Posts Tagged ‘kids’


April 10, 2022

Eights and sevens
Threes and twos
Math brings everything
Into view

Trapezoid, rhombus
Cubes and squares
Imagine, calculate
And compare

Fraction, cosine
Essential tools
To make us greater

Find the difference
Plot the graph
Perceive, predict
And build with math

Engineer, geologist
Statistician, nurse
Math paints a picture
Of the universe


by Richard W. Bray


August 3, 2019

Parents used to tell their kids
Just go outside and play
Now they’re scared to let them out
We lock them up all day

Parents used to give their kids
Active, sporty toys
A set of blocks, a rubber ball
For healthy girls and boys

Get outside and move around
Every boy and girl
Engage your body and your mind
And feel this living world

By Richard W. Bray

Kids Outside Playing

November 15, 2013

kids playing

Warning: nostalgia alert. When I was a kid we had three networks and about seven local television stations to watch on TV, and that was it. That’s right, there was no satellite television and cable TV was only available for the rich folks in Malibu Canyon. The local stations played the same insipid reruns over and over on a perpetual loop. (When I read Dante’s Inferno, I was surprised to find no mention of The Flintstones, I love Lucy, and Gilligan’s Island.)  It was a big deal when the networks played a classic movie like The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof, or The Wizard of Oz.  And it only happened about once a year, so if your car broke down or you had to work late, that was just too darn bad. No VCRs. (Please forgive me if I’m frightening any of my younger readers.)

One Saturday morning when I was about nine years old, my sister Laura and I watched a strange and captivating movie, and then we did something kids used to do with great frequency—we went outside to play. Almost immediately our neighbors Stan and Scott Quackenbos emerged from their house. They had also just finished watching the strange movie.  Then Jason and John Powers joined us. (John was old; he was in high school.) Yes, we had all seen the same movie on tv, and we were talking about it face to face without the aid of electronic gadgets. A short while later, Dwayne Norwood, another high schooler, entered our cul-de-sac. He had trekked all the way down from Lynoak Drive to visit John.

“Man, I just saw the weirdest movie,” he said, and we all laughed.

The movie was Roger Corman’s Little Shop of Horrors. And since we couldn’t google it, we just talked about it, outside on a beautiful sunny Southern California day.

(Yes, younger readers, believe it or not:  Before ratings-driven local news stations convinced parents that there was a pervert hiding behind every tree waiting to abduct us, suburban children were actually allowed to go outside and play all by themselves so long as we made it home before the streetlights came on.)

by Richard W. Bray


December 20, 2012

Children Playing in Playground

They storm the Earth and stun the Air,
A Mob of solid Bliss

—Emily Dickinson

of every song
i’ve ever heard,
Sarah Vaughan,
a kitten’s purr,
a crashing wave,
a crooning bird,
the sweetest sound
i ever found
is the bustling clamor
of a full playground

Richard W. Bray

Exclusive Company

May 31, 2012


You tell me that I’m angry
It’s really not my fault
The world conspires against me
It’s not about to halt

You tell me that my anger
Won’t do me any good
Tell that to those people
Who aren’t acting like they should

You say I should be thankful
For everything I’ve got
Then I couldn’t complain about
The things that I have not

You say I am not helping
By being pessimistic
But nature gave me eyes
And it made me realistic

You tell me that I shouldn’t
See myself as God
A person needs a mentor
Why’s my choice so odd?

You say, “Get out and mingle
You’re a person, not a stone”
From what I’ve seen of people
I’m better off alone

by Richard W. Bray

In Praise of Boring

May 10, 2012

It can’t be overstated
That dull is underrated
And boring is sublime
When you need a project ready
Be thorough, slow, and steady
Work and time will make it shine

Don’t make your schedule hurly-burly
Hit the sack and rise up early
And you’ll save yourself much strife
If you’re staying out till three
You’ll find a heap of misery
Home the place to make a life

Flash and fancy might be funner
But when you need to do it doner
Painstaking effort is the way
Poco a poco is my motto
And until you win the lotto
You should show up every day

by Richard W. Bray


December 2, 2011



Are the dishes in the dishwasher clean?
Did you forget to turn on the machine?
Are the dishes in the dishwasher clean?
Why do they smell so foul and obscene?
Are the dishes in the dishwasher clean?
They seem to lack all luster and sheen.
Are the dishes in the dishwasher clean?
Why are they yucky and moldy and green?
Are the dishes in the dishwasher clean?
You look confused; don’t you know what I mean?
Are the dishes in the dishwasher clean?

by Richard W. Bray

The Easy Way

October 8, 2011

The Easy Way

My friend Sal looks really great
From fifteen years of lifting weight
I got buff the easy way
Photoshop in just one day

Credit cards are awfully nice
Until you have to pay the price
One day they hauled my stuff away
For buying things the easy way

My septic tank began to spew
I fixed it with some super glue
Then it burst one smelly day
The perils of the easy way

When it got too trashed for play
I packed up and moved away
Ain’t it always like I say?
Why not try the easy way?

Manual labor is awfully hard
And why should I clean my new yard?
Why not try the easy way?
And burn my troubles all away

Things don’t always go as planned
That little fire got out of hand
The fire chief hauled me away
For doing things the easy way

by Richard W. Bray

sports shorts

October 1, 2011

sports shorts

Serve and volley and attack
Whack that ball, I’ll whack it back
I’m about to bust my spleen
The score is only Love-fifteen

My ball’s brown and your ball’s green
Whydya’ hafta’ be so mean?
You just knocked my ball away
Nice guys just shouldn’t play croquet

Run and run and kick the ball
Run some more and take a fall
They kick your knees, they kick your shin
You still go out and run again

Spin and aim and throw and grunt
Putting shot is quite a stunt
But when the shot put’s in the air
Folks around had best beware

Red lines, blue lines guys with sticks
And pucks that feel as hard as bricks
But I can barely tie my skates
A hockey star won’t be my fate

That tether-ball hangs from a rope
It makes me feel like such a dope
I jump and jump but still can’t cope
At three foot two there’s just no hope

by Richard W. Bray

Likely Stories

August 27, 2011

Likely Stories

I got an alligator
I feed him every day
That’s why friends and neighbors
Never come and play

My homey got a race car
And drove to Timbuktu
Holler when he’s zooming by
And he will wave to you

My uncle got a rowboat
He takes it to the lake
He don’t catch no fishies
He’d rather eat a snake

My brother got a trumpet
He plays it all night long
He never took no lessons
He only knows one song

My neighbor got a rhino
He keeps it in his yard
We were playing football
It hit me really hard

My teacher got a schoolbook
To teach me how to read
When he tried to teach too much
It made my psyche bleed

My roommate made a rocket
And took it to the moon
He just sent a postcard
He’s coming back in June

My sister got a scooter
She took it to the zoo
A tiger tried to take it
Got kicked in the wazoo

by Richard W. Bray