Student Poem

The Windowsill


In a great blue house there is a woman
looking at the ocean
As if strings are holding her back
and the windowsill is as far as she can go.

She wishes she could feel the cold sea,
let the cold ocean breeze touch her,
walk over sharp rocks
avoiding cuts in her feet.

She wants to feel the grass tickle her,
to see the big evergreen trees,
to smell the ocean,
to be a part of it.
But the strings are holding her back
and the windowsill is as far as she can go.

She wishes to swim away in her daydream as a fish.
She wants to cut those strings,
break the window,
and fly away free as a bird.
Away to her wishes in the sea.



“The Windowsill” was written this year by Lucy, a fifth grader at Whittier Elementary in Seattle. Lucy worked with Writers in the Schools writer Erin Malone, who visited Lucy’s classroom many times over the course of several months with challenging and engaging poetry lessons. “The Windowsill” is an ekphrastic poem, written in response to  Edward Hopper’s painting, “Cape Cod Morning.”

For examples of WITS poetry lessons and poetry by students, please peruse the WITS Blog.


Erin Malone

And Then


In the windows we were drawn:
I held my knobby baby
in dawn’s automotive light.
A fleet of cars sailed by
as school-kids stomped their boots
shook their shiny coats.
I put my baby in a basket.
We slept in fits & as the weather
turned we started to grow older.

I bounced him hobbledy-hoy, hobbledy-hoy!
I wound my wobbly bumpkin
& in the garden
let him go. We went in circles.
This is the way the farmers ride.
Another year. Another.
I lost count of worn-out shoes.
Bees came to the flowers of his ears.
His hair got long.

Around us red leaves
lettered to the ground &
I became a tree.
I swung my boy like a bell
by his knees. His mouth
made the shape of a song.
Where had he heard it?
I listened to the tune.
This was not a song I’d known.


Erin Malone’s poems have appeared in journals such as FieldBeloit Poetry JournalPOOL and online at Verse Daily. Her chapbook, What Sound Does It Make, won the Concrete Wolf Award in 2007. The recipient of grants from Washington’s Artist Trust, 4Culture and the Colorado Council of the Arts, she has taught writing at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, Richard Hugo House in Seattle, and at the University of Washington Rome Center in Italy. Currently she teaches poetry in Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools program.