were busy all year round performing the myriad plays which Shakespeare wrote. I owned an 1880’s Bed and Breakfast just a few minutes’ walk from town and was an “innkeeper.” I had visitors from all over the country come to visit and I prepared the food. Ashland had at its center a lovely park with hiking trails and magnificent flowers.

W. Elaine Martens

 

Spring, Texas

Spring was quiet and full of beautiful flowers, shrubs, trees, birds, animals, happy children, well-kept homes, good schools, evergreen lawns and trees, children playing in yards or sometimes streets, buses into the city of Houston, trips to the Opera and plays and music groups, taking our children to the park to see their friends, teacher friends getting together, talking about students.

Carol

 

Bareilly, India

I could walk from my house to my dad’s office. The clerks in the front of the office would give me balloons. It took about fifteen minutes to walk to his office from our house. In the winter it would get cold enough to have a fire in the fireplace. The garden has a lawn surrounded by flowers. I learned to ride my bike. There were about ten officers and I played with their kids.

M.B.

 

Flowers

Any living flower is an amazing thing.
Actually, they’re all alike (shape and size vary)
but the basic components—sticks,
twigs, leaves, dirt, fresh stuff too, all added—
piles of old brown things making crinkling
noises as you step across the yard.

The best of music is no better—
they’re the bookends of joy and sorrow.

Laura

 

Pleasure in Plants & Place

The lively group of Memory Connections writers at Christ Lutheran Church in Georgetown took pleasure in rhyme and surprise in poems, shared their weekly joys and struggles with candor and humor, and discussed the need for more writing from and about people living with early memory loss. They wrote vividly about the natural world, the seasons, and how certain flowers serve as portals to remember their loved ones and childhoods: Crocuses heralding spring and chilly lilies offering hope that fall in central Texas is coming! We bonded over a shared love of routines as moorings in our days, and discussed the beauty of writing done in private, to reflect, to document, and to process feelings and thoughts. I’m grateful to have spent these weeks with this talented and generous group of writers; I hope you enjoy their witty, vulnerable, and vivid work as much as I have.

Mary Terrier
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Those Weeks

Those weeks would be like a different world for us, the cousins from Phoenix, and me from El Paso where it was so hot you could fry eggs on the sidewalk. My aunt and uncle lived on a piece of land with cacti all up and down the mountains, and down in the valley an orchard of apple, pear, peach, and cherry trees.

Pat Joyce

 

 

Auntie’s Garden

My father’s eldest sister could coax any species of flower to bloom and show—a green thumb was a mere description of her talent—whether she was planting, nurturing, or snipping—the arrangements were amazing—small as in Cecil Brunner’s—blazing yellow daffodils—or even willow branches from the creek—all were unique works of art.
My Auntie was a treasured person. Love, joy, tender hugs—She always shared her garden with me!

Helen Haynes

 

How Do You Make the Flowers?

The house was tucked away on a large farm. The girl was about five or six years-old. She ran alone, running uphill, and down again. The girl ran into the pasture. She loved being alone and free.
In the early fall her mother started working the planting, and the girl watched and asked, “How do you make the flowers?” The mother gave the child a packet of seeds and told her what to do. The girl put the seeds and watered each. The pansies were beautiful…and the girl was very happy.

L.D.S.

 

Llano River

A very good place to take a vacation. If you like outdoor camping, you would enjoy the Llano River. I guess you could call this a cowboy city. Junction, Texas.

Clemencia G. Castillo

 

Harvest Time

Harvest your roses while you may
Your time is always flying
For your flowers that smile today
Tomorrow will be dying

Randall

 

Natchitoches, Louisiana

Natchitoches, Louisiana is a small town located on Cane River, streets are made of brick, and the city overlooks Cane River. Part of the Civil War was in Nachitoches. Old beautiful homes overlook the river on one side and the other side is lined with houses.

Marie

 

Austin, Texas

Boom Town
The University of Texas school
Many good restaurants
Lots of museums
Lots of art

Charlie

 

Somerset, KY

The downtown area has many older brick buildings. The traffic enters the area from four different directions and progresses right around in a circle until you come to the street where you want to exit. Then you progress onto the interstate where all the new boat shops, hospital, Walmart, and the lumberyard are located. This new section of town is where most people go daily for their shopping. Now, the old downtown area holds the banks, real estate, and office buildings. This is not really so different from many towns in the middle of America that have continued to exist. Many smaller places surrounding the larger cities have lost their grocery stories, post offices, etc. Only a few service stations remain.

Patricia Kellett

 

 

Embracing & Enjoying Life

The Cedar Park writers are an amazing group of upbeat, optimistic people who made me feel welcome and special each time I visited their group. Laughter filled the room as they shared stories of bluebonnet fields, childhood homes, first dates, and family gatherings. These writers inspired me to fully embrace the moment and enjoy life.

Gayleen Rabakukk
Badgerdog Teaching Artist

 

Flowers

Flowers are like life, you start with seeds that must be planted, watered, fertilized and trained.

As a child you are born a baby requiring feeding, washing, nurturing and changing.

Then you grow and start to talk, walk, and feed yourself, and learn to develop in the world around you.

The beautiful difference being a human versus a flower is that once you grow to maturity, you have the opportunity to develop into what color and beauty you want to be.

