Twelve students from Friendship Valley Elementary School squelched their enthusiasm about graduating from the fifth grade long enough to share their poetry in front of a full house at the Carroll County Arts Council Gallery last night.
The pupils opened up "First Thursday," an evening of poetry, music and art sponsored each month at the gallery in Westminster by One Tree Productions and Common Ground on the Hill.
Joining the youngsters were Sykesville poet Kathleen Adcock, musician Amy Ferebee and her partner, Steve Snyder.
The pupils' poems were whimsical as well as serious. They portrayed fast cars, pet dogs, video games, a tornado, the frustrations of writer's block and some of the joys of childhood.
"Go to work, fill out papers -- I wish I was six again," read Ian Turner. "Go home, listen to the kids nag -- I wish I was six again. Wake up, drive to work -- I wish I was six again. Go to meetings, fill out more papers -- I wish I was six again. Ride my bike, camp out at night -- I wish I was six again. "
Some pupils read what they called "two voice" poems. In "The Battle of the Video Game," for example, James Billingslea and Chris Min bantered lines back and forth to capture the intensity of Nintendo 64 competition.
Throughout the year each of the poets worked with fifth-grade teacher Pat McTighe to improve their writing skills and, with the help of other classmates and parent volunteer Jo Ann Landon, create a book of poetry.
It wasn't long before First Thursday organizers heard about their talents and booked them for this month's poetry reading.
"So many teachers won't touch poetry, especially in elementary school," said Christina Smith, director of One Tree Productions. "The students are blessed that Pat McTighe was willing to take the time to help develop this creative muse. Now they know that if you look at the world and share it through a poem, your life is enriched."
"Being this young and getting to share poetry with this audience makes me think I'm a good poet," said Jonathon Moore, one of the First Thursday poets.
Other pupils from Friendship Valley who shared their work were Benjamin Brewer, Caitlin Baummer, Kelsey Coons, Will Landon, Anna Zawacki, Curtis Wharton, Ben Stull and Amanda Erb.