Angela Allen

(A pantoum is a form of poem where the second and fourth lines of the first stanza make the first and third lines of the second stanza, and so on.)


(Variation on a Pantoum)
My third season at All In One,
I’ve got high expectations.
The people there know me pretty well,
because I think I’m a good player, of course.

I’ve got high expectations,
I think I have a good shot at the “A” team,
because I think I’m a good player of course.
It doesn’t matter though, because I’m not even that tall.

I think I have a good shot at the “A” team,
I have practiced until it was dark outside.
It doesn’t matter, though, because I’m not even that tall.
I guess I’m not as good as I thought.

I have practiced until it was dark outside.
I don’t even make all of my shots, though.
I guess I’m not as good as I thought.
I really ain’t got no shot.

Shiva, eighth grade, Portland, Ore., 2013


(The following piece comes from a writing exercise about things both beautiful and ugly.)


One of the most repulsive creatures: the snake.
Its glass eyes and disgusting skin color make me shudder.
When it slithers, I feel vulnerable to an ugly attack.
Its nasty body is parallel to a rod of rubber.
Is this snake all that ugly? 
In which ways, though?
Its slithering pattern is quite the skill,
Its majestic and poised style makes him quite the spectacle.
A snake may be ugly, but it can be quite beautiful, too.
Sean Marion, what an ugly name.
He’s got an ugly hairstyle, too.
His shot is one to be shunned,
releasing the ball like a little child.
He’s not all that bad, though;
he’s got a hook shot like Kareem’s.
The rebound? Like Dwight’s, and
often a block. Not a bad basketball IQ you know.

Shiva, eighth grade, Portland, Ore., 2013



I hate the people who play their music loud.
What really gets me is they look so proud.
Some people think it’s really cool
But you play it at school.
And what’s with the tattoo?
It looks like a kangaroo.
Or is it supposed to look like that
Or is it just that you hate your hat?
And what’s with the baggy pants?
If I were you, I wouldn’t try to dance.
And that gold nose ring
Is that all you got for bling?
That sleeveless muscle shirt?
You look like you came from a pile of dirt
Come to think, I just lit on the matter
That explains all the tatter.

By Corbin Hammond, 13, Frenchglen School, 2009


A Perfect Summer Night

As I walk through the garden, I feel the wind blowing warm air. The horses are running through the field. The mountain is ruby red with a garland of roses. A swan swims on the clear waters. The sky is like an ocean with diamonds in the water. The stars are like crystals with the moon as their cave. To finish a perfect night you watch a sunset that is wonderful, magnificent, and the most beautiful.

Claire Jean Hammond, fourth grade, Frenchglen School, 2009
With high appreciation to Angela Allen. She is very talented and I have enjoyed being taught by her.


History of Harney County

Pete French came here a long time ago. And was working with the FrenchGlenn Cattle Company. He lived on the P Ranch and my great- great-grandpa worked with Peter French along with Tebo Ortago. Peter was shot in the head, out by the Foster Flat turn off, and his business was continued by the people who worked with him.

The ranching has been passed down generations, even to me.

By Colton Witzel, Frenchglen School, Fifth grade, 2009


Bobcat Tanka

Bobcats bop and pop
Nocturnal bobcats
Hunting jack rabbit at night
Grinning  when threatened
Climbing high when dark falls
Snoring noisily in day.

Trevor Varner, Frenchglen School, age 13, 2009



Grassing grass
crazy grass growing
sometimes good grass goes dry fast
snow buried grass, a treasure
spring brings things greater than grass.

By Jessie Varner, fifth grade, Frenchglen School, 2009


The Walking Shadow

Black is but a walking shadow.
Served to walk the earth.
Day by day he grows weaker and
and weaker. Till he is nothing but
a smidge of light.

Black birds fly above him.
The sun starts to come up.
He runs and hides from the
world again.

He hears yells and cries as
days pass. He knows he
can’t help. He walks through
his ally till he finally dies out.

