Tag Archives: children’s poetry

The World of Table Tennis

The World of Table Tennis

By Viraj Ajgaonkar, age 10, grade 6, Mumbai, India

A strategic game with swift moves
that is played between ones or twos.
To compete in singles or doubles,
is what you need to choose.

Played atop on a mini-playground,
with net across the middle.
Holding a racquet in hand,
you simply hit the ball or fiddle.

There is no room for foul
let the game be fair,
Otherwise, you will be warned
by the referee in chair.

Quite popular by the
name ping pong,
It is every boyhood dream to play
as good as Ma Long.

A long way to learn Lebrun’s
signature style of pen-hold,
If one follows a right technique,
am sure you’ll win a gold.

It is rather difficult to play on
Bobrow’s snake serve,
Be as wise as not to hit hard, just roll
and maintain pure nerve.

Some learn forehand while
others backhand faster,
But you have to be competent
in both to be a game master.

Improved footwork and drill
enhances agility,
Rigorous practice
improves overall ability.

With more and more matches,
you learn to tackle your opponent,
And for a game of table tennis
this forms an essential component.

Advancing from an amateur to
professional level drills,
Day by day you learn
better and better skills.

The ranking of the players time to time
switches up-and-down,
You never know one fine day, you will
receive the winner’s crown.

The game demands focus, patience
and cool temperament,
To play in the event to the
spectator’s amazement.

With hours of daily practice and a stroke of luck
you may find a place in the finals
Rejoicing the moments of triumph
by winning glistening medals!

          By Viraj Ajgaonkar, age 10, grade 6, Mumbai, India. He adds:
”Being a sports-enthusiast and an intermediate level table tennis player, I have tried to pen down the nitty-gritty of this racquet game in this poem using ‘simile’ as one of the figures of speech while comparing the playing surface with a mini-playground! I also like to share the experiences that I have had while playing in different level tournaments and the essential requisites with the special mention of the ‘GOATS’ (Greatest player of all times—China’s Ma Long, France’s Alex Lebrun, and Adam Bobrow, American table tennis commentator whom I greatly adore) through this poem. As a matter of fact, I do have a strong bonding, a feeling of camaraderie with my duo (my racquet-ping pong balls) and one can’t deny the fact that a sport teaches you significant skills and life values even at a very early age!
“I like to venture into varied activities and learn associated skills, which I feel is a life-long process. I envision myself to be a world-class table tennis player and grow up to be a sports coach or may pursue sports medicine! I wish to transform my passion into an initiative that would strengthen the feeling of ‘Love Sports’ in the minds of youngsters or rather every common individual.

”I also do a lot of sketching of famous personalities and exhibit interest in playing musical instruments like tabla and keyboard. I have drawn a sketch of Neymar da Silva santos Jr, a Brazilian professional soccer player as he is a great role model for young athletes. He is humble and gives 100% on the field. He posts funny videos of himself on social media and I relate myself to him as he is hyperactive and playful.”

Neymar da Silva Santos Jr, a Brazilian professional soccer player. Sketch by Viraj Ajgaonkar, age 10, India.

Name the Past for Our Future 

Name the Past for Our Future:

On the Armenian Genocide

By Laurel Aronian, age 17, Connecticut.

In 1915, the Armenian Genocide commenced—the systematic mass murder of 1.5 million Armenians by the Ottoman government. I wrote this poem as a representation of the ongoing effects of the genocide on Armenians; even survivors found their lives uprooted as they were forced to move to other countries and begin from nothing. This poem not only serves to comment on my ancestors’ abrupt relocation from their homeland but also as a reflection on how my opportunity to visit Armenia in 2019 allowed me to return to the place my ancestors unwillingly left behind—metaphorically restoring them to their native land and simultaneously instilling in me an appreciation for a culture and history that I will carry forward. 

“The Land Ahead”

Soot swirls around our footsteps,
the dust from our lives before.
Before, when we lived in the stony 
cliffs of the Caucasus.

With my family who sent me
on my own.
To start a new life.
A life away from those who had taken 
it from us.

The land that my family had lived 
on for hundreds of years was seized.
Bitlis, Diyarbekir, Erzurum, where I had
played in the long grass of the mountains with my brothers.

Luck is what saved me from the massacres.
I do not know 
what happened to my brothers,
who I had left
behind me.

The rocky road ahead is also littered
with dust.
It obscures my vision on all sides. 
I do not know what is ahead of me
or what I have left behind.

The smell of gasoline is strong
as I board the plane. 
I have left my home for the flight,
but will return in a jet 
moving as swift as an Eagle.

The sign above is in letters
I can’t read
Թռիչք դեպի Հայաստան տերմինալ 4A
Only one word is clear to me,
Հայաստան, Hayastan, where my 
second great-grandfather is from 
and where I 
am going.

