Ocean Poems!

Some concepts taught and skills readily reinforced through poems daily:
•love of poetry and language •increase memory skills •develop concepts •rhyme scheme •rhyming words •word families •endings •contractions •antonyms/synonyms/homonyms •little words within big words • vowel sounds • figurative language (metaphors & similes) •parts of speech (nouns, verbs, etc.) •identifying facts (especially in Meish Goldish's poems!) •type of poem (couplet, etc.) •handwriting lessons •alliteration •quotation marks •vocabulary •sequence •counting skills •dictionary & thesaurus use •poet studies

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Index of Poems

A Wave by Gussie Osborne
The Waves by Gertrude M. Jones
Come on In
Five Little Houses by Avelyn Davidson
A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea
Ocean (song) by Meish Goldish
Seaside by Shirley Hughes
Come to the Beach
I Love to… by Jill Eggleton
Old Man Ocean by Russell Hoban
Beach Stones by Lillian Moore
The First Horses Were Made of Sea Foam by David Day
Song of a Shell by Violet L. Cuslidge
She Sells Sea-Shells
Sea Sounds
Undersea by Marchette Chute
Underwater by Deborah Schecter
Sand by Meish Goldish
Sand by Helen H. Moore
Sand Riddle Poem
A Sand Witch for a Sandwich by Emily Sweeney
Sitting in the Sand by Karla Kuskin
At the Sea-Side by Robert Louis Stevenson
Tiny Surfer
I Saw You
Oh Please Take Me Fishing by Jack Prelutsky
Once I Caught a Fish Alive
I Sailed on Half a Ship by Jack Prelutsky
The Wind Has Such a Rainy Sound by Christina Rossetti
Ferryboats by James S. Tippett

Ocean Animal Poems

Whale Poems
Sea Creatures by Meish Goldish
The Shark by Lord Alfred Douglas
Shark by Helen H. Moore
Fish by Mary Ann Hoberman
Fish by Arthur S. Bourinot
Fishes' Evening Song by Dahlov Ipcar
Five Little Fishy by Valerie SchifferDanoff
Fish by Meish Goldish
My Fish Was Small by Jack Prelutsky
Fishies in the Water by Carol Quinn
School of Minnows by Jane Keefer Frey
Sardines by Jack Prelutsky
Seal Lullaby by Rudyard Kipling
Seahorse by Blake Morrison
Do Oysters Sneeze? by Jack Prelutsky
Sleepy Oyster by Frances Risser
Oysters by Jack Prelutsky
I'm Wrestling with an Octopus by Jack Prelutsky
The Barracuda by John Gardner
Clam by Meish Goldish
Hermit Crab by Sandra Liatsos
Hermit Crab by Meish Goldish
Starfish by Douglas Florian
Sea Animals by Meish Goldish
Electric Eel by Meish Goldish
A Pelican by Jack Prelutsky
The Manatee by Jack Prelutsky

Five Little Houses

Five little children,
hand in hand,
went to dig
in the yellow sand.

Five little castles,
trim and neat,
soon were standing
at their feet.

Five little starfish,
standing near,
said, "Five little houses!
Let's live here!"

by Avelyn Davidson, How Big is Big? Math Rhymes to Read Together, Wright Group (has 5 copies and big book)



A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea

A sailor went to sea, sea, sea
To see what he could see, see, see.
But all that he could see, see, see
Was the bottom of the deep blue sea, sea, sea.

Sea Creatures

Come along, come with me,
Take a dive in the deep blue sea.

Put on your gear, let's explore
All the way to the ocean floor!

See that snail wrapped in curls?
Look! An oyster wearing pearls!
Watch the octopus oh so dark,
But don't you dare to pet the shark!

Dive on down, seaward bound,
Motion in the ocean is all around!
Dive on down, seaward bound,
Motion in the ocean is all around!

Now we're very far below,
The lantern fish are all aglow.
Is that a tiny shock you feel?
You just met an electric eel!

Giant blue whales start to stir,
Bigger than dinosaurs ever were!
Wave good-bye to the squid and sponge,
This is the end of our deep-sea plunge!