BY Matt Wizel, Crane School, Age 10, 5th grade


Two Haikus

Wind, like coyotes,
howling as it races down
the deserted field.

It sounds as if it
might blow my house to pieces
on the nights it roars.

Peter Neuschwander, Age 13, 7th Grade, Fields Elementary, Harney County
April, 2009


The Bloody Man
(color metaphor exercise)

Bloody hands ruby lips pink fingernails.
This guy has a mean streak.
He favors revolution. Not only is
His hair bright red like a fire
He just might kill somebody.
His hands were once so bloody
That we knew he sliced someone
Open like a tomato.
One time his clothes were so bloody,
We knew he’d sliced someone’s head like a beet.

Travis Read, Age 10, 4th grade, Fields Elementary, Harney County
April, 2009


A Tired Dog Boy

(Alliteration and metaphor exercise)
Friendly, furry and sometimes handsome,
Sometimes I get tired. I am fast enough to
Chase down a rabbit. When there is nobody,
I am the best friend. I am dog boy.
Adrian Huerta, Age 11, 4th grade, Fields Elementary


April, 2009


Coconut Girl
(metaphor exercise, with assonance)

My head is so hard
it could break a
wall, I am as hairy as a dog,
I am round
and sound as the world.
My complexion is sort of a tannish color.
I may be strong as an ox.
But I’m nutty as Putty.

I am Coconut Girl!!!

Savannah Read, age 12, grade 6, Fields Elementary, Harney County, April, 2009


Hot Iron
(metaphor, simile exercise)

I am a hot iron heating
In the fire. As tough as
Steal and hotter than
Wild fire. I’m the greatest
Of all branding. Tougher
Than all Texas cattle that
Ever roamed the plains.
I’m greater than all
The cattle I’ve branded,
Stronger than any.
I’m the greatest in the land.

Alex Defenbaugh, age 10, grade 4, Fields Elementary, Harney County, April, 2009


(metaphor, assonance and alliteration exercise)

I’m brown and round,
I can touch the ground.
I’m a loaf of bread.
I have a lot of pounds
Because I eat a lot of bread,
I’m the best bread, thick and sweet.

Maira Huera, age 13, Fields Elementary, Harney County, April, 2009


Sun Bird Haiku

Sun, rock birds sing and
Listen. Sagebrush grows in hills.
Horse rides, rivers flow.

Sage, Lacey, Jocelyn, Kassie, Jake and Chance, grades K-3, Fields Elementary, April 9, 2009


From Chase to Space, Hi There!
(shout out poem)

Hello Chase!
Hello Mommy.
Hello mountains, do you echo?
Hello rivers can you flow in my row?
Hello world!
Hello world, are you blue and green?
Hello Dad, not Daddy.
Hello world, how old are you?
Hello space!

Shouted out, one student at a time, at Fields Elementary, Harney County, grades K-3. Sage, Jake, Chase, Austin, Hayley, Sequoya, Joslynn, Layce and Kassi.
April , 2009


Quiet Wyatt
(exercise on finding a flaw in yourself, and having fun with it. Also known as Self-Portrait)

When I am in class at school my classmates think I am annoying. Austin always tells me to shut up. Samantha asks me if I want to die. Mrs. Raymond gets angry and slams the table to try to get me to be quiet, and Greg, he doesn’t care. My school thinks I am obnoxious. Somehow I get my work done. Even at home, my mom and dad tell me to be quiet because I am constantly talking about sports.

I am surprised that Ms. Allen hasn’t told me to shut up yet. Amazing!

Wyatt Starbuck, age 11, 5th grade, Suntex Elementary, near Riley, Harney County, April 2009.


Water World
(Haiku exercise)

Beautiful forests, grass
Trees, flowers, sagebrush, water
World, rocks, snakes flow fast.