Gary

 

People I Most Admire

  • My wife, Bea (53 years, next month)
  • My mother (passed away in 2011)
  • My mother-in-law (passed away in 2016)
  • My dad (passed away in 1976
  • My daughter, Liza
  • My son-in-law
  • Presidents of the U.S.A.
    • George Washington
    • Franklin D. Roosevelt
    • Ronald Reagan
    • Donald Trump

Manny Chavez

 

Sunday

A good Sunday for me would be to wake up
to a morning rain,

followed by a clearing sky,
and then a bright, sunny day.

To have my two sons and three grandkids
over to run around with my dog.

Firing up the grill to cook burgers and to sit
around with the whole family in the
backyard and drink a cold beer.

Billy G.

 

Bluebonnets

I have always loved Texas.
The bluebonnets are the flowers.
The bluebonnets have a cat claw hidden in the flower.
The flowers are a lot of beautiful.
The state of Texas plants flowers close to the highways.
The bluebonnet is the state flower.
Most flowers have a great smell.

Dale L. Martin

 

Happiest Childhood Moment

My happiest moment was coming home from the hospital when I had my tonsils removed. I would speak more clearly and had no more pain.
Even at the young age of six years old, I could think clearly about my life goals:

  1. To express my fears and joys, hopes and dreams for the future
  2. To be more happy in my grandfather Watson’s and grandmother’s (Unger – maiden name) home
  3. To see that home both as a blessing and a curse, — a release from pain, way to face the future

Going to church was a healing place for me at that young age. This is a parable of life – both releasing my pains and opening up my future. I know God loved me and affirmed by parents and grandparents.

Mel Swoyer

 

Dear Mom,

I missed having you around when I was a child, but I was truly grateful that you were around for holidays and after Mary Ann got married. You had me come to live with you in New York, even though you were mostly away working.
I learned a lot about being there for my children, so that I saw to it that I was home when they got out of school and made sure that they went to college.
Like you, I experienced two marriages. The first was to help my friend not have to go into the military and be sent to Korea. I already had five brothers that were serving as well as a brother-in-law. I was blessed with a beautiful, caring, loving daughter from that experience and though that marriage didn’t last, my next one did until my husband passed. Before that occurred, we had a daughter and three sons.

Susan S.

 

Dear Past Self,

Hello—this is a wakeup call.
There are things you love to do and can do well—
time is running faster and faster—stop wasting it!
Write—you know how much you love it—it need not
be brilliant—just honest—and based in reality or—
as much reality as can be discerned at this point—
all of which, and I repeat time is racing—
my brain is in the race
hooked the way of looking at the now and future possibilities—
good or not.
Think of all those books with blank pages.
Think of all the pastels, pencils pointing, clay not being used, the minutes not filled with artwork—the wonderful handling of each.
Wake up, Ms. Fool!

S. Betts

 

My Hometown

Liberty Hill is a small town, north of Cedar Park. It’s growing though. A highway runs through it. One restaurant is there called Delilah’s. Good place to eat. Great pies and vegetables. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays. One highway, Highway 29, runs east and west through the town. Service stations and a few churches line the way in. Of course, there are numerous gas stations there.

Chris Turk

 

Young Authors Reading & Anthology Launch 2019

344_youngauthors19_brendaladdphoto.jpgMore than 300 guests—Badgerdog campers, their supportive families, and proud teaching artists—attended this year’s Young Authors Reading & Anthology Launch at the Central Library on October 5.

“The Young Authors Reading and Anthology Launch is hands-down my favorite event of the year!” said Programs Coordinator Katelin Kelly. “When I see a camper pick up their anthology for the first time and flip through the pages to find their name and their writing inside, it’s a moment of pure magic. To find yourself in the pages of a book is deeply empowering.”

ya-reading-brother-in-purple-suit-with-rise.jpg

Nancy Hoover, art director at the Girls’ School of Austin, revealed the two pieces selected for the 2019 Rise and Emerge anthologies: fourth-grader Luella Fincher-McConnell’s pastel, Summer Peaches, and recent GSA grad and current New School artist Anabelle Abel, with her piece, I Never Learned to Fly.

Nearly 40 campers from the summer program were honored with the Literary Citizenship Award for their commitment to supporting fellow writers in the classroom and beyond, and 13 selected campers shared their work onstage. Austin native, writing advocate, and friend of The Library Foundation Forrest Preece awarded prizes to eight winning writers from the 2018 and 2019 Rise and Emerge anthologies.

Badgerdog alumna and novelist Lorena Lore attended the reading and met both former teaching artists and fellow writers. “Badgerdog was such an affirmative experience in my passion for writing,” said Lore in her recap of the event, “and I’m always happy to see other students benefit from it.”

YA Reading Typewriter Station FamiliesTeaching artist and Typewriter Rodeo cowboy Sean Petrie typed an on-the-spot poem inspired by an audience suggestion—summer—and captured the longing for that time when imaginations run wild at Badgerdog Creative Writing Summer Camp. As the program concluded, children and families visited creativity stations that inspired storytelling with typewriters, Scrabble tiles, magic cards, and even Nancy Drew mystery novels.

The event was not only a chance for families to create with their children, but also to see these young writers receive their copies of Rise and Emerge. Students autographed the pages, proud to see their work in print.

