(Ben Goss for The Washington Post)

How to Write a Poem

1/ 4 cup of no erasing and letting your poetry live,

3 / 4 cup of no giving up, and always staying positive,

Use only a pinch of knowlege and smarts

Add 2 heaping tablespoons of following your heart.

Stir in 1 cup of the freshest ideas you can find.

Then make sure you have lots of paper that’s lined.

Add 1 cup of determination and be able to hope for the best.

Sprinkle 1 / 4 cup of knowing when to rest.

Make sure to edit and revise,

And to change some words so they soar and fly.

Slice it up into pieces for dinner,

And your poetry will be a winner.

— Lily Horowitch, 13, Bethesda


Did you know

butterflies taste with their feet?

We hope they wash

before they eat.

— Veronica Noel, 6,

Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Why Can’t We Have a Little Snow?

The weather this year has been very strange

Some say it’s because of climate change

Is that the reason?

I don’t know

Why can’t we have a little snow?

Instead of chilly air we have sun

A little dusting would be fun

Instead of snow days Spring plants grow

Why can’t we have a little snow?

— Kat Plaza, 9, McLean


Every time I fall

I wish gravity wasn’t there at all.

Or when I spill my drink I feel

I wish that gravity wasn’t real.

I would love to pause gravity

before I ditch my bike and skin my knee.

No gravity would be nice

if you were about to fall on the ice.

When my little brother was annoying me,

I would flip the switch off gravity,

and escape to a cloud to get away.

He wouldn’t pester me that day.

Without gravity I would fly

over the rainbow across the sky.

But if gravity wasn’t there

cars would float up in the air.

Houses, garbage, trucks and boats —

everything would start to float!

Cats would scratch and dogs would bark

as they drifted high above the park.

Flying knives, a stove, a bus —

it would be quite dangerous!

Swimming wouldn’t be so cool

when the water sailed out of the pool.

My soccer team would never score a goal,

since without gravity, a ball wouldn’t roll.

I guess I’ll have to learn to live with gravity,

because gravity helps me be me.

— Maria Love, 8, Fairhaven, Maryland

Here walking slowly,

In the light of my spirit,

I am very strong

— Lindsay Brandow, 10, Burke

In the dark of Night

One thing Shines Bright

In your Heart

A Dream

— Teresa Knestout, 10, Silver Spring


Carefree days of dappled sunlight,

give way to crisp and cool fall morns,

which yield to harsh and lifeless winters,

but spring must have its say,

and the light cannot be swayed,

and once again the sun will rise,

and winter will hide its cold, bleak eyes

— Zachary Stevenson, 12, Purcellville

Names are not just names. Names have round faces, frizzy hair, toothpick legs. They have soul mates, children, sisters. Names have first kisses at neighborhood parks, impossible dreams, favorite books with creased pages. Insecurities and bad memories, guilt and joy. Favorite foods, hiding places. They have wardrobes filled with clothes from only one store and jobs they hate that were only taken to pay for college. They have memories of Christmases long ago and lessons learned the hard way. Names have smiles that can brighten days. Best friends that annoy them when they care too much. They have stories. Names have hope and love sandwiched between the spaces of their letters.

— Emily Knell, 13, Vandergrift, Pennsylvania

Art will tell you

The painful process

Of digging into


Where images of the


Of memory

Is drained

A small

But intriguing show

Of a woman

Who suddenly lost

Most of her


Confused and unable

To halt

The memory


— Rebecca Lorente, 13, University Park


I live inside a basket

Or a box or else a bag,

I figure I’ll be wanted soon

And sewed onto a tag.

Though I must compete with Velcro,

I must debate with snaps,

I’m sure you’ll see I work the best

Oh please agree, or else you’ll find

Your clothing’s got some gaps!

Oh I’d love to be so cozy

In a sweater nice and warm,

And will you look what I just found …

I think your clothing’s torn!

— Sophie Nelson, 10, Vienna


Sitting . . .

in pain

hurt . . .

in the heart

So breakable

So fragile

No glue

can fix me

For I am sitting . . .

while ex-friends

are running


without me

— Adam Schrier, 11, Potomac

Days are like jewels

but no matter how hard you try to hold on to them

there is always a hole in your pocket

— Eleanor Hawkes, 12,

Greenwood, Virginia

Runaway Dog


Out of the unlocked cage

Outside the light blue room

Down the carpeted stairs

Between the narrow chairs

Under the long table

Past the slightly open door

Around the old oak tree

Across the clear blue lake

Through the jagged rocks

Up the tall rocks

Off the pointed rocks

Into the thick woods

After the quick squirrel, and then,

Out of the woods

On the rocks

Down the rocks

Through the rocks

Across the lake

Around the tree

Through the door

Onto the table

On top of the chairs

Up the stairs

Inside the room

Into the arms of a young boy, who says,

“You are the most wonderful dog in the whole world!”

— Judah Guggenheim, 10, Silver Spring

Thin Ice

The skin on my body covers up my bones

The socks on my feet cover up my toes

The snow on the trees covers up the branches

The grass on the ground covers up the dirt

The words people use cover up empty things

people are scared to think

The gift you buy is covering up the things you’ve done

The moon covers up the stars

— Demarco Tucker, 11, Washington


Sit sit

Shake shake

It’s an earthquake

— Abriana Medina, 7, Washington