By Briget, Sydney, Mat, Ash, Tyler, Francisco, K-4 at Suntex Elementary, near Riley, Harney County, April, 2009


(5-7-5-7-7 syllables)

Brandings are stinky
and cold. They are usually
in early morning.
They are fun, too, but do not
Jump on the cows. The end.

Mat Perlot, age 7, grade 2, Suntex Elementary, near Riley, Harney County, April 2009


(Exercise with 5-7-5-7-7 syllables)

Forests are silent,
Peaceful, and it’s just you
Alone with your thoughts
No one tells you what to do
It’s just you, no one else.

Riley Joyce, 8th grade, Drewsey Elementary, April, 2009


It’s John!
(memory techniques to help teacher remember names)

My name is John, it rhymes with Ron and Don, but
it does not rhyme with Bob.

John P. O’Toole, age 11, grade 5, Drewsey Elementary, April, 2009


Wrong! Yah Right
(Exercise on personal flaw, having fun with it)

Incorrect, never!
Any answer I can find
In myself or in my mind
Yet when they accuse of my falsehood
I say na, never, not I?

I eavesdrop onto others’ problems, finding
A solution, but when I state it in a
Nice fashion, they say, how did you find out about that!
Were you eavesdropping?

I look away and say na, never, not I!
When will they come into the light,
When will they realize I’m out of sight.
They must not know I’m never wrong.
I’m always right!

Thomas M. O’Toole, age 14, 8th grade, Drewsey Elementary, April 28, 2009


(5-7-5-7-7 syllable exercise with alliteration, assonance)

Whispering white wind
runs swiftly through the forest.
River, deep and clear
dodging peddles on the way
its journey to the ocean.

Thomas M. O’Toole, age 14, 8th grade, Drewsey Elementary, April 28, 2009

Van C.O.O.P.
(tanka exercise 5-7-5-7-7 syllables)

Van is beautiful
up in the dark green forest
on a small dirt road.
Pine trees wave a welcome home
to a man who knows secret.

(Katherine Tracy, age 14, 7th grade, Drewsey Elementary, April 28, 2009)


Saving Money
(personal flaw exercise and having fun with it)

I believe in not spending money
I save my money, till I really need something.
My friends think I’m crazy because I save my money.
When I save my money and buy things I need
My friends say come on, man, you’re missing the
Days. Haven’t you seen the new XTP skateboard?

So far all my friends are asking for money
So far I haven’t been sorry.
I only buy things I need
I’ve told kids, how ya doin’, man
Then walk off.

Clay Bentz, age 13, grade 6, Drewsey Elementary, April 28, 2009.


Do I talk too much?
(exercise on personal flaw and having fun with it)

Jessica, my sister, thinks I talk too much. Before I fall asleep I talk to her. Our wall doesn’t touch the ceiling and she tells me to be quiet and go to sleep.

Morgan Cronin, Age 10, grade 4, Drewsey Elementary, April 28, 2009


(color as metaphor)
Green is the flowing grass in the spring.
It is the green praying mantis on the spring green leaf.
Green is the tropical rain forest.
Also green is the sweet and tart apple.

Green is moldy.
It is the smell of freshness.
Green is the un-ripe vegetables.
Green is the 4-year old horse that was turned out for all last year.

Brit Bentz, age 12, grade 6, Juntura School, Malheur County, Ore.



(color as metaphor)
When you think of green you think of
Green grass
Green leaves
And even being green
When I think of green I think of
A green football field
A green motorcycle
Or the cute girl across the street with the green shirt
and a green purse
Bulging out with green money.

Clayton Duckworth, 13, grade 7, Juntura School, Malheur County, Ore.



(color as metaphor)
Green is the fence posts along the road,
the color of toads and the smell of grass.
Green is the smooth alfalfa growing rapidly in the field.
and the pretty green- eyed girl in the John Deere.
 Tanner Arnold, age 13, grade 7, Juntura School, Malheur County, Ore.



(color as metaphor)

Green is the trees of
the forest, the hats
and green clothes that
you put on.

The vomit when you get
sick or the fresh smell in
a new car.

