Stop, Look, Listen…

Daylight saving time began this past weekend, so to commemorate the occasion we read William Stafford‘s “Next Time.” Though the poem’s language is relatively straightforward, I asked the 2nd and 4th graders about a few lines in particular, such as the speaker saying “just before going into a house,” how they’d “be an emperor for a minute / and listen better to the wind / or to the air being still.” Can we hear “air being still,” and what exactly is an emperor? The students felt this wasn’t a poem about a king, but perhaps about the power a king wields, pretending to be something (or someone) else, or a ruler’s responsibilities; they also felt “air being still” might be the same as silence. The poem ends with the image of “every person / the body glowing inside the clothes / like a light,” and I asked about that glowing—are they literally alight, or does the poet mean something else? A number of very interesting interpretations were discussed, and most of our conversations wrapped up with me asking why the poem is titled as it is? This made for a smooth segue to this week’s prompt—writing a poem about something the students would like to do “next time.”

Ms. Rupp, 2nd Grade

Next Time
Nathan D.

Next time I’ll fly,
next time.

Next time I’ll swim,
next time.

Next time I’ll say bye,
bye next time.

Next Time
Tiara H.

time I’ll
listen instead of
talk. I’ll hear the
whole conversation before I speak.
I’ll think before I
do anything. I’ll
help if
need to.
I’ll speak if
I can. I’ll fix
my territory that I marked.
People have voted. I
am the leader.
I shall
this place
a better place.

Next Time Forget About It
Eliana K.

Forget about the party.
Next time I just quit.
Parties don’t have a spotlight.
I just admit. Why would
I go when everyone
knows, forget about it!

Next Time I Walk
Maya M.

Next time I walk I will feel the
breeze. I shall go slow so I will see nature
rising above me. I will see the ground moving
slowly. There it goes the nature will

Anif O.

next time
I go to
I’ll eat

Ms. Beaudry, 2nd Grade

Tai C.

Next time I come
you know I will
write more like you
do with your friends
who are far away.

For the World
Lennox G.

Next time this will be forever. Next time
for this time. Next time now. To this it
will be forever. Now next time we will.
We shall, next time, and we will write.

Next Time
Taylor H.

Next time I will think about
what I saw before I say it. Next
time I will be kind to people I
care about. The lovely people in
this world should think about
what they do next time.

Next Time to the NBA and School
Jaylen J.

One day next time I’ll be on purple,
next time I’ll be good. Next time
I won’t miss basketball. Next time
I will make it to the NBA I promise—make
it to the NBA. I’ll be nice I promise.

Next Time
Sandy K.

Next time I will sing
Next time I will stop
Next time I will play
Next time I will stop
Next time I will dance
Next time I will stop
Next time I will draw
Next time I will STOP FOREVER

Next time never mind
Next time be happy
Next time be sad
Next time be brave
Next time be afraid
Next time be HAPPY


Next Time I See a Monster
Tierra M.

time I
see a monster
I will be prepared
with a stick in my hand
and a needle under
my bed and a
trap in my room
and a rotten banana
and a bottle
of paint
a lot of staples, a
cricket in my shoe a rat
in my toybox, a spit pod
in my brother’s room, and a
root in my sheets.

Next Time, I Will Color
Amber P.

Roses. Roses and butterflies.
Next time, I will color.

Next time, I will color
the rose and butterfly,
not just one or the other.

Next time, just next time, I
will color both.

Not only one, both.
Next time.

Ms. Schwartz, 2nd Grade

Daniel B.

Next time in the videogame
I will get the gas tank
and put it next to the car
and blow it up yeh.

Cousin’s House
Rakiya C.

Next time I will go to my
cousins’ house and will
play with them and have a sleepover
with them. That’s what I’m gonna do
next time.

Esteban G.

Next time I will take my
beard off.
If I had a beard I will
take it off.

Next Time
Pranav J.

I will skip school every
day every time and do
zero homework

Next Time
Naima M.

I would go there next time
I will like it next time
I will get it next time
Next time can I go there?

Ms. Ward, 2nd Grade

Next Time in DC
John K.

Next time I go to DC I will
watch a lot a lot a lot a lot
a lot a lot a lot a lot
of baseball games and
basketball games and football
games and hockey games and
soccer games and rugby games
and tennis games and my
favorite team is going to
win every game.

Next Time
Sophia N.

Next time I will go to France
for the summer.

Next time I will go to ballet
on Saturday and Sunday.

Next time I will go swimming.

Next time I will go to sleep.

Next time I will not do any-

Next time that’s the ending.

Andrew P.

Next time I’ll
get a Bugatti.

Next time I’ll
stay home.

Next time I’ll
be a Teacher.


Alex R.

