Poetry for Children

with Robert Schechter

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Two Riddles

1.

What rises to one hundred degrees,

Makes you shiver as though you freeze,

Offers you rest but gives you aches,

And leaves you sweating when it breaks?

 

2.

Beside the hill there stands a queen

Who sews with needles painted green

A coat which she alone may wear

With buttons added here and there.

She drops the needles if they rust

And at her feet they turn to dust.

Little Stone is a gardener and intentional communitarian from Lexington, Kentucky. He received his BA in English from the Ohio State University and his MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Michigan, where he won a Hopwood Graduate Poetry Award

When Stefan got stuck in his high chair

When Stefan got stuck in his high chair,

we couldn’t disguise our surprise,

for, though hardly thin when Mum slotted him in,

we never dreamed this would arise!

And he wailed and he wheezed as we wrestled and squeezed,

yes, he made a great hullabaloo,

till we’d all had enough and at last, out of puff,

we supposed he was stuck there with glue!

 

When Stefan got stuck in his high chair,

we wondered which foods were to blame?

Perhaps all that porridge? Although, to our knowledge,

it could have been eggs, just the same.

That third slice of bacon was surely mistaken.

One muffin too many, no doubt . . .

But, any which way, what was easy to say

was we’d no chance of getting him out.

 

When Stefan got stuck in his high chair,

there wasn’t a lot we could do.

Consoling attempts seemed to cause more offence

and so, sadly, our options were few.

Thus it was that, downcast, we concluded at last

that the only way out we could see

was to stay there and play, with him wedged in, all day

and to hope he’d get thinner by tea!

Claire Schlinkert is a children’s poet who lives in London, U.K. Her poetry has been published in the anthology Hop to it (Pomelo Books) and online. Two of her poems were commended in the 2021 Yorkmix Poems for Children competition.

Cats Across the Internet

We’re cats!

We’re on the internet!

We guarantee you’ll find us.

We’re here to entertain you when

you’re bored and feeling mindless.

 

You’ll see us making funny faces,

typing on computers,

running from the vacuum cleaner,

chasing kids on scooters,

unraveling the toilet paper,

stalking helpless birds and rats,

or sleeping in the laundry hamper,

wearing wacky wigs and hats.

 

We’ve taken over cyberspace,

but, really, who can blame us?

We used to be anonymous.

Now, finally, we’re famous.

Family Reunion

For our family reunion in the middle of July,

My mother’s sister Helen baked an elderberry pie.

My father’s sister Gladys brought the burgers and the ribs.

His other sister Bobbie brought the napkins and the bibs.

 

My uncle Bernie’s wife prepared a bucket full of wings.

My cousin Matthew’s mother made a salad fit for kings.

And grandma’s daughter Lily and her sister Betty Lou

Brought sweet-potato-beet-tomato-hot-tamale stew.

 

My grandpa’s daughter Anna brought zucchini in a pot.

She cooked it for a week but it was never really hot.

The cole slaw and potato salad both were from Bernice.

You probably don’t know her, she’s my grandma’s sister’s niece.

My uncle’s dear wife Rhoda brought the soda and the punch.

She also brought antacid for her husband after lunch.

Before we started eating, all the ladies did a dance.

I’m glad they all attended — What’s a picnic without aunts?

 

First published in What I Did On My Summer Vacation (Meadowbrook Press, 2009).

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.

Who I Am

I’m the top of a cloud

when my day turns out well,

I’m the heart of a seed

when I’m feeling shy.

 

I’m the back of a tree

when I’ve been let down,

I’m an endless field

when I’ve helped you along.

 

I’m a shrinking tunnel

when I’m scared and alone,

I’m the glare of a torch

when it really hurts.

 

I’m a roaring sky

when I can’t calm down,

I’m floating wings

when I’m feeling proud.

Tonight, I’m going to ride the moon,

because I’m brave.

Julie Stevens writes poems that sometimes reflect the impact MS has on her life. Her poems have been published in various magazines, online and in print. She writes for children and adults. Her website is www.jumpingjulespoetry.com.

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Personals, Royal Gazette

WANTED: By a dashing prince

a maiden who’s not wont to wince

at warty skin and bulging eyes

and slimy lips and breath of flies.

One quick kiss will break the spell.

Inquire at palace by the well.

Helen Kemp Zax is the co-winner of the 2021 YorkMix International Prize for children’s poetry and the 2018 First Prize winner of the middle grade Katherine Paterson Prize. Her poetry appears in Cricket, High Five, and The Caterpillar.

Grandad’s Leaving Home

Will Grandad need a suitcase

When he goes to heaven

Will he need a crisp white shirt

To dress for dinner at seven?

 

Will he need his passport

For city breaks away

Will God let him use a phone

To ring us every day?

 

Will he know which peg is his

To hang his coat and hat

Will he be shown where the toilets are

And important things like that?

 

Will there be a Watchman

Who stays awake all night

Will he know that Grandad

Can’t sleep without a light?

 

Will God give him pocket money

To buy a paper and sweets

And his ticket to football

The highlight of his week?

 

Will He notice if he’s sad

And listen to his fears

Will somebody care enough

To wipe away his tears?

 

Who is listening to me now

Is anybody there?

I hope that God has taken notes

And won’t forget this prayer.

Debra Bertulis is widely published in poetry anthologies. She enjoys visiting schools across the UK, inspiring children to compose poetry. Her debut collection for 7 to 11-year-olds will be published by Otter-Barry Books in 2022. Her website is www.debrabertulis.com.

Anticipating

Eggs

are opening;

hives

are opening;

dens

are opening;

doors

are opening;

wings

are opening;

eyes

are opening;

beaks

are opening;

jaws

are opening:

spring

is opening.

 

Summer is waiting.

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.