A Knox County Almanac

Power of the Pen: Middle School Student Poetry


On May 10, 2019, Mount Vernon Middle School students participated in the school's first ever Service Day, offering their assistance throughout our community. The Philander Chase Conservancy and Kokosing Nature Preserve were pleased to host students from the school's Power of the Pen team as well as their coach, Rebecca Cronk. We thank them for sharing their nature-oriented creative writing with us! 

To jump to poems by an individual student, please select their name: Emily Hammond | Sarah Misarti | Ally | Danni | Julie King | Hannah Hofferberth | Addy SteinmetzMateo Pechon-Elkins | Rachel Ruth | Nick Grega | Sophia Zoldak | Tiffany Marchio

The songs of angels
the chirps of birds

Ring around the rosie with sparrows,
Hokey pokey with blue Jays

A breath in
a simple tune out

Magpies and crows
blackbirds and finches


By Emily Hammond

The grass envelops me as I sit at the base of a tree. My mother's tree, as I've come to call it.
Her grave may be off by the pond, half a mile away, but her soul is here, in this tree.

The birdsongs surround us, comforting in a bittersweet way. Mom is dead, life goes on. But she
isn't dead, she's here — in this tree, in these birds, in the clouds above my head. I don't know
where her consciousness, her memories, her body has gone, but her life is not gone. It has
come to a crescendo.

By Emily Hammond

The Spring

The wind blows
The birds sing
This is the sound of the sweet song of spring

By Sarah Misarti

Gone But Not Forgotten

The sound of her voice travels through the prairie
A calm whisper or gentle sorrow.
The grass rustles in the wind
They may be gone but their spirits live

By Sarah Misarti

Birds chirp,
River flows into the lake,
Flowers for miles
Flowing in the wind,
Green grass is the only break in the colours

By Ally

Small stones scatter around
Each with a story
Prairie freshly burnt
The trees surround us,
A flood of nature

By Ally

The Fallen Tree

If a mighty tree hits the ground,
If nobody is around,
Does it ever hit the ground?
Does it ever make a sound?

The bladed grass hears the sound.
The sound of a wall crashing down
Only to be push past and overcome
The fallen tree makes a sound

The flying bird hears the sound.
The sound of inconvenience.
New nests and food sources need to be found.
The fallen tree makes a sound.

A human passerby hears the sound
Though the tree has long since hit the ground.
Over the fallen path, there’s one thing that he knows.
The fallen tree does make a sound.

By Danni

The Dandelion

The dandelion sits
As the wind
Moves mountains

The dandelion sits
As the grass
Grows brown and tired

The dandelion sits
As the sky
Opens and wails

The dandelion sits
As the east bird sings
On the east bird’s wings

The dandelion sits
As the deer
With no fear
Takes his last breath
For all to hear

It sits through it all
The trees fall
And the meadows call

The dandelion sits
As the wind
Moves mountains

By Julie King

Wandering to Sleep

She wanders
Fingertips grazing
The thin blades of grass

Her feet padding
On plush green

She wanders
Her eyes ease their way
Across the picture

Heart pumping
Comfortingly leading
To where she will lay

A patch of green
Has been removed
From where
She will stay

She smiles
Of what to say

She climbs in
Her eyelids growing
The night swallowing the day

Her fingers no longer grazing
Feet no longer padding and
Her eyes no longer moving
As she went to sleep
With the dead

By Julie King

A Stream’s Narrow Path

Ripples suffuse the
meandering stream
gurgling and coursing over
bumps of mud
little logs
ancient leaves weighed down by the
crystal water above

By Hannah Hofferberth

A Fish in the Afterlife

Its body
scaled and crippled
in a pile of bubbly froth
Its glassy eyes
The fish rests
on the still water

By Hannah Hofferberth

Note: The poems below are tankas, a Japanese poetic genre consisting of five lines, the first and third of which have five syllables and the others seven, making 31 syllables in all, and giving a complete picture of an event or mood.

The Downed Tree

A strong, whipping wind
the leathery tree wobbles
loses its balance
crashes, moaning, to the ground
sprawling out many a branch

One Boasting Tree

A forest of green
branches heavy with huge leaves
A singular tree
flourishing with white blossoms
standing out against the green

A Peaceful Grave

The private hollow
The birds twitter a sad song
Soft grass rustling
Only a small etched stone shows
that a loved one lies beneath

By Hannah Hofferberth

After They’re Gone

The trees of the woods all stand tall
They can only watch as their friend falls
They miss him dearly
Memories of him they see so clearly
Knew him when he was a sapling
To the day he went crashing
Don’t want to forget good times together
Or they may lose him forever
Instead of wishing he survived
They’re just happy he was once alive

By Addy Steinmetz

Yellow Flower

Among the dull green grass
One flower stands out
Bright as the shining sun
Joyful as a hopping bunny
Peaceful as a sleeping puppy
Sweet as a bee’s honey

By Addy Steinmetz


Tree trunks sprouting from the grasshopper green grass
Grows up
The branches reach out from the trunks
Clawing at the air
Reaching for nothing
But still something

By Addy Steinmetz

Edge of the forest,
With long years of age it falls,
It returns to dirt.

Stream deep in the woods,
The water flows swift and fast.
Sunlight streams through clear.

The silent water.
Ripples across the pond.
Quiet reverie.

