Successful Student Poems: Sixth through Eighth Grade

Poems featured on this page also appear in the 2018 volume of Cascadia, OPA’s student poetry journal.


To Me


Give your burdens to me

So I can burn them,

Give your worries to me

So I may quell them,

Give your impossible ambitions to me

For you won’t need them,

Give your fears to me

So I can tame them,


Give your pride to me

It will only hamper you,

Give your hatred to me

For it will consume you,

Give your lies to me

Regret won’t save you,

Give your dreams to me

Sleep only slows you,


Give your success to me

you’ve seen it before,

Give failure to me

This you can’t afford,

Give effort to me

And go find more,

Give love to me

It closes doors,


But truth you’ll need

To stop life’s lies,

And care you’ll need

So you can cry,

And friends you’ll need

To help you fly,

And peace you’ll need

To find your sky.


Amy Amato

Roots Academy, Salem: Eighth Grade

Jessica Cavanaugh, Teacher




As the ground begins to shake

Overhead the sky blackens

Many fall dead

We charge

Pushing against the enemy

Stabbing, throwing,

Yells and screams fill the air

Flesh tears

Horses rear up and run

Huffs and puffs as both sides tire

Defeat inevitable

But many stay as the rest retreat

Knowing that this is their last day


Being overwhelmed by the enemies’ numbers

Getting surrounded

Flailing the sword left and right

Trying to keep them away

An arrow hits my neck

And I fall this day


Kolbe Bollier

Judson Middle School, Salem: Eighth Grade

Karen Kinnett, Teacher


Just Me


I cannot change

I cannot change my long legs that dominate my body

I cannot change my shifty voice

That repeats itself like an echo

I cannot help the large bumps on my face

That my hormones decided to explore

I cannot help my plump nose that raids my face

I cannot help my large unformed hair

That resembles a lion’s mane.


I am who I am

No matter what you say

And these “ugly” things make me


And those “scary” things that make me appear “hideous”

Make me look different from the others

Which I like


If my tall legs were to melt away like a candle

And my voice didn’t repeat itself like a copier

And my red bumps decided to delay their adventure

And my chubby nose magically got slimmed out

And my lion’s mane became as smooth as a feather

I wouldn’t improve one bit

No matter what I’d change about my “hideous” features

Now that I finally realized

I like every bit of my “Ugliness”

No matter what you say

It’s just me


Carlie Cieri

Judson Middle School, Salem: Eighth Grade

Karen Kinnett, Teacher





Not here

Not now

I’m not ready,


Who ever is?

A small squeeze encompasses your hand,

this is it,

this is the end.

You’ve been given months to prepare,

prepare for this moment right here.

But you,

you stupid,



excuse for a human,


you spent it all dreaming



that this day would not come,


and when for weeks it was as postponed you celebrated,

rejoiced even!


Why punish yourself with such trickery?


You deserve shame for such.


here it is,

braced or not he still comes;

He seems to enjoy showing his face in my presence,

at least I assume it’s a him,


maybe it’s a her

and she drifts down

to collect her bounty.

Never late,

Simply forgetful.


Olivia Davis

Roots Academy, Salem: Eighth Grade

Jessica Cavanaugh, Teacher




They fly in a low cloud

A murder.

They cast a veil of sheer loathing

Above the people below.

Grim creatures,

As black as death itself,

Associated with the plague

That killed thousands long ago.

They are the symbol of ill luck

And are discriminated

For their past

Carriers of diseases

Eaten alive by parasites

But what people don’t see,

Is their intelligence at most

For they see the dark things

That we humans don’t.

They see the liars and the cheaters,

The good and the bad

The fakes and the reals

The saved and the damned

They see us not only for what we truly are,

But for what we do.

The stalkers in the daylight,

The crows of our nation


Alexis Gerspacher

Judson Middle School, Salem: Eighth Grade

Karen Kinnett, Teacher


My Prison Cell


My prison cell

is the most secure place

to keep my insecurities.

I can do whatever I want,

inside my cell,

but if my mouth carries my words beyond

the bars, echoing through the ears

of the jailors of society

and the guards of parenthood,

I am criticized and told to

grow up.


In my prison cell I am expected

to stay on the conveyor belt

of ordinary life

yet only because it was proven

to be successful and worthy.


In my prison cell the metal chains

they put on our hands

are the back-stabbing, root-tearing

words that chain us to the ground.

Reminding us of our

faults and imperfections.


In my prison cell it is often forgotten

that there is a

great empire inside us all,

and its foundation is


Each brick holds

the very essence of

our souls.

When people notice

the empire we built

inside ourselves,

it gives us the freedom

to break away

from our prison cells

and be teenagers.


Sienna Liljenwall

Floyd Light Middle School, Portland: Eighth Grade

Jeanne Drake, Teacher



You Are Not Defined


You are not your looks

You are not the size of the clothes you wear

You are not the amount of makeup you put on

Or the color of your hair

You are not a toy

Or defined by anything you own

You are not the amount of friends you have

Or the things you’ve shown


You are what you believe in

And how you express it too

You are the books you read

And the gifted words you speak

If they’re true


You are the sweetness in your laughter

The way your face turns red you always try to hide

You are all the tears of happiness you have ever cried

You are the place you call home

That smells comforting and fruity

You are the places you are going

And a lover of spring’s beauty


You are the songs that you “sing” loudly

When no one else is there

You are a person who almost always cares

You are the people that you love

And the future you dream of

You are your dedication

And your fantastic fascination


You are so beautiful

Although you have forgot

When you decided you were defined

By everything you’re not


Madison Monahan

Judson Middle School, Salem: Eighth Grade

Karen Kinnett, Teacher


The Life of a Short Kid


Stepping on my tippy toes

trying to see above everyone

“Hey look at that” I hear someone say

I jump up and down

Trying to see all the commotion

Over the people who seem like skyscrapers

No luck

The life of a short kid


Pacing up and down the basketball court

The taste of sweat in my mouth

The leathery ball leaves my fingertips


Up it goes

But swatted by a giant

The life of a short kid


Shoulders brushing against my head

As I walk through the crowded halls at school

The slightest accidental push

Sends me flying through the walls

The life of a short kid


Coming home and smelling

The aroma of fresh baked cookies

Left from hours ago

after my mother finished up a batch of

the sweet tasting treats



My mother sets the cookie jar

On top of a high shelf

The jar humiliates me as it stares down in

my direction

I extend my arm up for the container

No luck

The life of a short kid


I look left and right as I hear snickers about me

coming from the human giraffes

And I wonder how they would act

If they knew

The life of a short kid


Christopher Rogers

Judson Middle School, Salem: Eighth Grade

Karen Kinnett, Teacher