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On March 20 and 21, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will be presenting Carnival of the Animals, a concert designed for schools and families with children ages 5 and up. In addition to presenting an exciting program of classical music, including Saint-Saëns’ The Carnival of the Animals and excerpts from Stravinsky’s The Firebird, the concert will feature poems written by students participating in Hands On Stanzas, a program presented by the Poetry Center of Chicago. These poems will be narrated by CPS students during the concert, accompanying the performance of The Carnival of the Animals.

Leading up to the concert, we will be featuring submissions from each participating school, starting with fourth grade students from Avondale-Logandale Elementary School. Their poems are focused on three animals, the tortoise, the donkey, and the cuckoo bird, and were all inspired by the parallel movements in Saint-Saëns’ piece.

 

“Tortoise” by Alejandro Arroyo

Oh little tortoise walking to the pond
meet animals which which you’d like to bond

Slow and clumsy like you always are
Do not worry, you are not that far

You make this noise: tap! tap! tap!
But you cannot flap

You finally meet with your friends
You dive with a big piece of plastic that bends

You seem to be happy
also so much laughing

“Donkey” by Zicharee Sago

Donkey, why are you
playing the piano?

Why are you
so energetic?

Is your favorite
hobby playing soccer?

You are so beautiful,
do you have many personalities?

You want to be somebody,
can you be many things?

Why are you artistic?
Why are you so funky?

Are you organized?
Why are you so adventurous in the woods?

“Cuckoo” by Zicharee Sago

Cuckoo, are you positive?
Cuckoo, is your favorite hobby
eating sandwiches and laying
on the couch?

Cuckoo, how are you so
beautifully fast? And why
are you so emotional?

Are you funny, happy, energetic?
Fast, confident?
Curious, friendly?
Loud but beautiful?

Heroic, and last but not least,
brave? And my favorite, patient.

“Donkey” by Jade Ocytko

Fast as fast we got to get a
delivery for you: mayo, ketchup, lettuce
with bacon, cheese, and hot sauce,
with apples and chocolate
with grain and wheat bread
a patty of oil mess, but
that’s what the Donkey loves
the mess of the mess.

“Cuckoo Crazy” by Brian Arellano

Cuckoo, cuckoo
what color
are you?

Yellow, white,
black or even
orange?

Oh cuckoo, cuckoo,
where do
you live?

Up top in the trees,
or at the scary
forest floor?

Oh cuckoo, cuckoo,
what are you?

Are you shy or
even crazy, or
hyper?

“Donkey” by Carlos F.

The donkey is making
a concert in the desert.

He does not want anyone
to hear his music.

The donkey is playing
piano crazy fast.

The donkey is so excited
he might break the piano.

The donkey needs to practice his
lines to keep himself together.

“The Tortoise” by Brianna G.

This little tortoise
love to dance by
beautiful blossom
trees because
it makes her
very calm and peaceful

She said she can
dance forever and ever
so she twirled and
she leapt, and she live
so happily in her
peaceful life

“Tortoise” by Maya Qahhaar

Small friend, walking along
the water, to The Big Rock
to catch a snooze in the sun

The Queen walks fast
and slow, so pretty,
make up and everything

She thinks of flowers
and butterflies, flowers
and butterflies with
so many colors

Her Grand Tortoise Castle
and her life in the castle
are purple: mixed with pink
and shine.

“Cuckoo” by Jasmine Aguirre

Cuckoo in the woods,
imagining a clock.

Singing cuckoo to
follow the clock.

When he sings
he is moving

his head goes
left and right

and he is walking
by himself.

“The Tortoise” by Christian Guaman

The tortoise was dancing,
and in the end it stopped

The place is a lake,
he is dancing back and forth

The tortoise was dancing,
and in the end it stopped

The place is a lake,
he is dancing back and forth

“Cuckoo Deep In The Woods” by Edwin Niola

I went to the deep woods
and I saw a beautiful bird
it wasn’t any bird, a cuckoo,
and I like it, so we made a
song and it went like this:

cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoo, cuckoooooo!

And I liked the cuckoo so I took
it to my home and we became
friends because I leave him
with no one but myself.