News From Writers in the Schools (WITS)
Every child has unique stories, and our writers help young people find creative ways to tell them. Involving youth in the magic of sharing their experience through language fosters a lifelong understanding of, and passion for, writing and reading.
The Cabin’s Writers in the Schools (WITS) program places professional writers into school classrooms and community settings in Idaho to engage students in the power and pleasure of language. The following represent recent writings from selected WITS locations.
I Met Starry
In the moon's spotlight I met Starry.
We were on a mountain
Made out of diamonds. I asked him
Why he glows so bright. He said,
"Because I am so bright
I asked, "Why are you so bright?"
Starry said, "Because I think before I do."
But I knew from the blue, sparkly diamonds
That this was a peaceful, calm
April flies in like a butterfly
and washes dirt and bugs on the
streets. Tulips bloom the colors pink,
yellow, and red. Red cherries blossom on
trees. Birds sing and bees come out.
She goes out the same she
Passing through the border of Oregon and Idaho
Cows brush slowly against the alfalfa.
No match for the glimmering sun
Which indents color in the dew-bathed grass.
The essence of being
In a human-dead place
Enhances the happiness of traveling long.
Light red leaves
On the stammering trees
Flying in the breeze.
Little brown squirrels chipper in the road
Making a lot of noise
Like that of a toad.
My heart skips a beat
When I see the beautiful summer sky
It makes me want to fly.
I want no more
Than the flower plastered floor of the earth's outer core.
And then I wonder
In such a curious way,
What if I never leave
And always have to stay,
But the motor kept running
And the car kept moving.
Too bad I can't see that sight again
From going to Oregon.
A Night Under the Sea
On a rainy night
under the sea
I met Bizarre
Oh he seemed
vicious and cruel
"And why are
you so mean
in this very
I lost my first
And his face
and the place
and when I
Bizarre was gone.
Hailey Ayn Huffield
My parents think my name means gracious
I think my name means hope.
It means a lion not knowing when to pounce on the world.
It’s the wind where everyone knows where it is but
no one can see it.
I was named after my mom’s friend in high school.
She was quiet, calm and always trying to learn something new.
But I never got to meet her,
for before I was born she moved to Wyoming
and got a job as a dentist.
When people say my name it sounds like
a red pepper is stuck at the back of their throat.
Hailey Ayn. It should sound like a
butterfly flying on a sunny day through a park.
My name may sound like a normal
name to you.
But to me it sound like the ocean
pushing on some rocks near my grandmother’s
You should keep your name if it’s special,
you could throw it away if it’s meaningless.
But to me my name is as graceful
as the moon and sun itself,
so for that I would keep my name now
and forever more.
In the late fall
A tree is being tickled by a squirrel.
Leaves dive like helicopters to the ground.
A tree in the distance stretches after
the weight of its leaves has been lifted.
A deformed pumpkin is crying as he sits
waiting for a home.
Scarecrows bow to the corn as the
The wind lets its cries flow
through valleys and mountains.
Leaves race to see who can get
to the ground the fastest. A turkey wonders where
his family went. An evergreen thinks of how warm
he’s going to be tonight.
Near my house in Kuna, Idaho, I watched
my cousin drive away.
A chill came across from the winter that was approaching.
I walked by the electric fence
that kept my neighbors' horses from escaping.
One came close and I petted it, then I noticed the sun
slowly circling the earth.
I was heading to go inside when the trees rattled like snakes,
I soon found myself being lifted in the air.
The horse grabbed me by the collar and flung me
around like a rock-fall down a mountain.
There was lightning going through me.
My brother stood awe struck with his jaw wide open.
My cousin rushed to me and
yanked me away from the horse.
I tried to stand but I was in too much of a daze.
My cousin leaned over me with eyes
full with water.
I looked at my brother
with his jaw down to his knees.
I realized that I could have exploded
from the bolts of electricity I felt.
I believe that miracles can happen.
That someday my brother Chris is going to walk
run and play with his friends and our family.
That someday we will have no wars, fight, and killing.
