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Haiku explored the highs and lows of life as a squirrel

More than 400 readers entered KidsPost’s first themed poetry contest.

(Alla Dreyvitser/The Washington Post)

We had a feeling that KidsPost readers would go nuts for a Squirrel Haiku Contest. Sure enough, more than 400 came up with poems that told a story about the furry creatures honored this week in The Washington Post’s ninth annual Squirrel Week.

Post Metro columnist John Kelly, the founder of Squirrel Week and a longtime squirrel admirer, helped the KidsPost staff judge the contest, which required poets to stick to the form of three lines in syllables of five, seven and five.

“Because the entries were so good, this was a very hard contest to judge. But that made it a fun contest to judge,” Kelly said. “Taken together, these haiku explored many aspects of a squirrel’s life, from the funny to the annoying to the tragic.”

Here are the judges’ favorites. The kids who wrote them will receive squirrel-and poetry-themed prize packages. But all the squirrel haiku poets — many of whom included terrific artwork — have our appreciation for their creativity, insight and sense of humor.

And as Kelly said, “The submissions convinced me that these young poets spent a lot of time looking at squirrels, which is the only way you can learn to appreciate something.”

Squirrel’s Nut

by Bruno Sidahmed, 9,
Alexandria, Virginia

Squirrel stares at nut

Very politely he asks

Can I please eat you?

The Life of a Squirrel

by Stephanie Dragoi, 13,
Bethesda, Maryland

Run, hop, climb, leap, stop.

Sniff, nibble, sniff, wiggle, freeze.

Dog! Run away quick!


by Kathryn Mancuso, 12,
Harrington, Delaware

In the winter snow

Squirrels forgot an acorn so*

An oak tree will grow


by Grant Hatch, 14,
Omaha, Nebraska

Up through the branches

Like a bullet, fur rustling,

Windswept, full of grace.

If Humans Were Good

by Jared Brace, 10,
Springfield, Virginia

Squirrels are not dumb

They keep away from humans

They know what we’ve done


by Jack Schmidt, 10,
Washington, D.C.

Planting bulbs in spring

I place an acorn on top

Squirrel distraction.

A Dog’s Dilemma

by Cody Shoelson, 12,
Arlington, Virginia

Chase them in the park

Aw, shoot! Up a tree it goes!

Guess I’ll chase a ball.

The Nut

by Kate Goodman, 11,
Wayland, Massachusetts

In cold weather he

Holds his nut so tight despite

Tiny little paws

and His Squirrels

by Zachary Berg, 9,
Montgomery Village, Maryland

Granddad feeds squirrels

Squirrel bites granddad’s thumb. Oops!

Needs a rabies shot


by Caroline Miller, 13,
Crozet, Virginia

He never slows down

For if he does, how is he

To eat this winter?

Squirrel Fun

by Tessa Johnson, 6,
Arlington, Virginia

Gray, black, brown squirrel

Acrobats high in the trees!

Squirrel tag looks fun.


by Amelia Bielski, 8,
Gaithersburg, Maryland

Squirrels are lively

Immature little creatures

Scared by anything

Dad vs. Squirrels

by Lucy Boehlert, 11,
Alexandria, Virginia

“Skedaddle,” Dad yells

To the squirrels as they run

Away from garden

The Joy of Chasing Squirrels

by Gus Simanson, 11,
Vienna, Virginia

Ninety-five pounds of

Dog run in hopeless quest to

Catch a one-pound squirrel

The Garden Mystery

by Lydia Adcock, 9,
Washington, D.C.

Happy spring garden

But where are the vegetables?

Squirrels, I curse you!!!

The Crazy Squirrel

by Jane Bowman, 6,
Arlington, Virginia

Squirrel in the road!

He’s fast . . . is he fast enough?

Watch out bushy tail!

Always Searching

by Charlotte Niven, 13,
Charlottesville, Virginia

Perpetual search

For the acorn that’s flawless

Just to bury it.

Why Squirrels
Are Naughty

by Darby Gilchrest, 7,
Yorktown, Virginia

Bushy-tailed nut thieves

Chatty puffy-tailed robbers

Stealing seeds from birds.

* Editor’s note: We allowed squirrel to count as one syllable in addition to the standard two because of confusion over the pronunciation tool in some dictionaries.

More in KidsPost

Family visit to Cuba inspired girl to become a poet

Kids make their voices heard through poetry

Kwame Alexander aims to win readers who are at the age he hated books

More squirrels: John Kelly’s column in the Metro section will be devoted to squirrels all week. Monday he looks at albino squirrels and why people are so interested in them.