Dive on down, seaward bound,
Motion in the ocean is all around!
Dive on down, seaward bound,
Motion in the ocean is all around!

by Meish Goldish, 101 Science Poems & Songs for Young Learners, Instructor Books



(sung to "Take Me Out to the Ball Game")

Take me out to the ocean,
Take me out to the sea,
Show me the foamy waves rolling there,
As I breathe in the salty sea air!

Let me look, look, look at the ocean,
See the sea and explore,
For it's fun to dive from the top
To the ocean floor!

Take me out to the ocean,
Take me out to the sea.
Show me the currents and ocean tides,
Let me see where the seaweed resides!

When you look, look, look at the ocean,
Look at all it is worth!
For the ocean covers three-fourths
of the entire earth!

by Meish Goldish, 101 Science Poems & Songs for Young Learners, Instructor Books


At the Sea-Side

When I was down beside the sea
  A wooden spade they gave to me
     To dig the sandy shore.

My holes were empty like a cup.
In every hole the sea came up,
   Till it could come no more.

by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Shark

A treacherous monster is the Shark
He never makes the least remark.

And when he sees you on the sand,
He doesn't seem to want to land.

He watches you take off your clothes,
And not the least excitement shows.

His eyes do not grow bright or roll,
He has astonishing self-control.

He waits till you are quite undressed,
And seems to take no interest.

And when towards the sea you leap,
He looks as if he were asleep.

But when you once get in his range,
His whole demeanor seems to change.

He throws his body right about,
And his true character comes out.

It's no use crying or appealing,
He seems to lose all decent feeling.

After this warning you will wish
To keep clear of this treacherous fish.

His back is black, his stomach white,
He has a very dangerous bite.

by Lord Alfred Douglas


Sand in the sandwiches,
Sand in the tea,
Flat, wet sand running
Down to the sea.
Pools full of seaweed,
Shells and stones,
Damp bathing suits
And ice-cream cones.
Waves pouring in
To a sand-castle moat.
Mend the defenses!
Now we're afloat!
Water's for splashing,
Sand is for play.
A day by the sea
Is the best kind of day.

by Shirley Hughes


Come to the Beach

Come to the beach.
Come to play in the sun.
Come to splash in the water.
Come to have fun!

Fishes' Evening Song

Flip flop,
Flip flap,
Slip slap,
Lip lap;
Water sounds,
Soothing sounds.
We fan our fins
As we lie
Resting here
Eye to eye.
Water falls
Drop by drop,
Plip plop,
Drip drop.
Plink plunk,
Splash splish
Fish fins fan,
Fish tails swish,
Swush, swash, swish.
This we wish …
Water cold,
Water clear,
Water smooth,
Just to soothe
Sleepy fish.

By Dahlov Ipcar, from Talking Tigers, Poems to Share
Rigby Literacy 2000 ( has tape & 6 book copies)

Beach Stones

When these small
clear pools and
nets of weed

teased by spray

they glowed
glinted sunsparks on
their speckled

Spilled on the
they were
wet-sand jewels
still flecked with

gray stones
dry and dim.

Why did we bring them home?

by Lillian Moore

Seal Lullaby

Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,
And black are the waters that sparkle so green.
The moon, o'er the combers, looks downward to find us
At rest in the hollows that rustle between.
Where billow meets billow, there soft be thy pillow;
Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!
The storm shall not wake thee, nor sharks overtake thee,
Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas.

By Rudyard Kipling



O under the ocean waves
I gallop the seaweed lanes,
I jump the coral reef,
And all with no saddle or reins.

I haven't a flowing mane,
I've only this horsy face,
But under the ocean waves
I'm king of the steeplechase.

By Blake Morrison

The First Horses Were Made of Sea Foam

The first horses were made of sea foam.

They rode their waves to the beaches
Then broke loose and dashed for the shore.

Wild horses, raging with pride–
Look how much of the untamed sea

Is within them still.

By David Day

Do Oysters Sneeze?

Do oysters sneeze beneath the seas,
or wiggle to and fro,
or sulk, or smile, or dance awhile
…how can we ever know?

