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Sunday, 9 May 2021

POEM FOR MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS WEEK 2021

CIRCLE TIME


We have it every Friday.

We go round one by one

taking turns to say

what’s on our mind. 


Yesterday James discussed

visiting France this summer. 

Ahmad talked about his new baby sister;

Ruth spoke of her kitten. 


I said nothing. Again. 

Just stared at the swirls

on the carpet and shrugged.

Miss Ellis said I didn’t have to talk

if I didn’t want. 


And I wish I could tell them.

I wish I could explain

how Dad and Laura

fight in the night

when they think I’m sleeping. 


I wish I could talk

of that tangled twine

that tightens round my torso

when they fire those poison arrows. 


But I said nothing. Again. 

Just kept my eyes down

as that still small voice 

murmured once more

how it’s all my fault.


Monday, 3 May 2021

TWO SHORT POLITICAL POEMS

 The Conservative government is currently mired in corruption, inadequacy and misplaced values. Firstly Boris Johnson is facing tough questions on the refurbishment of his abode. Thus:


FLAT

 

Having been

steamrollered

by cronyism

incompetence

inadequacy

and failure

I think it's

fair to say

Boris Johnson's flat.


These cretins also want to spunk much wonga on a new boat for her madge. I don't like this idea. Hence:


YACHT


I am nacht 

Too hacht 

On the Royal yacht;

I dislike the idea

A lacht.


Up the workers! Solidarity!

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

POEM FOR PERIVALE PRIMARY SCHOOL

When I visit schools, I am sometimes asked to write a bespoke poem, on a theme of the school's choosing. I love doing this! Here is a special poem written for the fantastic Perivale Primary School, whom I am visiting on Friday 28th April. I was asked to write them a poem centred around their core school values of respect, resilience, enjoyment, kindness and excellence, and this is my effort. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

THIS IS US


Warming smiles on Monday mornings

Classrooms filled with dedication

Doors opening into worlds of colour 


Pens poised in eager hands

Arms linked tightly across the playground

A kaleidoscope of swirling inspiration


A tissue to the eye when the tears flow

A tender word in a tired ear

A scuffed shoe ready to run again


Bubbling brews of heady potential 

A flag standing proudly in shifting sands

Differences united in diversity 


Respect

Resilience

Enjoyment

Kindness

Excellence


We will prevail entirely

We are Perivale Primary


Monday, 26 April 2021

POEM FOR BORIS

BODIES


Social distance

Quarantine

Clap for Carers

New vaccine

Hands and faces

All kept clean…

Bodies piled high. 


Furloughted workers

PPE

SAGE and

Herd Immunity

It’s a new

Normality…

Bodies piled high.


Barnard Castle

Isolation

Ventilators

Intubation

Cronyism

Ravaged nation…

Bodies piled high.


Friday, 23 April 2021

NEW POEM: 'THAT DOG'

That Dog


skulks away and cowers

in his corner. Trembling, there is nothing

we can do to coax him out. 

For some reason he’s scared.


He’s scared and we don’t know why.

There’s nothing we can do to tell him

that there’s nothing to be scared of.

We don’t speak his language.


What if we all are dogs like him,

huddled up in the corners of our lives?

What if the things we shrink from are akin

to whatever it is the dog fears?


So let us turn upwards, to the still

space above that holds us tight, tickles

behind our ears and if it could would tell

us we’re good, we’re loved, that everything


is all right.


Wednesday, 21 April 2021

POEM FOR EARTH DAY 2021

Earth Day is on the 22nd April. The poem below was written in anticipation of this, and I was up until recently excited to share it with you all. I shared it in a group on Facebook yesterday, where it was generally well received. However, one of the group members drew my attention to the fact that the poem is extremely similar to one written by Roger McGough, which you can read here. I genuinely do not remember reading this poem before writing my own, but I am obviously struck by the similarity. So struck, in fact, that I can only conclude that I must have read McGough's poem at some point in the past, and I must have thus imbibed it in some kind of subliminal way. Anyway, with this preamble out of the way, here is my poem for Earth Day 2021. I hope you will agree that I have at least done an OK job of taking McGough's original idea and taking it in my own direction.



Monday, 19 April 2021

FOOTBALL?

It’s football   but not as we know it

It’s football   crack out that champagne!