The water strider,
Struggles against the current,
to a place called home.

The nature around,
Trees, grass, and flowers will grow,
The cool air blows along.

On the grassy hill.
A lone figure sits, silent
Observing nature.

By Mateo Pechon-Elkins

Nature Is

Nature is calm, cool, and collected
Nature is harsh, wild, and free
Nature is moss and lichen climbing up the tree
Nature is rough winds blowing through the prairie
Nature is spring flowers poking their heads up out of the soil
Nature is fire eating up the prairie grasses
Nature is ripples drifting through the pond
Nature is the crack of lightning striking nearby
Nature is out there, waiting for you
Go find it.

By Rachel Ruth


Small twigs break under my boots.
I can hear an owl’s hoot.
I see trees held down by roots.
Next to young and green grass shoots.

The air here is so fresh and pure.
It blows through trees with soft murmurs.
Grass carpets the ground like fur.
With goldenrod, lilac, and burrs.

Gentle birdsong fills the air.
With blackbirds swooping everywhere.
Robins watch their young with loving care.
Males sing their song with prideful flair.

Yellow dandelions are in bloom.
Tall plants are like bristles on a broom.
Songbirds dance like a wedding’s bride and groom.
Prairies are fabric from Nature’s loom.

By Nick Grega


Above are heads the Vulture flies.
Silently patrolling the lonely skies.

Searching only for its next meal.
It looks for a carcass to steal.

Without this bird, the land would be filled
With the bodies of the killed.

So next time that you see this bird,
Give him the thanks that he deserves.

By Nick Grega

Tree leaves flutter like thousands of butterflies.
Nature is a second heaven in my eyes.

Clovers, like tiny palm trees,
Vibrate softly in the breeze.

Lilacs omit their sweet scent.
Gray clouds cover us like a tent.

I see grass seeds sticking to my shoes,
And blackbirds flying about in twos.

They sing their song for all to hear.
In the land we hold most dear.

By Nick Grega

The Wind and the Goldenrods

Quiet fields
Golden buds.
In the wind.

The glimmering
Not an odd

tears through

Pollen flies
Birds sing
Goldenrod stays.

By Sophia Zoldak


In the shadow of a cloud
In the shadow of a doubt

Shadows cascade
Down the dark

There is peace
Quiet sensitivity


had fallen

The last golds,

Shadows bend

Birds sing
their midnight song

There are no barriers

Simply outstretched

In the shadow of a cloud
In the shadow of a doubt

Never ending

Night’s beauty

Soon to be
But for now,

By Sophia Zoldak


Does it not matter where one comes from?
Not one of city or barn,
but one of nature.

One of tall trees
A dark, grey-wooded

A natural diversity.
Something one needs in life.

One of quiet fields
Lush, ever-going
Wild daisies.

Natural tranquility.
Something one needs in life.

One of raging rivers.
Grey and blue, pebble-bottomed

A natural sanctuary.
Something one needs in life.

By Sophia Zoldak

Water Droplets

Found astray

A single blade of grass.

11 tiny pancakes
Visible to human eye.

The clover next door
only five
or four

Lost from the pack.

The storm moves

the droplets stay.

By Sophia Zoldak


It rages

Licking up any life
that gets in its way

Like a deadly sunrise
It moves

Golds and deep shades of red and yellow

There is no sun,
only grey


It runs

Quickly out-pacing

They reach for the

There is no more.
It’s gone.


Many lives lost
in an outnumbered battle
They would never win.

The fields

Scorched land.

A new world,

Cleaning old wounds

The new will rise

By Sophia Zoldak

The Lonely Tree

The lonely tree is wise
But she doesn’t have anyone to see

The lonely tree loves birds
But they have other places to be

The lonely tree sheds leaves
Like teardrops from my eyes
But nobody hears the lonely tree
When she stands alone and cries

The lonely tree doesn’t understand
Why her friends were all taken away
Or why in their place is a store
Open 24 hours a day

That’s all I have to say
Maybe if her friends were still there
She wouldn’t feel this way

By Tiffany Marchio

If I Were A Tree

If I were a tree
I would want to be tall
With bird and squirrel friends
And no worries at all

If I were a tree
I would want to live long
So when the wind blew through my branches
You could remember my sweet song

If I were a tree
I wouldn’t know what to do
With all of the trees disappearing
I wonder if you’ll cut me down too.

By Tiffany Marchio

Sing Me To Sleep

I could sleep outside
With the grass as my bed
As the sweet birds sing me to sleep
There lullabies stuck in my head

If I could keep outside
I would cherish it always
The population is growing
Not everything stays

If I could say goodbye
To all of the outside before I go
I would tell it "I will save you.
That is one thing you should know."

By Tiffany Marchio

Mother Nature

The wait before the storm
The cold before the warm

The birds swooping down
The grass upon the ground

The prettiest thing in the room
A flower beginning to bloom

The wind through branches
The leaves fell before they landed

The Moon before the Sun
The anticipation,The fun

The wonderful amazing her
The creatures of Mother Nature

By Tiffany Marchio

Beneath The Cherry Tree

The beautiful songs of the birds
Lull me to sleep as a sense of peace
Is swept over me.

The grass engulfs me in a warm embrace
As the tall cherry tree above me sways its branches

Tranquility is a gift
That nature seems to give
I drift to sleep with the feeling
That I am finally home

By Tiffany Marchio