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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.

See below for poems by fourth and fifth grade students from Moos Elementary School. Their poems are focused on many different animals, including the elephant and an aquarium filled with fish, and were all inspired by the parallel movements in Saint-Saëns’ piece.

“Oh, Elephant!” by Lauryn Shields, grade 5

Oh, elephant, why did I take
you to the fair with me?

Oh, elephant, why did you
follow me to the bathroom?

Oh, elephant, why are you
so very heavy?

Oh, elephant, why did you
delay the concert?

Oh, elephant, why did I
take you to the fair with me?

“Aquarium” by James G., grade 5

Oh my, oh my, fish you
are dancing a lullaby
going side to side
jumping up and down
a very silly one giggles
another runs over the bed
and the other one is
sleepwalking
Oh my, oh my, fish you
are dancing a lullaby

“Elephants!” by Deshawn K., grade 5

Are you sad?
Are you mad?

Are you playing piano?
Are you at a concert?

Are you in a suit and tie?
Do you have a big piano?

With large keys for your hands?
Are dinosaurs clapping for you?

“Happy Dancing Fish” by Mariah E., grade 5

Down under the sea
The happy dancing fish
came out to dance

They danced to
hip hop and R&B

They danced all night
at the party

They wore their normal clothes
but with high heels

They dance until dawn
When they go to sleep
Until it is night again

“Aquarium” by Jocelyn G., grade 4

One little fish was blue
with small wings and
the other was gold
with yellow wings.

The two fishes went
to tour the sights
of the ocean.

First they saw a family
of seahorses that were
shopping for the holiday.

The also saw a goldfish
swimming really fast
because she was
late for school.

“Aquarium” by Tyler E., grade 4

The fish in the huge tank
are swimming.

The small fish are looking
at colorful rocks.

The medium fish are playing.

The tiny fish are in a
group swimming.

The three little fish
are making friends.

The slow fish are
making bubbles.

The group of fish are laughing
because they are having fun.

The tiny fish are with their
family playing games with them.

The baby fish are
hatching from their eggs.

The family fish are
happy that the babies
are hatching.

The baby fish
have hatched!