Back in his day, 
there were no planes,
when he traveled to the US
Alone.

Did he know that his 
great, great-granddaughter would be going to his homeland?
His homeland where he had to leave
his home.

He left his country in the hope
that one day 
the part of him in me 
could return.

By Laurel Aronian, age 17, Connecticut. She adds: “I love to write in all genres (poetry, prose, journalism). I also enjoy taking photos and creating art. I have a passion for music and perform as a singer-songwriter and accompany on guitar. When I’m not writing or making music, I play competitive chess. My pieces also reflect the awe of nature, earth stewardship, and our planet’s majesty and magic.”

PS: Laurel entered the poem for our 2023 Youth Honor Awards last year at the age of 16.

Perspective

perspective

by Surabhi Verma, grade 11, California

 

female leader
            impossible

peaceful change
            impossible

violence eliminated
            impossible

full equality
            impossible

impossible, impossible.

its repetition,
bewilders me.

its presence,
bothers me.

its truth,
baffles me.

Impossible,
                  i    m    p o s s i b l e
                                                      i am Possible

Surabhi Verma, grade 11, California. She writes:

“I enjoy writing poetry and non-fiction and use writing as a form of expression and reflection. I have won several awards… and am a STEM blog writer for STEMpathize. When I’m not writing, I love playing the flute and spending time with my family and friends.

“I come from an Indian background and speak both English and Hindi. Though living in America, I find myself deeply connected to my Indian roots and culture, celebrating every Indian festival, going to the temple, and enjoying a variety of Indian dishes. My favorite part of an Indian event is that it gives an excuse to wear a lehenga!

“I am passionate about the flute, writing, and mental health. In the future, I hope to make an impact in the field of biomedical research while also being able to pursue my passions through providing affordable flute lessons, continuing to write, and taking part in advocating for mental health by creating more support programs.

”My poems are influenced by my experiences and cover a variety of topics, ranging from identity struggles and personal feelings to altering perspectives and the relationship between music and peace against violence.”

Memories of a Guava Tree

Memories of a Guava Tree

By Dawson Yee, age 13, grade 7, California.

My grandmother’s hands reach for my face
Feeling to be sure I am the child she remembers
Her mind has only enough space
for past Decembers.

My mother, father, and aunt turn in surprise
Her knotted hands grip my shoulders in recognition
With a teasing crinkle in her eyes
she calls my name, an intermission

Three years ago, she gave me a white guava seedling
With hardy red stems and elliptical leaves
She explained what it was needing
Learned from years of shielding it from disease.

Afterwards, she ushered me into the guest room, where she unearthed treasure:
An embroidered Japanese trinket box, a logic puzzle, an old plush toy
Her smiling eyes watched my curiosity with pleasure
As she entered the absurdly colorful world of a little boy.

But now we sit together watching nature shows
And she is like a sailor disappearing into a storm.
I can see her boat sinking but I’m not sure she knows
she’s lost her tiller and our roles will transform.

A logger chopping a tree flashes on the screen
She worries for the animals inside, knowing they are doomed.
I reach over her frail figure and push the remote to intervene
I tell her that our guava has finally bloomed.

—Dawson Yee, age 13, grade 7, California. Dawson writes:

“I see creative writing as a puzzle of wisdom. I’m 13 years old and in 7th grade but take high school English and philosophy at a local independent school. 

“I’ve also adored challenging myself to understand the symbolism behind not only prose such as in magical realism, but also the figurative language in poetry. When I recently analyzed “Boy and Egg” by Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye, I found that searching for evidence of Nye’s purposeful line breaks and sound devices to convince a reader she was contrasting the innocence of a childhood immersed in nature versus the chaotic world to be beyond satisfying as a puzzle to solve. 

“I use my heritage as a third-generation Asian American to inform my writing, as it is an important part of how I view the world. I also write with an eye to health, both physical and mental, as I personally have several life-threatening allergies as well as Mass Cell Activation Syndrome, which shape my view of the world. My maternal grandmother, who recently passed away from Alzheimer’s disease, provided the basis for my poem “Memories of a Guava Tree.” In addition, I am influenced by my parents’ experiences as second-generation Americans growing up in predominantly non-Asian rural and inner-city U.S. communities and by my grandparents’ stories of the immigrant experience and their childhoods wrenched by memories of war and poverty. 

“I’m also an Event Coordinator for an online, international Asian American youth writers’ collective, Asian Youth Writers Alliance (asianyouthwritersalliance.com). In the writing groups that I’ve found surrounding these events and projects, where my classmates and fellow writers are insightful and tactful, I feel I have the space to put the puzzle of wisdom together. I would love to connect with a multicultural and global community of young writers who share the same values as these online initiatives. In finding literary magazines like Skipping Stones to share my writing, I realize more and more that I’m truly searching for the exact kind of wisdom and togetherness it provides.”