We will live in peace and silence.
That people won’t judge people by
color, race, religion or social status.
Chris was born and doctor’s said
there’s no hope for him, he’s not going
to walk at all. Only the doctors didn’t
count on a miracle, and Chris lived and walks.
“That’s impossible,” the doctors
said, but now he’s nine years old.
Nothing is impossible,
in this I believe
I would like my head egg shaped,
My eyes big and hazel,
My nose like a white button,
My hair straight and medium length,
Brown with blonde streaks,
My lips big,
My ears pierced,
Three on one side, two on the other.
I would like to be on a basketball court,
Holding an orange basketball.
I would like my family and friends around me.
I want a pink tank top and light blue jeans,
Brown flip flops also.
My body short and thin.
My face is important:
I want a smile,
My eyes to twinkle.
You may sign your name on the orange basketball.
My Dream Book
I am back home,
In a small country town
Called Sweet, Idaho.
It is dusk,
The sky is turning
Shades of pink, purple,
The horses are
In lush, green meadow
Running around, kicking and
Biting each other,
I am with my family.
We are all happy,
Sitting in the front lawn
Watching the sun set
And the horse in the meadow.
Our three chocolate labs:
Hershey, Chase, and Mousse,
Are lying in the grass
By our feet.
All of a sudden
The birds start chirping,
And I can hear the creek
Roaring with the water from
The melted snow.
As the light fades away
And the full moon appears
The stars come out
All shiny and bright.
The coyotes start to howl
The same lovely song as the night before
I am home again.
Anger Comes Haunting
Her hair so soft,
And complexly twined.
Cold and dark.
She wails sorrowfully
As she hangs in her rotted prison.
Her black dress hangs loosely down,
Torn, dusty, and ragged.
She takes all she sees
And gives nothing back.
She stalks in the moonless night,
Waiting until her moment.
She springs upon us,
Her clawed hands outstretched.
A snarling war cry,
Escapes her pointed teeth.
As long as time,
She has lived.
Although, she is reborn
In every victim.
When I was about four
Someone similar to me,
Almost like a twin with only one emotion,
Came to me and whispered in my ear,
"Stare at your dad.
Tell him to stay."
I told her that I didn't want him to.
She whispered yet again, "I know."
I stood in the bathroom years later,
Wondering whether my mom or dad was right.
Or if either of them were right at all.
I was confused as it was, but she just had to come.
She whispered in my ear
Making me remember all of their mistakes.
It only rattled my brain more.
Then I turned on the shower
so no one could hear me cry.
How to See Writing
forget calligraphy classes
go off in a tree
on a warm summer’s day.
Lonely and cold
in the dead of winter
indulge your spirits with a
warm cup of imagination.
Infuse your thoughts
until you become a story
in a book, or an article in the newspaper.
Immerse yourself in the everlasting ink of the pen.
Wrap yourself in the thick, yellow paper.
Let your imagination run wild as you grip the leash
and wait to be dragged.
The toys sit in the corner like lonely forgotten souls. The books crammed on the tiny shelf like people in an elevator. The beds are like three separate jungles. The desk sits, a mountain covered in snow. Under the bed is like a monster’s den. My space is a protected place. Only I am allowed there. The vent is loud, like the growling of a bear. The smell in the air is like the sweet flowers of spring. Everything in my room is telling me get used to it. It is your own.
Where I’m From
I’m from the dirt roads
the old rusty machinery full
of scary animals. I’m from
a fatherless past, and a sorrowful home.
I’m from the one and only
crowded bed. I’m from the moving
truck that never seemed to stop,
the many homes that all seem a blur.
I’m from a place where a pair of shoes
must last all year round, all of the hole-filled
pants patched with bright colors.
I’m from the one night
when my mom met my step-dad
and I finally had a male
influence. I’m from a place
where we finally had enough
money to buy name-brand cereal.
I’m from a place that was scary, but I called it home,
a place where I lost my father and moved
too many times. I’m from a place I hope I never go to
A day of swinging
off the rope and into
the lake. Doing flips and whirls
as an acrobat would do. But now the magician
has made him disappear.
