Centos of the Universe

For our final day of 4th grade classes, students picked their favorite poems written this year, and from those, their favorite lines. I then asked them to queue up randomly, and recorded the lines in that arbitrary order. The result is called a cento, or collage poem. It’s amazing how these centos ultimately create their own logic, resulting in internal rhymes, shared ideas, and recurring motifs. Each truly reflects the ‘personality’ of the individual class the lines were culled from.

I’d like to thank Ms. Carlson, Mr. Chau, and Mr. Cox for welcoming me into their rooms. It’s no small thing for one teacher to let another ‘take over’ in their class, much less make the other teacher feel so comfortable and supported in that environment, and I certainly appreciate it!

Of course, I’d also like to thank the incredible students as well, without whom none of this would (literally) be possible. Keep writing poetry, and never stop learning (or being yourselves)!

Ms. Carlson
Room 316

6 o’clock, very dark
my sister is very fun, funny and annoying
she’s a fashionista
the sound of a bird
I am smart
through the wind I will pass
a cool breeze like a soft storm
summer haul
what do you think about the best color pink?
I will get a sugar rush and bounce off the walls
the sun is bright and beaming down
the ode is delightful many would say
I am the last to hug her and the first
don’t get me wrong I love my family it’s just I have a sentimental bond with my mom
the sound is so boring it makes me go crazy
curiosity builds his house higher and higher only because he wants to know what is in space
I have my own thoughts my own mind
delicious but not very nutritious
I am a dragon I’ll tell you why
a good hard-working day at work
it is an interesting word
so be careful and discover what it’s hiding
but coats and jackets and winter I face
you can see people far and near, try not to look in their rear.

Mr. Chau
Room 220

Note: after reading aloud the class decided they preferred their poem backward

Music is meaning to everything
I play a lot
now time to take a snooze
I am talking supposedly walking
one person takes the spotlight when the other is dark
I love her to death no matter what
cheer is so fun
I hide a toy that I wasn’t supposed to get
I can hear my momma calling me kiddo
sometimes they called me flip devil
hummingbirds work drinking from flowers, weathermen forecast showers
I me my
hey I like very single word
but at the end of the day I assure you that they will shut up
Razvan, oh Razvan, long time no see
my brother is a bonehead
the referee making the foul call
looking like a statue
money is stacks on deck
spring break is awesome
sound traveled through the air
I really like to say no
doing all those things but you can’t talk about myself
it’s great, not too late, it’s a mission.

Mr. Cox
Room 312

He thieves, connives, and threatens with knives
I’m going to Minecraft land
when winter vanishes with the frostbites and colds
my brother is my struggle he aggravates me
the sound of the bat
over this river
you talk about Barbie all day
my mom is the bomb she can really explode
the season I love
you trained me how to use the potty and pee
Xavier likes basketball
I wish I wish but we got work so that’s it
my life is basketball
ode to life, ode to life, let us thank it for this rice
the sun is blue the grass green
ode to the pugs, or just the ones you love
ode to the puppies near and far
your vision blurs you see the venom blood poison beneath Death
my annoying brother who thinks he can sing
a leaf may hide a ladybug…until it flies away
blah, so many meanings everywhere
if you touch my jerky, touch my jerky, I will punch you nice and smirky
my dad is like a door, sometimes stubborn and open to anything
the girl who outsmarts the world she sees, this is the girl in me
information and dreams will be discovered all inside a cover
the rain dropping on the tapping leaves
flaming chunks are flaring by
I like to read, look, till it ends and I pause to seek out a new one
swooshing, swishing, oh the beautiful sounds
you talk all day about basketball, can you change the topic?



“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.