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Saturday, 25 January 2020

Monday, 20 January 2020



Never lick a cactus
Never hug a skunk
Never munch a mattress
Never mug a monk

Never kick a canteloupe
Never wreck a rock
Never axe an antelope
Never slurp a sock

Never swim in lava
Never tickle frogs
Never poke your father
Never pickle dogs

Never nudge a garden gnome
Never bark at Miss
Never read a poem
As ridiculous as this

writing idea: what else should one never do? Your list could rhyme, or not!

Sunday, 12 January 2020


This poem isn’t funny. 
It involves no comedy,
even if you read it
while you’re hanging from a tree. 

It has no funny elements.
It will not make you laugh,
even were a monkey
to declaim it in the bath. 

This poem has no giggles
and contains no funny words,
like ‘bippy’, ‘blimp’ or ‘blabbermouth’
or ‘nincompoop’ or ‘nerd’. 

It’s really not amusing
and won’t make you feel happy. 
You’re likelier to get your jollies
from a dirty nappy. 

Yes if you want a chuckle
then you’d best consult a clown. 
This poem isn’t funny;
it will only bring you down.

Friday, 13 December 2019


I don't know who is going to read this, but I am writing in a fleeting moment of clarity in what has been one of the most difficult few months of my life. Since September I have been struggling badly with my mental health. This has been having an understandably negative effect on my marriage, and lately it has also been having a detrimental impact on my work as a performance poet. I have been finding it very difficult to pick up a pen and to garner any kind of inspiration, but harder still have been the school visits that I undertake as a crucial element of my job. I am an introvert at the best of times, and I have been finding these increasingly difficult. I am unbelievably privileged to be able to do this as my job, and when I am feeling well doing school visits is an honour that I am extremely grateful for, but to stand up in front of groups of children for several hours a day, when my mind is doing everything it can to play havoc with me, is hugely stressful. For the first time in several years I have had to cancel or postpone school visits because of my mental illness. This is having a detrimental effect on my confidence and my finances. My wife is the kindest person in the world, but it is impacting her deeply too.

I write this in the hope of encouraging greater openness and transparency with regards to mental health, and the effect it can have on the work of otherwise creative and lively people. If you are struggling too then the best I can do is express some kind of solidarity. I also express immense gratitude for everyone who has and continues to be supportive of the work I do.

Peace and love,

Monday, 18 November 2019


I'm delighted to share these group poems, written by Year 4 classes on the back of my recent visit to Twyford School. It is easy to write a poem like this: think of a special person, and describe them using metaphors. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 12 November 2019


Max Is Not in School

Today the sun shines
a little bit brighter.
Today the wind has lost
its bite, and the air
hangs less heavy
in the classroom.

Today Max
is not in school.

Today my ears are not stung
by barbed words.
Today my ribs don’t tighten
in my chest
as taunts lash out
across the playground.

Today my books
are in my bag
and not torn up and scattered
across the floor.
There’s a small oasis
in the wide parched desert;
a faint rainbow
in the winter storm.

Today I can breathe
just for a while

because Max
is not in school.

Image result for anti bullying week 2019

Saturday, 9 November 2019

FIREWORKS - simple idea for KS1

Here is a fantastic poem written recently during one of my workshops in Key Stage One:

Writing a firework poem is very simple, and can be achieved in the following three steps. 

(1) write down five different colours

(2) develop these into similes

(3) intersperse each line with some onomatopeia (e.g. 'whoooosh!')

Why not give it a go?