“I often hear educators talk about the importance of children seeing themselves in the characters they read in books,” said Kelly. “How rare and amazing is it for a child to see themselves (literally!) in a book that they helped write? I want Badgerdog to give all children the gift of being seen, feeling affirmed, and knowing that their story is worth sharing with the world. This is why Badgerdog exists. This is why I do this work.”

Check out more photos of the 2019 Young Authors Reading here!


The Library Foundation’s Badgerdog Creative Writing program allows writers of all ages and skill levels to examine the techniques of literary artists and experiment with language to communicate experience and meaning. Our goal is to empower Austinites to develop the skills necessary to communicate effectively and beautifully, to amplify individual voices, and to share in a love of reading and writing. Learn more about the Badgerdog program!

Cool Summer Stories: Writing with Strangers at the Bullock Museum

What happens when you set out paper, pens, and a few inspirational quotes in the corner of a museum and ask people, “Hey, you want to write something?”

Badgerdog recently partnered with Cool Summer Nights at the Bullock Museum to encourage some fun creative writing on a summer eve. Cool Summer Nights invites folks out of the heat and into the AC of the downtown Bullock Museum to explore new exhibits, enjoy craft cocktails and coffee, and make beautiful stuff/learn things with Austin organizations like Austin Book Arts and Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center. The theme of this particular event was Identity, so Badgerdog posed some thought-provoking questions alongside literary quotes. What we received in return was a gathering of storytellers of all stripes: parents writing alongside their children, travelers befriending native Texans, old friends discovering the secret novelist in the group, and teen writers penning fantastical adventure pieces on the spot.

What happens when you invite folks to make cool stuff with you? You get to watch new writerly friendships unfold, you see mother/daughter duos writing back-and-forth, and you get to read amazing stories and make new friends. Here is a sampling of the stories writers came up with at the Badgerdog table in the Bullock Museum.

Inspired by this Sylvia Beach quote: “I am a citizen of the world,” writers respond to the prompt—If you had to pick a place that represents you most, what would it be?

london night lights bridge
Photo by Uncoated on Pexels.com

Waterloo Bridge

If there’s one place that represents me the most, I would say Waterloo Bridge in London. London to me represents a true melting pot of the world. Contemporary yet steeped in tradition. It represents the path I created for myself. British citizenship—not the ‘easy’ or planned route, rather a path sparked by connection and saying YES to opportunity. learning from others and learning a spot where it’s fun to be because of what you can see. Even though the bridge itself isn’t the most ornate. You can see St. Paul’s and London Bridge…. yet you can also see Westminster. It’s a direct route between the Strand, Holborn, the city—over to Waterloo and Southwark. It feels expansive.

Rachel Martino

Earthworm

I am an earthworm.

Growing up in a remote village in China, I had very strong aversion toward little creatures such as bugs and worms. Any time I saw one, I would try to kill it with rocks or little knives. Until one day, when I cut an earthworm in half.

To my shock, the earthworm came back alive and started crawling toward me. Being only 4 or 5 years old, I got scared and screamed for help. My father rushed over, “Yeah, a little earthworm can survive anything, including hurt as severe as being cut in half. It might not seem much, but it does a lot of good to our earth, marking it futile for us to grow crops”.

I am now an earthworm. I might seem petite, but I can survive any hardship life thrusts upon me. I might not show up in spotlight often, but I quietly do good for the community I live in, whether in China decades ago or here in Texas now.

C.J. Zhao

Inspired by this quote from Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club: “You are not your job, you’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet…” writers respond to the prompt: Okay, but if you HAD to pick a material object to represent you, what would it be? Why? 

yellow flower field across brown mountain
Photo by Rudolf Kirchner on Pexels.com

In the Land of the Dead

I would choose the trail I’d leave if I had an errand in the Japanese Land of the Dead. You are required to abandon your belongings and beliefs along the rock cave path. On my path would be my Apache tan ropers, and my belief that Winnie the Pooh is the best book ever written, and my socks with the little black whales on ‘em, and my memory of clear, cold snowmelt sliding over granite boulders in the Basin, in Franconia Notch; and my jeans and my plain purple grannie panties, and the sound of the meteor falling out of the sky over Lake Travis at dawn, with an electric, tearing whisper. Then there would be my coral cotton summer sweater, and memory of how to hold a horse’s hoof while picking a rock from the frog, and a white camisole, and my memory of how my neck got a crick in it while I was watching for that darn meteor. Then, my glasses. So then I can’t see.

Melodie McLellan

Uplifting Others

When I pass on from this adventure we call life on Earth, I will be content if I can look back and see an undeniable pattern of making the lives of others better.

Even as a child I’ve felt a sense of joyous fulfillment when helping others. Late grade school found me fascinated and drawn into computers and the pure rush of making complex electronics do my bidding. As I’ve matured into a young and now middle-aged person, I’ve learned that beyond the self-satisfaction I can profoundly uplift others with my work.

Really, no gesture is too small though. Even simple acts of every day kindness silently tell others that they matter and have worth. May I finish my years always enriching the shared journey of others.

Nolan Egly

Inspired by this quote from Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre: “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will,” writers respond to the prompt: When have you exerted your independence? Was there a time where you felt free? Describe that moment. How did you feel?

Free…

No gain without loss? Isn’t that the rule? Some kind of Natural Law: No action without an equal and opposite response. We choose to change our circumstances without thinking how we’ll be changed by the choosing.