It’s football   embroidered in gold leaf 

It’s football   that’s gone down the drain 


It’s football   reduced to a boardroom

It’s football   without all the zing

It’s football   with added prawn sandwich

It’s football   but don’t mean a thing


It’s football   with no relegation

It’s football   but shorn of the pain

It’s football   with nothing to lose, so

It’s football   with nothing to gain 


It’s football   except that it’s worthless

It’s football   except that it’s crap 

It’s football   without the tradition

It’s football   watch out for that gap!



(English football clubs agree to join European 'Super League')

Friday, 16 April 2021

NEW POEM: 'DATA COLLECTION'

 DATA COLLECTION

Test it

Measure it

Calculate its length

Analyse it

Scrutinise it 

Quantify its strength

Log it

Clock it

Tabulate it too 

Theorise

Statisticise 

Explore it through and through

Poke it

Prod it 

Determine its dimensions 

Dissect it

Inspect it 

Pay it close attention

Starve it

Carve it

Stick it on a slab…


Four-year-old children

Don’t belong

In a lab.


(government plans to introduce tests for 4 year olds)

Thursday, 8 April 2021

NEW POEM: MY PURPOSE

MY PURPOSE


After Gary Larson 


Yesterday I found my purpose.

It was down the back of the sofa. 

Not as big as I’d remembered,

it was covered in some kind of fluff.

I found it alongside a couple of pencils

and a foreign coin. 

I brushed it off, and held my purpose

in the palm of my hand. 

Wasn’t much to write home about.

I put it on the mantelpiece 

with my old Ian Fleming novels

and my third-place prize from that

poetry competition in 1998.

Now I sit staring at my purpose,

the one I’d never given

much thought to. 

Might put it in the attic for a while;

the cat is bound to knock it

off the shelf.


Thursday, 1 April 2021

A Poem in praise of Teaching Assistants

TA


Teaching

Assistant 


Totally

Amazing


Terrifically

Awesome


Terribly

Affable


Tangibly 

Astounding 


Time to 

Appreciate


Thanks 

A million


Ta!



Tuesday, 30 March 2021

MORE STUNNING 'EMOTIONS' POEMS FROM PGHS

I mentioned in a blog post last week that I had recently visited Palmers Green High School which, in spite of the name, includes younger pupils too. I was delighted in that post to share some fantastic poems from Year 3. Ms. Conlon, the wonderful librarian, has just sent me some more poems, this time produced by Year 4 during my workshop. I am really excited to be able to share them in this blog post. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did, and can appreciate the development and complexity of ideas when compared to the (equally fantastic) Year 3 poems. Check em out!








Sunday, 28 March 2021

PONKY WOEM

I’m just a ponky woem

in a bonky little wook. 

I know you sink it’s thilly

but just lome and have a cook.


My bords are rather wackwards

and my stread is not on haight.

Yes mome sight steem me dupid

but en thothers gray I’m seat.


Ly mexicon jis umbled.

Ly metters are askew. 

I know you wink I’m theird

but I’m gather rripping too. 


I save to hay crime azy 

and against all tommon caste. 

I’m just a ponky woem

and sy mense bas heen plismaced.


Friday, 26 March 2021

A POEM ABOUT POETRY ABOUT POETRY

A great authority

whom I like and admire

once said that all poets

are only ever allowed to write

one poem about poetry.


Any more, I suppose,

would be too much of a cop out

or too slyly self-referential

or perhaps simply

too easy. 


I’m not sure

how I feel

about that.


Wednesday, 24 March 2021

#NationalSomethingDay

Dust off your thingummy!

Grab that doohickey!

Diddle your doodad - 

it’s not very tricky.

Give us a cheer

and holler ‘Hooray!’

It’s #NationalSomethingDay


Go and recover

your thingamajig!

Your whatnot is in

for a wonderful gig!

slap on a smile

and don’t feel grey!

It’s #NationalSomethingDay


So gather your gismos 

and wangle your whatsit!

Muster your kit

from the back of your closet!

Those whatjamacallits 

are here to stay!

It’s #NationalSomethingDay


Tuesday, 23 March 2021

EMOTION POEMS FROM YEAR 3, PGHS

Last week I did some workshops with Palmers Green High School. This was the third year in a row I have worked at the school, and I am always impressed with the quality of writing they produce. Their fantastic librarian, Mrs. Conlon, recently sent me a selection of worked produced by Year 3 (despite the name, PGHS has primary school pupils too). Here are three wonderful poems, each focused around a different emotion. Enjoy!