Carnival of the Animals Featured Poems: Skinner West

In collaboration with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, on March 20 and 21, students from the Hands on Stanzas program will participate in a presentation of Carnival of the Animals. This special concert designed for schools and families concert will feature poems written by students to acompany the musical suite, Carnival of the Animals. These poems will be narrated by CPS students during the concert.

Leading up to the concert, we will be featuring submissions from each participating school. Check out these poems from students at Skinner West. The CSO will also be posting these poems on their “Sounds & Stories” blog.


“The Pretty Creature” by Jessica Gao

I saw a pretty swan in the
night. He saw a plane take flight.
He was swimming far in the lake.

He looked at the lake. He was
in. The water started swaying.
He looked so beautiful.

He swam so slowly, he swayed
with the nice water.
He was quiet.

I would say he is nice.
he is not a person, I still like him.


“The Beautiful Creature” by Maura Schumacher

A beautiful bird,
covered in pretty white
feathers. Stroke by stroke
starting soft and slow
in the night it will glow,
and in winter it will flow
among the snowflake breeze.
There it goes peacefully
among the lake
a beautiful name…
it’s a swan! Oh, a swan!
So dreadfully cold
as cold as an ice-cube. With
its chicks it gets
farther standing on the
shore taking care of its
babies cute as puppies. Ask, what does
a swan remind you of?
Next summer
I see it, it
will be time to
say goodbye
to my best swan in mind.


“Tortoise” by Taylor Hampton

Slow, slow, slow, the tortoise goes. Wobble,
wobble, wobble the tortoise moves side
to side to side. He stops he
hears something. He hides in his

He looks out to see.
He knows that it is nothing.
So he keeps on walking.
He nibbles some food.
He eats an apple and a banana,
now he is full.

He crouches back into his
shell to take a little nap.


“Tortoise Walks” by Brooklyn Netisingha

Quiet days walking
through snow
here I go
moving slow

Quiet days walking
through snow
walking again
I love wind

Quiet days walking
through snow
follow the
here I go

Quiet days through the snow
no scarf
only me
and tortoise
who I chose

Quiet days through the snow.


“Elephant” by Rakiya Campbell

My image of
an elephant is
that it is big
fat they are

at a circus
they love peanuts
an elephant moves

very slow they
make a creepy
sound with their
trunk it sounds

like a person
blowing a trumpet
it is really noisy
it protects their

babies so they
can be safe
they have a
humongous trunk
they are grey

they have big
feet they
have big eyes

they walk all
day their skin
is really rough

it depends
on how the
elephant feels
sad or happy.

They are
very protective.
It feels like
they are right

next to me
trying to protect
me like I am
her baby. It’s

like I feel really
very happy
because I have someone by
my side to protect me.


“Elephant” by Naima McDaniels

An elephant is gray and an
elephant makes a lot of
noise and elephants sound like
Ahhhhhhh and elephants
are sad sometimes and elephants
are happy and elephants are nice
sometimes and elephants are bad
sometimes and all elephants are
big and the elephant is so
fat and the elephant has
a big face and a big body
and a big tail and the elephant
baby is so safe


“The Elephant” by Niziya Scaggs

is walking funny. The
elephant is running towards
her baby. It feels like the
elephant is right next to me and
I feel safe and it feels
like the mama elephant
lets me hold the baby
elephant and I feel like
it is nothing to be afraid.


“My Elephant” by Maddison Lahaie

My elephant is small. My elephant is
cute it has big floppy eyes and a trunk
too. My elephant loves me and I love
it too. It will not bite or scratch. Its
big floppy ears are shaped like hearts.
He is the nicest one around.
His paws are shaped like
hearts. My elephant is sparkly
sky blue. It is the nicest one around.
I love it very much.
I ride it all around.


“Elephant” by Molly Sittner

The elephant named
Lilly moves slow
while I’m walking
home from the
zoo the ground is
shaking while

I walk the
elephant is
loud the crowd
stares at it.

The elephant
sounds sad
it looks very gray
too while
I walk from

the zoo bye
bye elephant
are you sad
too? Before I left

I feed him
popcorn he’s glad I
can tell so
am I let’s
make it
to all we
know for

out we
go let’s
go out
out out
it’s time
to say

to you
and all
we know
about you



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.