The Known World

A great poem contains two worlds—the world we know and the world we can imagine. In the world we know, summer arrives, we head outdoors, we lay in the grass, we swim, admire the sky, celebrate the green trees. In other words, we relax. In this week’s poem, we’re asked to remember the world we already know, but we’re also allowed to inhabit that world no matter where we are. Whether at our desks or in the classroom, this poem takes us from now to then. We travel back to a moment when the sun or moon was high above us and we had no other obligations but to be joyful. Congratulations, Jonathan! With your words, you’ve given us all a beautiful gift.

Joy is Heaven

Oceans make people calm.
Nature makes people happy.
Air balloons fly in the sky.
Trees turn color in the summer.
Hearing calm music is peaceful.
Animals make everything peaceful.
At night, the moon is shining.

Jonathan H., fourth grade, Hillcrest Elementary School


Back to School

Today, on one of the hottest days of the year, Central Texas students are filling the halls of their elementary, middle, and high schools for the first time since that glorious day in May when summer began. The buses are up and running, crossing guards are in place, textbooks are cracking open, and students are sporting the pinnacle of first-day fashion. In commemoration of the big day, Badgerdog is highlighting our friends at Hillcrest Elementary School in Del Valle Independent School District. Some of the students at Hillcrest spent three weeks this summer with Badgerdog Instructor Cara Zimmer writing experimental love poems, describing themselves through metaphor, and writing outlandish stories. We hope you enjoy this showcase of their talents!

A Plastic Shopping Bag in Love with a Sunflower

My Lovely Sunflower,

I love the way you sway when the wind is whistling.

Your bright yellow petals make me want to sing to you, even though you might be embarrassed in front of your sunflower friends.

You are my plastic shopping bag, even though you’re not a plastic shopping bag—I love you just the way you are.

Whenever it rains, I will cover you and keep you as dry as the desert. I’ll be wet as the ocean.

I never want to let people pick you from the ground.

I want to make you my Wonder Woman, and I want to be your Superman.

Out of every single sunflower in the world, you’re the only one I want.

There is an infinity of other things I could say—

You are my lovely. tall giraffe.

Sariyah, sixth grade

My I Am Poem

I am a chocolate bar—I have lots of nuts, and I am crunchy.
I am a rotten old chicken wing, and I taste like old, stinky bananas.
I am poison ivy that has spikes and itchy poison.
I am a sandwich that tastes great—I have lettuce, tomato, pickles, and ham.
I am a garbage truck—I pick up trash and leave it where it needs to be.

Fabian, fifth grade

Airplane Love

My Dear Lovely Boots,

I love the way
you move those soles,

and when you move
your legs, I stare at them.

I love the cotton
inside you,

and your shine
makes me want to kiss you.

You are my life, boots.


Elizabeth, fifth grade

A Letter from a Trashcan to Mexico

My Dear Mexico,

I wish you would
be with me.

Every time you go,
I feel lonely.

When you come back,
I feel full of joy.

You’re my Skittle—
I wish I could just eat you.


Emily, fifth grade

A Love Poem from a Bookshelf to the Earth

My Dear Earth,

I love the way people swim in you.
I love your dolphins.
I love the pretzels in your malls.
I wish I could hug you.
My Dear Love, you’re better than all the planets.

Joanna, fifth grade

My Barbie Girl

Lovely Barbie,

I love your beautiful hair—
it’s so sparkly, like my screen.
I’ll type you every night and day.
I’ll put on romantic music for you, like D.C. Reto.
I’ll take pictures of you.
I like your body.
Want to go out?


Fernando, fifth grade

To My Glowing Basketball, from a Pair of Air Jordans

I love the way you bounce up and down.
I like when you make hoops.
I’ll give you my autograph.
I love the way you feel bumpy.
I love your black lines because they’re dark,
but I’m scared of the dark—
I’m lucky you glow at night.

Air Jordans

Areli, fifth grade

I Am a Ghost

I am a ghost.
I smell like garbage.
I feel like fuzz and slime when you touch me.
I look like a fuzzy cloud.
I sound like someone walking—you will scream all through the house.
I taste like a rotten egg.

Jasmine, sixth grade

A T.V. and a Backpack in Love

My Dear Backpack,

I love you because
you can carry me
around inside you.

And you shake yourself so good.

You make me hyper
the way you move that pocket—

That’s why you make me turn on,
and I love you so much.

Here’s my address—but you don’t know
how to walk, and I don’t

The thing is: I’m too
heavy for you. I weigh fifty-two pounds.

And that’s all baby.

Andres, sixth grade

The Loving One-Hundred-Dollar Bill to the Goldfish Who Can’t Understand What’s Happening

To My Love,

I love the way you move your tail from left to right.
Your scales shine under the ocean light.
I wish I could go underwater with you, but I would get sticky.
I could make you rich, but you don’t want to be with me.
I could buy you anything you want—an aquarium! Anything! For you, my love, I would.

Chuy, fifth grade

Fun Things

I’m a yellow lion that eats carne al pastor.
I’m a brown door that’s open all the time.
I’m a red car that runs very fast.
I’m a lucky fish that lives in the ocean and swims and sleeps all day.

Luis, fifth grade

My Name

In English, my name means joyful. It doesn’t mean anything in Spanish. It’s pink, and it’s like the number 100. My name is Maria—it was my great-grandmother’s name. She was silly. At school, almost everybody has my name. I’d like to change my name to Melanie . . . But I still love my name.

Maria, sixth grade

Fluffy Surprise

I am fluffy.
I am tiny.
I am cute.
I have floppy ears.
I am living in a park—
Yup, you got it!
I’m a bunny!