Ohana

Ohana

By Likhita Makam, age 15, Telangana, India

We fight and apologies we forget.
We get lost and we get upset.
We fall apart into a million pieces,
But being together smooths out all the creases.

Because in the end we’re a family
although we don’t get along dandily
Far from picture perfect Pinterest poses
We make it to the diner just before it closes
We spend weekends at home in quarrels
Perfect family? For that we’d have zero laurels
But we stick together, no matter what
for each other we’d take a jab in the gut, somewhat
What matters the most is we never part
We’re always close, we never depart

Because we’re a family
And family means nobody gets left behind
No matter our irregularities
No matter our similarities

—Likhita Makam, age 15, Indian American high school student, living in India. She has been published in youth newspapers and literary magazines. She is an avid reader and is up for a poetry discussion at all times.

Black History Month Poem: Resilience

Resilience

To observe the annual Black History Month, we are pleased to present “Resilience,” a poem by Arianna Shaprow Crain, age 12, a seventh grader in Nevada. Arianna was interviewed this morning and was asked to read her poem by KTNV News, on their ‘Good Morning Las Vegas’ show. The poem will also be published in our upcoming Spring 2024 issue (Mar. – Aug. 2024). You can also download the poem here.

“Resilience” explores the African Diaspora and chronicles the struggles of the vibrant, defiant members of my family. In the midst of our tragedies, my ancestors were able to find peace and navigate the rough terrain that lie ahead. They were slaves in Holly Springs, Mississipi. After the Emancipation Proclamation, they migrated to Chicago for more opportunities. In Chicago, they had to endure racism and segregation, which negatively impacted their employment. My great grandmother became a maid at a hotel and raised 13 children. She had to endure an endless cycle of poverty. Much of our history was lost, because we were stolen from our homeland. Even though our cultural identities were dismantled, my ancestors found comfort in music, stories, and our love for one another. We are resilient, and we are survivors. I know that I am a survivor, because I am here to tell you my story.

We were taken
from our homelands
our prosperity and sense of community
stolen from us
our families torn apart
cultural identities dismantled
forgotten…

forced to work all day
beneath the blistering hot sun
dehydrated and burned out
bruised knees, scraped elbows
wounded from whips
desperately yearning for a way out
but their cries were never heard

They locked us
in an endless loop of poverty
mental illness
disease
and depression

from Holly Springs, Mississippi
and the shackles of slavery
to Chicago
seeking independence
and “liberty”
this was the journey of my ancestors

We were never freed
after the Emancipation Proclamation
never freed
from generational trauma
and pain

rejected
from schools
unable to receive the education
that we deserved

Oppression
Segregation
Stereotypes
and racism
Poverty naturally followed
Haunting us…

A never-ending maze
with no exit
only dead ends.

My relatives suffered
rat bites and tuberculosis as babies
gunshot wounds and addiction as adults
no money for doctors
unstable living conditions
poor ventilation
never knowing
what’s next…

Surviving paycheck to paycheck
Food stamps, welfare
Evictions and discrimination
13 of my aunts and uncles
lived in a tiny apartment
5 slept on a single, soiled mattress
a drumline of tragedies

Many of them
broke the cycle
my grandmother became the first
African American female Assistant District Attorney
in El Paso, Texas
scholarships and hard work paved her way

My mother is a survivor
of PTSD and panic attacks
a single mother who cares for me
with unwavering love

We don’t know
much of our history
or where in Africa
we come from

The knowledge of our history
was stripped away from us
buried deep in our family’s past
it remains a mystery…
One thing that will never
be taken away from us
Is our culture
We have created
a rich culture
Through centuries of oppression
our coping mechanisms
soothed us
comforting melodies
gospel
jazz
blues
and soul

What do we have?
We have our imagination
We redefine and reframe
To make us sane

documents detail our ancestors’ stories
Defiant
And bold
full of vibrant characters
riveting music
and soulful dishes

When I am fearful
I remember to be courageous
I remember I have ancestors
who were beaten and lynched

My ancestors were
Slaves
Survivors
Refugees
Migrants

This is my lineage
This is my history
We are resilient
Resilient survivors

—Arianna Shaprow Crain, age 12, grade 7, Nevada.

Balance


Balance

“Girl Riding A Horse” by Aadya Agarwal, age 12, New Jersey.          

 

As the wind weaved through my black hair,
Flying in the golden sunshine,
A sudden gush of independence rushed at me.

On top of my slender caramel horse,
I measured north to south, east to west,
All painted with a rural landscape.

I was on top, on top of my mighty world,
I could have done anything!
Yet, riding along with my jovial spirits, I felt something.
A ball of fear knotting up in my stomach.