Left on the shore, with the aura
of darkness engulfing you, like a
candle dying out. It truly is
a blessing. Time is now ending
as you gaze at the falling stars.
The trees are old
And mysterious white
The elderly tree’s beard of
Bark white with age
Spreading their branches like a whisper
in the wind providing life
The trees of white
provide a home for birds
of it breathable and beautiful
The elderly trees stretch high
like a mountain expressing
their superiority and masculinity
The elderly tree trunks
for they are forever growing.
The trees of white
are mangled and beautiful
as if they were a piece of Picasso’s work.
The trees of white reach for the sky
tickling the clouds with many fingers
The elderly trees so wise and so tall
whisper to you
in an eerie way
The trees of white
shiver in the wind for
they are bare until summer
The elderly trees are
surly smart and wise
for they’ve been watching
us for many years.
I’m from broken hearts
and never giving up
A restless soul
My dad working countless hours
at the place we all love (Pizza Hut)
I’m from you’re only as good as
your worst player,
and love is all a family has
I’m from a home that never got nowhere,
but still is a great life
I’m from “Stop fighting,” and “No more yelling,” and
Not being able to pick a TV show or a radio station
I’m from a divorce that still isn’t good,
from changing places and making nothing.
I’m from a roller coaster life
so many turns, no way is right
I’m from a small family
with a big heart.
Ode to Katrina
When I turned fourteen
I got a long, cardboard box.
Not just a cardboard box,
it had bubble wrap in it.
Right off my sister was afraid
it might be a mummified child.
But I knew what you were
the moment I saw you.
You were Katrina.
I took you upstairs, and I hung
you on my wall
next to my sword just above
the pile of skulls on my desk.
I spread out your mighty fabric
wings, translucent and dark,
and spread your long, bony toes.
I gave your hairy scalp a pat,
stuck my finger in your gaping maw.
You didn’t bite.
You were a good one.
At first, when I turned of the light,
I was afraid.
But I got over it.
Now you keep all the other demons
out of my room, because my
room ain’t big enough for more than one.
Some future day, I hope to show you to
my girlfriend, if I ever have one. Then she’ll
look at you and hug you, and we’ll
get married. I wish I could show you to my
whole class. Then they’d know how cool I was.
How to Ride
Forget your cars,
Forget your phones,
Forget your friends
And the world they live in.
Listen to the quiet
Listen to the soft
Listen for the purity and
Innocence that has been
Lost and overrun by the
Need to progress.
Smell the sweet alfalfa hay
Smell the sweet breath
Of the horse.
Smell the musky and
Dry smell of leather
And horse sweat.
Feel the four hooves
Connect with the Earth
in a steady, lazy pattern.
Feel every other gait
all feet come off the
Ground and it feels like
Link your body with the
Rocking, comforting movements.
Move with the animal.
Feel how they move,
When they move.
Know when they
How they go.
Listen to the steady
Watch the intelligent
Know what he is
Encourage him to
Encourage him to
Ride the spirit,
Ride the heart.
Ride the soul,
Ride and feel as
One with the
Just get on and
Ride the Horse.
Ode to Bulls
An ode to bulls because without them
I wouldn't know what to do with my
life, and when you ride a bull it's
like everything wild and free in
the world is in the palm of your hand.
And it seems like everything disappears
and it's just you and the bull. You're not
trying to break its spirit. You're just
trying to stay with it jump for jump. It feels
really good. And through all the blood
and the hurt, you always walk out
of the arena a new man with
pride and respect.
We used to skate and drive around
and we didn’t have to worry
we met at that step and swam the summer away
all the stuff we did that year
we never thought it would go wrong
and now you’re in the ground
I miss when we would pass out under
a tree without any leaves
and we met that guy with a truck
and now you’re far way.