Cristal, fifth grade

Window Love

My Dear Telescope,

I love the way
you look.
People use you
a lot, but they don’t
use me.
I wish I were
in outer space
so you could see
me, and I’d
think of you looking at me.
I can tell
you love me.
When you stare
at me and I stare
at you, all I think
about is you and me
I love you
forever and always.

Karina, sixth grade

Mr. Spaceship

My Plastic DVD,

I love the way
you spin.

You make me wanna
beep, beep, beep.

You are the last piece
of my puzzle.

You’re like a love song
in my system.

Together we can fly
in hyper-speed.

Michael, sixth grade

President Chuy Returns

When I was in California, I was looking around. One day, I saw President Chuy. But then he died. Well, everybody thought he died, but really, he was in Acapulco, resting for a few years with his dog, Austin.

Acapulco smelled like fish because it’s a beach and they sell fish there. In California, it was snowing frozen sneakers and the sneakers and the air smelled good. I heard big footsteps—it was an elephant! It was a pretty color—a purple elephant! I had a dream that President Noel was screaming because his last pair of underwear fell down . . . but then Michael Jackson saved him.

Abrieana, sixth grade

Clock Love

My Dear Butterfly,

You look like a beautiful star
with beautiful antennae.
I like the way you
flap your wings.

I wish you could
be with me always.
I don’t want to lose you
because you are my sweety.

Noel, fifth grade

Daniela Is

I’m a super blue dot. I’m a queen that has slaves. I’m money, and I go from hand to hand. I’m smart because I teach. I’m chocolate ice cream—I go from mouth to mouth. I give people some light in the night—I’m a star. I save people—I’m a super dot. I’m vanilla Daniela. I’m a writer, and I write stories. I’m a diary that keeps secrets. I’m a lion—they won’t mess with me. I’m a monkey—I love bananas.

Daniela, sixth grade

The Boot’s Broken Heart

My Lovely Train,

I love how you move your wheels. I know you don’t like me because I’m tiny, and you’re huge. But I like to sing songs of love to you. I love your shoo shoo shoo shoo sound, Train. I’m going to invite you to the G.O. where you can drink gasoline and eat oil. We are going to get married and have a boy train and a girl boot. (That’s why I invited you to the G.O. Restaurant.) You can ride me to New York and Disney World and Laredo, Texas. I love how you use your superpowers like Spiderman. The thing I like the most is that we are a good family, like the song:

F-A-M-I-L-Y, F-A-M-I-L-Y,

Family, family.

When you’re in my heart,

you’re in my family.

Jocelyn, sixth grade

Written as One

Writing is so often a lonely pursuit. Just you and the pen, a piece of paper, the work of putting your thoughts into phrases, the hope that what appears on the page is a true reflection of what you mean to say. But this week’s Badgerblog feature is a celebration of collaboration. In this piece from Hillcrest Elementary, four young writers begin with the first sentence from David Lodge’s Changing Places. They then passed the page, each taking a turn, crafting a sentence, and sending the piece on to another writer. The result is a story of unlikely travel, of bitter cold, outrageous speed, and shared determination.

Two Travelers

High, high above the North Pole, on the first day of 1969, two professors of English Literature approached each other at a combined velocity of 1200 miles per hour. They were very cold up there, and they had only ten big, warm coats, which didn’t help at all, because the men were too far above the North Pole, where it was freezing.

There were mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, there with the two professors. They, too, were very cold, and the speed at which they were traveling made them colder. It was so cold that if they spit, their saliva would turn to ice faster than you can say, “Hi.” Yet they kept going. As they kept going, it kept getting colder and colder, but they never stopped. Never.

Vanessa, Ciara, Jose, and Ivan, fifth grade, Hillcrest Elementary School

The Great Unknown

We’ve all stumbled upon traces of those who’ve come before us—in photographs, letters, artifacts. Such things leave us with proof that someone else has passed this way, but they rarely explain who and why and what those moments were made of. This week’s featured poem, “Footprints,” beautifully embraces those ruminations and the reality that we can only find the answers sometimes.


I am curious about the footprints
They make me think—
Whose are those?
Who was riding the bike?
Was it a woman?
A man? A child?
The little pond reflects the Earth’s
Living things and living creatures,
Its trees and plants.
I wonder what kind
Of car it was? A truck?
A minivan?
I guess I will never know.

Brenda, fourth grade, Hillcrest Elementary

Click here to see the M. C. Escher image that inspired Brenda’s poem.

Photo courtesy of Lanie Anderson.


Life is fun.
Sometimes life can be
a little tough.
Be happy
and nothing will go wrong.
Be happy, have fun
and be strong
Sometimes, you fall in love.
It is very romantic.
Always believe in the future.
The good things you dream
will come true if
you dream them again.
Step into a new world
with nature and everything you like.
Go somewhere you like
and have fun.

Laura, fourth grade, Hillcrest Elementary School


TVs are eating children!
Cars are transforming.
Robots are coming out of kitties’ heads.
Giant ants are eating chocolate!
Babies are trick-or-treating.
We ran into a haunted house
full of skeletons, ghosts, and bats.
They turned us into ghosts!
We scared the trick-or-treating babies
and stole their candy.
Man, Halloween is crazy!

Chuy, fourth grade, Hillcrest Elementary School

* * *

Every fall and spring, Badgerdog solicits and publishes occasional poems from its students. This poem by Chuy was one of our Halloween favorites. Congratulations, Chuy!

Stay tuned for more Halloween Contest Honorable Mentions throughout the week and the winning poem on Friday.