Do oysters yawn when roused at dawn,
and do they ever weep,
and can we tell, when, in its shell,
an oyster is asleep?

by Jack Prelutsky


Beneath the waters
Green and cool
The mermaids keep
A swimming school.

The oysters trot;
The lobsters prance;
The dolphins come
To jon the dance.

But the jellyfish
Who are rather small
Can't seem to learn
The steps at all.

By Marchette Chute



The arms on the octopus number eight:
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight!

All curled up, then pointing straight,
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight!

In the ocean, octopuses wait,
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight,

For clams and crabs to put on their plate!
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight!

( poster)

From the Shore

A lone gray bird,
Dim-dipping, far-flying,
Alone in the shadows and grandeurs and tumults
Of night and the sea
And the stars and storms.

Out over the darkness it wavers and hovers,
Out into the glooms it swings and batters,
Out into the wind and the rain and the vast,
Out into the pit of a great black world,
Where fogs are at battle, sky-driven, sea-blown,
Love of mist and rapture of flight,
Glories of chance and hazards of death
On its eager and palpitant wings.
Out into the deep of the great dark world,
Beyond the long borders where foam and drift
Of the sundering waves are lost and gone
On the tides that plunger and rear and crumble.

By Carl Sandburg

grandeurs -instances of being magnificent
tumults -outbursts, commotions
rapture -a feeling of intense emotion
palpitant -throbbing, beating
sundering -parting, breaking apart
plunger -to dive

The Barracuda

Slowly, slowly, he cruises
And slowly, slowly, he chooses
Which kind of fish he prefers to take this morning;
Then without warning
The Barracuda opens his jaws, teeth flashing,
And with a horrible, horrible grinding and gnashing,
Devours a hundred poor creatures and feels no remorse.
It's no wonder, of course,
That no little fish much likes the thing,
And indeed, it occasionally strikes the thing,
That he really ought, perhaps, to change his ways.
"But," (as he says
With an evil grin)
"It's actually not my fault, you see:
I've nothing to do with the tragedy;
I open my mouth for a yawn and —ah me!—
They all

by John Gardner



Sand in my swimsuit,
Sand in my hair,
When I go to the beach
Sand gets everywhere!

I wonder, I wonder,
Oh, how can there be
Sand left at the beach
When there's so much on me?

by Helen H. Moore


How I wish
I were a fish!
My day would begin
Flapping my fins.
I'd make a commotion
Out in the ocean.
It would be cool
To swim in a school.
In the sea,
I'd move so free,
With just one thought:
Don't get caught!

by Meish Goldish, 101 Science Poems & Songs for Young Learners, Instructor Books


Sand at the beach,
Sand at the shore.
Sand in the ocean
On the ocean floor.

Sand in the desert,
Sand on the ground.
Sand in a sandstorm
Blowing around!

Sand from rock that has
Crumbled into grains
Sand in a sand dune
Shaped by winds and rains.

Sand on an island,
Sand in the sea.
Sand in a sandbox
For you and me!

by Meish Goldish, 101 Science Poems & Songs for Young Learners, Instructor Books

Hermit Crab

I watch him scurry on the sand
To find a house that's second-hand.
He crawls in someone else's shell
And stays because it fits him will.
Imagine if we did the same,
Just barged right in and staked a claim
To any empty house that fit,
Then settled down to live in it.

By Sandra Liatsos


A Riddle Poem...

You can walk on this
If it's wet or dry;
You can put it in a pail
And make a pie.

What is it? (sand)

Five Little Fishy

Five little fishy, swimming out to sea,
The first one said, "Oh, what can we see?"
The second one said, "I can see a tail."
The third one said, "It must be a whale!"
The fourth one said, "She's looking for lunch,"
The fifth one said, "She'll eat us in one munch!"
Five little fishy, swimming side by side, cried,
"Oh where, oh where, oh where, can we hide?

by Valerie SchifferDanoff

Sea Animals

What do you see in the sea?
Animals moving free!
Snails and whales
Using their tails.
Seals and eels
Searching for meals.
Catfish, flatfish
Chasing fat fish.
Bass and wrasse
Swimming in mass.
Hagfish, hogfish
Trailing dogfish.
What do you see in the sea?
Animals moving free!

by Meish Goldish



When I go fishing
I'm always wishing
Some fish will be my prize;
But while I'm fishing,
The fish are wishing

And all the wishes
Of all the fishes
Seem always to come true;
So all my wishes
To catch some fishes
   Never do.