Freedom and Independence were new, they were fresh.
Alas, they did not come free!
In front of me, loomed a bridge,
A bridge between Protection and Freedom

While protection offers security,
It’s also a locked cage.
While freedom demands responsibility,
You are the person you choose to be.

And then there is a balance between the two.
As on my slender caramel horse,
I ride free, the gentle strap safely protecting me.

Aadya Agarwal, age 12, New Jersey. She writes: The inspiration for my poem came from a horseback riding adventure I went on while vacationing in India this past summer. The entire experience filled me with a range of emotions of independence, confidence, fear and anxiety and my attempt to balance it all in that moment. It was truly an experience that I will never forget and something that unraveled an important question about freedom and responsibility for me.”

Betrayal

Betrayal

By Siah Giji, age 13, New York.

Betrayal, a word so bitter and cold
A stab in the back, a heart turned to stone
A trust once given, now broken and old
A bond once strong, now shattered and sold
The sting of betrayal, a wound so deep
A hurt so profound, it cannot sleep
The memories linger, the pain so real
A betrayal so cruel, it cannot heal
The world may move on, the pain may fade
But the memory of betrayal will never be made
A wound so deep, a scar so wide
A betrayal so profound, it cannot hide

By Siah Giji, high school freshman, New York, adds: “I am passionate about writing and determined to improve my skills. Despite English not being my first language, I’ve come a long way, and at just 13 years old, I’ve written a poem that reflects my growth. My first language that was taught to me by my parents is Malayalam and even though I do not know how to write in this language my family and I communicate using this language. 

My South Indian cultural background has deeply influenced my perspective and creativity. What’s important to me is embracing diversity, preserving cultural richness, and promoting inclusivity.

In crafting this poem on betrayal, my aim was to capture the raw emotions associated with a broken trust, specifically in the context of a betrayal of my trust by so many of my closest people. The poem delves into the complex layers of emotions and reflections that arise when those you hold closest prove to be unreliable. It’s a personal exploration of the feelings one goes through when faced with the harsh reality of trust shattered by those who were supposed to be the closest.”

Mr. Liberation Theology

Mr. Liberation Theology

 

The house of sand you built at last.

Tell me, friend, do you think it will withstand a world so vast?

 

You wrecked sandcastles just to build signs seeking justice.

Children sleep out in the cold.

Oh heavens watching above, is this justice?

 

The blanket the child holds onto is an oasis.

Its warmth mimics that of a home so far away.

The desert was his home; a long-forgotten friend.

Every wind feeds him the false promise of freedom.

 

What do they know?

What do they know of the sun’s kiran* when mother would feed us šāy.*

 

USA!

Is that how they play?

The warplanes outnumber the birds.

Children close your eyes, they are fighting for pay.

 

You can not hide in this world.

You are solely bare, exposed, naked even!

What man was born with cloth? Point me to him and then I will abandon my home.

 

And though you can drink your coffee

So black, filling up the glass

That same coffee will stare you back.

Black is the oil you pull from a land so boundless.

 

Who is brave enough to claim the desert as his own?

You can not rule. You fool!

Many tried and failed to seize this land.

For centuries it stands, unbroken by your nuclear adornments.

For the Desert is a lion, no simple house cat.

 

He who dares to challenge shall be left broken in the end.

The pools of oil have all dried up;

Your thirst can never be quenched.

 

* Kiran: ray;    šāy: thick creamy top layer on boiled milk

By Suprya Sarkar, age 16, originally from Bangladesh, now lives in Connecticut. She adds:

“What we call casual poetry—verses written on kitchen napkins, often forgotten—reminds us that poems are a natural part of human expression… or at least, they should be. My hope is to capture the antagonistic nature of humanity in the 21st century. How does one capture such corruption on paper? The ethics of industries and modern work culture are major topics of debate. What good is individualism if it leads to the downfall of one’s well-being? Each poem is a cry from humanity. The pieces explore the lives of various people and their environments. Both a billionaire oil company CEO and a burned-out office worker have a connection to their environments. My hope is to preserve the fleeting present. Each poem follows how industrial, political, and economic changes have influenced humanity as a whole. The poems are meant to bring attention to the peculiarities… or struggles of various people.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Consumption

Consumption 

By Lucy Jones, age 15, Wales, U.K.

I wish to consume every piece of media that adorns the Earth
Every book, film, and song
Every day I panic, thinking about how little time I have
How little in my minuscule life I can truly consume
I wish to cry every tear and smile every smile
I wish to feel the most harrowing heartbreak and the most jovial joy
I wish to travel the world
I wish to play every game
I wish to meet every person 
In all my wishing, I never seem to take action
In all the endless possibilities, I take after none of them
In the end, all I do is wait
I wait for the right moment
Just the right book
Just the right film
Just the right person
When all I wish for is everything, I achieve nothing.

—Lucy Jones, Age 15, Wales, United Kingdom.