I walked away from family.
What relief. I am safe now. I am free.

brown wooden floor
Photo by Chris F on Pexels.com

It’s funny though. It took so much courage to leave I never expected it to take such strength to learn to be the person without them.

I am not the same man in a new future. I am a new man in a new present. I escaped into the chrysalis. I am free.

Jayse Cardinal Tahkiné

Teaching Artist Spotlight: Sean Petrie

Poetry Glasses Station - day 1Each Badgerdog Teaching Artist brings a unique approach to the summer camp classroom. Campers love Sean Petrie’s writing stations, which include typewriters for each writer (students got to choose the one they felt suited them best), poetry glasses to see the world in new and beautiful ways, and The Desert of Ideas, a place to scavenge for story artifacts and treasures.

Desert of Ideas Station - day 1

typing (Ruhi & Tasneem)Hands-on activities like these, especially the tactile process of physically typing up their pieces, helped young writers puzzle through their stories from different angles until they felt ready to share. “I loved working with these students,” says Sean, “because they were so creative and enthusiastic to just write, write, write! And I loved seeing how each camper looked at the same thing in their own unique, imaginative way.”

Typewriters - day 1

More about our teaching artist Sean!

Sean Petrie is a founding member of the Austin poetry group Typewriter Rodeo, and has written over 10,000 poems at events all across the country. He is co-author of Typewriter Rodeo: Real people, real stories, custom poems (Andrews McMeel 2018), and author of the poetry collection Listen to the Trees (Documentary Media 2020). Sean’s poems are featured on KUT’s “Texas Standard” radio program, and he is the author of multiple middle grade fiction & nonfiction books. Sean has an MFA in Writing for Children from Vermont College, a law degree from Stanford, and teaches legal writing at UT Law School.

My Dreams Are Hopes

You’ll absolutely love the poems and stories authored by the fourth-graders in Ms. Maag’s class at Boone Elementary School!

Stuck on You

I am a piece of tape.
I don’t feel important because
I don’t have many jobs.
One of my jobs is to stick
things back together.
How boring—all year long I stay
in the same place holding a poster.
I hear students arguing about friendships.
I wish I could stick them back together!

Donna Pierce

If the Earth Was a Moon

If the Earth were a moon, what would we do?
We’d float in the sky—oh, how high we’ll go!
We would go so high in the sky, we’d see aliens.
Oh, how we’d go, we’d go really high, but maybe it’s best to stay down low.
Low, low, low. Oh, how we’d go.
Yes, maybe it’s best to stay down low.

Lillian Vasquez

Little Monster

I sneak through your walls
And have little claws
No, I’m not a dog
But tiny as a frog
And smelly as a log
I have a tail
I make noises: wale, wale
I’m in your trash
I move in a flash
I’m hairy and furry
I have little ears
Yes, I’m a fear
What can I be?

Ihsan Suarez

Clean Environment

Clean up the ocean.
Clean up pollution.
Buy products that are less harmful to the environment.
Clean up trash.

Edison Sadler

Earth Day

I can pick up trash
Leave a bowl of water outside for the animals
So they can have water
And leave a berry outside so they can eat food
I love animals and I love when I see them
They are so cute
I would love to take care of a bunny, a guinea pig, a dog
I have a hamster
My mom has a dog
We have a cat
Animals are the best

Bella G. Hernandez

The Life of a Jacket

I am a jacket. I am grey with a blue zipper and blue pockets. My life is quite the racket. On a cold winter day, I feel a cold rush of air. My person’s hair falls in my face. We step inside the door of a place called school. It’s actually quite cool. My normal day starts here. We walk to the cafeteria, a loud BEEEEEP rings out and something is placed on my shoulder. It felt like a boulder. ZZZiiiiippp! We go outside, she takes me off, and I’m left alone again.

The years pass and it’s spring, summer, fall, then winter and spring again. But wait, I am being lifted up into the air! I’m being carried to a box with the words “Lost and Found” on it. I wait in the darkness again. A light peeks out of the roof of this prison. A hand reaches in and grabs me. It’s her! My human! But wait, she looks different. She’s taller, older.

A child walks up behind her and asks, “Is that my new jacket, bwig swissy?”

She answers, “Yes, Marigold. Yes it is.” The child jumps up and grabs me, unzips me, and puts me on. We walk out and it’s hotter. Oh, no! It’s summer, that’s a bummer. I’ll never be worn! I might be torn by Moren, their dog.

Willow Fischer

What am I?

Hi, I’m Ranira. I love swamps, lily pads, and flies and mosquitoes too. They’re so delicious and nutritious for me. I love the rain and humid and rainy nights. My friend and I joined a choir, and we sing our hearts out. I get lots of exercise hopping where I please and, as I said, my name is… RANIRA! By any chance, do you know who I am? If you want, I’ll give you more clues. I’m green and want to jump to the moon! During the day, I drink, eat, and hop! Oh, did I mention I love flies?!

Grace Phipps

Argh?

Hello, I am white with red
I die every day or just get whapped in the face
I get hit once, but that’s not enough
My friend is a bat
But not a cap
I wish I were used every day
Or possibly for a game
I have bigger dreams than to be left in a yard to die
What am I?
It’s obvious
(A baseball)

Chris Mota

I Am a Leader

I am a leader
I am a civil-rights giver
People judge me by my skin
I am treated badly
I can’t eat at many restaurants
What am I?

