Teaching Poetry to 3rd Graders

by Gary Short

At recess a boy ran to me
with a pink rubber ball and asked
if I would kick it to him. He handed me the ball,
then turned and ran
and ran and ran, not turning back
until he was far out in the field.
I wasn't sure I could kick the ball
that far. But I tried,
launching a perfect and lucky kick.
The ball sailed in a beautiful arc
about eight stories high,
landed within a few feet of the 3rd grader
and took a big bounce off the hard playground dirt.
Pleased, I turned to enter the school building.
And then (I don't know where they came from
so quickly) I heard a rumbling behind me
full tilt. They were carrying pink balls and yellow balls
of different sizes, black and white checkered
soccer balls. They wanted me to kick for them.
And now this is a ritual—this is how we spend recess.
They stand in line, hand me the ball and run.
The balls rise like planets
and the 3rd graders
circle dizzily beneath the falling sky,
their arms outstretched.


  1. This is an interesting poem, really different and nice.

    I would love to start writing poems and your blog is an inspiration to me.

    Thank you!

    - Rosh

  2. I could just see this in my mind's eye! (I love 3rd graders - still young enough to show unabashed joy.)

  3. This poem made me smile. Thank you.

  4. What a great poem to start National Poetry Month with! Such exuberance and joy...

  5. Gary Short sounds like a nice fellow, and his 3rd graders are wonderful. Thank you for sharing this lovely account. Ciao dear


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