Successful Student Poems: Sixth through Eighth Grade

Poems featured on this page also appear in the 2017 volume of Cascadia, OPA’s student poetry journal.


Silence is desolate
An echo of nothingness
An empty cradle holding a new blanket
Awaiting a child that will never come

A scream heard by no one
A desperate plea for help that is never answered
Crying yourself to sleep at night
A painful reality

A lonely little girl
On a molding old swing
Forsaken and abused
Rain drops drenching her hair

A body buried in snow
No one misses it
It’s hidden
but still there

A toddler
clutching tight to his bear
Wishing he could hear his parents’ voices
Just one last time

Clasping onto a lifeless hand
Tears sprinkling its ice cold fingers
Knowing that they can’t hear you
Begging for them to come back

Lydia Arthurs
Philomath Middle School, Philomath: Eighth Grade
Teresa Nielson, Teacher


Bleak grey doesn’t care.
Not because he’s too good.
Just nothing matters to him.

He is the game show where nobody wins.
The one that gets taken off the air goes broke.
Because nobody watched or wanted to be on it.

It is an unglorified vintage mustang.
It is plain like everything else in this world.
It doesn’t stand out.
It’s just there.

Bleak grey is everywhere.
He is in everyone and everything.
But still, he has no friends.

He fears nothing.
Because he cares for nothing.
He only waits, for his time to pass.
Although he knows it never will.

Jasper Fesler
Beverly Cleary School, Portland: Sixth Grade
Lisa O’Brien, Teacher

Grown Up

Now that I’m in middle school,
I don’t play with my Legos,
I don’t get piggyback rides,
Or swim in the shallow end.

Now that I’m in middle school,
I don’t play with a toy doll.
I no longer read the same book over and over and over,
Or pull my dog’s tail.

Now that I’m in middle school,
I don’t hate sleeping,
I’m not scared of the dark,
Or run into my parent’s bedroom.

Now that I’m in middle school,
I don’t walk around in my mom’s shoes.
I no longer have training wheels,
Or split worms in half.

Now that I’m in middle school,
I don’t play pretend or dress up.
I don’t color outside the lines,
Or watch Thomas the Train.

Now that I’m in middle school,
I don’t listen to lullabies to fall asleep.
I don’t hold hands when I cross the street.
Or take baths anymore, I shower.

Now that I’m in middle school,
I don’t build sand castles,
I don’t draw my whole family,
Or play with food.

But every once in a while,
I still climb trees.

Isaac Friedman
Beverly Cleary School, Portland: Sixth Grade
Lisa O’Brien, Teacher


His fingers danced across the keys
The small hammers hit the strings
The hammers made the strings sing
A breeze rushed in from
An open window
Rustling the pages of music
When he was done playing
He lifted his hands
Allowing the keys to rest
The strings inside hummed an echo
The bench creaked
As he stood
Then finally bowed
To an empty room

Alexandrea Jones
Judson Middle School, Salem: Eighth Grade
Karen Kinnett, Teacher

The Moon

The rounded perfection in the sky
Hiding among the curling clouds
Like silver fruit hanging
On the branches of heaven’s tree.

The mysterious face of the lady
The bearer of wishes and whims
Whose hoary looks of hair
Fondle the surface of the earth
In the silver light.

The white spark in the storm of ebony
That sliver of pure brilliance
That gives directions
To the Gate of the Angels.

Joel Lim
Philomath Middle School, Philomath: Eighth Grade
Teresa Nielson, Teacher

November Haiku

Clouds thin at edges—
coral, pewter, and white wisps
gnats fly through cold air.

Trees almost leafless—
golden carpet underfoot
tiny birds can’t hide.

Brown wrinkled apples—
tight shoulders, cold feet, wet nose
cat cuddles on bench.

Sunset glows rose-pink—
falling leaves float rust and bronze
snow cloaks the mountains.

Neve Ann McGuire
Manningham Junior Level Second Place Winner
Create Solutions Tutoring, Ashland: Sixth Grade
Sara-Lynne Simpson, Teacher


White is the color of peace.
A rainbow packaged into one,
A floating feather, winter geese.

White is the color of winter.
Marshmallow pillows soften
Hot spring sinters.

White is the color of empty.
Daydream blankness stares
Window-ward aplenty.

White is the color of fresh and pure.
Linen steaming comfort,
For every tearful chagrin, a cure.

