Off the Coast, Maine's International Poetry Journal

Youth Poetry & Art


for sam beaumont

may devour remnants
of the twenty-five year home you constructed
from dense clay
and ashes,

but they could never consume
earl's howl in the cherokee wind
nor his swallowtail dreamcatching prayers
in the meadows
of indian blankets.

and when you find yourself
back at that arkansas dock
where you unearthed love,
look up into the heavens
and discern earl
square-dancing with clouds.
awaiting the decrescendo
in the sun
to still-dance with his beau
accompanied by sustained pedals
as God engraves the final words
into the monumental coda.

—Braden Root, Lindale, TX

Youth Poet


I watch her, her small bare feet
pitter-patter on the pine wood floor,
laughing in sheer delight
at seeing us, her uncles.
She has an infectious laugh
making everyone around her smile.
Waving her strong little arms
she sings old McDonald
over and over again
and for some reason the animal is always
a duck.
I don't want her to grow up
and lose that lively energy
that we all need around us
something so big inside someone so small.

—William J. Clementson, Belfast, ME

Back to top

Farewell Geese

A brisk wind flutters through the leaves
on a cold autumn morning.

I gaze up at my breath
swirling its way up to join the clouds

last night I heard the rain on the roof
and the howling wind
while I lay in my bed
like a bear in its winter den
warm and drowsy

this morning I heard no usual chorus
of joyful bird song
just a lonely chickadee
hopping from branch to branch
in a brave attempt to keep warm

I hear the honking of geese
and look up
to see a dozen large birds
flapping over the few rays of light
begging to arch over the sky
"Goodbye geese!" I shout
they don't hear me
but it doesn't matter.
They'll be back.

—Cori Shooter, age 11, is a homeschooler from Monroe, ME

Back to top

Wolf, by Hila Shooter, age 15, Monroe, ME

Back to top


I don't wanna dissolve
like the lichens between
cracks in sidewalks
like a thoughtless sugar cube
dropped with a
to be swirled to its end
in a vortex of Columbian blend.
the morning newspaper said it was
gonna rain
you better get out your umbrellas
it said
but not me
I take no umbrella on these
rainy days
I find it far more romantic
and dramatic
to make my entrance
clothes clutching at me...
hair mopping at my eyes...
my smile like Sunshine...
I'll be Sunshine
for this water will not be my end-
far better to be drenched
than to be dissolved into earth
like one more umbrella
waiting without hope to be
claimed in a church foyer somewhere

—Shannon Kelly is a junior at Pius X High School in Lincoln, Nebraska.


Science would have me believe
that I am a product of how much
my mom ate while she carried me around
9 months in my warm dark world
but I like to think
that I've helped create the
you see now
That the dreadful weeks of
finals put some strength on my shoulders,
And that long library days
and late nights by the buzzing light
spent memorizing those silly little words beneath the pictures
in my beat-up textbook
were something
that those were my thoughts
running through my mind
That was my idea to send around a
sign-up sheet
That this poem wasn't the result of
a heaping pile of

—Shannon Kelly is a junior at Pius X High School in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Back to top

Poem by Liam Lawson

Poem, Liam Lawson, age 7, Edenton, NC

Back to top

And a poem for a young audience...

What do squirrels do when it rains?

What do squirrels do when it rains?
They wear enormous yellow hats
In case it rains down dogs and cats
And if it rains more than an hour
They take a squeaky, soapy shower
And wash and comb their fluffy tails
And trim their little fingernails
They rinse their socks in pea soup bowls
And pick out all the ones with holes
They hang their laundry from a line
That's tied to a No Parking sign
They scrub the bottoms of their feet
And line their boots up in the street
They sew big buttons on their coats
And pack umbrellas in their totes
They pull their kitchen curtains in
And fasten them with a safety pin
Then down their little windows slam
While all the squirrels shout Bam! Bam!
And when they've finished every chore
They ride their tricycles to the store
With shiny pennies in each fist
And Mrs. Squirrel's shopping list
They ask the man for bread and cheese
And don't forget their Thanks and Please"
Then running up the nearest gutter
They stuff their cheeks with peanut butter
And sliced white bread and purple jam
'Til someone shouts, "Who's full? I am!"

So, laughing in their squeaky way
The squirrels run away to play
And, having no one to remind them
Leave a royal mess behind them
They tuck their mittens in their sleeves
And skitter past the neighbors' eaves
Then jump right off into the trees
And sometimes fall and skin their knees
But climb right back to jump once more
With jays and sparrows keeping score
At sundown, when the day is done
Those squirrels still have lots of fun
They catch the rain that's dripping still
And laughing, drink their squirrelly fill
And stomp in puddles just because
And splash in mud up to their paws
And when they've had enough of that
Each one tries on another's hat
And one by one they yawn and say
There's nothing like a rainy day
Then Mrs. Squirrel shakes her head
And As she tucks each into bed
Says, weren't you naughty, sleepyhead.

—Judith Mesch, Brooklyn, New York

Back to top