Next time I will win the
lottery then I will spend some.
Next time I will go bungee
jumping I will scream.
Next time I will go crazy.
I will freak out.

Next Time
Leilani R.

Next time I see my cousins
we’re gonna eat candy until
our tummies are full and
then we’re gonna go to New
Mexico to see half of our family
and they’re gonna give us chocolate
and then we’re gonna go
to normal Mexico and get
more chocolates and see our
family then we’ll come
back to Chicago and go
to my Aunt’s house.

Ms. Carlson, 4th Grade

Next Time
Donovan D.

In my next time
I will go to a magical
place if there is a next time
oh, I can just imagine the
very own next time just
I can imagine the next
time all I need is the
next time if there were a
next time I would do any
thing just for a new next

Next Time
Xiubo J.

Next time I want to go to Massachusetts
to play, in Massachusetts I want to go to the beach

Next Time I Will Eat Noodles
Ari M.

Next time I eat,
I will eat noodles
I don’t know when I will eat
but I will eat noodles

Noodles are awesome!!!!!!!

Next Time
Jaylen M.

Next time I will find a leaf
and let it free. I will
then go home and sleep with
my face under the pillow.
Outside is people screaming.
Cars vrooming. So I couldn’t
go to sleep. So I shouted
stop making noise! And
suddenly everybody went
in the house and I
drank a glass of
milk which I drank
like 20 gallons
of milk. Then
my belly stuck
out from under
the covers.

Next Time
Sophia Z.

Next time I will think
more thoughts of times, good
times. Times when I made a
mistake. A time when I had
fun. A memory. Next time
I will think more.

Mr. Chau, 4th Grade

Next Time
Jana G.

Next time I write a poem
I will make it better
than this


Next Time…
Jake L.

I might fight a dragon
Feed a dolphin
Eat a shark
Buy a $3.00 Big Mac
Rip off!
Buy a $1.29 Big Mac
Now, that’s a deal!

Lawrence N.

Next time I will
eat toothpaste with
jalapeños. Success.

Madison P.

Next time……I
will think about
next time,

Next time I’ll clean my
room next time
I’ll use the broom,

Next time I’ll wish
for wishes next time
I’ll wash the dishes

Next time I will
fly in the sky next
time I’ll fly real

Next time…….

Is next time

Next Time
Colin S.

Next time, what I’ll do
is that, when I play, I’d
stop, and think, What I
will eat for lunch…..

Trayi S.

Next time
I will ride a

The rainbow
will be our

We will soar
into the clouds.
And stop for
a bite at
Cloud City.

Unicorn will
have a cheeseburger.
Her pink mane
will get stuck
in the food.

I don’t think
unicorn cares. I
am just happy
that next time
I won’t sit in
a car. I will do

Myles W.

Next time I will
write a better poem.
Next time I will do better.
Next time I will…will….next
time I will win.

Mr. Cox, 4th Grade

Next Time
Amira A.

Next time maybe I’ll be published.
Maybe next time.
Maybe my poem will have a sticker.
My next time.

Time after time
I’ve been waiting to be chosen.
Maybe next time.
Please next time.

Next Time
Gabby B.

Next time,
I will spend more time,
forgetting about time.
That will leave me with
more time to forget about time.

The Next Time
Jolie D.

Next time…
I will go away

Next time…
I’ll get my way

Next time…
there I go

Next time
after the next

I’ll write a poem again!

Next Time
Lola P.

Next time I will try
Next time I’ll have faith
Next time I’ll just smile
Next time I’ll believe
Next time I’ll eat a light saber
Next time I will try.

Lucas W.

In the future, I will get a good
job that people will
gaze upon to the stars.

Next time, I will try to do my best
on the hard test
of life and eternity.

In the future, I will
end this poem epically.
Oh wait, I just did.

Ms. Travis, 4th Grade

Next Time
Antoinette H.

Next time I’ll
be first in line
Next time I’ll
have a Brother
Next time
I’ll have $1,000,000
Next time
I’ll make you

Next Time…….
Camri H.


I don’t
I will
be the greatest
I promise

Next Time
Emiliana J.

Next time, I will go to the woods.
Next time, I will go help the poor.
Next time, I will go and stay at the place.
Next time, I will do what I wanted to

Next Time I Will
Anthony L.

Next time I will make breakfast
in bed for mom/dad.

Next time I will cook dinner.

Next time I want to be a king.

Next time I will be rich.

Next time I will win the lottery.

Next time I will have a pool in
my house.

Next Time
Heaven W.

Next time
I’m going to
do my hair
next time I’m
going to play

Next time I’m
going to be a singer

Next time I’m going
to do a back flip

Next time I’m
going to get my
new shoes.



“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.