We celebrated your life, partied it up
like you would have
lots of loud music and skaters everywhere
all I can see when I think of the night
you’re in the bed of the truck
looking toward the light
and the truck flipped once, twice, three times
see you there dead on the ground
hearing my heart poundpoundpound
I saw another friend under the truck
his face all gone
but for the scream him still alive
suffering in his arms
in a moment everything was gone
I thought of your mom, her face
I never wanted to be in her place
Remember when you used to have fun.
It’s clear as night.
For those who did nothing
It turns our sky dark and pale
And makes leaves shrivel up and fall
Water turns to dust and blows away
Dark pale things block my view
Like turning out the light to go to bed
Swings are silent and it goes on
I try not to breathe this air
For it is chalk dust on my tongue
I am from inhaled secrets.
I am the tree holding tight,
Because letting go
I would feel the spring turn to summer.
I am the coyote running wild in Mexico,
Stopping to get a breath of life,
I am a spirit touched by God.
I am, I am
I am a part of life and death.
I am the mother that nourishes my little bumblebee.
I am the dream that won’t stop reoccurring.
I am from many mothers far away.
I am a drink of water that’s passed through your life.
I am a paused person.
I am a fish that can love birds.
I am not the bitter cup beneath me.
I am not a bookcase that you can fill with stories.
I am lines on paper.
I am clouds that you can dream on.
I am tied shoelaces that you can’t fall on.
I am a mother, daughter, and friend.
I am my father’s life passed on.
I am the middle of True.
I have something to tell you,
Because I cannot handle it anymore!
It is unfair that you come from the moon and a starry sky,
And to knock at my window to tell me know that you are here!
It is not fair that we love each other when the other are sleep…
It’s not fair that we travel across mountains full of snow and dark forest
And you take me to the world where we met…
It in not fair that you stop the time allowing me to shower
With kisses the pores of your back
That they open like petals in a rose.
It is unjust that you make me melt in your hands
And shower with warm running water that was me
It is not fair that you take me back to the room of torment and
Let me sob alone before the others wake
It is not fair that you come down from the moon and
Come into my dreams without asking, and take me
Back into our world
It is a crime when I wake up and you are not there!
But is most unfair that all of this is just a dream!
Where I'm From
I'm from broken men and evolving women
I'm from a tall grandpa and cold grandma
I'm from Heinz 57 and Betty Boop
I'm from the loft in the barn
I'm from Hazelton and now Bruneau
I'm from Betty Crocker and gourmet meals
I'm from the 50's housewife
I'm from wooden pews and stained glass windows
I'm from wrestling and nine kids
I'm from Seinfeld and coffee with bagels
I'm from Mohawks and balding
I'm from tall geniuses
I'm from acres of my grandmother's flowers
I'm from flat fields that go on forever
I'm from alcohol and hope,
from beauty and confidence
I'm from the sunshine
I'm from I love you and I will keep you safe
I'm from no fear and adrenaline
I'm from glasses and hearing aids
I'm from guns, wagons and the Oregon Trail
I'm from the greenest and youngest
I'm from all the good and bad throughout
my family and I love that because
that is what made me who I am.
Dusty armchair worn from years of use
TV volume up way too high
Grandpa sits there, unaware
That anyone is trying to talk to him.
He sees me and suddenly needs to know everything
“How’s school going? Are you feeling okay? Is your room clean?”
I smile and answer his questions
Like I’ve done a million times before.
He sits me down and talks about his youth
And tells me all the war stories that I’ve already heard
About gunshots and their glory and his friends
He gets sad when he talks about them, but he continues anyway.
I tell him I’m here to mow their lawn
He says, “I can do that later, you shouldn’t do that.”
”I’m supposed to mow it, Grandpa. Remember?”
“I can do it later.” He sometimes forgets his age.
“I can still do anything I could before,” he argues.
I finally get the mower out, but he supervises.
“If you need anything, let me know. Okay?”
I smile, “Okay, Grandpa. I will.”
Ingredients for Time:
Add night and day
Beat till morning
Mix life and death in bowl with whisk
Put on cookie sheet in oven
For 9 months.
Take out of dark oven
To lit counter top.
Serve to whoever is willing
To take the chance
To see night again.