Rave or Raven?

Now fully in the swing of poetic-things, this week we read and discussed Stephen Kuusisto‘s “Raven, Helsinki Harbor.” Certain students immediately commented on its relative brevity, as well as its more prose-like look, demonstrated by dominant long lines; they also noticed, after starting our residency with a rhyme-heavy poem and following up with one incorporating more discrete rhymes, its lack of such a device, relying instead on plainspoken if strange language. I asked about their familiarity with metaphor and imagery—two of poetry’s most reliable figurative language tools—and we analyzed how they were employed here. The first line mentions “her voice was a purple softness,” and we wondered about that metaphorical comparison, musing on the myriad potential meanings of purple; many fascinating possibilities were considered, which led to whether or not the poem makes ‘sense’ or if that’s even important? As for its images, the raven in the title was especially striking, as well as the speaker “standing near the ocean among balloons and pies.”

“Something about a dingy bird is a question,” that same speaker asks in the second stanza, which inspired the focus of this week’s prompt: write a poem about asking questions.

Ms. Kawa, 4th Grade

Mason B.

My name is Bob. What’s your name?
I’m 10 how old are you?

My name is Mason and I’m 10 too.
I love pizza and my favorite color
is blue.

I love tacos and my favorite
color is red. You know what red and
blue make?

Yes I do it makes purple. So

Racquet Hurt
Alexander C.

Why did he throw his racquet at the ground? Did
he hurt himself? Was the racquet expensive?

Can he fix it?

Family Up Above
Mayumi F.

I look up to the clouds,
the heavens.
I look around
at the worried faces
of sisters and friends.

Do we belong in the clouds?
I want to ask.
But I can’t.

I have family up above
but I do not belong
up above.

I hear laughter.
I smell fresh air.
I see . . .

family from up above
and they have come
to stay.
I feel
the warmth of family.

Hannah J.

Are dogs loyal?
Do you think dogs help the world?
Maybe so.
Do cats help?
I have no clue.
Do you like animals?
Yes I do!
Birds collecting in the sky—
In the morning light—
Always flying in the sky—
Will never be a failure.
Can be a court—
Can be an animal—
You can be you.
No matter who you are—
You can be anything—
Like a loyal pet, a dog.
Like a lazy pet, a cat.
Like a flying pet, a bird.
You controls you.
The animals here
They are calm sometimes
They can be cruel—
But they can’t control you.

Parrish L.

I asked a question
Once, twice, now several
The sweet candy-like voice answered my questions

Distracted, distracted. Do you understand?
Dozing off into the moonlight.
Wondering. How, when, or . . . now?

Back into earth.
Must focus on real stuff instead of Make-Believe.

Sweet Dreams . . .

Andy V.

What would it be like to be small?
What would I do for fun? What would
I do to stay safe? What would I
eat? How would I stay clean? Who
will be my friend? Who will be my

Ask the Timeline
Joy V.

Where do you come from before you are born?
How does a human form in another? Why do you cry
when you are born? These are questions when you are

How do you grow? How do you change? How do you
develop likes and dislikes? Why must we eat?
How do I transform my brain? These are what
we ask when we are growing.

Where will I go when I die? Will I meet others?
Will I have glasses? Why must I die? When
will I die? These are what we ask at the
end of life.

Ms. Ball, 4th Grade

Why Do We Have Questions?
Zoë B.

Why hello?
Why goodbye?
Why you?
Why me?
Why friends?
Why family?
Why questions?
That’s why!

Sara K.

Why do cats have thumbs?

Why does division have so many parts?

Why did Covid have to happen?

Why are some people allergic to stuff?

A Bird in a Fountain
Zhi Peng L.

Taking a little shower
It flies away, blessing the land with rain
Flapping in the air, the water dries away
The young bird flies high into the sky
Like a prideful raven
Why do others seem proud?
Fly high like an eagle
Free to live in the sky
Oh, how nice it must feel
Soaring through the plains
Go to anywhere
Little bird on its destiny
Like an adult on its way
Fly high, fly high bird.

Zoë R.

Has everyone asked questions? Has everyone died and
become a different person?
Does the world ever end? Does life matter
no matter what we all die?
What’s the point of food if we can survive for 3 weeks?

Aimee Z.

