From Pupil to Poet: Growing Years in Writing Ability

Reaksmai on the Radio.



by Reaksmai Phonn

10 years old

What is it about my enemies

that makes me want to hide

in a safe place?


I worry about my enemies.


What is it about my enemies

that makes me want to eat

everything in sight?


What is it about my enemies

that makes me want to run home

all the way?


What is it about my enemies

that makes me want to do anything

even my homework?


What is it about me

that my enemies don’t see?


Laying in my bed, I wonder, I pause.


I do not know why I worry.

I wish I understood my fear.



Reaksmai is one amazing human being. In so many ways he has the world against him.  So many struggles to overcome.  Such a tough circumstance to change.  While so many  adults complain about adulthood and responsibility, Reaksmai approaches his struggles with integrity, passion, and not one inkling of a whine.  Despite his skinny 10 year old frame, he has seen more than most of us and does more than those who are three times his age.

The above poem is the bookend to a year of prolific and fearless writing.  Reaksmai started with a “Roses are Red” adaptation and ended with the introspective piece you just read on bullies.  Perhaps we should pause to rethink that heroes sometimes come in a 70 lb frame and a wide smile.



3 thoughts on “From Pupil to Poet: Growing Years in Writing Ability

  1. If Reaksmai gets to read this, I hope he realizes that he has created the most profound poem I have read. He expresses the fear so well and expresses his personal support system so well. He is the most resilient person we have to represent those who have been bullied. Dr. Marsden needs to read this and to know our very special and brave student.
    Reaksmai deserves every good thing that should come his way.

  2. Reaksmai is indeed an amazing young man. I was lucky enough to watch him grow throughout the year. I only got to spend a couple of hours with him each week but I saw his self-confidence and writing abilities greatly increase. Although Reaksmai has many struggles in his life he always greeted my with a smile and excitement, he was always ready to write and learn. I cannot describe the impact that working with this young man has had on me as a future teacher, he is truly one of a kind and a fantastic young poet. When I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up he told me he wanted to be a writer, I hope he follows his dream and uses his words to touch peoples’ lives the way he has touched mine.

  3. William, thanks for posting Reaksmai’s work. It has been a pleasure to have such a dedicated student these last 2 years. The Q club experience for him has made a world of difference. He has grown so much over the last two years as well as his family. He is off to influence others as he moves into his middle school years. For all who have supported and influenced Reaksmai, thank you. He is a very special young man and I have been privileged to have worked with him over the last two years!!!!!!

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