Author unknown


I went to the aquarium,
And in a tank so dark,
I saw a smooth and swimmy shape,
And knew it was a shark.

I went to the aquarium,
And through a wall of glass,
I saw that shark and thought—
Oh! What a lot of teeth he has!

He swam around so quietly,
He swam around so quick—
I'm awfully glad,
That his tank had
That wall of glass, so thick!

by Helen H. Moore


Outer space must be like this, I think
I'm like a feather as I sink.
Is it so quiet in outer space?
Silence surrounds me in this place.
And when I give a gentle push,
I float up, up, up with a whoosh!

by Deborah Schecter


On the ocean floor,
The clam's in its shell,
And there it's protected
Very well!

by Meish Goldish

Hermit Crab

Hermit crab, you live all alone
In an empty shell in the sea.
With all those fish,
Don't you ever wish
For a little company?

by Meish Goldish, Animal Poems from A - Z

Electric Eel

Never feel
An electric eel.
It's no fun
To receive its stun!

by Meish Goldish, Animal Poems from A - Z


I see a ship a-sailing, sailing, sailing,
I see a ship a-sailing, sailing out to sea;
The captain at the railing, railing, railing,
The captain at the railing waves his hand to me.

I see a ship a-rolling, rolling, rolling,
I see a ship a-rolling, rolling home from sea;
I hear its bell a-tolling, tolling, tolling,
I hear its bell a-tolling, coming back to me.

Unknown, from Boing! Boing! Squeak!, Poems to Share
Rigby Literacy 2000 ( has tape & 6 book copies)

Sleepy Oyster

The storm is raging up above,
   And waves are dashing high,
The sea birds, screaming, fly to land,
   As thunder rocks the sky.

But down below in waters calm
   The oyster sleeps away;
Quite heedless of the wind and waves,
   He snoozes, night and day.

He does not shout and rant and rave,
   Nor bolts of lightning hurl,
He's dozing in the oyster bed,
   And dreaming up a pearl!

Frances Gorman Risser


School of Minnows

Down in the brook where the water runs cool—
That's where the minnows are going to school!
What do they study, I wonder, and then,
When do they get to go home again?

Schools for the fish aren't like mine, I guess—
No teachers or blackboards or books—just recess!
When Daddy says, "Look! School of minnows there, Son!"
It sure looks to me like they're just having fun!

by Jane Keefer Frey


Over the river,
Over the bay,
Ferryboats travel
Every day.

Most of the people
Crowd to the side
Just to enjoy
Their ferryboat ride.

Watching the seagulls,
Laughing with friends,
I'm always sorry
When the ride ends.

James S. Tippett

Song of a Shell

I held a sea shell to my ear,
  And listened to its tale
Of vessels bounding o'er the main
  And all the ships that sail.
It sang of brilliant water flowers—
  The bright anemones
That bloom beneath the ocean waves—
  Tossed in from seven seas.

Each time I harken to this song,
  I hear the breakers moan,
And fancy that a warning bell
  Rings from a lighthouse lone.
No longer need I wish to go
  Where foam-capped billows swell,
For I've an ocean of my own
  Withing this pearly shell.

Violet L. Cuslidge

A Wave

I sat on the beach and a beautiful wave
  Came tumbling right up to me.
It threw some pink shells on the sand at my feet,
  Then hurried straight back out to sea.

It ran away swiftly and leaped up in foam;
  It bumped other waves in its glee.
I think it was hurrying to gather more shells,
  To bring as a present for me.

Gussie Osborne


A Pelican

A pelican uses its steam-shovel bill
to gather more fish than can possibly fill
its pelican belly.
It's not out of greed . . .
that bill is a trough where young pelicans feed.