Bella Brewer

Life as a Christmas Tree

I’m a Christmas tree
I stand tall out of my box
Oh, yes, I’m here
Year by year
I go in, I come out
Oh yes, you’ll see ornaments and presents
Oh yes, they are good
I bring people joy
Oh yes, I do
Every year, I smell those good, tasty cookies and milk
Oh yes, these kids are happy and joyful
I hope and dream to come again
Oh, yes, another joyful day will come again

Bella Bocanegra

Clues

I am something that hops away
Sometimes I like to play
I like to be in my mod
Or is it a pod?

I can hop higher than anything
Do I really have to rhyme with a thing?
I do not like my fears
They really hurt my ears

I have milk in my pouch
What are you doing? Ouch!
I like my prey
But not my predators

I love my boots
But I could be in de ja vu
Could you please tell me
What am I?

I gave you all my clues
Even though I like my shoes
Do you want me to tell more?
Oh my, oh Lord

I will tell you I jump high
Just high in the sky
And one more clue
What am I?
Thank you

Tilley Wooten

Life as Snow

I am white and cold.
I am solid, but liquid.
I am designed and small,
and when I have friends I am powder.
I can even make an angel.
I like wars with small, white balls.
I can be made into a man with a carrot for a nose.
Also, don’t taste me when I am yellow.
I come in the winter.
I go in the spring.
What am I?

Richard Hudson

What Am I?

I am a tiny
TINY thing
That makes that stuff
That humans inhale to survive

Some weirdoes think I don’t exist
Because they can’t see me
Well, the truth is
I’m not tiny
I’m microscopic
Can you guess what I am?

Ryan James Hamer

Frog

If I were a frog, I would be a green frog so I could walk up to Shrek and pretend to be his swamp. If he notices me, I will scream in his ear and then run off to a puddle. I see a duck, oh, I’ll jump on his eye. Oh, he was a pretty nice guy. Oh, what is this? I seem to be stuck. I must have been the duck. But I thought I was the frog. Look again, it was the log. I see something huge. Oh, what could it be? Is it you or is it me? Well, let’s see. I’ve finally found a stick. The stick is very thick. As I walk to the pond, I carry my wand and cast some magical spells. I turn around and hear a familiar sound. Oh boy, that sounds like me. I look in the lake. Oh, this was a mistake. What shall I do? Is that Shrek? No, it can’t be. He just got shreked, but I thought he made that up. I go back home on my big stone and I wonder what’s on TV? Well, I don’t have a TV, so it doesn’t matter. I’ll just go grab my ladder and climb up to my bed hoping this is all in my head. I dreamed about a bird, or is that kind of weird? Nope, not for me. I woke up in a cup, yep, a cup, and then I woke up in a tree. How could this be? I soon woke up in my real home. Excited to be back in my own place. I really needed the space. Is that a rat? Nope, that’s a cat. Looks like I have to go. See ya, Shrek. Oh wait, that was a donkey. Oof!

Lilian Mamaril

I’m Gael, I am Blank

I am fuzzy and furry
Probably have holes
My day is great
I’m warm and snuggly on my owner’s head
I see what they see, smell, touch, and taste
Wear when it’s cold, please, or I am a waste
My dreams are hopes
My hopes are dreams
I just wish to be worn on the head
My fears are frightening and also very scary
My fears are summertime
The worst time of all
Nobody wears me, but one… me!

Gael Rawlings

Slush

I am soft and I go everywhere
I get slept with and I feel warm every day
I sit on a bed every day and sometimes on the floor
In the morning, my owner wakes up, goes downstairs, and leaves me behind
I am scared of the dog and the cat because they could chew or rip me
I hate being on the floor
I hope to get buddies or more friends and not get chewed by the cat or dog
I hope to not get stuck in the car on the floor

Davian Jack Frost

Maybe You Can Spin the World

Check out the amazing poems and stories written by Ms. Maag’s fourth-grade students at Boone Elementary School.

Flying No More

I was flying,
Out there in the jungle, I sang
Forever Free,
That was what I thought then,
I thought I was free,
I thought I was happy.
There he was,
Sweaty as an ocean,
Copper bullets,
Ready to kill,
I already saw the lives he took,
Too slow to run from the lead-filled terminators,
I flew away,
Farther and farther,
Thinking I was safe,
I heard a BANG.
The bullets pierced my wing,
Pierced my soul.

I fell,
Lower and lower,
I woke up,
Clutching my wing like it was gold,
I couldn’t run,
I couldn’t breathe.
Why?
Why me?
I was never free,
What I thought was home,
Was just a hiding place from evil,
Life is just a big game of hide and seek,
But the seeker has to find you sometimes.

For me,
It was now.
My body was lying there,
Dead,
I am at rest,
Finally,
I will be,
Flying no more.

Atlas Castro

The Egg That Never Flew

Close your eyes and imagine this: A man was walking. He saw an eagle’s egg. He looked at it for two seconds, put it in a chicken’s nest, and walked off. A few months later, it hatched and acted just like a chicken.

