Poet’s Toolbox @ Peterson 6th Grade

“In terms of writing a poem, for me it really is more about showing up than waiting for inspiration. I try to think of writing a poem in the same vein as any other job. A plumber doesn’t just say, ‘I’m going to wait until I’m stuck with plumbing inspiration and then go to work.’ The plumber just grabs the tools and starts doing the work. So, for me I have tools too. If I can’t write, then I’ll go read a book, and if I can’t still write, then I’m ok with that. But it starts with just sitting down to write and failing a lot.”

This week at Peterson we had our second sharing day, where students edited and shared past poems. For inspiration students discussed the quote above by poet José Olivarez from his interview with The Creative Independent.  Olivarez believes that instead of poets just waiting for inspiration, they should get their tools and just start writing. Students described tools that they used each week for poetry: pencil, paper, patience, organization, creativity, experiences, and intuition. Our job as poets is to put in the effort and do our best.

Students reworked question, fairytale, nature, travel, and transformation poems. They fined-tuned lines, sharpened stanzas, nailed in strong word choices, and polished images until they glittered on the page. Enjoy this week’s published poems.




Ms. Bell’s 6th Grade
Group 1


The Clown
Fatima M.

I’m walking down the street,
I see a guy who wants to meet.
He has red, puffy hair and a big
creepy smile. I don’t know what
he wants.

I look down at a puddle and see his
reflection. He’s giving me a stare.
I step back. Then he raises his hand.
Wait, there’s something he’s holding.
He has a bat. Everything goes pitch

I walk up and see a little boy holding
a red balloon. He’s walking towards
me. I try to go back, but he keeps
coming toward me. I feel a hard
hit on my head.

I try to wake up, but I can’t.
I feel a slice on my throat and
blood running down. I can’t
move or think. I finally realize
who this guy is. He is a clown
leading me to my death.  Now
its time to say goodbye to the


Angelina T.

How could you talk behind my back?
How can you be so insensitive about
my feelings?
Calling me names, but we were all
friends before.
I promised that if we stopped being friends,
I would talk to you behind your back.
So why did you?
Is this bond of trust meant to be broken like
branches being torn from a tree, and falling
to the ground, waiting to be stepped on?

I felt my heart shatter into pieces, when you
said such mean things about me.
You think you are mad or angry?
You’re not alone.

Will we ever be friends again and forgive
each other for our wrongs?
Why did I apologize and cry while your
oily, lumpy, greasy back, sat in your chair
making fun of me?

What did I do to deserve such harsh words?
So now everything is my fault?
How can you be so careless about my feelings?
My feelings are like a small ant that you just
step on without thinking.

I wish you well ex-best friend.
Find better friends that won’t hurt you.
Will you?


Running from the End
Raiyan M.

I open the book and start reading the poem.
Words start flying out as I get sucked in.

Standing on a long path, that goes back to
Earth, it starts disappearing behind me.

There’s nothing but blackness on both sides.
If I fall, I will float around forever in darkness.

I start running as fast as a cheetah.
I take another path, not looking back.

The path laughs as me as I get tired.
Although, I still run as fast as I can.

I am halfway there to a new beginning.




Ms. Bell’s 6th Grade
Group 2


Citlali C.

It is autumn now, a bunch of
pumpkins lying on the ground.
I hear my evil stepmom and
sisters yelling through the halls.
I’m washing the clothes, cleaning
dishes I see my magical fairy
godmother and a shiny, new
sparkling, light  blue dress
sitting in my room.

I go to the ball, a blond handsome
prince is waiting for me. I dance all
night with him. I fall in love with
him after just once dance. The clock
strikes twelve and I hurry to leave.
I run down the stairs but don’t notice
one of my sparkling shoes has been
left behind.

Everything goes wrong, all the beautiful
magic is gone. Everything turns to pumpkins.
All I see is pumpkins everywhere. I go home
to get some good sleep, but I can’t stop
thinking about the prince I danced with
all night.


Ode to my Childhood Friend
Jasmine M.

Hello dear friend.
I have missed your beautiful
brown eyes. I miss when
everyday was an adventure.

Your hair was like a golden sun.
You kept me joyful during my
sad days, when it used to rain.
I could never get mad at you.
You were a true friend.

Even though you left me,
like a bird flying high.
I still have one question,
Where did you go?
If you dislike it there,
I don’t feel very hopeful.

But, just by knowing you,
I am truly thankful.
If I am honest, I know
where you went. I’m
just scared to say it.

I know you are asking why
I feel guilty. I was in terror.
I just watched you die.
I feel like it’s my fault.

You were my only friend and I’m
sorry that you passed away.



Mt. Everest in Winter
Judah S.

The frozen lake glistens like a mirror on
this area full of wildlife. A great, big eagle
swoops overhead, his majestic golden
wings brighten the dull, gray sky,
making his mark.

A lynx scurries across the mountain,
looking for a temporary den to survive
this frigid night. A tiny mouse scampers
across the frozen path. The area is a
treasure chest, full of many surprises.

A freezing rock breaks from the cliff,
tumbling into the endless mist below.
Bare trees scream in pain as a biting
wind hacks through their branches,
taking them with her.

The powerful wind screeches as
it chomps at my vulnerable skin,
sending a painful chill down my
spine. I can’t think straight.  I
can’t remember the last time I

I hear an avalanche roar. I won’t
live much longer. I have no hope,
as I fall down a slope.





Ms. Bell’s 6th Grade
Group 3



Life Inside the Holocaust
Bianka G.

Mother, Father, where are you?
Where am I?
The gray concrete walls hold us.
Why do they exist?
They represent fear, hate….prison.
I miss my home….why did they take me?
Why do they believe we are the enemy?
Why is a little girl like me in here?
Mother, why can’t you take me home?
Why am I here?
Why did they kill you?

Isn’t it 1945?
They took us away a year ago…. right?
Why are you gone?
Why am I still alive?
I want to be with you….
In heaven? Or hell because we’re Jews?

I’ve been a slave, for what feels like forever.
Is it forever?
Is this fate?
Can God hear my pleas for help?
Is it fate or luck for my life not taken?
Like the thousands before me….

Mother, Father, where are you?
Where am I?



Passing Through Monterrey Bay
Ellis K.

The fog covers the horizon like a thick blanket.
While the morning sun peers through the overcast
sky. A car rumbles down the path, tires slipping
over the wet pavement.

A jaguar goes by, feet tapping on the ground
like the waves lapping at the cliff side. Overhead
a seagull’s cry pierces the air. Water retreats
from the sandy shore, as if its scared.

An otter bobs through the waves, clinging
to a piece of kelp. On the horizon, a whale
empties its blowhole, to the delight of a
whale watching tour. Crabs scuttle through
the shallows, sand rising behind them.

Walking across the rocks, I look down.
Barnacles stand stoically at my feet,
never giving into the waves.

Wow. This is really amazing.


Agustin T.

Who am I?
Why are you?
Where am I?
Have I ever seen
you before?
What is this place?
Why is it so bright?
Why are people touching me?
Why is there a red plus sign?
Why are you here?
Why do you have long hair?
Are you a boy or a girl?

Why am I living?
Or am I dead?

Where’s my family?
Do I have a family?
What day is it?
What year is it?
Are you my dad?
Are you my friend?

Am I safe here?
Am I in danger?
Are you God?

Why am I living?
Or am I dead?





“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.