It can be jealousy. It
can be the paint Leonardo
used or the hair on your

Green is the grapes
you eat or the ripe
vegetables you picked.

Martin Joyce, grade 6, age 12, Juntura School, Malheur County, Ore.



(tanka with alliteration, assonance)

Robbie raccoon is
Floating on the reservoir
In the boat he stole
Catching stinky slimy fish
With the fishing pole he stole.

Clayton Duckworth, 13, Grade 7, Juntura School, Malheur County, Ore.


The Murderer

(writing a story with list of selected nouns. This student chose more than the required 5.)

It happened long ago when butterflies used to frolic. Now those days are long gone. This is how it happened.

A lady was walking her dog and she passed the police station. She just moved here and I don’t know why, but when someone moves here, the first thing they have to do is walk their dog.

Now where was I?

Oh, so I hear a loud scream. I ran outside and saw that lady lying on the sidewalk with her throat slit. I came over and I saw that her tongue was cut out! I mean, who cut someone else’s tongue out? I guess the murderer was delirium (sic) for a tongue. I looked around and I saw a shadow turn the corner. I went after him but slowly and quietly. I wanted to follow him to his hideout.

When we got there I looked in the window and saw that man put the knife on the table and it had a lot of blood on it. Then he opened a door and threw in a skull. I think the room was filled with skulls. I ran as fast as I could back to the police station and reported everything to the other officers. I showed the officers where the path was. This time I was confused. We split up and my team and found the hideout. We busted the door open. The other men in there were dead. We walked in slowly and he shot three of my men. I ducked under a table and so did he. Slick and slippery he was, but I chased him and did the same thing he did to the lady.

When I finished, I recognized the murderer. It was an old friend, Joseph. After I did everything I was so glad he was finally dead but the thing I wasn’t glad about is that what I did was illegal so now I’m in jail where he should be. And I’m in here for 109 years, I mean, how bad can it be?

Josh Duckworth, 9, grade 3, Juntura School, Malheur County, Ore.



(exercise on shunning and showing compassion)

I throw myself at your feet,
Please forgive me for not caring,
When you needed it most.
Because my reaction to who you are,
You are my scar, forever lost,
Your soul has departed from you physical body,
Because I blame myself for the world’s loss,
A good soul departed too soon,
Because I shunned you,
I caused your depression,
That caused your death in rapid succession,
I’m sorry for not caring,
When you needed it most.

A.V.P. Monroe School, Oregon Youth Authority, Burns, Ore.


Ranger Danger


Ranger danger
He came in anger
From the hanger
Cause he was a stranger
So I came in anger with a Ford Ranger
The Ranger put him in danger
The strangers in danger from a Ranger
Now the stranger is gone
No one is in danger.

W.J.R. age 16, Monroe School, Oregon Youth Authority, Burns, Ore.


The Girl Who Doesn’t Talk Back

(exercise on shunning and compassion with direct address)

Screaming and Screeching,
Squealing and Sobbing
My heart goes out to the girl who doesn’t talk back.
Whose words strike me in the face harder than the fist of my abusive step-father.
The girl whose facial expression always demonstrates nothing but self doubt.
I know you’re in a battle with your inner demons, so I cross my finger and pray that God will sprout
wings on your back so you can fly away from the battle, and soar over the frustrations you are
subjected to in your everyday life.
Melancholy is her best friend, which is yet another thing we have in common.
She singles herself out away from the crowd so she can be as alone as she feels.
Little does she know she’s not alone at all.
I adore the unadorned,
Her imperfections need no perfecting in my eyes.
There’s torment in her eyes every time she receives any form of affection,
as if it scares her, like it just may be the beginning of her demise.
For all I know it could be.
Love is not as it seems.
It’s nothing but a doubled-edged sword that cuts you up no matter how you grasp it.
But this means nothing at all too the girl who doesn’t talk back.
She continues to grasp this sword that brings only pain and agony to her, built on nothing but destruction.
Each time holding onto the blade a little harder,
Making the cut a little deeper,
I’ll love you forever and always.
Until death becomes our tragedy,
And blessed be our ever after.
Screaming and Screeching,
Squealing and Sobbing.
My heart goes out to the girl who doesn’t talk back.

