Inspired by the Academy of American Poets, we are offering a selection of poems for kids to close out our celebration of National Poetry Month 2022. Please enjoy the following selection of poems for kids written by Carolyn Grace, Marta Maria Miranda, Michael Kjørlaug Cummings, and Doris Settles. We are also linking to selections of poems for kids curated on poets.org by the Academy of American Poets.

Also, watch for our Poetry for Teens post to celebrate National Poetry Month 2022.

Midnight Spin

Carolyn Grace

The wind came by with swoop and swish,
it whispered through my hair,
and then it caught the rest of me
and tossed me in the air.

We swept above the summer grass,
my fingers skimmed the pond,
the twinkled lights in each small house
winked bright and then were gone.

I slipped through silver clouds and lost
a sock amongst the stars.
We swirled through the Milky Way,
and swerved a left at Mars.

The wind danced higher than the moon,
it rushed me through the night,
so I caught moonbeams in my hands
and held them up for light.

My sister says it was a dream
and no one walks on air,
but I woke up with just one sock
and stardust in my hair.

© Carolyn Grace

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click on the title to read:

Dream Variations

Langston Hughes

courtesy of the Academy of American Poets

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Lullaby for Maddie 

Marta Maria Miranda-Straub

(included in Cradled by Skeletons: a life in poems and essays, Marta Maria Miranda-Straub (Shadelandhouse Modern Press 2019)

Once upon a summer
deep within the darkness of Mother Ocean
there lived a sassy little mermaid named Madelyn.
Her hair was full of long curls;
her eyes were full of stars.
And her giggles woke up the whales
and her lashes fanned the waves. 

Her spirit was a composite: she held
the adventures of Amilia Earhart,
the prose of Dulce María Loynaz,
the hope of Susan B. Anthony,
the song of Bessie Smith,
the intelligence of Marie Curie,
and the courage of Sally Ride.
And her scales held every note sang by Celia Cruz. 

Madelyn used pink conch shells for pillows
and stingrays for earrings.
She played hide and seek with the dolphins.
Every sunrise she would swim to the edge of the waves;
she would watch the creatures without tails playing on the sand. 

One glorious morning—filled with orchids and orange sunrays—
she popped out of the warm waters and joined the humans.

She was cold and she was grumpy.
She looked for the dolphins and the whales—and for her tail.
And they were nowhere near to be found. 

All of a sudden while searching her surroundings,
she saw her beautiful blonde mami and she found herself in mami’s blue eyes.
She noticed she was being cradled in the arms of her brown skin papi;
so Maddie thought, well maybe I will be okay,
it will be okay to live on dry land for a while. 

Later on, she met her abuelos y abuelas, her sweet and kind prima,
her tías and tíos and she was very happy.

Once in a while Maddie gets cold and grumpy.
She misses the warmth and depth of the ocean.
She wants to play with the dolphins, ride the whales, and she searches for her earrings. Her beautiful mami holds her,
places her in a warm tub, and sings her a lullaby.
Her handsome papi lays her right on his wide and strong chest
and they both fall into the world of dreams.
She begins to swim in the waves of love that surround her.
She finds kisses to use for earrings. And once again she decides,
I’ll stay a little longer. 

© Marta Maria Miranda

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click on the title to read:

Mermaid Song

Kim Addonizio

courtesy of the Academy of American Poets

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The Parade

michael kjørlaug cummings

How poignantly poised lays your precious parade,
under my feet like Sesame Street,
and I pause to ponder how delicately made
and precisely placed is each piece you’ve carefully played
in this creative carnival, now nearly complete.

I wonder if somehow, I might enter in
this wondrous part of your tiny heart
that beats so soft beneath your angel skin.
Your intricate art, I scarce know where to begin
my daughter, my life, where do I start?

What worlds you imagine, I cannot fathom.
Such insight to me has not been granted.
At the core of your soul there lies a chasm
I long to cross, where your dreams are planted
in the fertile soil of your enthusiasm.

This child, from heaven so recently sent,
my little conductor upon the floor,
directing traffic while my heart is spent
with longing to join in as you explore
the vision of the world you will invent.

The parade you’ve made is like a living train,
marching down the stairs and across the room,
and when I interject, you don’t refrain
from correcting my ill-advised attempt
at altering your work so fresh from heaven’s womb.

And though you do not see the figurine I place
inconspicuously in the line, or so I thought,
your tiny hands, as if guided by grace,
remove the foreign piece when it is caught
to restore the purity of your space.

Who can divine the will of the master,
marching as we do to his great delight
from birth to our preordained hereafter?
I sense you see a shadow of his sight
and joy in you fills my heart with laughter.

Precious child, no more mine than wind or sun,
I must let go, that one day you will know
your place in the parade of life to come,
and pray you find the one who can bestow
eternity on this train that you’ve begun.

©michael kjørlaug cummings

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click the title to read:

from Pieces of Kate

Eamon Grennan

courtesy of the Academy of Poets

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God Whispers

Doris Settles

Shhhhhhhhhhh
I breathe.

Can you hear it?
Be still,
Listen
For God.

Trees whisper above us.
Grass murmurs beneath us.
Clicks and
Whirls and
Hums surround us.
The silent song of lightening bugs
Envelops our silence.

Shhhhhhhhhhh
I breathe.
Can you hear it?
Stillness arrives with
Equal parts
Peace
Joy
Love

Yesssssssssss
I breathe,
I hear it.
God whispers
for me.

© Doris Settles

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click on the title to read:

Emily Dickinson

courtesy of the Academy of American Poets

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