Olympic View Elementary: Poetry and Song 2018-19

In the Spring of 2019 we completed a new poetry and song project with 4th and 4th/5th graders at Olympic View Elementary in Maple Leaf, to create original poetry and turn it into songs in musical genres of the students’ choice.

First Jack Straw poet Vicky Edmonds worked with five classes of students in Ms. Boveng, Mr. Kreiter, Ms. Maiani, Ms. Mahlik, and Ms. Phillips’s classrooms to write original poetry on a variety of themes. Then musicians JR Rhodes, Salome MC, and Damiano Unique created five original hip-hop, electronic, and pop songs based on the students’ poetry. Once they’d read the poems, the musicians visited the students with music teacher Jaron Smith to collaborate on themes, words, and melodies. Then they returned to teach the finished songs to the students. Students practiced their songs with their classroom teachers and Jaron. Finally, each class visited the studio at Jack Straw to record their song with the musicians and Jack Straw engineers Daniel Guenther, Joel Maddox, and Ayesha Ubayatilaka. The project culminates with this web page of audio, video, photos and poetry. Enjoy!

Selected Poetry from Ms. Boveng’s class
Sometimes When I’m Disappointed …

I can be like a volcano erupting lava out of the world,
but I can try to be like a calm mountain
rising up to the stars to see things in a different perspective.

I can be like a windstorm blowing all the people that try to help me away.
But I want to be like a sunny day shining on people and making them happy.

I can be like big waves crashing against the rocks
crushing everything in its path,
but I can try to be like ripples in the water touching everything lightly
without hurting a single soul.

I can be like a thunderstorm throwing lightning at everyone,
but I want to be like a starry night sky, calm and quiet.

I can be like a rainstorm washing away all the people on earth.
But I can try to be like the sun gleaming through your open window.

Out of chaos comes new life, and out of life, comes love.

Selected Poetry from Mr. Kreiter’s class
Invisible Beauties, Loyalty, and Buckets 

My loyalty is like the sun that comforts you and rises your spirit.
My care is like a mat, when you fall, I’ll catch you.

My love sings, it sings louder than all the hatred and sadness of the world,
washing the bad feelings away and giving people the chance to love.

My loyalty is like a strong warrior fighting off your fear, sadness and pain
and spreading light into your darkness.

My loyalty is like a simple bridge over a glassy lake that leads you to me,
bracing itself against the shores of the lake as to not shatter the thin ice
that captures loneliness.

My loyalty is like a purple rope connecting us and tying our secrets, making it impossible for us to lose each other.

My friendship is an unbreakable bond,
a strong rope connecting me to my friend
and making sure neither one of us ever lets go.
– Liliana

Selected Poetry from Ms. Mahlik’s class
Respect Poems: When I Look Deeper


When I look deeper, I can see that you are like hot chocolate trying to make people warm, and you get better and better at being sweet.
– Ninjin

When I look deeper, I can see that you are like a bird
soaring in the sky, and even though I barely get to see you, I love it when you soar back to us.
– Jolie

When I look deeper into you, I can see that you are like a firefly lighting my way to what I can accomplish, and you are a dragon warrior protecting her young ones.

When I look deeper, I can see that you are like a book
trying to be read, but nobody wants to and you get angry. But I’ll read you!

When I look deeper, I can see that you are like a universe that just gave light to a star while trying to find cures for cancer, and I will give you some space when you need it.

When I look deeper, I can see that you are like a brick that got damaged once . . .
but don’t worry, I brought some cement to heal you . . .

Selected Poetry from Ms. Maiani’s class

My family is like the universe.
My mom is like the sun because she brightens my day up when I’m sad.
My sister is like the satellite because she’s the smartest person I’ve ever met.
My older sister is like the moon because she always brings light when it’s too dark.
And I am like the black sky, because I hold my family together.

My family is like a tree.
My mom is like the roots holding me and my dad up and giving us enough food.
My dad is like the bark that protects me and my mom from the bad things.
And I am like the leaves and branches reaching for new things and sprouting new ideas!

My friends and I are like a robot.
My friend Harrison is like the head because he always looks out for all the good things to do.
My friend Davis is like the arms because he always welcomes you to play with him.
My friend Abrielle is like the heart because she is caring and always kind and respectful.
My friend Petra is like the eyes because she always sees a way to make things great.
And I am like the brain because I am always storing the best memories to share again and again

My family is like a big hot bowl of soup.
My mom is like the broth because she is always giving us hugs and warming our hearts up.
My sister is like the bowl always holding us together.
My little brother is like the toppings always floating and making us laugh.
And I am like the spoon scooping us up and holding us tight, never wanting to let go.

My family is like a dragonfly.
My dad Ahmed is like the wings because he keeps us strong.
My mom Najah is like the eyes because she is always looking out for us.
My brother Imran is like the colors because he is always keeping us calm.
My sister Yasmin is like the body because she is always holding us tight.
And I am like the tail always helping us go to the right path.

Selected Poetry from Ms. Phillips’s class
Self Control

When I feel out of control, I feel like a tornado swirling around a city and vacuuming it up.
But when I take a bath I can just relax, and I feel like an open sky
because there are endless possibilities again.

When I feel out of control, I feel like an explosion destroying everything I see.
But when I draw my feelings in my form of drawing, I feel like I’m calming down and watching everything I destroyed recreated.

When I feel out of control, I feel like I want to
turn into a fire and burn a house down.
But when I remember that dance that I loved,
all the footsteps, and being with my dance friends,
I feel like the blue ocean waving off softly again.

When I feel out of control, I feel like a volcano blasting lava on everything,
but when I draw I let the pencil do the blasting.

When I feel sad, I feel like a rainy day making a flood.
But when I take naps, I feel like a sunny day again.

When I feel out of control, it feels like I’m being struck by lightning,
getting electrocuted every second.
But when I scream into a pillow I feel better.
It suddenly stops and I feel like I’m laying in warm, soft sand.

This project was produced by Jack Straw Cultural Center and Olympic View Elementary School with the generous support of the Olympic View PTA, Jubilation Foundation Fund of Tides Foundation, the Washington State Arts Commission, and individual contributors.





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