Kids’ poems reflect lives shaped by the pandemic

Nearly 600 kids from 23 states and the District of Columbia shared their “Poetry of the Pandemic” with KidsPost. It was an extremely challenging assignment to narrow them down to 10. “I was awestruck by these young writers’ creativity, tenderness and resilience in the face of the pandemic,” said Alexandra Huynh, one of three Youth Poets Laureate who helped judge the contest. “I loved seeing the young poets explore the nature and relationships around them, and look through portals, windows and screens to something beyond their day-to-day realities,” added judge Serena Yang.

These 10 poets will receive a prize package of books (including one by Nikki Grimes, Linda Sue Park or Dwanye Reed), a KidsPost T-shirt and other goodies.

Judge Alora Young encouraged all kids to keep writing and to remember there’s no mold for a poet: “You are what a poet looks like.”

Finding My Place

By Sydney Jean, 13. Falls Church, Virginia

I’m going back to school today

After a year behind my door

Ready to embrace the world

A thousand questions blow like the wind

As I open-up to take it in

Excitement building on itself

Waiting for the perfect moment

bursting — releasing streams of energy

Shouting from my core, begging to be heard

Feeling waves of questions, the wind of my fear creates

A vicious storm, blackened skies

On which to pontificate

Each weighted blow of second thoughts pulls me under.

Anchored to existential thoughts of my place, in this place.

And are they smiling behind their mask, I wonder.

Persevere

By Wesley Sudderth, 11. Mount Crested Butte, Colorado

The virus is crawling through the

human files

looking through our lives

spreading violently

But still, we shine light in the

sea of sadness

We give, we receive

Giving light

to those in

Darkness

Bringing light to The world

We, as humans, Persevere

Hope From the Ashes

By Yusra Qureshi, 8. Manassas Park, Virginia

What were you doing in the pandemic?

Were you firm like trees or did you panic?

A disease that spreads person to person,

And the cases get worse and worse and,

The world feels smaller and smaller but,

We cannot be discouraged, no not us!

Because scientists created vaccines,

That’ll sweep this terrible virus clean,

That’ll save our loved ones and bring us peace,

To wake us up from this nightmarish dream.

But something new rises from the ashes,

Something special, even something splendid,

A taste of hope that this’ll be ended,

A fresh flavor to savor forever.

Alone

By Olivia Goddard, 13. Arlington, Virginia

Logging on.

The blue light pierces my eyes.

Silence.

I don’t know who my classmates are.

They are reduced to mere initials on a screen.

I can’t remember their names and I’ve never seen their faces. I rarely hear their voices.

There are barriers.

Cutting off connections and dividing people.

Like a prison, each person trapped in their own cell. Desperate to get out.

To escape.

But we are stuck here, faceless, silent. Alone.

A Day in the Year

by Bobby Goldyn, 13. Makawao, Hawaii

My eyes are open

the sun is now rising

The perpetual quiet...

...tranquilizing

I get dressed and washed for almost no one

A full day is ahead

another slow one

Logged in to zoom

I study my reflection

My camera is off

to hide my complexion

I cover my eyes

with my new blue-light glasses And slowly and grudgingly attend all my classes

Tomorrow’s the same

our lives on repeat

The sun’s at last set

another day is complete

My pilot stays lit

but no gas is provided

Stay hopeful, stay sanguine ’til this all has subsided

Covictionary

By Zuzu Lang, 10. Warrenton, Virginia

New words swim

Around my Head.

I test them out

In my Mouth

Feeling my Tongue

Fold and Twist,

My Mouth

Opening and Closing.

QUARANTINE

(kwar-uhn-teen)

Noun

A strict

ISOLATION

Imposed to

PREVENT

The spread of

DISEASE.

Open mouth,

Close it, feel the THUD. The deep

GRAVITY

Of the word.

LOCKDOWN.

SOCIAL DISTANCING.

ZOOM.

VIRUS.

PANDEMIC.

The Words mean

NO

To FRIENDS.

NO

To HUGS.

NO

To PARTIES.

NO

To CLASSES.

The Words mean

YES

To MASKS.

YES

To STRUGGLE.

YES

To WISHES.

YES

To WANTING.

YES

To TRYING

YES

To

PERSEVERANCE.

And

ALWAYS

To

HOPE.

Homeschool at Grandma and Grandad’s

By Samantha Iadarola, 9. Silver Spring, Maryland

Working at the kitchen table

While we learn about fairytales and fables.

There’s no yellow school bus

Just Grandad to come get us.

We learned about mysteries

Also, some history.

I read a biography on RBG

And how cool was she?

We go down the basement to eat our lunch

Then we munch and munch and munch.

Grandma comes and kisses me on the head,

“I love you and good job,” she said.

Happiness

by Aliya Ramirez-Skolnik, 12. Chevy Chase, Maryland

Good morning January, I breathed in clear, crisp, winter air.

Hello February. I watched a meteor shower.

11:11, make a wish, March. I walked outside and saw the growing, green grass.

Good afternoon, April. I watched raindrops race down my window.

Today is a sunny day, May. I went outside.

Good afternoon, June. It was hot out, so I ate ice cream.

It’s 3 o’clock, July. I saw a butterfly.

Hey, August. I looked at the stars.

How are you, September? I gazed at a lake as birds flew above my head.

Good evening, October. I watched the autumn leaves fall.

What’s up, November? I watched a spider crawl.

Goodnight December. I watched the sun set.

Light in the dark

By Fiona Moats, 7. Alexandria, Virginia

When the world hit the bell that dinged at danger

and the people faced massive destruction,

we knew that good things end

but so do the bad.

If you close your eyes, you can see a gap in the dark, and you

know that light is never really gone as long as you believe.

And we all have our voices and I still have

pancakes with my family on Saturday

mornings.

Perseverance

By Amelia Muñoz, 8. Vienna, Virginia

Perseverance came on the scene

Giving us hope before a vaccine

The rover lit the way

Through the pandemic

So that sorrow wouldn’t stay

Thanks to the NASA team

And their perseverance

I watched the rover land like a dream

Showing that people could reach for the stars

That’s the story of COVID and Mars

Read about three new books that feature verse. How much do you know about poetry? Find out by taking a quiz. Youth Poets Laureate share their “Poetry of the Pandemic.”

KidsPost editor: Christina Barron; KidsPost art director: Alla Dreyvitser; copy editors: Annabeth Carlson and Brian Cleveland.

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