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Friday, 28 January 2022

a poem about evidence

EVIDENCE INFORMED


It has now been scientifically proven

that telly is better than poetry.


Psychologists stuck a load of people in a room

with both a telly and a poem – 


on average, they spent about two minutes

disinterestedly glancing at the poem


before settling down for the remainder of the hour

to watch Homes Under The Hammer.


This proves that telly

is better than poetry. 


So burn your books, people!

Grab those comfies and settle down


in the name of science. 


Thursday, 27 January 2022

LEO'S ROOM

They still call it Leo’s Room,

even though Leo hasn’t lived there

for thirty years. What once

was a baby’s bedroom is

now a study, yet still they call it

Leo’s Room. I know this because


my mum saw them in Sainsbury’s

a few weeks ago, and they got

chatting about old times. How things

have moved on. How the lawn

got paved over in the 90’s

and how Leo now lives half way


across the world. But I guess

no one ever truly leaves the land

that births them: I can still hear

those distant layers of laughter

echoing through the decades

behind these very walls.


Wednesday, 26 January 2022

AMBUSHED BY A CAKE

I was just getting on with my job, see,

and there seems to have been a mistake. 

I was doing my deed for the land that I lead, 

then – ambushed by a cake. 


I was hunkering down for the nation.

I knew there was plenty at stake. 

I couldn’t foresee what would happen to me, 

yes – ambushed by a cake.


I’ve spent billions on our defences

and weapons to make our foes quake. 

The provisions for this, well they’re somewhat 

amiss – ambushed by a cake.


But I guess you all knew when you voted

of the shambolic mess I would make.

Yes I’ve let you all down, but it’s only a clown

who gets ambushed by a CAKE!


Monday, 24 January 2022

Pirate Poem for Year 3, Belvedere Junior School

Tomorrow I am visiting Belvedere Junior School, where I will be working with Year 3 classes to produce poems about pirates. I am really excited about this! Whenever schools book me to run workshops on a specific theme, I try to write a special poem on that theme, just for them. Well, it's not just for them, since I often put the poems on my blog too. With this in mind, here is Belvedere Junior's Year 3 Pirate Poem! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. 

SEASICK


The waves upon the ocean

always leave me feeling sick.

I’ve tried all kinds of remedies

but none has done the trick.


I’ve nibbled on a cracker

and I’ve sipped some ginger ale; 

the roiling and the rocking

still conspire to leave me frail. 


I’ve tried to change positions

and to regulate my breath;

it didn’t work – the motion caused

discomfort worse than death.


I’ve clutched on very tightly

with a firm and stable grip,

but I do not think I’m suited

to a job on board a ship.


If I could get a plane or car

or bus then I would hire it.

The thing is, getting seasick

isn’t great when you’re a pirate.






Sunday, 23 January 2022

TWO SHORT POEMS

ANALYSIS


His analysis

with Dr. Freud

wasn't entirely

successful;

everything the patient said

went in one ear

and out the mother.





STORY 


They say a story has to have:

beginning; middle; end – 

and maybe this injunction

isn’t wrong.


But if a story mirrors the

trajectory of life,  

the start and end are short;

the middle’s long.





Friday, 21 January 2022

THEY SAY

By night, they say, he scours

the streets incognito, fighting crime.

They say he can drive a tank

and that he’s highly trained in the art of kung fu.


Some say he was sent from the future

to purge the planet of evil; others claim

he’s a Viking reincarnated, summoned

from the past to avenge his kin.


They say he can shoot laser beams

from his eyeballs, that a single punch

can destroy a building, and that

he converses regularly with the gods in the sky.


They say all this, but I don’t know why;

he seems like an ordinary school caretaker to me.


Tuesday, 18 January 2022

a poem on Tory distraction techniques (AKA 'Operation Red Meat')

OPERATION: LOOK OVER THERE 


Look over there! It’s a migrant!

He’s trying to enter our land!

And look over there!

It’s the BBC!

Things truly have got out of hand.


Look over there! It’s Sir Kier!

He once had a beer at his desk!

And look over there!

It’s some junior aide!

The cut of his jib is grotesque.


Look over there! It’s a paper

on ‘Levelling Up’, and it's white!

And look over there!

It's some unemployed wretch

whose presence round here is a blight. 


Look over there! In the distance!

Keep looking, and don’t make a fuss.

Yes, look over there!

Or in fact anywhere

just as long as it isn’t at us...


Monday, 17 January 2022

NOMINATIVE INDETERMINISM

For two hours I’d been waiting

in the rain to collect the pills that keep

my brain just the right side


of a nervous breakdown.

As I approach the desk

the woman flips the sign. Closed.


I can feel the tears prickle behind

my eyes as I plead – just

one more, just this once.


Please. She looks down at me,

face like curdled milk, and says no.

Her name tag says Joy.