One day, the eagle looked up and saw another eagle. He asked, “What is that?” The chicken answered, “Oh, it’s an eagle, but you’re never going to be like him.” So, he died a chicken when he was meant to fly.

Nobody is in charge of you. You are you, and you have to shape your life. Nobody else can. It’s just you, because you are meant to fly!

Jasmine Aung

Death Desert

As I walk along the steaming hot,
crystal clear sand,
I get blisters on my feet.

I watched the day turn to night.
I found a cave for shelter.
As the moon rose, it got colder.
I was finally able to sleep.

I suddenly woke up with a start.
I jumped!
But it was only the screeching of a bats’
cry of hunger.
Hopefully.

Morning came and the day grew hotter
and hotter, but I was still in the cave.
Then I heard something,
something big coming for me.
I got up and ran.
I could hear it coming faster and faster.

Its feet were like thunder pounding the ground.
I look back, and it’s just a big, giant fox!
I run as fast as I can.
Only then I didn’t know
that nothing survives here.

Then everything went blank.
I could hear nothing.
I saw nothing.

And in a second,
I was gone from the world.

Sophie Owensby

Ocean Dying

Once was beauty
Now so black
Once was living
Now so dead
Once was new and blue
Now so polluted and grey
I give you waves, I give you paradise
But all you give me is trash and ice
I give you fun
You give me hate
But you turned that all around
You did not make me frown
With all your help, we could make me new and cool
Just pick up your trash and try not to pollute

Jazzlyn Hepburn

All About Clown Fish

I want to be a fish.
I want to be a fish because
they can breathe underwater
for a very long time.
I would want to be a clown fish
because they look cool and
I like their colors.
They’re orange and white.

Nathan Jackson

Fortnite

I went to sleep and dreamt about the new Fortnite.
Then I heard  knock at my window.
I looked out, and this time the bunny yoga class
was learning the floss.
In the morning, a bee was in my room playing,
swarming around my Baby Alives.
I climbed down from my bunk bed and watched
the toy heroes, but then I heard a crunch.
I looked out the window.
There was the Flex Seal Man dancing.

Clarey Warstler

The Water

I think people should get in boats
and pull out all of the trash they see out of the ocean.
They should make a law about not polluting the ocean.
I also think it should be illegal to hunt for fish
in the seas, rivers, oceans, and lakes.
I also wish that fish would have more babies,
so there would be more fish in the ocean.

Xavier Aleto

I Guess

never felt the feel of her
like the rest and rest do see
never met who gave life
even though it was to me
never knew why they made
what they knew they couldn’t keep
why oh why did they save me just to plunge
me down in the deep
I guess that I must look like her
so maybe she looks like me
or maybe she looked ‘cause time will tell
but for now a guess is all I can be

Asa Wilson

The Real World

Imagine one day
You woke up
To see the small world in front of you
With no idea about what troubles
You might experience next
Maybe you can spin the world
Travel to a country filled with amazing wonders
Make your own city
Make relationships
Start a war
Trouble your land
Defend it
Try to fix it
Oh no…
You’re drifting into the real world
You’ve woken up
You want to go back
To fix your mess
But it was just a dream

Jake Napolillo

Did You Know?

(Truth or Not?)
Aliens, oooh,
were found on Mars.
I bought the new dirt in Fortnite from Target.
Baptise is a color.
I am a person.
Ali-A is not click bait.
Yellow is actually green.
Gnomes live!
This guy lives.
Guardians of the Galaxy is real.
Wow Guy is actually Freddie Mercury.
Queen = Beatles (just to anger Asa).
Teletubbies is my favorite show.
Roblox won the Nobel Peace Prize.
Times-Up Guy is an astronaut.

Tommy O’Leary

The Beginning

A squirrel runs along a pine branch in a lush, green forest.
An acorn falls to the ground.
After days of rain and shine, a small sapling shoots up.
Its tiny leaves reach for the sun.

Liam Thomas

He is the High

God is my shield
God is my rock
God is the roof that keeps me on top
I am brave
I am bold
I will love Him ‘til I’m old
Love you, God
R.I.P. Jesus

Anthony Joseph Basden Jr.

It’s the Hard Shark Life for Us

Sharks, like me, are very endangered.
Hunters catch us and make us feel sun-hot anger.

We live our lives in peace and fun.
But when they take us away, it’s like we’re in
a Sharpie-black room looking for a key to freedom.

It sucks, it’s sad, it’s the tip of the marker.
There’s nowhere to go as the light gets darker.

The light fades away like a blowing dust.
So it’s time for God to take me, it’s upsetting,
but He must.

This is it. It’s time to say goodbye
to all our friends and family,
but why, just why?

Gabriel Chavez

Pizza Party

I scored 85 million points in football.
I got to the champion league.
My team won.
We went to Pizza Hut and I ate 85 pizzas.
I was so fat.
My team was fat too.
So when other teams tried to stop us,
we ran over them and won.

Marlon Quinn Hardeman Jr. M2

Coral

A coral reef lives long.
I am one hundred years old.

In my life, I have watched baby fish
and their mothers get caught and suffocate.

I watch people illegally kill whales of all kinds.
I watch them suffer and slowly float to the bottom of the reef.

A tiger shark got killed going up to a boat out of curiosity.
I watch sea turtles get ripped from the sea with other fish
and the fishermen just take it all!

And now because of the consumer,
I went away too.

