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!



Longing for Spring

Here is a poem for today to continue our celebration of National Poetry Month. This poem, which is untitled, was another finalist for Badgerdog’s Spring Poem Contest and was written by Michelle, a fourth grader at J. J. Pickle Elementary. Michelle captures every detail of spring in her poem: animals running along with the wind, the beauty of rain, children playing outside, birds chirping, etc.—she leaves nothing out. Her poem has a unique rhythm to it that truly keeps us longing for more.

I picked up a blooming fresh rose that was sitting in the wet green grass.

It smelled like honey that was funny that I gave it money.

The animals run in the breeze where the sun came out and where squirrels fed their babies that were jumping up and down.

The birds chirp a beautiful melody while hawks glide through the smooth blue sky.

When I walk through the park I see children playing with their friends and they soar when they play tag.

The rain falls and it looks like clear blue dots falling from the sky with the dark, grey clouds.

The animals hide and everyone goes inside while I look at the petals and leaves that were catching the water.

Michelle, fourth grade, J. J. Pickle Elementary School


Another day in National Poetry Month means another poem! The poem “Wonder,” by Jordyn, a fourth grader at Pioneer Crossing Elementary, was another finalist for Badgerdog’s Spring Poem Contest.  Jordyn personifies earth in her poem, wondering if it minds children playing on its surface or if it speaks to the birds chirping.  Her beautiful poem reminds us to think about our effects on earth, whether they be big or small, and to keep its unique wonder alive.


As me and my friends run
and play around, I wonder,
does the earth mind that we’re
running on his green hair or playing
hopscotch on his concrete scalp?
As I hear the children
on the playground screaming,
the birds chirping, and the cool spring
breeze, I wonder, is this how the earth
and birds talk to each other? And is the
children screaming interrupting them?
Oh I wonder, I wonder.

Jordyn, fourth grade, Pioneer Crossing Elementary School

Stop—It Is Spring

To continue our celebration of National Poetry Month, we have another poem for you today. But this isn’t just any poem! Ebonie’s “Stop-It Is Spring” was a finalist in our Spring Poem Contest.  We’ll be posting each of the four finalists until Sunday…when we’ll reveal our winner!  Ebonie, a sixth grader at Ojeda Middle School, writes in her finalist poem about that special “wonderfulness in the air” that comes from the warmth of spring, the smell of newly blossomed flowers, and the dancing wind.  Ebonie’s words remind us to stop and admire the beauty spring brings and to look forward to a new beginning.

Stop—It Is Spring

The tree stops doing what is was
doing—shaking, you might say.
The grass stops dancing in a very
odd way, like a girl I don’t know
as she runs through the grass
and the red roses and the sunflowers—
she stops. Her nose is clear. It is
hot now. She can smell the
wonderfulness in the air because—
it’s spring.

Ebonie, sixth grade, Ojeda Middle School

A Waking, Walking Dream of Spring

To continue our celebration of National Poetry Month, here’s a poem from Kevin, a fourth grader at Perez Elementary.  Kevin’s “A Waking, Walking Dream of Spring” was a finalist for Badgerdog’s Spring Poem Contest. In his poem, Kevin writes about a different type of spring, one where he finds unknown substances, creates a portal, and watches the outside world from a mysterious place.  Kevin’s poem reminds us that springtime has that unique ability to transport us into our most vivid dreams, whether we are awake or asleep.

A Waking, Walking Dream of Spring

I’m outside my house and I touch the fish
in the pool. I start digging a hole
and I find a weird substance called obsidian—
it’s pitch black. I see a person fighting
and playing around with their dog
in the grass. I go back to make a portal
with the obsidian—the portal looks like
a rectangle. I go inside because I need to eat
some chicken soup, then I come back out
and get the matches out of my pocket
and light the side of the portal. When I get
to the other place, I can’t get out.

 Kevin, fourth grade, Perez Elementary School

Good Luck in This Year of the Dragon

People born in the year of the dragon are thought to be brave, innovative, and driven. In Chinese mythology, the dragon is legendary: it is powerful, majestic, and revered.  And so we begin this new lunar year with the finalists of our New Years’ poem contest, who show us how we can approach the coming months: with the power of forgiveness, with our majestic senses, and a reverence, as always, for hope.

New Year’s Forgiveness

It’s a cool windy midnight
as my dad pops open the
sparkling apple juice. I
think: should I let all
of my arguments go
and forgive?

Should I just ignore
them forever? Or maybe I’ll
just apologize for the
arguments I started.
As I drink I decide right
when school starts things are
going to change

Jordyn, Ms. Rich’s fourth grade class, Pioneer Crossing Elementary School (Manor)

What Time Is It

I am a clock. I am a very big clock.
I am in the town.
I hear people yelling, bell ringing,
gold bell,
red, blue, purple fireworks.
I feel big.

I hope I can change time.

Carlos, Professor Esbrand’s fourth grade class, Oak Springs Elementary School (Austin)

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.