I’m sorry for breaking your heart…

J.R.S., age 18, Monroe School, Oregon Youth Authority. Burns, Ore.



(Exercise on writing about sleep)

Found. Uncovered. Unearthed.
My desert coffin destroyed, My tired bones exposed.
Such a long life, let me rest!
Brushing, ever brushing.
Scraping, ever scraping.
Alas, welcome to my new kingdom of glass and velvet ropes.
With faces, always brass, always beautiful.
I like my new home. Now I can sleep.

A.S.R., age 17, Monroe School, Oregon Youth Authority, Burns, Ore.

The Dream Dreamed Real

(exercise on writing about sleep)

The trance deeper and deeper you fall till you fall no more
Imagining you will wake up from this dream then the dream goes airy
You find yourself lit on fire burning and burning with death not in sight
The more it burns the more it hurts but there are no bruises or burns in sight
As you burn you wish you would die but the pain is too great.

D.W. age 19, Monroe School, Oregon Youth Authority, Burns, Ore.



these tALL walls hold me iN
I’m Trapped like a crab, I’m pinned witHin
my Own prison-like strYfe
and I can’T break out now
for my feelIngs are shattered
aught else has no mattered
so answer me now, hoW
can I come back to my lifE
my feelIngs are hurt within
and these tall waLls hold me in

A.L.T., Monroe School, Oregon Youth Authority, Burns, Ore.


She Was a Perfectionist

(exercise on shunning and showing compassion)

Precise writing
Forever neat
A self-made outcast
Always quiet
Always ignored
A hard worker on her own
But used in groups
Teachers liked her.
I looked past her
Not a social person
Years later still the same
I’d apologize
I hope the others would do the same.

J.C., Monroe School, Oregon Youth Authority, Burns, Ore.




(exercise on shunning and showing compassion)

There was a person named Paul.
He was always left out of basketball teams.
People were always picked before him, either good or bad.
I often did not get picked for
the basketball team. I was left out of sports.

He was always depressed and angry for not getting picked.
He would go off by himself to be alone.
He was overweight and so was I, but I would get picked, not him.
The team would not let him play because he was fat.
Nobody liked him. The same for me. I would go and
talk to him after playing.

He would not want to talk but want to be alone.
I would stay with him but he would move along.
I would try to help him get better and lose weight
and I would try to improve myself.
C.H., age 21, Oregon Youth Authority, Burns, Ore.



What is the point of life?
It’s filled with nothing but grief and strife,
No matter what you do or how hard you try,
In the end you’re still gonna die.
It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor,
You’ll die just the same no less or more,
You can’t escape this inevitable fate,
There is no heaven or pearly white gate,
There’s only the blackness that consumes us all,
The only difference is how we fall.

T.H., age 19, Monroe School, Oregon Youth Authority, Burns, Ore.



There was a boy who was always angry,
And every day he built up anger,
He tried and tried and tried
To make that anger go away.
But all it did was stay, stay, stay.
And every day he woke up
He knew that he was messed up.
That anger kept building and building and building,
And then one day he blew up,
From then on everyone was mourning the day that boy blew up.

J.L., age 15, Monroe School, Oregon Youth Authority, Burns, Ore.


Don’t Turn

(exercise on writing about fear)

I’ll always remember the day, Nov. 21, 2004.
It was a Monday, a day that will live in infamy.
It was a mistake
That’s how things usually start
They always call out your name
It’s to see if you’re you,
Positive Identification or something like that
Too late I realized I wasn’t home
The only two people who knew me were before,
The query behind,
No one should call my name.
When they do, you shouldn’t turn
Just keep going, don’t stop.
But too late I catch myself
Turning towards structures of steel and concrete.