Sadie Schaeffer

True or False

I play Pub-G
I have H 1Z1
I have Minecraft on PS4
I have Star Wars battlefield
I won Fortnite twice
I watch Teletubbies on cable
I have been gnomed
I have eaten cheesecake
I have real throwing stars

Lucas Hardy

The Pickle

Once I was eating a pickle, and out of nowhere it came to life.
I screamed and dropped the pickle and it summoned more pickles.
They turned me into a pickle.
Now I am a pickle brother for life!

Jack Beck

Is My Brain Rotting Yet?

My parents say I have to have
a limited amount of screen time.
But I don’t care if my brain rots!
It’s fun, and parents always say:
just try to have fun.

Mae Rooni

The Squirrels Nuke

Today… is a great day for a dog!
Look outside!
The big oak tree!!
I’m pretty sure there are 100 squirrels.
Let’s go get some squirrels!
Bang!
What is this?
An invisible wall?
Well, I guess I’ll just watch cartoons.
*Nuke launches.*

Finnley Bridges

Excelling in Amusement

Meet the incredibly talented, knock-your-socks off writers in Ms. Barrett’s class at Boone Elementary School!

I’m From

I am from my couch with End Game on
I am from a hospital with hugs
I am from Hawaii
I am from Game Stop
I am from church
I am from loving dogs
I am from going to Dallas
I am from Tanya and Angel Flores
I am from video games
I am from P Terry’s
I am from two worlds: my grandma’s and my mom’s

Jaiden Flores

Invasion

It was a day as dark as a bottomless pit, but the day didn’t start like this. Let’s start from the beginning. It was a day like any other. Sadie is drawing, Birb’s as good as good can be, Archer and Arlo are goofing around, Juan’s sleeping and the teachers are as smart as can be. They are talking about learning and teaching on the chalkboard, but there is a scary, green flash at the window! ALIENS!!

Everyone is scattering around the classroom and screaming. They are running around like a bunch of ants! Here comes the army. Get ready for World War III. Here comes the general and he’s about to give a command. “Throw the cheese!!!”

Ten minutes later, here comes Mrs. Barrett. “Back to work everyone.” Oh well, I guess I gotta get back to work, but the school is destroyed. Here comes the principal, “Everyone back… to… school? Well, now that the school is destroyed, I might as well retire. So, I am no longer principal, which means this is no longer my mess. Good day and, Archer, you’re in charge. Oh, I can already tell this is going to be a treat.”

Jacob Guzman

Life of an Arlo

I am from a loving family and very dangerous battles.
I am from a happy, healthy mind and the morbid sense of humor belonging to a dark soul.
I am from the heat of Texas in July on fire.
I am from very nice friends in the sun.
I am from the Stockstill name and related to whoever made the National Anthem.
I am from a yippy yippy yi yippy yippy yay – who’s wishing you a happy birthday, yeehaw!
I am from Lynns and Russells.
I am from high technology on the screen or computer.
I am from Tex-Mex and Louisiana.
I am from two worlds: Chuy’s and planet Earth.

Arlo Stockstill

Animals

Save the pigs like the pigs save your hunger!
Be sweet like the honey bees make!
Raise your voice to save the animals—like wolves, howl!
You can be as bright as a parrot, believe!
Hunt for bad people like they hunt for their dinner!
Be groovy like the sea turtle Ms. Jena saw in South Padre!
Raise the roof like a giraffe would do if he enters the room!
Be comforting like panda faces!
Go with the flow like snakes crawling up your warm pants!
Be great like the Great Apes!
Fly away when you get angry like birds fly away when someone steals their food!
Let people use your things like trees let you use their paper!
Mark your territory like my dog does to my shoe!
Don’t be dull like panda colors!

Naomi Ross

This is Where I am From

I am from an old Christmas light waiting to shine and a cat scratching my face.
I am from a new blanket and raindrops falling on my hand.
I am from the hospital in the month of June.
I am from the Apple store waiting for me to come back and buy something.
I am from my warm house.
I am addicted to my phone and friendship.
I am from a Christmas cookie getting pulled out of the oven.
I am from Ashley, Peter, Adam, Delilah, Serenity, Avery, Lisa, other Ashley, Amber, John, Erica, Liliana, Emma, Kayla, Izri, Alyssa, Lili, and Heaven.
I am from my jokes that aren’t even funny.
I am from any Tex-Mex food ever.
I am from two worlds: the moon and stars to Jupiter through Mars.

Cylah Riffle

Rhinos are the Best

Rhino’s horns are hard as a tree.
Rhinos are mean as sharks.
Rhino’s horns are sharp as a shark’s tooth.
Rhinos are grey like the elephant.

Juan Gloria

Silly Sally

There was a girl named Sally. She was driving on a silly street. The street was slick, slippery, and slimy. Sally was on her way to a silly slumber party. She wore a sweet sweater and some shiny shoes with some swirly pants. Her hair was silky, swirly, and smelled like sweets. When Sally got there, she really wanted to go swimming in the sun. So she put on her shiny bathing suit. She was also super hungry, so she ate some silly and sweet cookies. When she was done swimming, she put on her soft and silly PJs and went to sleep.

