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Tuesday, 23 February 2021

ON THE RACK

My arms are getting longer

and my legs are snapping out. 

My fingers are extending

and I feel like I could shout. 


My nose is getting torn apart. 

My shoulder’s being strained.

I can’t stand up and move about:

it seems that I am chained.


My chest is being tightened.

I can hear my rib cage pop. 

My neck is getting strangled

and I wish that it would stop.  


My body’s being lengthened.

You might think that it’s far-fetched,

but yesterday my teacher told me

that I should be stretched.




Monday, 22 February 2021

AN INDICTMENT

He’s a couple of sandwiches short of a picnic

He’s not the sharpest tool in the shed

The light is on but nobody’s home

The lift doesn’t go up to the top floor

He forgot to pay his brain bill

He doesn’t have all his cornflakes in one box

He’s two chapters short of a novel


In other words

He’s a complete and utter idiom.



Friday, 19 February 2021

THE POETS

They’re rounding up the poets.

They’re sending them away.

They stand in chains

To catch the trains.

To where? No one will say.


They’re rounding up the poets.

They huddle in the square.

Their eyes are dead.

Their blood has bled.

They offer up a prayer. 


They’re rounding up the poets.

Their words have all been torn.

With faces grey

And no delay

They’ll disappear at dawn. 


They’re rounding up the poets.

They’ve crushed each verb and noun.

Each simile

Has similarly

Vanished from the town.


They’re rounding up the poets.

They’re sending them away.

They stand in chains

To catch the trains.



In war, conflict and revolution, poets and artists are often persecuted. See, for example, here

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

SLEEPING DOG

My dog talks in his sleep.

He claims he is king of the world

and that all cats are evil.

He remarks that the moon

is made of biscuits

and the sun is simply

a giant tennis ball. 

He even says that

he is ten foot tall

though we all know

he is just a tiny chihuahua.


And what will I do about it?

Nothing. We all know the saying:

let sleeping dogs lie.




Wednesday, 10 February 2021

COLLABORATIVE TWITTER POEM!

 As I have noted on more than one occasion, Twitter has been something of a lifeline for me during the lockdown. It has given me a space to interact with teachers, poets, educationalists and miscellaneous weird and wonderful people. Last night, it even enabled me to create a crowd-sourced poem,which I am delighted to share in this blog post. It started with two lines, which I thought of in a moment of idle contemplation:'Where does the flaminGO?/Who made the ostRICH?' I tweeted this out, soliciting for further lines of the same format. I got many more responses than I bargained for. Many of them were clever puns, but were too complicated and did not strictly follow the format. Nonetheless, with the help of several fellow Twitter users, the following poem was constructed:

ANIMAL QUESTIONS


Where does the flaminGO?

Why did the antELOPE?

Who made the ostRICH?

How did the pengUIN?

What does a doDO?

Can a womBAT?

Why is a cassoWARY?

Who let the robIN?

Do you think the peliCAN?

Why did the porcuPINE?

Is the marmoSET?

Who turned the pigeON?

Can the butterFLY?

Why does the hedgeHOG?

Can you make a malaMUTE?

Why did the cormoRANT?

Who gave the organguTAN?

What did the moUSE?

Why was the spoonbILL?

What made the spanIEL?

Why did the sparROW?

Can the labraDOODLE?

Did a cockaPOO?

Has the centiPEDE?

and finally…


What made the maSTIFF?.......

Here are the Twitter users who helped me with this poem. I suggest following them!

@GavlarJim

@devon_blossom

@_MissieBee

@traceypounds

@HugsFromDad

@efozzer

@MandyFlyMe71

@Sandy86447517

@DebsFrazer

@123_Mr_D

@donsybee

@BobSchechter

Monday, 8 February 2021

OUT TO LUNCH

I’m crazy about cashews

and pistachios are great.

I’m potty about pecans

and a hazelnut I rate. 


A walnut’s simply wicked.

Macadamias are cool. 

A peanut is for me-nut

and an almond makes me drool. 


I gorge on ripe mongongos 

while my mum observes and tuts. 

In case you haven’t got it yet:

I’m nutty about nuts!




Sunday, 7 February 2021

QUESTIONS

What will you stand for?

Who will you be?

What is your purpose?

Who has your key?


What are you doing here?

How do you know?

Of whom will you ask

which direction to go?


Where do you place your trust?

Who knows what’s best?

Who wrote the rulebook

for your unique quest?


What is your narrative?

What is your aim?

Is this important

or merely a game?


How do you navigate

all of your doubt?

Who has the answers?


Go forth. Find out.

Friday, 5 February 2021

'INSIDE' - wonderful 'chain poems' from Finton House School

The other week I had the pleasure of working with pupils at Finton House School. I was especially gratified to learn that, prior to my visit, the teachers and students had had a look around my website. I love it when this happens - it really helps to build a sense of excitement and anticipation. In preparation for the visit, both the Lower School and the Upper School produced 'chain poems', inspired by my poems Inside, which you can read here. As you will be able to see, the aim of the poem is to create a chain, that ultimately leads in a kind of circle back to where it started. The pupils of Finton House worked in groups to produce their chain poems, using the first two lines of my poem as a starting point. Here is my favourite one, created by groups of children at the Lower School. My understanding is that each child wrote a line of the poem (i.e. a 'link' in the 'chain'), and then passed it on to a another child to create another line that follows on. You will hopefully be able to see what I mean: 