Jack Prelutsky, from A Pizza the Size of the Sun

A Sand Witch for a Sandwich

I walked the beach on a sunny day
And soon found a shell with which to play.
I made a castle, I made a moat,
I poured in water to sail my boat.

I made a farm and a racetrack, too,
And then a figure that sort of grew
Taller and taller as I piled more sand.
Then I shaped a face with one wet hand.

Oh, what a face—with an ugly beak
And a tall, tall hat that came to a peak!
I looked with pride at my ugly witch,
While all around I dug a ditch.

To keep her safe from the incoming tide,
I dug it deep on every side.
The waves rolled in and then slid back.
I waited for their we attack.

One little wave crept up the beach,
But my sand witch it could not reach.
One, two, three waves filled the ditch.
Another wave took a nip at the witch.

A whitecap pushed with all his might
And ate that witch in one big bite!
I laughed as the water swished round my feet,
For sandwiches are made to eat!

Emily Sweeney


The Waves

The little waves ran up the sand,
  All rippling, bright and gay.
But they were little robbers,
  For they stole the sand away,
And when they'd tossed it all about,
  They piled it in the bay.

One day, there came a clever man;
  He walked along the shore,
And when he saw the crested waves
  Creep higher than before,
Said he, "I'll build a harbor wall,
  And you'll come here no more."

So then he started working;
  Stone after stone he brought.
The little waves beat at the wall;
  By day and night they fought,
Their white hair streaming in the wind,
  Their manner quite distraught.

But when the wall was finished,
  Like other of their ilk,
They tiptoed round the harbor
  As sleek and smooth as silk,
And purred around the fishing boats,
  Like kittens lapping milk.

Gertrude M. Jones


Old Man Ocean

Old Man Ocean, how do you pound
Smooth glass, rough stones round?
   Time and the tide and the wild waves rolling
   Night and the wind and the long gray dawn.

Old Man Ocean, what do you tell,
What do you sing in the empty shell?
   Fog and the storm and the long bell tolling,
   Bones in the deep and the brave men gone.

Russell Hoban

Sitting in the Sand

Sitting in the sand and the sea comes up
so you put your hands together
And you use them like a cup
And you dip them in the water
With a scooping kind of motion
And before the sea goes out again
You have a sip of ocean.

Karla Kuskin

The Wind Has Such a Rainy Sound

The wind has such a rainy sound
   Moaning through the town,
The sea has such a windy sound,—
   Will the ships go down?

The apples in the orchard
   Tumble from their tree,—
Oh will the ships go down, go down,
   In the windy sea?

Christina Rossetti

Sea Sounds

I walked on the beach      Walk.
And picked up a shell      Stoop.
And held it close to my ear.  Pretend to hold shell to ear.
I walked on the beach      Walk.
And picked up a shell      Stoop.
And held it close to my ear.  Pretend to hold shell to ear.
And what did I hear?       Pretend to hold shell to ear with questioning look.
R-O-A-R  S-w-i-s-h       Say "ROAR" loudly.
R-O-A-R  S-w-i-s-h       Whisper "Swish".
The sound of the sea I did hear.

I'm Wrestling with an Octopus

I'm wrestling with an octopus
and faring less than well,
one peek at my predicament
should be enough to tell.
It held me in a hammerlock,
then swept me off my feet,
I'm getting the impression
that I simply can't compete.

I'd hoped that I could hold my own,
but after just a while,
I ascertained I couldn't match
an octopus's style.
It flipped me by a shoulder,
and it latched onto a hip,
essentially that octopus
has got me in its grip.

I tried assorted armlocks,
but invariably missed,
and now I'm in a headlock,
and it's clinging to my wrist.
It's wound around my ankles,
and it's wrapped around my chest—
when grappling with an octopus,
I come out second best.

Jack Prelutsky, from A Pizza the Size of the Sun

Oh Please Take Me Fishing!

"Oh please take me fishing, oh please, pretty please,"
insisted my sister the pest.
She drives me bananas when she's at her worst,
she bugs me when she's at her best.