Amari Martinez

Did You Mean…

Andelin is above average amiableness
Altogether her accomplishments are aimless, but almost always awesome
Absurd excelling in amusement advances actual accomplishment
Ambitious accommodation to accomplish all accomplishing accomplishments
Acorns actual acknowledgement makes Andelin wonder how ambitious acorns accomplish lists and excel with amazing acorn cheek marks
Approximately 800% of arithmetic is assertive and arrogant, but is good at paying attention on the right attire to wear while attacking attractive avocados

Andelin Foxhoven

Car Crash

BOOM! “AAhhhh! My leg! Ahh!”

“Dude, it’s just a game,” his brother said.

“I know it is. I just want it to be realistic. You’re being too realistic.”

“Okay, well, go to sleep. It’s nine o’clock and you have school tomorrow.”

The next day…

“Get your backpack, eat your breakfast, and let’s go!”

In the car driving…

“Stop texting and driving,” the little brother said.

“You’re going to do it at some point,” the big brother said.

“Well, that is bad. That’s what I learned at school.”

“Wait, what is that… ? AAhhhh! Mom, look out!” BOOM!!!!

Erick Campos

Me

I am from pools and dogs in my room.
I am from TVs in my house and phones in my hand.
I am from Mississippi, and Texas is where I was born.
I am from my Xbox, where I hang out most.
I am from my home that my mom and dad enjoy.
I am from Minecraft and penguins and hedgehogs.
I am from Easter and Halloween parties.
I am from Laura and Charlie.
I am from video games that are really complicated.
I am from watermelon and ramen noodles.
I am from Mississippi, on my grandma’s dock, thinking.

Fenex Boyd

Cheerios

Cheerios
Cheerios
Cheerios
I see the Cheerios
I see the Cheerios
I smell the Cheerios
I smell the Cheerios
I save the Cheerios
I save the Cheerios
I consume the Cheerios
I consume the Cheerios
The Cheerios is yum
The Cheerios is yum
3-D Cheerios
2-D Cheerios
4-D Cheerios
Cheerios
Cheerios
Cheerios
doot doot doot doot
Cheerios
Cheerios
Cheerios
*weird scream*
Enlarger to show detail

Sadie Dedeaux

A New World

I am from me (Lala), black hair, seventy-two years old (I mean twenty-seven years) and my trees and a garden that never grows.
I am from my big, blue, king-size bed and my sweet nunchucks.
I was born at St. Davis Hospital in Miami, Florida.
I love hanging out at the bike park.
I am from me and my old, brown house.
I am our secret reputation as kids.
I am from skipping middle school, high school, and college.
I am from the twins—Lauren, Lorence—the other twins, Andre, Andrea, Lala, and Lolo.
I am from iPhones.
I am from chicken wings, hot dogs, and Pizza Hut.
I am from two worlds: the kid and cool world with my elementary friends and senior citizens with other people taking care of me.

Lauren Smith

The Claw Machine

One day, there was a rainbow. Then it got eaten by a dog that was blue named Jeffrey. Every day, Jeffrey spent $20 worth of quarters on a claw machine. He was trying to get this dog bone for weeks, but he couldn’t get it. Then one day, a pigeon came out of nowhere and broke the machine. Then he got his dog bone. He figured out that it was a squeaky toy, but it was just as good.

Jeffrey commentary read in a British accent: Well, blimey, mate. We got a cheeky buggar here, we do, we do. Well, pip pop cheerio. God save the queen!

Noah Rodriguez

Aardvark

Aardvark eats an atom on an apple about to abort an acorn while on a bridge
While an acrobat eats an aquatic fish with an ace of spades
Aardvark has an account on an active obsession with access to an accessory
An aardvark on an acute angle is about to adapt an address
Aardvark is about to admit his accident with an advanced adjective
Aardvark has an addiction to being an acrobat
Aardvark likes to fish while on an acorn
This has to adjust to an activity, aardvark

Archer McCombs

I Finally Know!

I am from the great-grandfather clock in my living room and the old, dusty piano sitting in my garage.
I am from my phone sitting on my bed and the computer I got for my birthday.
I am from the St. David’s South Hospital and the old, rigid mountains where the town of Orden resides.
I am from the tree that hangs down on and over my house.
I am from Boone Elementary School, where I write you this poem.
I am from all the inside jokes me and my friends make.
I am from my mom, Lori, my dad, Matt, and my brother, Zachary.
I am from the Internet, where you can do whatever.
I am from the cheesy sensation of pizza and the yummy goodness of Blondies.
I am from two worlds: the soothing comfort of my grandma’s house and the learning environment of school.

Kayla Van Orden

Lone Wolf

When a wolf hunts, he’s as quiet as a mouse
He’s calm like the air
Waiting for the perfect time to strike…
BOOM!
He strikes like a snapping turtle
He’s as terrifying as a lion
He’s as fast as a cheetah
WHOOSH!
And when he strikes…
It’s the end (read softly)

Nicholas Frayre

Rain Forest Animals

We are all here wasting away,
Getting hunted down like a cat and its prey.
There are many of us and I’ll list a few:
Ocelots, tree frogs, and leopards too.
We are turning into dust like some trees do.
Our habitat is destroyed.
Waah!!! Boo hoo!!!
Our homes are dead as a rocks.
There is nothing we can block.
Think about it next time you go to the store.
Before you get the latest hardwood floor.
Where did the wood come from before?

Samantha Ramos