The Polar Bear Express
“Five arms stretch out wide
No brains; no blood; velvety
Starfish cling to life.”
“I really like that,” Kiki Coral told her teacher.
“It’s a haiku,” Mrs. Karp explained.
“Five claps for the first line, then seven, then five for the last line.”
“Boring,” Pearl Swamp whispered under her breath. Mrs. Karp peered through her tiny glasses at Pearl, who slid down in her seat.
“Do you think the Rays’ music is boring?” Mrs. Karp asked Pearl.
Pearl sat up straight and tossed her long blond hair behind her shoulder. “Of course not!” The Rays were the most famous boy band in the ocean. They had
sung at Pearl’s last birthday party.
“Did you know that many of the Rays’ songs are poems?” Mrs. Karp said. “Of course, they are different from a haiku.”
“Really?” asked Shelly Siren. Shelly was the only student at Trident Academy who had actually performed with the Rays at Pearl’s party. When their backup singer had gotten sick, Shelly had filled in for her.
Mrs. Karp nodded and surprised her entire third-grade class by singing one of the Rays’ songs.
“Shark, the sharpnose sevengill, lived near to me.
We swam together every day
And became the best of friends.
Then someone told Shark he should eat me.
And now I miss him terribly
But our friendship had to end.
Shark, the sharpnose sevengill, lived near to me.
I’ll always treasure our friendship
And hope someday he’ll see
That sharks and merfolks can be friends.
One day it will be.
But until that day, I guess I’ll say
Shark, I miss you still.”
Pearl rolled her eyes, but most of the class tapped their tails in time to Mrs. Karp’s voice. When she finished, everyone clapped except Pearl.
“That was totally amazing!” Echo Reef said.
Mrs. Karp grinned and took a little bow. “What do you think about poems now?” she asked Pearl.
Pearl shrugged. “I guess some poems are pretty wavy.”
“I think poems should be silly,” Rocky Ridge said before singing to the class in a funny voice:
“Food fights can be fun.
Especially at lunchtime.
Splat! Right in the face!”
Rocky acted out the splat and fell onto the floor.
Mrs. Karp hid her smile behind her hand, but Kiki couldn’t help laughing just a little. “That was very creative,” Mrs. Karp told Rocky, “but I hope you don’t plan to have a real food fight.”
Rocky shook his head, but Kiki noticed the grin on his face. Kiki knew Rocky would love to throw anything, especially food.
“You’ve given me a wonderful idea,” Mrs. Karp told Rocky. “Everyone will write their own poem for our next class assignment. It can be a haiku or a song or whatever type you’d like. We’ll talk about other kinds of poems in class tomorrow.”
Pearl frowned at Rocky. “Thanks a lot!” she snapped. “More homework!”