Nature poems by SAL’s Writers in the Schools poets
Each year, Seattle Arts & Lectures places professional local writers in public elementary, middle and high school classrooms throughout the Puget Sound area. The program is called Writers in the Schools (WITS). We present a selection of poems about our natural world by students enrolled in the program this spring.
The thicket, young, stood within the forest
Campfires hold a risky future for many trees and plants
Trees sway giving a gesture that winds flow
through their branches
Forests tear apart as men swing axes with
vengeance, the gray blade splitting through
Men vaguely tear the forest apart little by little;
the animals wish it would all go backwards
The disarming silver blade of the axe sounds
loud echoing throughout the rest of the forest
sending birds flying for safety
The animals yielding to danger,
their hearts breaking to watch their home
Enemies show honor to their work as they
haul the broken-down trees out,
the animals trying to wake up from a bad
The men have undemonstrative thoughts
to what they had done;
the animals have seas of emotions for their
Jenessah Seebergoss is a 7th grader at Blue Heron Middle School in Port Townsend who worked with WITS poet Laura Gamache.
The Man on the Second Row First One
There is only one way I can go up because
I have the heart of a bird.
I am rising toward the unknown.
You will never find my secrets about flying.
My mind is the color of snowflakes spinning
in the wind.
My hands that pull me through the air.
Yesterday you found me wanting to fly.
Tomorrow I will be so high I will be a speck
in the sky.
My mind is the color of a red fern
in the valley below.
Sam Schubert is a 4th grader at View Ridge Elementary in Seattle who worked with WITS poet Kathleen Flenniken.
Tap, tap, tap, tap…
the rain calms me in my bed at night.
The soothing tap, tap, tap on the roof
of the cozy warm house
sings me to sleep in the darkness.
It sings a song
no one can hear,
not even me,but I can feel it making me tired
I go to sleep,
tap, tap, tap, tap…
Alden Mahoney is a 5th grader at Cascade K-8 Community School in Shoreline who worked with WITS poet Vicky Edmonds.
And the Silver Fir Looked On
The silver fir stood desolate in a field of
he stares out the window, frame of silver fir
she clung to the bark of the silver fir, coarse against her weary palms
the clock struck and the silver fir crept to the
depths of the chasm
the waxing moon foreshadowed the
impending fate of the decrepit silver fir
the wall had failed the lost thought inspired
by the silver fir
pages left in pieces and the silver fir looked on
widowed words spun a delicate web hung
from bows of the silver fir
Cyan Adams is a 7th grader at Blue Heron Middle School in Port Townsend who worked with WITS poet Laura Gamache.
As a mistake continues to string
a piece of paradise
a colony of fog can conquer the world
if in March it won’t evolve into New Zealand
When the rain and snow collide
the sun may explode
To neglect the urge to spin the windmill
the right direction hurts
Sarah Greenberg is a 4th grader at View Ridge Elementary who worked with WITS poet Kathleen Flenniken.
On the forest floor, the trees
growing with bananas and peaches.
A flower in the distance is as pink as a sunset
flying away and the light blue and gray sky
is like a fan trying to blow its way out of trouble
I’m telling you there is more to this jungle than
meets the eye. My senses can tell you I’m hearing
the moaning and groaning from the buffalo skin.
Crying for freedom when the tiger claw
comes in for a treat.
The glistening glare from the tiger’s yellow bright
eyes is telling me that he is hungry.
Nadia Luke is a 4th grader at View Ridge Elementary who worked with WITS poet Kathleen Flenniken.
As I chop the snow I dress up.
As I melt on it I imitate a bird call.
My heart beats as I remove my coat.
I arrange snowballs into polka-dotted groups.
As I peel the refrigerator
I start to stir vegetable soup.
As I slice the snowman’s nose
I melt in the stew
Maria Khaimova is a 4th grader at View Ridge Elementary who worked with WITS poet Kathleen Flenniken.
Past, Present, and the Golden Apple
A thought thumps into the future
The thought trembles in a thicket in the future
An invite to the shadowed thought of the future
Too, mutual, it is the Hero of Breath
Vengeance is not in his vocabulary
The meekest of them all, is our current Hero
Oblique to the highest of imaginary
Blandest of the brine
Disarming of the Heart
Patrick Jaramillo is a 7th grader at Blue Heron School who worked with WITS poet Laura Gamache.
How to Be the Silence
Settle in the corners,
seep into the darkness of a person’s mind,
encircle the bodies of the sleeping.
Next, you have to be peaceful, don’t be forceful.
You have to glide across the surface of fear and calm,
then you listen. Hear that? Neither do I.
Good job, you’ve become the silence.
Jade Svenson is a 7th grader at Blue Heron School who worked with WITS poet Laura Gamache.
You used to be like a tree
and I was a leaf,
but now it’s like fall
when the leaves fall down.
I miss our closeness.
I miss the way you made me laugh,
I miss the way you cuddled me.
But now it’s like you have moved
to another forest
and I can barely breathe.
I want to study every branch
and leaf you have,
I want to count every ring.
I miss you so much,
I love you.
Elijah Nathenson is a 5th grader at Cascade Community School who worked with WITS poet Vicky Edmonds.
Who am I?
What am I?
Am I like space,
different galaxies, different feelings?
Or am I like a map
that leads you to treasures untold?
A book, maybe, with only one chapter?
A flower waiting to bloom?
Maybe I can be
like all these things
I’m still finding out
what my meaning is.
Duncan Neely-Holmes is a 5th grader at Cascade Community School who worked with WITS poet Vicky Edmonds.
Most people are afraid of the dark,
but not me.
To me the night is a guardian.
It allows me to go where I wish
and never stops me.
The moon is my guide.
As it floats along the sky
I follow it.
The stars comfort me,
they tell me secrets.
Did you know the Big Dipper
and the Sun don’t get along?
The constellations dance across the sky
celebrating an endless party.
When the sun comes up
all of my friends –
the moon, the stars, the constellations –
all go to sleep,
and when they wake up again,
it’s a whole new adventure.
Canyon Hilgemann is a 5th grader at Cascade Community School who worked with WITS poet Vicky Edmonds.
Fishing for Honesty
Throw the hook,
hoping to reel in something good.
Don’t get distracted by the waves,
they might keep you away from the truth.
I am like seaweed
tangled up in the ocean of reality,
gripping onto any hope of honesty.
I am like the sand,
billions and billions of little truths
constantly getting washed away
by the ocean of lies.
I hope you reel in
what you’re looking for.
Spencer Hinds is a 6th grader at Cascade Community School who worked with WITS poet Vicky Edmonds.
In the lovely forest
the Douglas fir was
guided by the love of the
sun’s golden rays
the bees are shown
the magic of pollinating
by the beautiful roses
the salmon flow down the
excellent stream the meet
the black bear as he will soon
be taught to eat
in the distance
the startled look arrives as
the bald eagle is guided
by North America’s winds
the harbor seal waits
only to be eaten by
the eagle but he is
stopped by Port Townsend Bay
Christian Adams is a 7th grader at Blue Heron School who worked with WITS poet Laura Gamache.
I am Nature
I’m the Blue Dasher Dragonfly preparing the coyote to fly.
I’m the Port Townsend Bay instructing the Sword Fern to swim.
I’m the orca coaching Protection Island to grow teeth.
I’m the Milky Way schooling the Dogfish Shark to surf the waves.
I’m the Big Leaf Maple showing the Belted Kingfisher how to grow leaves.
Blake Walters is a 7th grader at Blue Heron School who worked with WITS poet Laura Gamache.