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Wednesday 24 June 2015

New Poetry Form - The Big Boss

I may have invented a new poetic form. It may have been used by other poets, but I can't recall seeing it anywhere else. It certainly seems a bit too good for me to have stumbled upon it all by myself, but I thought I'd codify it here in this blog post, so other poets can have a go at doing it too. I call it 'The Big Boss', because, well, it's my form, and I can call it what I like. It goes like this:
  • 4 stanzas, 7 lines in each stanza
  • 4 syllables in the first six lines of each stanza, and 6 syllables in the final line
Here are a couple of examples of Big Boss Poems. See if you can give it a go yourself (you can adjust the syllable count in some lines in order to maintain a consistent beat). I've found it to be a very effective technique when writing for younger children.

Tell it to the Dog

If you have had
an awful day
and all your woes
won’t go away
and no one wants
to come and play,
just tell it to the dog.

If everybody
picks on you
and all your plans
have fallen through;
if you feel lonely,
sad and blue,
just tell it to the dog.

They do not judge.
They understand.
They rub your leg.
They lick your hand.
If you feel lost
in no-man’s land
just tell it to the dog.

They keep your secrets
safe within.
They don’t care if
you lose or win.
So turn that frown
into a grin
and tell it to the dog!
The Day the Poet Came
The windows burped,
the hamster flew,
the walls spun round,
the grass turned blue,
things happened that
we never knew
the day the poet came.

The sky fell in,
the clouds dispersed,
the devils smiled,
the angels cursed,
the world inhaled,
began to burst
the day the poet came.

My desk became
a sailing boat,
an oak tree grew
inside my coat,
my friend got married
to a goat
the day the poet came.

The carpet turned
into a bath,
I think I saw
a pink giraffe,
but the strangest thing:
our teacher laughed
the day the poet came!

Tuesday 2 June 2015

A Poem about Death

If Only

people spoke of the living
like they speak of the dead.

Just imagine:
people would go around declaring
how wonderful everyone else is;
how kind they are;
how, in spite perhaps
of outward appearances,
their hearts are made of gold.

People would cherish urns
of dandruff and nail clippings;
forgive each other almost anything;
treat each bad word as sacrilege.
Everyone would go out of their way
to attend the birthday parties
of distant relatives, declaiming it
“the right thing to do.”

Just think:
living itself would become an achievement.
The news would be a rolling dispatch
of everyone who made it through the day,

and when they died
we’d realise

that they weren’t that great anyway.

Monday 1 June 2015

'Stuff' - new poem

Miranda likes to point stuff out.
Walking hand in hand with her down the street
she’ll note the colours of the blossoming trees,
or a bird sitting high up on some branch,
or the interesting billowing of the clouds.

I don’t notice these things. Never have.
When I tell Miranda this she says
“you’re supposed to be a poet”, and I reply
that the only thing more boring than nature
is nature poetry. She smiles

and the pixels of her hand sink through mine
like sand through a funnel. She dissipates;
the street sucks up every trace of her.
“Was her name even Miranda anyway?” I ask
as I watch the pavement’s sutured lips

where a small, white flower grows.