She wouldn't give up, so I've got her along,
but I've not decided her fate.
Maybe I'll patiently teach her to fish—
maybe I'll use her for bait!

Jack Prelutsky, from A Pizza the Size of the Sun



Their daily lives are bland,
and if they land—
they're canned.

Jack Prelutsky, from A Pizza the Size of the Sun



are creatures
any features.

Jack Prelutsky

The Manatee

I'm partial to the manatee,
which emanates no vanity.
It swims amidst anemones
and hasn't any enemies.

Jack Prelutsky, from A Pizza the Size of the Sun

My Fish Was Small

My fish was small,
my fish was gold,
but now my fish
is still and cold.

My fish no more
will splash and splish.
My fish is gone



I flush my fish.

Jack Prelutsky, from A Pizza the Size of the Sun

Come On In!

Come on in,
The water's fine.
I'll give you
Until I count to nine.
If you're not
In by then,
Guess I'll have to
Count to ten.



She Sells Sea-Shells

She sells sea-shells on the sea shore;
The shells that she sells are sea-shells I'm sure.
So if she sells sea-shells on the sea shore,
I'm sure that the shells are sea-shore shells.

I Sailed on Half a Ship

I sailed on half a ship
on half the seven seas,
propelled by half a sail
that blew in half a breeze.
I climbed on half a mast
and sighted half a whale
that rose on half a mighty wave
and flourished half a tail.

Each day, with half a hook
and half a rod and reel,
I landed half a fish
that served as half a meal.
I ate off half a plate,
I drank from half a glass,
then mopped up half the starboard deck
and polished half the brass.

When half a year had passed,
as told by half a clock,
I entered half a port
and berthed at half a dock.
Since half my aunts were there
and half my uncles too,
I told them half this half-baked tale
that's half entirely true.

Jack Prelutsky, from A Pizza the Size of the Sun


Look at them flit
Tearing around
With a leap and a bound
But none of them making the tiniest

Mary Ann Hoberman


The little fish are silent
As they swim round and round.
Their mouths are ever talking
A speech without a sound.

Now aren't the fishes funny
To swim in water clear
And talk with words so silent
That nobody can hear?

Arthur S. Bourinot

Once I Caught a Fish Alive

Group 1: One, two, three, four, five.
Group 2: Once I caught a fish alive.

Group 1: Six, seven, eight, nine, ten.
Group 2: Then I let it go again.

Group 1: Why did you let it go?
Group 2: Because it bit my finger so!

Group 1: Which finger did it bite?
Group 2: This little finger on my right.


How I wish
I were a fish!

My day would begin
Flapping my fins.

I'd make a commotion
Out in the ocean.

It would be cool
To swim in a school.

In the sea,
I'd move so free,
With just one thought:
Don't get caught!



Although it seems
That I'm all arms,
Some other organs
Give me charm.
I have a mouth
With which to feed.
A tiny stomach
Is all I need.
And though, it's true:
I have no brain,
I'm still a star—
I can't complain.

Douglas Florian, Commotion in the Ocean

Fishies in the Water

Fishies in the water
One, two, three, four, five.
Fishies in the water
Dive, dive, dive, dive, dive.

Fishies in the water
Swimming to and fro.
Fishies in the water,
Go, go, go, go, go.

Fishies in the water
You'd better not stay.
Fishermen are coming.
Swim, swim, swim away!

Carol Quinn


Of all our planet's oceans,
   three are bigger than the rest.
One is just gigantic.
Do you know it? Have you guessed?

See if you can name the three.
   And say the biggest first.
If you name these oceans right,
   Your teacher will just burst!

Pacific, Atlantic, Indian!

Geography Rhymes and Chants, Evan-Moor

Tiny Surfer

Tiny surfer,
Bold and brave,
Surfed upon
A microwave.


I Saw You

I saw you in the ocean,
I saw you in the sea,
I saw you in the bathtub,
Oops! Pardon me.


I Love to …

I love to go to the beach,
I love to play in the sun,
I love to splash in the water,
I love having fun.

Jill Eggleton, Now I Am Five: Rhymes to Read has 5 copies


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