Wednesday, 12 January 2022

a little poem to prove a giggle

UNCONKERED


Darren came to school all laden

with the wares he wished to trade in.


“Buy this conker”, Darren pleaded.

“It has worth as yet unheeded.”


(Darren hoped we would say yes, but

no one fell for that old chestnut.)


Tuesday, 11 January 2022

news emerges of yet more Downing Street parties during lockdown...

HAVE A PARTY


When the sun is in the sky – have a party.

There’s no need to feel shy – have a party. 

Other people might well sigh

when they watch their loved ones die;

that’s no fault of you or I — have a party!


Well the death count’s pretty large – have a party.

After all, it’s us in charge – have a party.

Get the booze from the garage,

Sod the constable and sarge,

Let’s invite Nigel Farage! Have a party!


Let me top up your champagne, at the party!

So we broke the rules again – it’s a party!

Yes the plebs are feeling pain

locked in tight with ball and chain,

but their loss is BoJo’s gain – have a party!


So the mood’s intensifying – have a party!

And the mourners keep on crying – have a party!

We can say that we’re complying,

they will never twig we’re lying

and that Bolly’s fortifying – have a party!


Yes, the country’s in the muck – have a party.

Well that’s pretty rotten luck – have a party.

Yes, the rules might come unstuck

but take off that tie! Untuck!

No we just don’t give a f… Have a party!


Monday, 10 January 2022

INDOOR CAT

She’s an indoor cat.

Her world lies within the walls

of our first floor flat.

She sits at the window

eyeing the birds outside,

creatures she will never catch.

Her exercise routine is walking 

from the kitchen to the bedroom and back.

She’s an indoor cat.

The rug is her Serengeti,

the couch her habitat.

Excitement, for her, is a post to scratch.

She’s never brought home a frog or a rat.

And is she happy?

Well it’s all she’s ever known.

Her whole universe

is circumscribed by our home.

Her eyes are keen.

Her claws are sharp

but she knows no combat.

Look at her there.

She’s an indoor cat. 





Friday, 7 January 2022

Freud is nothing

but a parody of himself. I’m beating

the absolute crap out of my dad, using

fists, sticks, whatever comes to hand.

My fingernails show him who’s man


as they grope for his eyeballs. He doesn’t

fight back, accepts each raining blow like milk

on his tongue. The umbilical cord is round

his neck as he tries to speak, each gasping


breath grasping for something I can’t quite

make out. But nor do I care to: the time is

now. The reckoning. My mum smiles,

feints, steps into the ring.


Thursday, 6 January 2022

new poem, and ideas for follow up activities

THE FACE

There’s a girl in the window. I don’t know her name. 

Her hair is all tangled. Her eyes are aflame.

She sniggers at me like she thinks it’s a game.


There’s a girl in the window. She’s there… now she’s gone.

I sit and I wonder if maybe I’m wrong.

Perhaps it’s a trick of the dusk coming on. 


There’s a girl in the window. I think I can see

a bruise on her lip and a flower (for me?)

and a palm on the pane like she wants to be free. 


There’s a girl in the window up there, I said.

But they say I’m mistaken, it’s all in my head: 

the lady who lived there is long, long since dead.



                                                            ..................
    

The above poem is based on a recurring image I have, of a girl's face in a tiny, high up window. Having shared the poem with your class, here are some suggestions for follow-up activities:

  • Draw a picture of the girl in the window
  • Have a discussion: Who is she? What is she? Is she real or imaginary? What is her name?
  • Do some writing from her perspective: a letter; a diary entry; a poem
If any teachers would like to do the above activities with their class, I would love to display some of the results on my blog!

Tuesday, 4 January 2022

EARN A PENNY, SPEND A PENNY

I’m stuck in the bathroom

I’ve been here a while

I’ve not much to do

And I can’t help but smile:


I worked yesterday

Now this downtime is due 

Because my boss gave me

A day off in loo.


Monday, 3 January 2022

poem about loss etc

AVA’S GONE


                          I look and see

a hole in the class where she used to be.

They told us she’d be gone a while

but it’s been six weeks since I saw her smile.


I’ve asked the teacher every day

when she’ll be back, but he won’t say.

I’ve asked my mum, who doesn’t know

and so I feel her absence grow


and fester as I sit alone.

I’m weighted down by this heavy stone.

The playground isn’t as it was.

The halls are hollowed out because


my best friend’s gone. I sigh and see

a hole in my world where she used to be.









Sunday, 2 January 2022

PUNX DEAD

I found the singer

of my favourite punk band

on LinkedIn. Back in the day

he used to rant about capitalism

at sweaty live shows

the underground press

would frequently describe

as ‘incendiary’; these days

it appears he is a managing partner

at some company or other.

His shaggy mane is now replaced

with a slick hairdo that wouldn’t look

amiss on a footballer.

He’s also got three kids, apparently,

and lists cars and boats

as two of his main interests.

Whatever happened to the heroes?

Whatever indeed.