Spring Is Like a Perhaps Camping

And now for the winner of our Spring Poem Contest:  “Spring Is Like a Perhaps Camping,” a beautiful poem by Kayla, a fourth grader in Ms. La Touf’s class at Perez Elementary.  Kayla wrote the poem as a response to reading and discussing e.e. cummings’ “Spring is like a perhaps hand” during her Badgerdog workshop with teaching-artist Claire Sylvester Smith.


We’ve distributed poem cards with Kayla’s wonderful words at restaurants throughout Austin.  We hope you’ll celebrate her words with us as we celebrate spring—and hope it will last a very long time and that summer is a long ways away!



Make Room for Hope

We’re officially halfway finished with this first month of the new year. Some of us made promises to ourselves a short two weeks ago. Some of us may have already broken them. And that’s OK because here’s the thing: every single day can be a new beginning. That’s the feeling we get when we read the remarkable poems that won Badgerdog’s New Years’ Poem Contest. Fourth graders Eugene, from Pioneer Crossing Elementary, and Rebecca, from Oak Springs Elementary, know what it feels like to want a new start. They know how important hope is—how a new start can’t happen without it. And their poems are a great reminder that even if we fall behind, even if we didn’t get out of the gate fast enough in 2012, there’s always time to put a little bit of sadness away to make room for some happy.  




Love Is in the Air

We’ll not wax poetic about the meaning of love. Instead, we bring you a few young writers who, with their poems, remind us of love’s beauty and its quirks. First, you’ll read a poem by Jessie, a fourth grader from Ortega Elementary School and the winner of our Spring 2011 poem card contest. You can also find Jessie’s poems in restaurants across Austin today. Who knows, you may find one tonight in your check at the end of your date. Next, you’ll read a poem from Cesar, a fourth-grader from Zavala Elementary School and a finalist in our contest. Cesar wrote the poem first in Spanish, and we’ve translated it into English, but we’re proud to present both versions of his piece. Finally, a poem from Viviana of Del Valle Middle School, another finalist in our contest. We hope these poems inspire you look for love everywhere, in all things.

Love Is

Love is like friendship, but
it is a little bit stronger.
If a man gives a woman
a heart and a very red ruby ring,
that shows his love for her.
Sometimes, if they go on a date
and they love each other, the man
might ask if she wants to share
a plate of chocolate– and whip-cream–
covered strawberries. At the end,
his heart will beat as loud as a bass drum.

Jessie, fourth grade, Ortega Elementary School

From a Dog to His Love, the Beach

The dog said to the beach, “You are a rose.
You are a wheel that makes me dizzy.
You are like a chair of gold.
You are a little mouse who hides from me,
and you are someone very intelligent.
You are like a key that opens all the doors of my house,
a jacket that covers me in the cold so I don’t get sick.
You are a little donkey that carries me everywhere,
and a computer with Cool Math.
You are like a flower bud barely born.
You are a little girl who exercises to get strong.
You are a table that holds all my things.”

De un perro a su amor, la playa

El perro le dijo a la playa, “Eres una rosa.
Eres una rueda que me marea.
Eres como una silla de oro.
Eres una ratoncita que se esconde de mí,
y eres una persona muy inteligente.
Eres como una llave que me abre las puertas de mi casa,
una chamarra que me cubre del frío para que no esté enfermo.
Eres una burrita que me lleva a todos lados,
y una computadora que me mete en Cool Math.
Eres como una florecita que apenas nació.
Eres una niña que hace ejercicios para estar fuerte.
Eres una mesa que me deja poner todas mis cosas.”

Cesar, fourth grade, Zavala Elementary School

Dear Harp…

Dear Arpa (Harp),

You sing the lullaby of sorrow.
I can feel your pain
and suffering.
I can tell that your wounds
haven’t healed.
Not even my comfort helps.
I won’t be able to catch you
when you fall from the clouds
with my tiny arms.

Rana (Frog)

Viviana, sixth grade, Del Valle Middle School

Fall Poem Card Contest

As our kitchens heat up and families gather together, we take comfort in fall’s arrival—not just the turkey and football or long hours at the dinner table, but the cooler weather, the changing colors, and the significance we lend to it all.

This week, we dedicate Unbound to three writers who beautifully captured the essence of the fall season. Please meet our winner and two finalists for the annual Badgerdog Fall Poem Contest. The winner, Rey from Zavala Elementary, will have his poem published on a card that will be distributed to local restaurants. Patrons dining out this week will find the card tucked inside their checks.

Congratulations to all three writers! Their words truly transport us to those special moments that appear as the year draws to a close.

