Reading Level: Grade 5

Poems suitable for reading by 10-11 year olds.

One Very Hot Day

One very hot day in a very hot summer,
some donkeys were carrying corn
in sacks on their backs
and they carried these packs
from the field to be stored in the barn.

The sun was so hot and the air was so dry
that the corn that the donkeys were hauling
was suddenly popping
and drifting and dropping
as if it were snow that were falling.

It seems that the donkeys were sure it was snow
that descended around them in drifts.
For, next thing you know,
it was twenty below,
and the donkeys were all frozen stiff.

In spite of the fact they were frozen to death,
they are now safely back in their barn
and feeling much better;
they’ve each got a sweater
that somebody knit from this yarn.

Rose Marie Rassmussen

Rose Marie Rassmussen went for a stroll
in her lovely new sable fur coat.
Also she wore a most elegant stole,
like a scarf made of fox, ’round her throat.

Leopard-skin trousers and crocodile shoes
and a belt made of rattlesnake hide —
these are the clothes she decided to choose
to go strolling this morning outside.

Rose Marie Rassmussen never returned.
I’m afraid that she didn’t survive.
So here’s the lesson I hope you have learned:
Don’t wear clothes that might still be alive!

My Brother Wants to Be a Chef

My brother wants to be a chef
to cook a lot of food,
regardless if it’s grilled or fried,
or poached or steamed or stewed.

He wants to bake and barbecue,
he’ll scald, sautĂ© and roast.
He’ll flame, flambĂ© and fricassee,
he’ll microwave and toast.

But even with these kitchen skills
my brother has no taste.
You see, the only thing he really
likes to eat is paste.

My New School

You won’t believe the crazy things
I’m learning how to do.
I’m learning how to juggle,
ride a unicycle, too.

I now know how to twist balloons
in many different shapes
and how to make a costume
out of multicolored drapes.

I’ve learned to run in floppy shoes
and how to dye my hair.
I’ve even learned the graceful art
of dancing with a bear.

For when we moved, my parents looked
at many different towns,
but chose a place with just one school:
a school for circus clowns.

School Year Extension

I know it’s the last day of school
but, students, I’ve thought of a way
that we can remain here together
a little bit longer today.

I hope you approve of my plan
for giving this year an extension.
Yes, students, I like you so much,
I’m putting you all in detention.

Teacher, Teacher, How’s My Singing

Oh, I had to write a poem, ’cause my teacher said I should,
but the poems that I tried to write weren’t coming out so good,
and I figured everything I wrote would be misunderstood.
Instead I wrote this song.

Teacher, teacher, how’s my singing?
Is is fine or is it stinging?
Have your eardrums started ringing?
I hope you like my song.

Yes, I had to write a poem, but I couldn’t get it right,
though I sharpened all my pencils and I stayed up half the night,
so I grabbed my dictionary and I chucked it out of sight,
and then I wrote this song.


I Have to Write a Poem

I have to write a poem
but I really don’t know how.
So maybe I’ll just make a rhyme
with something dumb, like “cow.”

Okay, I’ll write about a cow,
but that’s so commonplace.
I think I’ll have to make her be…
a cow from outer space!

My cow will need a helmet
and a space suit and a ship.
Of course, she’ll keep a blaster
in the holster on her hip.

She’ll hurtle through the galaxy
on meteoric flights
to battle monkey aliens
in huge karate fights.

She’ll duel with laser sabers
while avoiding lava spray
to vanquish evil emperors
and always save the day.

I hope the teacher likes my tale,
“Amazing Astro Cow.”
Yes, that’s the poem I will write
as soon as I learn how.

Steve the Superhero

I’m Steve the Superhero
and you simply won’t believe
the superpowers I possess
by merely being Steve.

My smile can crack a mirror
and my breath can make you faint.
And when I take my socks off
it’s been known to peel the paint.

The power in my underarms
can make a grown man cry.
A single burp can make you want
to crawl away and die.

The bad guys know it’s hopeless,
so they all get up and leave
whenever they get wind of me–
the superhero Steve.

The Tiger and the Zebra

The tiger phoned the zebra
and invited him to dine.
He said “If you could join me
that would simply be divine.”
The zebra said “I thank you,
but respectfully decline.
I heard you ate the antelope;
he was a friend of mine.”

On hearing this the tiger cried
“I must admit it’s true!
I also ate the buffalo,
the llama and the gnu.
And yes I ate the warthog,
the gazelle and kangaroo,
but I could never eat a creature
beautiful as you.

“You see I have a secret
I’m embarrassed to confide:
I look on you with envy
and a modicum of pride.
Of all the creatures ever known,”
the tiger gently sighed,
“It seems we are the only two
with such a stripy hide.

“Now seeing how we share this
strong resemblance of the skin,
I only can conclude that we are
just as close as kin.
This means you are my brother
and, though fearsome I have been,
I could not eat my brother,
that would surely be a sin.”

The zebra thought, and then replied
“I’m certain you are right.
The stripy coats we both possess
are such a handsome sight!
My brother, will you let me
reconsider if I might?
My calendar is empty so
please let us dine tonight.”

The tiger met the zebra in
his brand-new fancy car
and drove him to a restaurant
which wasn’t very far.
And when they both were seated
at a table near the bar,
the zebra asked “What’s on the grill?”
The tiger said “You are.”

“But please, you cannot dine on me!”
the outraged zebra cried.
“To cook me up and eat me
is a thing I can’t abide.
You asked me for your trust
and I unwarily complied.
You said you could not eat me
now you plan to have me fried?”

“And what about the envy
and the modicum of pride?
And what of us as brothers
since we share a stripy hide?”
“I’m sorry,” said the tiger
and he smiled as he replied,
“but I love the taste of zebra
so, in other words, I lied.”


Every springtime an earthworm named Binkley,
gets so blinkin’ wet he gets wrinkly.
The rain keeps on sprinkling and Binkley keeps drinking
until he’s all puffy and pinkly.
But it isn’t all bad being wrinkly,
as Binkley could tell you succinctly.
Just as you’re thinking, all Summer he’s shrinking;
by Autumn he’s dried up and crinkly!