Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Six Winning Young Poets Give Meaning to National Poetry Month

In celebration of National Poetry Month in April, we are pleased to present the six winners of our poetry contest. These poems were selected from more than 70 entries, submitted by students of all ages from around the region. Seattle's Child would like to acknowledge our co-sponsor, the University Bookstore, which contributed $25 gift certificates for the young poets. Our thanks also go to our judges, Karen Finneyfrock and Matt Gano, local poets who work in the Seattle Arts & Lectures Writers in the Schools program. Thanks also to Hugo House for helping us to get such great judges.




I planted a seed

I planted a seed at the end of December,

I dug up a hole so small and so tender.

With a kiss and a good luck hug,

I buried it in the ground snug like a bug.


I watered that seed everyday after school,

but all that it made was a small little pool.

I waited and waited day after day,

Soon I got tired and decided to find a new way.


To the seed I sing and dance,

But it still didn't grow not even a branch.


Then one day I read from a book,

It said to take a close second look.

There was nothing growing with frost on the ground,

My poor little seed must have froze there in the ground.


Then I thought to myself and came up with a reason,

Maybe I planted that seed in the wrong season.


Sarah Pham, age 8

Shoreline Public Schools, Shoreline





What is a hole?

A blemish on the land?

Your position in life.

A hole may lead


Your true self

Or a different path.








Down a hole you are lost

Until you reach bottom and find the path

Only you can choose.


by Ciela Sophia Chavez-Gilbride, age 10

John Stanford International School, Seattle





I awake to chirping sounds,


in the air.

I see an amber shape,


across the sky.

I spy chalk-white clouds,


on the horizon.

Houses with sunlight


off their windows.

I see robins, hopping around

searching for a tasty treat,

and spiders

spinning a fresh, silk web.

Crystal clear dew droplets

cling to the grass from last nights


I see a church,

It's big, bronze bell singing a song,

and the trees,

swaying to it's musical rhythm.


is Nature's gift….



by Hayden Hunskor, age 9

Lowell Elementary School, Seattle




Me, I notice things.

Like the lady handing an iced drink

Out the drive-through window.

Or the delicate purple flowers

Growing through a crack in the sidewalk.

Did you see that woman

Dressed all in orange?

I did.

Her handbag,





All sunset

And peach,

And pumpkin.

What about the man

In a Yankees cap?

That's not right.

We're in Seattle here.

Look at the thin balding man

In a bright



Running with his dog

Down the street,

The 'For Rent' signs

In the grimy building's windows.

Did you notice them?

And if you did,

Would you

Look twice at them?


by Lily Robinthal, age 12

McMurray Middle School, Vashon




My father is a miracle



I have children's books slinking around the insides of my rib cage,

lullabies on my eyelashes

my parents used to sing to me.


My mother was a cook – a creator.

Always left

the kitchen messy

carrot skins overlap in the sink,

washing veggies ‘til her hands smelled like preparation for days

she never wore her wedding ring.


My father couldn't sleep

with a dirty kitchen.

Waist pressed against shiny white plastic,

cleaned up every one of those messes.

Water stains

above his work pants.


I remember the feeling


My stomach was an itch, yelled at my skin,

words like broken china.

"I've been needing to tell you.

I need to tell you."

My stomach screams


louder than any sound I've ever heard

like the smoke alarm sound

at 4 in the morning.

It smells dangerous and

my skin doesn't want to be near this, it doesn't want to hear this


she can't be, she's a mother.

She's my mother.

Created me

softly carried me my whole life on her shoulders.


My father

held her hand when she said

she was leaving him

she was a lesbian.

Silhouette against the couch cushions as she reached for me

but my body

told her no.

See she tucked me in with a promise, clutched my palm to her chest easy,

always easy,

kissed my hair.


My father stood in the doorway behind her.

Crying eyes as blue as mine and they

tell my stories clearer than I can speak them.


I have children's books slinking around the insides of my rib cage,

lullabies on my eyelashes

my parents used to sing to me.


by Kathryn Durning, age 17

The Center School, Seattle




Six Word Memoirs

When I think I cannot do.

When I don't think, I fail.

That's how sports go for me.

I think I have every illness.

Leukimia, anemia, meningitis, tumor, strep.


Two sides of my family different.

One white-trash losers, one dorky scholars.

Both messed up in some way.

Dad caught the slap at fourteen.

Mom started the diet at five.

Go to Aunt Barabra's: see insolence.

Go to Aunt Ardis': see insolence.

Correction: both sides insolent, but different


Born in Chiselhurste, U.K., only one.

Only vegetarian to keep the record.

Always had some kind of anxiety.

My brother hits too hard- ouch.

Dad's turning asian from the teahouse.

Yes, I can only whistle out.

Apparently I have a death stare.


I am embarrassed to be American.

I'm too tall for high heels.

Dad says he's tired of Christianity.

Mom had cancer, now its gone.

Time is moving way too fast.

Yes, I still can't tell time.


There are many kinds of intellect.

I try hard and care a lot.

I think I confuse my teachers.

I am quiet sometimes, loud others.

I never really feel smart enough.

I know I worry too much.


by Drea Gramps, age 17

Roosevelt High School, Seattle