Reading Level: Grade 6

Poems suitable for reading by 11-12 year olds.

I’m a Pirate Ballerina

I’m a pirate ballerina
on a pirate sailing ship.
In my purple pirate leotard
I like to spin and skip.

I prance around the poop deck
leaping lightly on my toes
in my purple pirate tutu
and my bustle and my bows.

I wiggle on the rigging
and I dance around the mast,
shouting, “Yo, ho, ho, me hearties!”
and, “Ahoy there!” or “Avast!”

I’m sure you’d think it’s strange
to see me jump around and gyrate,
but this is rather normal
for a ballerina pirate.

If you wonder why I do this,
it’s a fairly simple answer…
My mother was a pirate
and my father was a dancer.

Lorenzo Liszt, Non-Scientist


Lorenzo Liszt, non-scientist,
researches things that don’t exist.
He looks for fur from fish and frogs
and scales that came from cats and dogs.

He hunts for things like hamster wings
and walruses with wedding rings.
He analyzes famous flies
and speculates on oysters’ eyes.

He contemplates the common traits
of rattlesnakes on roller skates,
and then explores for dinosaurs
who shop in corner grocery stores.

He thinks about the desert trout.
He studies underwater drought.
He ponders how the purple cow
remained unnoticed up till now.

He scans the skies for flying pies
and tests for turtles wearing ties
and bears who buzz and beep because…
well, this is what Lorenzo does.

Although we feel that he should deal
with something that’s a bit more real,
Lorenzo Liszt just can’t resist
researching things that don’t exist.

The Winter Olympics are Practically Here


The winter Olympics are practically here.
They say that the sports will be different this year.
Instead of the athletes who always compete,
They plan to have animals! Won’t that be neat?

They plan, for example, in cross country skiing
This year to have not even one human being.
Instead they’ll let polar bears out of the zoos
And fit them with custom-made cross country shoes.

With helmets and skis they’ll head out in the cold
To race one another and go for the gold.
On ski jump this winter I hear that they’ll use
a family of jackrabbits or kangaroos.

I’m sure the Olympics this year will be huge
With goats on the snowboards and lemurs on luge!
And won’t it be fun to watch elephants race
On bobsleighs downhill at a neck-breaking pace?

I simply can’t wait to watch speed-skating mice
Careening like crazy out there on the ice,
And octopi with a profusion of skates
Who execute Axels and real figure eights.

The snakes will be curling, but not as you’d think;
They’ll do it with stones on an ice-covered rink.
The falcons will slalom on specially-made skis,
And frogs will do freestyle. I hope they don’t freeze!

The sparrows will sprint and the hawks will play hockey
And people will cheer them from here to Milwaukee
And lavish the winners with medals and ribbons;
The geese, the gorillas, the geckos, and gibbons.

The ducks and the dolphins, the donkeys and dogs,
The hamsters and hippos and horses and hogs.
They’ll all be competing to show who’s the best
And leave all the spectators awed and impressed.

It’s just so exciting! I can’t wait to go
To see all these creatures compete in the snow.
But, still, I sure hope when the games are all through
The animals all go back home to the zoo.

Horse Tale

I once heard a yarn
of a horse in a barn.
I’ll tell it as well as I’m able.
The horse ran away
from his stall and his hay,
so now his condition’s unstable.

The Bagel Bird


The Bagel Bird, by all accounts,
is said to lunch on large amounts
of sticks and twigs and sand and stones
and plastic parts from broken phones.
He’ll nibble bits of copper wires
and rubber from discarded tires.
He’ll chomp on tops of cuckoo clocks
and swallow shorts and stinky socks.

He’ll chew your shoes and eat your hat.
He’ll bite your books and baseball bat.
He’ll stuff his lips with poker chips
and snack on sails from sailing ships
and gobble poles and bowling balls
and pick at bricks from fallen walls
and graze on grass and feed on weeds
and dine on twine and strings of beads.

But bagels… whether white or wheat,
or salted, savory, or sweet,
or topped with lox or luncheon meat,
are something he will never eat.
At least that’s what I’ve always heard
about the crazy Bagel Bird.
But I don’t mind because, you see,
that leaves more bagels just for me.

While at the Sofa Factory

While at the sofa factory
I nearly broke my spleen
when I accidentally fell in
an upholstery machine.

I almost died that fateful day
but I survived somehow.
And I’m looking even better, too,
since I’m “recovered” now.

Christmas Shopping

Today I went shopping downtown at the mall,
for Christmas-day presents for family and all.
I purchased a sweater, some brand-new CDs,
a gift box with crackers and spreadable cheese,
a scooter, computer, and video games,
a skateboard with decals of dragons and flames,
a board game with legions of troops to command,
a poster and shirt of my favorite band.
Tomorrow I’ve got to go back to the mall
to get some more presents for family and all,
despite that my savings is practically shot,
I can’t bear to part with the ones I just bought!


I am sitting here on Christmas Eve
rejected by the elves
at the back of Santa’s workshop.
on the dustiest of shelves.

For I didn’t pass inspection
when I wouldn’t flash and blink,
and I didn’t have a siren
and I wasn’t neon pink.

The results were disappointing
when they tried to pull my string,
and they found I didn’t have one
that would make me dance and sing.

So they stuck me in the corner
with the rusted fishing reels
and the half a deck of playing cards
and oval skateboard wheels.

Feeling useless and unwanted
as a solitary mitten,
I am sitting here on Christmas Eve
a broken-hearted kitten.

Potluck Christmas

Aunt Agatha comes with a casserole dish
of dried out spaghetti and overcooked fish
and every Christmas I pray and I wish
Aunt Agatha won’t bring her casserole dish.

My Uncle Ernesto brings barbecued beans
that taste like a mush made of old magazines
combined with a crust from old rusted machines.
I wish that my uncle would not bring his beans.

My grandma brings aspic (that’s Jell-o with shrimp)
and when I won’t eat it she calls me a wimp.
I hope when they’re dishing my dinner they skimp
on grandma’s tomatoey aspic with shrimp.

My mom makes a salad of peppers and peas
that’s mixed up with onions and limburger cheese.
As nice as I can I say “No thank you please.”
Next Christmas why can’t we just order Chinese?

Melvin the Mummy

Melvin the mummy, who lived near the Nile,
had worked as a mummy for more than a while,
for mummies can go their entire careers
without a vacation for thousands of years.

He guarded the pyramids day after day
to frighten the burglars and bandits away,
which meant, as he stood watching over the pharaohs,
he often got shot at with bullets and arrows.

His job was so stressful, the pay was so poor,
but, still, Melvin stayed and protected the door.
Until he got sick of his sad situation
and knew that he needed to take a vacation.

His crypt was so dark and so cold and so clammy,
he packed up his swimsuit and flew to Miami.
He thought he would stay there for just a few days,
enjoying the beach and absorbing some rays.

But, sadly, poor Melvin would never return,
and this is a lesson all mummies should learn:
Don’t take any trips or, like Melvin, you’ll find
vacations make mummies relax and unwind.