02/13/03
Kids' Valentine Poems
    by John Cech

Several years ago I gave a talk about writing for the children at an elementary school, just a few days after Valentine's Day. I happened to have my idea book with me, which I showed to them. In it was a Valentine's poem that I'd written for my wife -- I'd given her a different one that year, so this was my spare. The children insisted that I read it to them. The poem was about all the things I'd do for my wife if she'd be my Valentine -- like planting new flowers, grilling her favorite fish and "kissing her, oh, for hours." When I got to this line about kissing, the kids went "OOOOOOOO!" -- so I asked them whether or not they wrote poems, or anything else for that matter, for the people they loved. We talked about how it was important to let those close to us know that we love them, and I challenged the kids to a school-wide Valentine's Day poetry contest the next year, for which I would supply the prizes. There were no real contest rules except that their poems couldn't have "roses are red, violets are blue" in them. Their poems were fresh and remarkable. Here, for example, is one by Kristina, a fourth grader. It's called "My Brother"

He is not the best,
But if he was the best anything,
He would be the best pest.
Ever since we had "the Baby"
Everything Mom says is "maybe."
How embarassing because
When my friends come to play,
"Barney is on everyday.
Even though he's a pest,
A baby, and all the rest . . .
Like Barney would say,
"I love him, he loves me,
We're best friends like friends should be."

There was a long, intricately-rhymed poem by a fifth grader about her love of candy, in all its delicious forms, which she titled "My Sweet Confection Affection," and then there was this take on the nature of love from Josť, a fourth grader:

Love is warm as a fire
Love is like a river.
You can dam it up
Or let it flow.
Love is hot as the sun
Love is like a candle
You can blow it out,
Or let it Burn.

But my absolute favorite was the poem of a first grader named Garrett. He called it "Things I Love":

I love my baby dogs.
I love my mom.
I love my cats.
I love my toys.
But most of all I love life.

Zorba, though much older, couldn't have put it any better than that.

Copyright 2003 © John Cech

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