Reading Level: Grade 6

Poems suitable for reading by 11-12 year olds.

When Otto Got a Hot Dog

When Otto got a hot dog
he stared at it a while,
then dripped a drop of mustard on
and smiled a little smile.

He covered it with relish
which really made him grin,
then spread it thick with mayonnaise
and shoveled onions in.

He splashed it with some ketchup,
as much as he could squeeze,
and tossed on chopped tomatoes
and some shredded cheddar cheese.

He smothered it with sauerkraut,
and bacon bits and beans,
He even added twenty two
Norwegian canned sardines.

He piled it high with pickles
and peppers by the pound.
He topped it off with chili
then he looked at it and frowned.

He shed a single tiny tear
and gave a little pout,
for Otto hated mustard
so he had to throw it out.

Peter Prim the Fire-Eater

Peter Prim the fire-eater
ate a propane camping heater,
followed by a butane lighter,
and a barbecue igniter.
Next he drank some gasoline,
and a quart of kerosene
(or perhaps it was a liter;
no one knows for sure but Peter).
Last, to finish off the batch
Peter ate a flaming match.
Bits of Peter Prim, they say,
lit a half a mile away
(or perhaps a kilometer;
who’s to say except for Peter?).
Nothing more was seen of him.
Rest in pieces, Peter Prim.

Remarkable Sylvia Stein

Each and every Christmas Eve
remarkable Sylvia Stein
stuffs some holly up her sleeve
and covers her body with pine.

She wears garlands ’round her waist
and Christmas lights over her shirt.
Ribbons keep her sneakers laced
and tinsel is draped on her skirt.

Looking vastly overgrown,
so hidden she can’t even see,
in the hall she stands alone
pretending she’s only a tree.

Every Christmas she has found
this costume can never be beat.
Everyone that comes around
lays presents at Sylvia’s feet.

Bradley Beard is Rather Weird

Bradley Beard is rather weird;
the strangest kid around.
He grabs his socks and pulls them up
and rises off the ground.

He’ll tug on his suspenders
or he’ll yank upon his hair,
and suddenly he’s levitating,
floating in the air.

It’s somewhat disconcerting,
but it’s also pretty cool
to see him floating down the street
as Bradley drifts to school.

He must be filled with helium,
or may be awfully strong.
Regardless, though, it’s fun to see him
hovering along.

But do not envy Bradley Beard;
he has to watch his weight,
for if he ever gains a pound
he’ll cease to levitate.

And if he doesn’t eat enough
on any given day,
then Bradley Beard, who’s rather weird,
will simply float away.

Flower Girl

Sarah Sears to whoops and cheers
grew petunias from her ears.
Then with grace and savoir faire
sprouted tulips from her hair.
Next she smiled and struck a pose;
orchids blossomed from her nose,
and with unexpected skill,
she produced a daffodil.
Peonies and prairie rockets,
germinated from her pockets.
Poppies bloomed between her toes.
Pansies covered all her clothes.
This went on for hours and hours,
blooming petals, budding flowers,
’til her parents came and got her,
taking home their floral daughter,
where, with tears upon her face,
she threw out her empty vase.
Sarah sniffed and blew her nose;
all she wanted was a rose.

Meanest Pirate

The meanest old pirate to sail the seas,
was a pirate named “Dangerous Dan.”
Old Dan had an eye-patch to cover his eye,
and a hook where he once had a hand.

But that was before he had been introduced
to the pirate they called “Loathsome Lance,”
who proudly wore patches on both of his eyes,
and had hooks upon both of his hands.

But neither of them was a fraction as mean
as the pirate dubbed “Perilous Pete.”
For Pete wore an eye-patch that covered his head
and had hooks on his hands and his feet!

Sailing Off to Singapore

I’d like to sail to Singapore,
Jakarta or Rangoon,
but our boat is barely moving
on this windless afternoon.

I’d steer my ship to Stockholm,
set a course for Southern Spain,
I’d be guided by a lighthouse
off the rocky coast of Maine.

I’d cut past Krakatau
and chart a course to Katmandu.
I would voyage into Venice,
and I’d cruise around Corfu.

I’d glide through the Galapagos,
and drift through the Bahamas,
where I’d navigate by starlight
in my mariner’s pajamas.

I’d skim the seven salty seas
and plow the briny waves.
I would circumnavigate the globe
exploring coastal caves.

I’ll shortly start my journey.
I’ll begin my travels soon,
in this boat parked in our driveway
on this windless afternoon.

My Computer Ate My Homework

My computer ate my homework.
Yes, it’s troublesome, but true.
Though it didn’t gnaw or nibble
and it didn’t chomp or chew.

It digested it completely.
It consumed my homework whole,
when I pressed the Shift and Enter keys
instead of Shift-Control.

It devoured my hours of typing,
every picture, chart and graph,
and it left me most unsettled
when I thought I heard it laugh.

I would guess it was a virus,
or it could have been a worm,
that deleted every bit
but didn’t prompt me to confirm.

I suppose I might have pressed Escape
instead of pressing Save,
but, regardless, my computer
now will never misbehave.

For I found a good solution
and I smiled to hear the crash,
when I chucked it out the window
and it landed in the trash.

Robots in the School

There were robots by the hundreds
that had taken over school.
They arrived here from the future
when they needed to refuel.

They invaded every classroom
and went clanking through in the halls.
If you looked inside the bathrooms
you’d see robots in the stalls.

They surrounded all the teachers
and propelled them out the door.
Then they headed for the offices
in search of even more.

They ejected the custodian
and Principal as well,
plus the secretary, nurse
and all the other personnel.

They intruded in the lunchroom
and evicted all the cooks.
They expelled our good librarian
and commandeered her books.

Then they came across a small surprise
in section eight-one-one;
just a book of silly poetry
that looked like lots of fun.

When they opened it and read
about a zebra and giraffe,
their connections started sparking
as they all began to laugh.

Next they read a funny poem
where the teacher fell asleep.
All their heads began to rattle
as they bellowed long and deep.

When they read about the lunchroom
and the stuff in Lost and Found
they began shake and wobble,
and they crumpled to the ground.

Then they read a final poem
and their circuits overloaded.
They guffawed so uncontrollably
that all their heads exploded.

Now the school is back to normal.
All the teachers have returned,
and we’re happy for the all-important
lesson that we learned.

There is nothing quite so powerful
or mighty as the pen,
and we’re memorizing poetry
in case they come again.


As I’m sitting in the classroom
with a blank look on my face
I am staring out the window
at the emptiness of space.

While the teacher drones, explaining
how to multiply a fraction,
my mind is rolling slowly
to a state of numb inaction.

Now my eyes are growing heavy
and my head begins to fall,
as I drift away slumberland
against the classroom wall.

I’m awakened by the teacher
as he loudly clears his throat.
It appears while I was napping
all the students took a vote.

I got way more votes than anyone,
and this is my reward:
All my classmates have elected me
the Chairman of the Bored.