You didn’t make it easy on our judges. It wasn’t only the volume that made choosing the winners so difficult, it was also the quality. Poet and judge Kwame Alexander applauded the “wonderful rhythm” and “perfect line breaks” in two entries. Fellow poet and judge Jon Muth remarked about the “powerful statement” of one poem.

You embraced the form and showed promise as the next generation of poets. Bravo!

Meet the poets

Our winning poets will receive a KidsPost T-shirt and other goodies, a National Poetry Month poster and a copy of “Poem in Your Pocket for Young Readers,” courtesy of the Academy of American Poets, the organization that started National Poetry Month in 1996.

The winners will recite their works at a reading at Politics and Prose Bookstore. Come and get inspired to enter next year’s contest!

What: KidsPost Poetry Reading
Politics and Prose Bookstore,
5015 Connecticut Avenue in Northwest Washington.
May 16 at 4 p.m.
All are invited.

Here are the winning poems:

The Odd Rose

A gardener planted a rose
But instead of leaves on the stem it had toes.
The petals were made of cloth
And the plant was afraid of a moth.
The stem was a straw
And in the middle was a small ball.
The flower smelled like chocolate mousse
The gardener put it in orange juice.
I hoped with cheer
The strange rose would grow next year.

Allison Deutsch, 6, McLean, Virginia

He Misses Them So Much . . .

The Sailor packed his seabag
to leave his family, and boarded the ship
He stands watch every night
to protect his shipmates, his ship, and his country
He’s been away from his family for months
He misses them so much . . .

The Airman leaves the safety of his country
to fly over foreign lands
He can’t wait to come home and see his family
but then he flies away again.
He misses them so much . . .

The Soldier shakes the sand out of his boots
and looks up at the desert sky
He wonders what he can do to surprise his family
Should he show up at his kids’ school or bring presents?
The best gift of all is just coming home
He missed them so much . . .
But now, he is home . . .
The Veteran packs up his gear and uniforms

and stores them on the top shelf of the closet
He looks at pictures of when he was young and fearless
He remembers the good times he had with his unit
The Veteran never forgets his friends who helped him get home
The Veteran never forgets those who did not make it home . . .
He misses them so much . . .

Mia Russo, 12, Trappe, Maryland


Gosh donut, I hate auto car cat
It really dives me inane
Sometimes it doesn’t make any rat
It causes a headache in my bane

It jangles my phases and alters my woods
It doesn’t make any cents
It rains my sentences and changes my goods
And makes fur hawk ward tents

I really want to tune it of
But I really don’t now how
When I right hate, it rights love
Sometimes, it Even oozed “thou”

Let me give some Anne ext. ample
So you no watt eye bean
“The weatherman forecasts flamingoes”
“I rally hat Jimmy Ivine”

This poem problem lie doesn’t rake any cents
I oozed auto car cat you sea
It’s probably wired, with many indents
With many bazaar decrees

I apologize for the mangy mist rakes
But I guess it proves my prune
That auto cucumber stakes manly missed takes
Its about as bright as a concussed bassoon.

TJ Maher, 12, Fairfax, Virginia

The Odd Sky

In an artist’s view,
He sees a sky of beauty.
But all I see
Is blue with spots of white.
The world says
“The sunset is the best.”
But when I think about it,
The word “sunset” doesn’t describe the act
Of oddness.
It looks like a kindergartener mixing watercolors,
Messy but oddly superb.
I watch as the rainbow colors unravel
As the rest of the sky darkens
To complete the effect
With my brother by my side,
We watch in disbelief
As the ever-burning lightbulb,

Julija Vizbaras, 9, New York, New York


Old Mr. Scot got a shot and thought
it would hurt a lot
But he was wrong and it did not
Happy old Mr. Scot.

