Successful Student Poems: Sixth through Eighth Grade

Poems featured on this page also appeared in the 2016 volume of Cascadia, OPA’s student poetry journal.

Dancing in the Rain

Out of the window in the dark
illuminated only by a street lamp
out in the cold night while raindrops fall
One girl dances in the quiet street
her rubber boots splash in the pooling water
She never seems to glimpse
the faces watching from the houses
Her yellow raincoat flaps out behind her
It is unbuttoned, slipping off her shoulders
She twirls wet blonde hair flying
palms upturned welcoming the rain
She pirouettes her face gazing upwards
watching the droplets fall
She jumps, her mouth turns up
teeth emerge and she smiles
a smile of pure joy
With each movement she seems to slip
farther and farther from reality
She flickers in and out
of this dimension
She becomes the rain
the rain becomes her
They have merged
No one can tell who is what
and what is who
They are one, they create
but one unanswerable question:

Are they girl or are they rain?
To them it is irrelevant
All that matters is their dance partner
They spin and leap
long into the night
Then as the clock chimes midnight
the clouds begin to separate
In the morning
both girl and rain are
gone.

Eddy Binford-Ross

Heritage School, Salem: Seventh Grade
Glen and Elaine Olsen, Teachers

Last Words

Still,
Silent,
Alert.
The wind
Frozen
The birds
Ceased
Slowly the breeze slips by
The leaves ruffling
The branches
Waving me away
The rope
Holding us
Together
Slowly breaking
Apart
Letting you
Fall
Fall
Farther than
Before.
I know
You’re never coming back
I slip
To the
Ground in tears.
I want
To fall
Too.

Olivia Davis

Roots Academy, Salem: Sixth Grade
Jessica Cavanaugh, Teacher

Stream of Thoughts

We fly
over a city
a place
a time
over centuries of memories
thoughts tumbling inside our minds
and a stream flows
a roaring river now
inside our thoughts
the river has become a flurry
out emerges a tree
with joy, thoughts, and sadness
it swirls around
its leaves flying
it sustains the world
the tree is life itself
the river has brought it to life

Gabrielle Marie Kroepfl

Portland Jewish Academy, Portland: Sixth Grade
Harriet Wingard, Teacher

The Storm is a Mustang

The storm is a mustang.
Have you heard it?
Thundering across rooftops,
dismissed as squalls of rain.
Kicking up wind
and spraying mud,
trees prostrating before it.
Mane whirling erratically,
clouds rolling malignantly,
the sun shining,
indifferent, relentless,
above them,
peeking through kinks
and cracks.
The storm is a mustang.

But when the clouds
disintegrate
into drifting, listless,
windswept smears
of innocent white,
and when the sun’s
apathetic determination
pays off
and it imbues
each crystal droplet
with glistening gold,
the mustang is reborn,
along with the world,
as the foal
of a sunny day.

Emma Michaux

Abiqua Academy, Salem: Eighth Grade
Olivia Thomas, Teacher

That Night in the Stars

I remember that night in the stars
We three
We were pointing out
The small, glowing lights in the sky
One pointed out the shapes
And names
While we listened
To the stories
That went with the glittering lights
We didn’t understand
But we still listened
It felt like it was only us and the world
And we could do anything
At that moment
A shooting star flew by
And another story came
I remember that night in the stars
We three
We were pointing out
The small glowing lights in the sky
One pointed out the shapes
And names
While we listened

Bella Phillips

Portland Jewish Academy, Portland: Sixth Grade
Harriet Wingard, Teacher

Long River Walk

River walking
not hiking by the river
but in it–
from Fairy Ponds to Reservoirs.

Bright sun gleams through the water
golden gravel soaks in cozy sunshine
bare feet glide in cool streams
toes dig softly into rocky sand.

Between the boulders I map out careful trails
through quick twisting currents
trees lean over, cast shadows of branches
on my arms like tiger stripes.

River breezes blow dry
old leaves off their trees–
they land on the water
like a fleet of boats racing.

Fast river splashes on boulders
hundreds of bubbles dash under
and burst back up over and over–
a purring gurgle.

Hiking downstream for hours
ducking under fallen trees and bridges
just me and the river
flowing on a summer afternoon.

Azana Akhira Prout

Create Solutions Tutoring, Ashland: Eighth Grade
Sara-Lynne Simpson, Teacher

Snow: Six Points

Each snowflake is original
forming and falling
only to melt into the soil.

Unofficial start of winter
snow almost cuts
the year in half
puts a crisp smell through the air
refreshing feeling on your skin.

The trees can change their clothes
children get to play and sled
snowboard and ski
exhilarating–

valued break from
100+ degree weather.

But sometimes snow
can be a pain in the asphalt
if it’s piled 8 feet tall–10 degrees out
roads crumble and split
fingers can get soggy and blue
peeling from frostbite.

Snow needs shoveling
scrape and swish
shove and lift–
makes wanting to move so hard
wishing for huge banquets
and a feather mattress
by the blazing fire.

Shiloh Springford

Create Solutions Tutoring, Ashland: Seventh Grade
Sara-Lynne Simpson, Teacher