Five Poems About Children and School

The Auditorium

the auditorium at Hawkins Street,
wooden floors black with age
wooden chairs lined from A to U,
hard as winter air
looking on approvingly,
to the distant right and left,
living souls appear to shine
in Washington and Lincoln's eyes,
looking on as if we've gone back in time,
seem as if they are still alive,
while Beethoven plays chords of blue,
deep and dark as morning autumn's dew,
the player's face and hands
as black as night,
as Africa's Masai;
children numbered one to ten
rehearse their parts
upon a lifted stage
as the teacher looks upon their play
and corrects the things
they are trying to say;
violins, one, two and three
resting on the children's knees
waiting for the moment patiently
when their turn on the stage will be
it reminds me
of School # 2,
with Mrs. Rose and Mrs. Ruben
a starry gift she gave to me
a starry map- a timeless thing
a treasured gift I kept with me
though forty years had passed between
when thinking of this with teary eyes
the stars of heaven seem to shine.
Hawkins Street Elementary School, Newark, NJ

The Kid from PS 22
Ketchup all over his fingers
Jam all over his face
Ice cream all over his lap
Hair all out of place
Sliding down the banister
Singing till he's blue
Wondering what he's going to be
The kid from PS 22

A child is not a toy
If you think you can have a child
so you can enjoy
better think twice,
a child is not a toy;
Clothes, food, school and toys
you can buy-
so they can enjoy;
you can take them to the park
eat ice cream and popcorn
with your girl and boy;
You can see them smile,
when they receive all of those things,
but if you really want to make them happy
to their heart you have to cling;
And to be truly successful-
give them lots and lots of love,
because it is the very best thing.
maria flores

the color of flowers
Can be white,
can be blue,
can be purple
and pink too,
can be red,
or yellow instead
how many colors
were those flowers,
made with love-
made for you?
maria flores

conversations with olivia
Why am I so very ugly
why does no one care
why does everyone tell me
they wish I was not there
why did I come on this earth
when every day's a chore
why can not I leave this place
and be gone forever more-
-you're not at all ugly my friend
your face is sculpted fine
if I ever had a little girl
I'd wish that you were mine
they told me as much
when I was a girl
I found it was not true
there's so much beauty in your face
be glad that you are you.

For children suffering in some way, the children of Newark had this message:
Do not Give Up, Keep Your Dreams Alive, Do not Give Up Hope, Keep
Going, Have Courage, Keep Hope Alive. Ann Street Elementary School