Here Be Dragons

Kay Ryan‘s poem “Token Loss” is super short and compact, but it nonetheless sparked some very lively conversations. The ‘story’ of the poem seemed familiar to some students, with its echoes of The Hobbit or more generally, fairy tales, but one of the first things we focused on was the various meanings of the word token. I asked if anyone had heard the phrase “a token of my appreciation” (or “…my affection”), and from there we considered how the poet might mean token in the context of the poem—as a sign, done for the sake of appearances, or as a symbolic gesture? The last two lines were especially evocative, “No / loss is token,” eliciting many impressions, ideas, and ruminations. The dragon is also a very interesting character, and we wondered why “any loss is / total” to him? One strong image in the poem is “the circle / of himself,” and aside from the visual component we talked about other meanings of circle, such as a circle of friends.

In celebration of National Tell a Fairy Tale Day, we listed some elements of fairy tales, such as elves, talking animals, castles, knights, unicorns, etc. Students were then tasked with writing a fairy tale-inspired poem.

Mrs. Brown, 4th Grade

The Dragon
Max B.

I was walking through the night
I was a hunter out of sight
I was hunting dragons
just like Bilbo Baggins
I found the dragon
in the lagoon
I got my crossbow
and did not do-see-do
I fired I shot the dragon did not
he tried to kill me
but is hot and he did die
and now he haunts me

My Unicorn
Penny C.

had a unicorn named
hope. We did everything
together. We were
curious together. We
were weird together &
we were funny together.
Until she was eaten by a
for now

Dragons Are Fishy
Lawson G.

You think of a
red raging beast
but I think
of a calm animal
blue no wings
surfing the water
for food
a shark
is the dragon

The Big Crenshaw Is Carefully
Mya J.

Think carefully Crenshaw Dowd. Didn’t you know somebody
somewhere someplace by the name of Harry? Didn’t you ever
know anybody by that name Crenshaw no no
not one Crenshaw. Maybe that’s why I always
had such hopes for it.

The Fairy Poem
Jacob M.

The fairy poem.
The fairy poe.
The fairy po.
The fairy p.
The fairy.
The fair.
The fai.
The fa.
The f.
What a good poem this

Mrs. Johnson, 4th Grade

What’s in a Fairy Tale
Kenley C.

There’s Cinderella Red Riding Hood to
Goblins and Ghouls and Witches riding brooms

beautiful Goblets encrusted with jewels

fairy tales, Fairy tales I LOVE YOU

One Day
Amaj D.

There were three little pigs. One was tall, another
was short, and the last one…well (Burp!) uh…he…
…moved…away? Anyway

Gia M.

Deep deep deep in the
sea, there is a mystical living
creature, beautiful as the sun,
swimming and singing all day,
a Mermaid is the one

The Prince and the Peasant
Aidan S.

The knight and the
peasant the knight
is brave and bold and
loved by everyone while
the peasant is bad
but tries to prove
himself but he’s unwanted
and no one cares about

Stuck in a Fairytale
Isabella T.

I hear a wolf howl
and smell gingerbread
houses I see bears walking
through a forest. They all
seem similar to me I run and
run oh no I am stuck.

I am stuck in a fairy
tale of all. I see I see every
thing going wrong the story
plot twist as everything becomes

Isabella Z.

A dark leafy
green and
the swampy
I climb down
I see a horse
galloping towards me

It stops
I jump on
it starts
it stops at
an old shack
with tacks
on the walls

I step inside
the dusty boards
I get a little bored
I pick up a broom
and sweep away
the dirt and dust
my home is now

Mrs. Rupp, 4th Grade

Paras C.

The King! Nope! The descendant
does not gloat. Well pigs can, like
a man, or a fan. Whoosh! A dragon! Thump.
No more descendant.

The Talking Cow
Maxim F.

One day, there was a happy kid who liked playing with people. But a
giraffe walked up to him and said, “Can I play too?” Of course the kid said
yes and they played volleyball. But suddenly, an asteroid hit Earth,
and a cow started yelling “lasagna, lasagna, lasagna!”

The kid panicked. But suddenly, a sound from who knows where said
“Target!!!!!” and when the kid turned around and saw Target, “Yay!”
said the giraffe. But the cow wouldn’t give up, he yelled “McDonald’s!” and
McDonald’s appeared right behind him.

Then a snowball came out of nowhere and headed straight for
the kid. But the kid yelled “barrier!” and then it came, then the
cow and giraffe kept fighting. “Lasagna is better than hamburgers” said
the cow. “No, hamburgers are!” said the giraffe. But then, Target fell on
all of them and to this day no one has found them. But the kid survived
and said, “Poetry!”

The Dream
Mekhi G.

When I woke up,
I felt lightning struck.
I then swam out.
It was in a lake.
I looked around but only saw blocks.
I tried to remember.
Drowning with fishes.
Falling to my bellowing death.
Then I saw the sun like a honey…
I was too confused to figure out.
How that happened.
I saw an apple but when I picked it up…
Then I noticed.
I ate the apple and a hamlet
went up.
I noticed then I can build
so I created a space
But I couldn’t breathe
(Chokes) (Dies)
Why did I
do that?

Sydney to the Max w/ Bunk’d (erase edition)
Brooke L.

Like father like daughter we
always agree looking at you
like looking at me more things
change were the same. Hanging leaving
them behind right now Kikiwaka
Kikiwaka, Kikiwaka, Kikiwaka

Bad Grammar
Lawrence N.

There once a
be name
dragon and had fun
but later
ate Jeff
the next day.
The dragon ate
a potato
dragon was

Ethan T.

Once upon a time
there was
dragon, the
dragon protected a very
important thing.
It was…
The Lasagna
very important
the dragon. It
was from his
great great great great great
great great great
grandpa. All
his descendants before
him someone stole
it from him
he was depressed
and cried
after she
cried she stabbed herself

Mr. O’Brien, 4th Grade

The Unicorn
Eliana C.

Once there was a horse & one day when
he was sleeping, he transformed into
a unicorn. The unicorn the day I did not
know what to do.
You know what he did.

He rolled with it.

Golden E.

He glows and flows
In the wind
Flame fists
Gold tail and a spike ball
With laser eyes
And winds

With a fire katana
And can float
With a robot friend
With a top-hat

Serenity G.

A fairy lives in a tall house
and she was stuck up there and
her hair was so long and
her mother was a queen but someone
stole her from her mother so the
baby thought that the fake was
her mother and the mother that
is fake needed to stay
young she was old but she
used her hair to stay young.

Kyriah H.

Once upon a time there was a
girl named Keke. She loved cookies that’s
all she would eat cookies. One day
she had a party. She brought a unicorn
and a dragon it was fun she

Christian T.

Roses are red, violets are blue,
I hate school, and it hates me too.
When I go to school, I turn blue.
When I eat lunch (slop on a stick) I can’t chew.



“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.