Ordinary Odes Youth Poetry Contest Winners

The poet Pablo Neruda wrote hundreds of poems, called odes, to ordinary things – bread and socks, scissors and salt, clouds and the colour green to name just a few.

The contest challenge: to write a poem of a page or less in praise or appreciation of something “ordinary.” The result: five poems that reveal the extraordinary in the ordinary, from an electric toothbrush to a pencil. We hope you enjoy them as much as we did!

And the winners are…


Ages 8-10

1st: Electric Toothbrush by Charlotte Leahy-McHugh

2nd: Ode to the Toaster by Reed Worthen


Ages 11-13

1st: Pencil by Jordan Walton

2nd: An Ode to Reading by Isabella Colasanto

3rd: Ode to the Alarm Clock by Maya Laramee


Electric Toothbrush

My electric toothbrush,

Is the most wonderful thing.

With the press of a button,

The toothbrush begins to sing.

Charged with shocking new batteries,

Slathered in icky blue paste,

My toothbrush heads into battle,

And gets rid of yucky slime waste.

Skipping over the braces,

Humming over the gums,

Polishing the shining teeth,

Scooping up the extra crumbs.

Growling like an angry bear,

Cleaning like a mop,

Once you use this toothbrush,

It’s kind of hard to stop!

You’ll NEVER have clean teeth,

Without this glorious toothbrush!

The cavities will just take over,

And your Teeth will turn to mush!

– Charlotte Leahy-McHugh


Ode to the Toaster


Bread burner

Toast cooker


You put in bread

It comes out toast



So crunchy

Hot to the crust

When I wake up every morning

And I see the toaster shining

I just can’t wait

To start toasting

– Reed Worthen



Smooth and long,

Rigid and sharp,

Always obeys,

And never delays.


Comes in all sizes,

Bids and prizes,

Or just at the corner store.


From neon to dark,

From cedar to linden,

From graphite to lead,

It can’t be misread.


It erases mistakes,

Almost never breaks,

Lays words on the page,

And always behaves.


Graceful yet strong,

The tool that deserves to belong.

–  Jordan Walton


An Ode to Reading

Reading, what a fine thing to do,

But when I read, I don’t think it through,

I skip through the pages,

Two, by two,

Thinking I’ll know it,

NOT thinking it through.


But then something happened,

I read it right through,

I saw the excitement,

That I thought I knew!


Now when I read,

I really don’t speed,

I see how much,

I love to read!


–  Isabella Colasanto



Ode to the Alarm Clock


beautiful alarm,

time is a


and you own

the keys,

reliable and


your crystal features take

a bow,

you have pristine restraint

until the

clock chimes.


As I wake to a

ghostly stillness,

I know the fault lies within me,

the morning grows old

and your silence



burning flames,

chaotic madness,

you wave your two hands violently in

the air,

your glass face shatters.


As you turn the

key to freedom,

I learn to forgive,

to remember,

and most importantly,

to trust.

– Maya Laramee