‘Inside’ by children at Finton House Lower School


Inside the child a heart is beating

Inside the heart a poem is sleeping

Inside the poem the characters are peeking

Inside the characters laughter is leaking

Inside the laughter the children are giggling

Inside the children memories are wriggling

Inside the memories a dream is hiding

Inside the dream a unicorn is jumping

Inside the unicorn the moonlight is glistening

Inside the moonlight a star is singing

Inside the star the sun is shining

Inside the sun the fire is swirling

Inside the the fire the flames were whirling

Inside the flames the light was turning

Inside the light a child is dreaming

Inside the child a heart is beating


Good, huh! Even better, both the Upper School and the Lower School turned their poems into beautiful booklets, which you can see here (click on the words to see the booklet):


Lower School Booklet


Upper School Booklet


I think you will agree that both the pupils and staff at Finton House should be extremely proud of themselves. Why not have a go at writing your own chain poems? It's super fun!




Wednesday, 3 February 2021

TEN THINGS DIDO HARDING DOESN'T KNOW

Creatures of the ursine variety tend to defecate in wooded areas

The Pope is an adherent of the Catholic faith

If you have a nut allergy it might be inadvisable to consume a nut

Hitler was not particularly well disposed toward Jewish people

Jimmy Savile would have made a less-than-desirable babysitter

If you put an L in her name it spells ‘dildo’

If you swap the D in her name for an F it becomes a dog’s name

The Conservative Party are not averse to slipping their friends a bit of cash

Two plus two tends to equal four

Viruses, every now and then, mutate



“no one could have foreseen new variants emerging”

Dido Harding, Head of Track and Trace, 03/02/21

Tuesday, 2 February 2021

A poem to commemorate the lifting of the lockdown on the Isle of Man

 UNLIKELY THINGS TO SAY (ONLY ONE OF WHICH IS TRUE)

I hope I get a driving ban

I want to date my great-great-gran

I’m really quite the Nickelback fan


I wish I lived on the Isle of Man


I’ll swap my E-Type for a van

I’ll bash myself with a frying pan

I need to join the Ku Klux Klan


I wish I lived on the Isle of Man


Sod Coco Pops, I love All-Bran

I like to eat from the garbage can

Let’s add some dog turds to that flan


I wish I lived on the Isle of Man...


Saturday, 30 January 2021

CONJUGAL

Sometimes

in the deepdarkest

of night

your flesh slips

from mine

and I’m alone

in the universe

drifting

when light

taps the curtain

and I find you again

your hair

across your face

and I reach for you

and catch you

and hold you

tight

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

GIFTED?

I’m good with puzzles

but I can’t decipher the

rules of the playground


I’m good with numbers

but I just can’t count the times

I’ve sat by myself


I can spell long words

but the faces that stare back

are books I can’t read


They call me ‘gifted’

but I can’t untie the bow

that keeps me wrapped tight.




Saturday, 23 January 2021

LAMB TO THE SLAUGHTER

I’m hiding in the cupboard

I tremble and I cower

A maelstrom surrounds me

I’ve been here for an hour


I hear shouts and curses

The fear builds within me 

I’m sure that if I show my face

The savages will skin me


They clamour and they jostle

Their eyes are filled with evil

It’s gruesome and it’s frightful

It’s totally primeval


I guess I must acknowledge

That this is just a feature

Of what I have to tolerate

As a supply teacher




Thursday, 21 January 2021

MY GRANDMA'S FIRST POEM

 Today I ran a rare workshop for adults. My grandma was one of the workshop participants, and I'm pleased to say she produced the first poem that she remembers writing. This was also on the day she got her Covid vaccination, so a good day all round. Here is my grandma's poem; I think it is very moving.


Yellow


Yellow is the colour

of sunshine and hope.

It reminds me of my Welsh origins

and St David’s Day celebrations.

It is the colour of children playing,

of happiness.

It reminds me of my favourite dress

and the occasions I wore it.

Yellow is how

I would like people to feel

when they think of me.

Yellow is joy.


by Miranda Kitchener

Monday, 18 January 2021

'WHO ARE WE?' - SPECIAL POEM FOR CHAUCER JUNIOR SCHOOL, ILKESTON

For me, one of the unanticipated benefits of lockdown is that I have been able to interact lots on social media with teachers, schools and, dare I say it, fans. I recently ran a competition on Twitter, in which I promised to write a special, bespoke poem for the winner. I was delighted when Chaucer Junior School in Ilkeston came out of the hat, and I am really excited to be able to share with you the poem that I have written. The request was to write a poem about books and reading, to be displayed in their library for when schools go back. Furthermore, I was also asked to incorporate the 'core values' of the school, namely: Respect, Tolerance, Cooperation, Aspiration, Kindness and Appreciation. Here, then, is the poem written especially for Chaucer Junior School!

WHO ARE WE? A poem for Chaucer Junior School


We are respect

Like the shiny cover of a new book

Standing proudly on the shelf


We are tolerance

Like letters sitting side by side

Making meaning with their union


We are cooperation

Like books banding together

To build a bank of wisdom


We are aspiration

Like sentences strung sublimely

As they stretch towards the sun


We are kindness

Like a solid spine gently holding

Many different pages


We are appreciation

Like a wide-eyed reader

As they gaze upon a galaxy


We hold the world

Between our covers


We are Chaucer Juniors.



In my bounteous munifence, I also recorded the following video of myself reading the poem. Hopefully it will cause everyone at Chaucer Juniors to spontaneously combust with excitement!