Poetry for Children

A Pledge

To any creature that I’m blessed

To notice in a cosy nest,

Or hiding underneath a hedge,

Or drinking at a river’s edge,

Or bounding through a sunny glade,

Or sleeping soundly in the shade,

Or peeking from a hollow tree:

I promise I will leave you be.

Neal Levin has had poems published in over a dozen anthologies and a wide variety of magazines ranging from Highlights For Children to the Saturday Evening Post. You can find out more on his website: www.neallevin.com.

A Glimpse

This butterfly now flutters by

and, on each wing, a giant eye

conceals she is a fragile soul

darting about you as you stroll

while trees and shrubs whisper and sigh.


She flutters low, flutters high,

then settles on a salsify.

You stop and watch, getting to know

   this butterfly.


What flower, though, can ever tie

her wings to Earth? When blossoms dry

and flowers fade and grasses grow

and birds give up their noisy show,

she’ll leave with the breezes of July —

   this butterfly.

Martin Elster, who never misses a beat, is a percussionist with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra. He finds contentment in long walks in the woods or the city and writing poetry, often alluding to the creatures and plants he encounters.

A Long Hike

The trail has been treacherous, rocky and twisting —

I'm tempted to quit, my poor legs are resisting,

but up this steep hill I continue to rally,

envisioning flowers that bloom in the valley,

their bright petals fluttering fast in my heart,

pushing me forward, not back to the start,

so I climb and I climb though my muscles are screaming,

huffing and puffing and all the time dreaming,

trusting that somehow I'm bound to pull through.

The path isn't easy but oh, what a view.

Suzy Levinson has children’s poetry in numerous anthologies and magazines, ranging from Ladybug to Highlights. Her debut picture book, Poems About Animals In Pants, arrives spring 2023. Visit her at suzylevinson.com.

Watch for the Moon!

Sometimes the moon is round as a coin.

Sometimes it’s a slice.

Tonight it might be a swerving curve

or a slip of melting ice.


It might be silver, peach or white.

It might be soft or bright.


It might be vast, making you gasp,

or only just in sight.


It might do a flip, a tilt or a tip —

it can change in a trice,

so watch for the moon — it’s due up soon


and it’s never the same moon twice!

Kate Williams is a children’s poet. She has contributed to numerous anthologies and was shortlisted for the 2021 YorkMix Poems for Children competition. Her website is poemsforfun.wordpress.com.

with Robert Schechter


Tea with the Sea

I invited the ocean to tea

but never received a reply.

Perhaps she was simply too busy

or maybe uncomfortably shy.


So I gathered a basket and blanket

and sat by her side on the sand.

I poured her a cup from the teapot

and slowly, she came to my hand.


But then she abandoned her manners —

swiping the last of the cake!

I scolded until she retreated.

Tomorrow, I’ll call on the lake.

Zippy and Alba

Weary from a day of travel,

Zippy seeks a spot to rest.

Alba stretches out an arm

to welcome her exhausted guest.


All night long, while Zippy slumbers,

Alba keeps her safe and warm,

providing shelter from the thrashing,

flashing, passing thunderstorm.


Alba is afraid of lightning

and of winds that blow too strong.

But Zippy’s slow and steady breathing

comforts like a soothing song.


By morning time, the two are friends,

though neither speaks a single word.

For Alba is a tall white oak,

and Zippy is a hummingbird.

Lisa Varchol Perron writes children's poetry, picture books, and middle-grade novels. Her work has been published in various children’s magazines and will appear in upcoming anthologies. Lisa’s debut picture book is scheduled for spring of 2023. Her website is https://www.lisaperronbooks.com.

Why You Shouldn’t Read This Poem

You shouldn't read this poem because

    It’s just a waste of time,

A jumbled bit of gibberish

    With here and there a rhyme,

Insipid, silly, insincere,

And so distressing to the ear

They shouldn’t even print it here,

     It ought to be a crime.


It’s dangerous to read this poem;

     It might just make you ill.

And once you’re sick of poetry

    There isn’t any pill

To soothe your head or calm your fits.

Your skin falls off in little bits.

Why, in the worst of cases it’s

   Been even known to kill!


So stop your reading now, before

   Your vision grows unsteady,

And toss the poem aside, or tear

   The page into confetti.

Jump up and run outside to play,

Or tell a joke to Uncle Ray,

Or send a valentine to — Hey,

   Stop reading it already!

First published in Cricket.

Max Gutmann has contributed to dozens of publications including New Statesman, The Spectator, and Able Muse. His plays have appeared throughout the US and have been well-reviewed (see maxgutmann.com). His book There Was a Young Girl from Verona sold several copies.


Valerie Mariya unsplash