White is the color of silence.
Sunday morning empty streets,
Restful sleep lingers in absence.

White is the color of cloud.
Untouchable weather-makers
Over mountains standing proud.

White is the color of bone.
Hidden scaffolding of living flesh,
After passing, cold as stone.

White is the color of jasmine.
Fragrant queen of the sultry night,
Petals like translucent albumin.

Molly Mecham
Beverly Cleary School, Portland: Sixth Grade
Lisa O’Brien, Teacher


Agony is misery in the most unbearable of ways.
It is the excruciating pain of a broken rib, a busted spine, a
gunshot that keeps you begging to die but leaves you
writhing in pain.
It is the heart wrenching feeling one gets when someone they
love dies unexpectedly.
It is the hurt of never getting your needs fulfilled.
Agony is getting your heart broken.

Agony sounds like the non-stop hysterical sobbing coming
from the closed door that someone suffering has shut
themselves behind.
It is the hum of flustered, distressed voices in the waiting
room of a hospital,
all waiting for good news,
but knowing it probably won’t come.
Agony is the deafening scream of a wounded soldier as they fall.

Agony is looking at all of the pain in your life and not seeing a
way it could ever get better.
It looks like tears streaming down the face of a person who
believes their life isn’t worth living any more.
It looks like blood seeping out of a shaky hand cut by a rusty
Agony looks like an abusive home or a life on the streets,
when one feels like they are stuck
and will never get to a better place.

Agony remembers all of the people who lost hope and took
their own lives
because others didn’t accept them for who they were.
It remembers the suffering of all the wars and depressions we    have endured;
the anxious families at home waiting for that one call
everyone is praying won’t come,
the courageous soldiers risking their lives,
sacrificing everything to defend their country and protect
their families.
Agony remembers good people being dealt a wretched hand
of cards and having
to figure out how to push through all the pain and get back on
their feet.

Agony is a memory of a time when there was no hope.

Hannah Robinson
Philomath Middle School, Philomath: Eighth Grade
Teresa Nielson, Teacher


Coral has the appearance of a jagged, keen living being,
planted in a wondrous sea of washed cities, and ramming
weathering grand stacks of cliff and reeling them into the false

The tangy, brackish scent of dramatic emerald and pastel
periwinkle deposited atop the gritty ocean floor,
and the heavenly fragrance wafting from the charcoal black
anticipating the prickles of tastebuds as the coral salmon is

The thunderous “SMACK” of a disastrous wave clashing with
the ledge,
protruding from the devilish sapphire sea,
only to conceal the serene coral colored admiration within.

Coral is the bristly touch and trickle of blood streaming from
an open wound
after handling the gentleness camouflaged in demonic, razor
pinpricks of life.

The horrendous flower of coral is poison to all who endeavor
to try it.
The tipped alluring edges pierce tongue and flesh, blood
sorely seeps from vast gaps, staining the precious cloth.

Mikaila Saathoff
Philomath Middle School, Philomath: Eighth Grade
Teresa Nielson, Teacher

When the Seasons Change

I walk down the path I have ventured my whole life.
The familiar crunch of gravel underneath provides little
reassurance to my melancholy mood.
Each step I take is another step I cannot repeat.
I pass the hollow stump I called my kingdom as a child
Pausing to reflect on the multitudes of life I once ruled over.
Thick walls of foliage embrace me
Unlike the suffocating expanse of industrial grey that awaits.
The seasons are changing and so am I.
A parent’s new job. A move to New York City.
The first signs of winter are just around the corner.

Fall is the celebration of the grand harvest.
Crops cultivated in earthen brown soil for months find release
from their bondage.
Vibrant yellows and ample shades of orange garnish the area.
A time of solar rotation where any and every fallen leaf can be
turned over
Revealing a hidden abundance of life.
That’s one thing fall and New York City have in common.

I hear a familiar sound in the distance.
I close my eyes, not allowing myself to cry.
My vision isn’t needed here; I know every step of the path by
I reach a gurgling brook, frigid water flowing past me,
Leaping over stones, swirling in small eddies.
A single tear escapes its forlorn prison and meets the stream.
Its escape conjures the tiniest glimmer of hope within me;
For if a drop of water can return to where it belongs,
Maybe I can too.

Aidan Sheeran-Hahnel
ACCESS Academy, Portland: Seventh Grade
Heather Kelly, Teacher