Satchel Blocker, 6, Annandale, Virginia

In Truth

We have the same blood
our hands are dirtied with the same mud
our tongues can all speak
and our lives all get bleak
we all feel low
but we also all glow
with the bright light
that is human, black or white

what is the world
if not lightning and thunder
if not love and hate
if not wonder

I know we all wonder
because we all have our doubts
about good, evil, black, and white
about monsoon and droughts

same status
same worth
same species
same earth

same grass
same dust
same sunrise
same dusk

same thirst
same hunger
same kindness
same anger

same life
same water
same dirt
same slaughter

same truth
same lies
same smiles
same cries

in truth
we are human
no matter man
no matter woman

we all live
we all die
we all smile
we all cry

in truth
though we’re different
we’re more same
we’re all coherent

Olivia A. Martin, 13, Hyattsville, Maryland

The Timber Woods

The snow doth fell on the timber woods
And lo was a sight to see
Five men who hoped for a scrap of food
And dreamt of a cherry tree

A butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker
A captain, a tall thin chef
And of these men, one naught of use
They found to be the best.

‘Good men’ quotes the tall thin chef
‘We are all in need of gruel,
I see the captain fit the least,
I’ll put him in the stew.’

So they were full, their bellies stuffed
‘Good things’ said they ‘are in store’
But five faces ’round the pot?
Nay, now there were but four.

A week gone by, with zero grub
Again quotes the chef, tall and thin
‘Candlestick maker’s not fit for the woods
We’ll have him here for din.’

So they were full, their bellies stuffed
They felt strong and lean
But four faces ’round the pot?
Nay, there were but three.

Four days gone by, with zero grub
Again quote the chef, tall and hunched,
‘The baker’s done naught for us at all
He’ll be our tea and brunch.’

So they were full, their bellies stuffed
They had not much to do
But three faces ’round the pot?
Nay, now there were but two.

Today gone by with zero grub
The chef speaks solemn and slow,
It’s been a pleasure, butcher friend,
But it’s time for you to go.

So he was full, his belly stuffed
He laughed at those helpless fools
He had a feast for him alone,
While all they had was gruel.

But time went by and he grew thin
And longed for the baker’s bread,
The butcher’s meat, the captain’s ship
Yet all he had was dread.

The snow doth fell on the timber woods
And lo was a sight to see
A corpse who had thought just of himself
And dreamt of a cherry tree.

Anika Joshi, 11, Seattle, Washington


pounces on branch
laden with powdered
sugar snow, sending
tiny flakes twirling
with the wind.
twitch twitch.
Crack a nut.
Crunch crunch
He leaps
to warted tree trunk,
scurries a
zigzagging salsa
to frosted ground.
Bowed branch flings
back to proper position,
like a guitar string plucked,
toppling heap of
snow on

Liza Goldberg, 12, Clarksville, Maryland

How Great Grandma Imagined the Clouds

I sweat, trudging up
and down the plowed field
my bare feet sore from walking
beat against
the hard packed Kentucky earth
slipping through the narrow rows of tobacco
I gaze up at the bright blue sky
the cottony fluff
stretching out
along the vast blue lake of a sky
I wonder what those clouds look like from above?
flat and creamy like silk
rough and bumpy like the pills on a old woolen shirt
or solid and thick like mud
they might not look anything like they do down below.
One of the first of my town
to ride an airplane, I would only know
as an old woman
that the clouds are the same above as below.

Shae Dempsey, 12,Arlington, Virginia

Internal Zoo

My temper is a lion
It always is ferocious
Tearing apart its prey
And sometimes is atrocious.

Intelligence, an owl
Most often is the brains
It’s occasionally crafty
And to study: never strains.

My strength is a buffalo,
It is swift and agile
It always is determined
To exercise: gives a smile.

My excitement is a mouse,
Always squeaking with glee
And besides that it scurries about
To burn off energy.

My sadness is a swan
Gliding through a pool of tears
What’s more, it’s crying endlessly
As it has been for years.

My exhaustion is a snail
It’s lethargic and slow
And it can never seem to get
To where it wants to go.

Exuberance, a songbird
Singing cheerful songs of joy
And I must admit it’s more
Gleeful than any girl or boy.

My guile is a fox
It’s swift, clever and sly
It occasionally steals and
It’s not afraid to lie.

My ambition is a shark
Stalking its fearful prey
And it rewards itself with meat
At the end of the day.

My fear is a deer
Never fight, always flight
Running at the slightest sound
And avoiding the light.

But . . .
My body is a dog
It likes to play outside
But it’s being told what to do
By the animals inside.

Christina Poulin, 10,New York, New York

Illustrations by Gina Triplet and Matthew Curtius for The Washington Postt