How do movies make that sound?
Munch! Crunch! Yum
My pop corn so soft
Without butter on it, but it does feel buttery.
Wait! What just happened in the movie?
That was a satisfying sound.
It’s dark like an evil witch.
Did they hire an actor to make the laugh?!
Where did it vanish to!?
Oh! That creature is furious.
Dang! Can’t wait for part 2.

Sisley Z.

What happens at night? What happens
at day? Why can I see in the
light? Why do I have emotion
every time? It’s like I cry for help
in a pipe.

I never knew there could
be so much emotion.
A lot of people have emotion
about commotion. It’s like
a bird for a cry for time.

Emotion is everywhere. Why do I
ask anywhere? Why do I have
to eat? Why can’t I see all
the stars? Why—Why—Why—?
I can’t help it to ask for
help. Why do I have questions
every day? Why are birds alive
in a nest?

Mr. O’Brien, 4th Grade

Bryce K.

What if football?
Why touchdown?

Why do no trees?
We have them

We play
We play
How play

What, When, Where?
Mia T.

What time is it?
Just tell
What time?
How can I wait?
No, I cannot wait!

Where are we?
What city?
I must know!
Can’t wait!!
Oh okay.

Are we there yet?
Yes we are
We aren’t here?
Come on, I’m
so bored!
This whole time

Dilan T.

Who are you?
I am the bird that
eats nature.
What can you do?

I do what you want me to do.
I am weird, cool, crazy.
You are like a tree that eats beans.

An avocado . . .
in your face.

I am a singing baby
bright and light.

The Questions About Lions and Tigers
Kemira W.

Do lions like snow?
What type of food do they eat?
Do they like toys?
Do they like hot dogs?
Or what meat do they like?
Do they like dogs or cats?
Do they like poetry?

Mrs. Johnson, 4th Grade

The Willow
Jessica C.

Will it grow far like the wind
or small like the petals of a

Will the roots be long like
the branches on a maple tree
or short like a leaf?

Can it be tall to have
a treehouse or small
to climb? What will it be?
What would it do?

Maybe it will be as
large as the galaxy
or small like
a crayon.
Well I do not
care as long
as it’s a willow

Erin C.

A wonder so great and yet so reckless,
remember students, be patient and selfless.
Ask your sibling, a friend, or a teacher,
but never interrupt or try to bother.
A question you’ll think, imagining far
and I believe you have a great
mind, even when traveling in a car!
So sit back down and raise your hand,
be respectful and a good friend.

Lea K.

Kid: I have a question . . .
F Me: Yes?

Kid: I was on FuteTube and I saw
some toys store “Toys ‘R’ Us.”

F Me: Uhm . . .

Kid: Can I go there pleeease . . . ?

F Me: Uh, it’s closed today, okay?

Kid: Aww man . . . Please can we go?

F Me: Sorry kiddo.

Kid: Anyway . . . What is Covid 19?
F Me: *Gulp* uh it was a deadly virus but it’s
okay now. It was 2020-2022. It’s 2037.
So it’s fine.

Kid: K . . . -_-

Maddie M.

What time is it?
It is the afternoon, cold and bright.
Who am I talking to?
Why is it cold?
It is the winter.
Why is it sunny?
The sun is out!
I have another question . . .
What is art?
Oh no . . .

Shorya M.

Can I have ice cream?
Can I have chocolate?
Can I have Cheetos?
Can I have Doritos?
Can I have chips?
Can I have candy?
Can I have pizza?
Can I have a war for food?

I’m huunngggrrryyyy!

Vijisha P.

If you had a question that
I could also question and
question it what would
it be?

Would you have a dog
or a cat?

Would you
have a kite or a bat?

Would you question
or answer?

Would you ride
a bike or ride

Would you
live or die?

Would you like some pie?

Deven P.

When is dismissal?
I am bored and I’m pretty sure
I snored.

When can my arm
heal? I’m more annoyed
than when my classmates
talk over my teacher.

When is it spring
break? I want to go to
San Diego.

Arms in Arms
Isaac Z.

The wind blows softly,
anger spreads fast,
guns are fired, then you fade away.

Guns are fired till everybody’s gone,
Peace comes back,
a world is remade.

Why was the world remade when
it didn’t fade?



“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.