Winner: Fall

Every fall, I have hot cocoa and mushy s’mores.
Fall reminds me of warm, snug times. Sometimes
I run outside and do chores. I rake the leaves.
My mom is happy until I jump in! I love when
the leaves float around like people in the water
falling down slowly. Sometimes my brother and I
play leaf tag. When it is really windy, we play under
the big trees, and if a leaf touches you, you are it.
But most of all, I think of fall as a time when my family
can get together.

Rey, fourth grade, Zavala Elementary School

Finalist: Family of Thanksgiving

I like raking leaves with my cousin. We describe
the leaves as our family. When there are leaves
on the ground, I think of my dad being lazy. When
there are leaves on a tree, I think of my little brother
holding on to my mom. When a leaf falls, we think
of his dad as if he’s flying in a jet for the Air Force.
When we make a big pile of leaves, we think
of every one of us going to Thanksgiving.

Jerome, fourth grade, Ortega Elementary School

Finalist: Fall!

Fall! It’s what makes me want to play
a long board game. Fall makes me want
to sleep in late. It’s what relieves me
of humid days. I know during fall we can
walk home without being baked. Long
nights and hot cocoa evenings. It tells
me to be just me. It inspires me to try harder.
It’s fresh. Everything looks warmly colored,
and it brings my family together again.

Aubrey, fourth grade, Zavala Elementary School

Mother's Day Poem Card Contest Winner

For our Spring Holiday Poem Card Contest and in honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, we asked our 170 Badgerdog writers to wax poetic about the women they call Mom. We received more than 120 poems celebrating the strength, wisdom, and beauty of mothers who sing songs and wash flip flops, mothers with skin so soft and eyes that shine in the sun, mothers who work too hard, and one mother, who, if she were an animal would be a cat. We selected the three poems that moved us most with their artistry, insight, and vision. You can find the first two of these in preceding posts.

Today, we are pleased to announce the contest winner—Siearra at Del Valle Middle School, whose poem “Tiger Mama,” hits on one mother’s toughness, verve, bite, and beauty. Siearra’s poem will be distributed in restaurants across the city, so if you’re taking mom to brunch on Sunday, you may find this beautiful poem—an ode to mothers everywhere—tucked inside your check.

Tiger Mama

She’s like a grasshopper,
hopping in the streets of Hynoon,
eating the guts of insects,
saying, “Clean your room, Siearra!”
She’s like Air Jordans—fresh and tight.
She’s tough as a tiger biker,
always yelling, “Yield!” in the strangest places, like the grocery store.
She’s the Himalayas—courageous and extraordinary, the mountain of wisdom.
She’s always asking me, “How much do you love me, McShorty?”
She loves the taste of dark chocolate.
She’s like poison ivy—contagious in so many ways.

Siearra, seventh grade, Del Valle Middle School

Original artwork by Sarah Meraz.

El Día de Halloween/The Day of Halloween

HalloweenC09Es el final del verano
Y la cosecha termina.
Es el alma y el espíritu
Que alucinan.

Lo negro de los muertos—
Sin duda a suceder.
Las tumbas se han de
Romper, es lo seguro.
Lo cierto del negro obscuro.

Lo negro de noche oscura,
Naranja de amanecer—
Sus poderes harán tristezas.
Ya la casa estará segura.

VeronicaEnglish translation:

It is the end of summer
And the harvest is over.
It is the soul and the spirit
That dream.

The black of the dead­—
It will surely happen.
The tombs must
Break, it is certain.

The certainty of dark black.
The black of dark night,
The orange dawn—
Their powers will make sorrows.
The house will already be safe.

Veronica, fourth grade, Barrington Elementary School

Original artwork by Sarah Meraz © 2009. Thanks Sarah!

* * *

Every fall and spring, Badgerdog solicits and publishes occasional poems from its students. This poem by Veronica was the winner of our Halloween poem contest. Congratulations, Veronica!

Sun Love

My dangerous rooster
I love you like I love myself
I love the way you always stay on guard
The way your feathers beg to be odd
the way you take charge and march
The way you fight for a reason
Just like treason
The way you shake and wake me
up like a scream of love
like a feather floating down
as if it has floated forever.

—The Sun


Every spring and fall, Badgerdog solicits and publishes occasional poems from its students. This poem by Ricky was the winner of our Valentine’s Day Poetry Contest. Congratulations, Ricardo!

Original artwork by former Badgerdog student Izzy Lawlor.

Thanksgiving poem contest winner!!

The Crazy Fall

Red, blue, and white remind me of the flag
I like my hair
I lost my hair in Mississippi
Fall trees remind me of fall
White and black remind me of zebras
Leaves remind me of trees
She was wearing purple because she passed away
The gray ground reminds me of the wind
Great big pumpkins are orange in fall.


Congratulations Tyreke!