R.B., age 19, Monroe School, Oregon Youth Authority, Burns, Ore.


Real Fear

(exercise on fear)

It was about 2 a.m.,
Everything seemed so calm,
Only distant city sounds.
The air felt so cool and crisp,
So soothing,
Yet nobody said a word because of some unknown tension.
Well, unknown to me,
I looked down the street to see a black vehicle,
Closing like it was stalking prey
Like the reaper closing in for yet another soul.
One loud bang and it all seemed completely quiet.
I could see everyone screaming,
But hear nothing,
Everybody running, except me.
Vehicle pulls on like a scared rabbit
I look to the ground,
Lying in his lifeline blood,
So dark like a hole underneath him,
Who is he, is he me?
I think so.
I snap back and look,
Still no black vehicle coming.

J.R., Oregon Youth Authority, Burns, Ore.



(exercise on writing about sleep)

Lying on that brick of a mattress,
I listen to the beats coming from my headphones.
As I close my eyes, I feel the burning, the night shining on the backs of my eyelids like hot coals.
I doze off into la la land,
The music is drowned out by thoughts that lead to dreams.
I’m running away from something I’m not sure of.
I make a huge leap and bound over a fence.
Then I look back and …
I hear the door open, my eyes pop open like a soda can and all is lost.
Reality sets in and my day is just beginning again.
Tonight, another thought, another dream.

D.E., Monroe School, Oregon Youth Authority, Burns, Ore.

(exercise on writing about distinguishing characteristics of yourself)

I’m left-handed.
I can pop my shoulder blades out.
I can do the same with my chest.
I can turn my hand all the way around.
And I can cross one eye and look at you with the other.

J.R., Monroe School, Oregon Youth Authority, Burns, Ore.

Sins of the Father


Sins of the father, greater than the sins of the mother
All she did was to give me away, and then she walked away
Now it’s me who has to pay
No one even gave a shit
Death would’ve been a holy gift.

Cause the beatings were just a game you played
While you were high, you said nothing could go astray
Your art and the traitor state were the only way we got paid
Now your legacy is about to take my life away
You toke your life away
Everything is gone anyway

Now every Russian burning swallow
Takes me closer to that same deathly gallows
Cause I’ve awakened long-asleep demons
And there’s nothing to stop these painful ancient feelings
Drowning is the only thing that’s left to me

Cause the beatings were just a game you played
While you were high, you said nothing could go astray
Your art and the traitor state were the only way we got paid
Now your legacy is about to take my life away
You toke your life away
Everything is gone anyway.

S.M.B., age 21, Oregon Youth Authority, Burns, Ore.


(exercise on love poems)

The feel of your skin
The taste of your lips
The smell of your hair
The shape of your hips
There is nothing bad about you,
You are beauty without flaw,
You are the most beautiful person I have ever seen.

When I am with you, time itself bows down to you.
When we go to the beach, the waves dance in joy
From such a sight,
It takes every ounce of energy in my body
To stop myself from pressing my lips against yours.

The animal inside is crushed by my determination,
Just being around you is good enough for me.
I respect you for who you are.

It is not your physical appearance that captures me,
It is the essence of your soul.

Beauty incarnate, true love.

K.G., Oregon Youth Authority, Burns, Ore.



(love poem exercise)

The moon shines upon the deep blue ocean,
The stars twinkle with their own light,
A pod of dolphins breaches the waves.

Behind them, a school of fish darts through the water.
A seal swims fluidly through the water.
One the beach,
A crab skitters across the sand.
Life is abundant,
And so is love.
The love of the ocean
With its many wonders.
The love of the night sky,
With the glimpse into eternity.

J.G., age 15, Oregon Youth Authority, Burns, Ore.



When I get out here
I’ll come home to you
To see your smiling face
Because I’m in love with you.

N.K.C., age 14, Monroe School, Oregon Youth Authority, Burns, Ore.