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Monday, 30 May 2022

OFF KEY

We buried dad in sand

while we were on our seaside jolly.

It started in a fit of fun

but turned into a folly.


The car keys, which he swore were in 

the shorts that he was wearing,

at some point must have fallen out.

It left my dad despairing. 


He scrambled all around and cursed

until his voice was hoarse. 

Mum stifled little giggles

and was threatened with divorce.


Dad griped and groaned and grizzled

and he wept with head in hand.

The joyful jaunt that we were on 

had not panned out as planned.


I understand his torment

but one really mustn’t grieve – 

we had the perfect holiday…

and now we’ll never leave!

Friday, 27 May 2022

PLATINUM JUBILEE SONG

Reason Number 543 that I could never be Poet Laureate: I sat down and tried to write a poem for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, and all I could come up with was this puerile little ditty. 



Tuesday, 24 May 2022

LOVELY LITTLE POEMS FROM WHITCHURCH PRIMARY

One of the things I love about running poetry workshops is the fact that they can produce really meaningful snippets of writing in an extremely short space of time. It can take ages to edit a poem, but it needn't take a long time at all to produce a collection of really poignant lines and ideas. With this in mind, I'd like to share two 'mini poems' that were penned during my visit to Whitchurch Primary, Berkshire, last week. I asked Year 4 to think of an emotion, and then to jot down a few lines describing what that emotion means to them. Here is a pair of Lovely Little Poems that were produced in only ten minutes:

Worry


I hate you worry 

You turn my feet into lead

You make sad thoughts

Whizz in my head 

You are the taste

Of my salty tears

I hate you worry


Love


Love is a baby monkey

on the tip of your finger

Love is my dog

sleeping in my arms 

Love is my mum

hugging me goodnight

Love is my friends

opening the heavy door for me 

Love is eating M&S pizza

Love is everywhere.


Saturday, 21 May 2022

BRILLIANT ANIMATION FROM DEXTER, GATTEN & LAKE PRIMARY

I was delighted when Mr. Kirby, the Year 3 teacher at Gatten & Lake Primary, Isle of Wight, got in touch with me recently. He said that his pupils had been creating recorded performances based on my poem 'I Have...'. Mr Kirby was especially excited to share Dexter's superb animation with me, and I am equally excited that I have permission to share it on my blog! I hope you enjoy Dexter's magnificent work as much as I did. Well done to everyone in Mr. Kirby's class!



 

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

FOXES - a poem for Year 3, Stanton

I recently paid a lovely visit to Year 3 in Stanton School, Milton Keynes. As part of this particular job, I was tasked with writing the school a bespoke poem. After a brief discussion with their teachers, I discovered that their school field is home to a trio of foxes, and that this fact gives the students much joy. I asked them to suppy me with some more information, including some adjectives, about said foxes, and I used this to create a special poem for them. Behold, then, my poem for Year 3 at Stanton School!

FOXES (For Year 3, Stanton School)


We see them roam at break and lunch

They search for grub on which to munch 

They’re quite a perky, playful bunch – 

The foxes on the field 


In lessons, when we glance outside 

We watch them dart about and hide

They’re bushy-tailed and beady-eyed – 

The foxes on the field


They number three: two big, one small 

Are they ferocious? Not at all

They really have us in their thrall – 

The foxes on the field 


They’re kind and shy and cute, it’s true

They cheer us up when we are blue 

The teachers clean up all their poo – 

The foxes on the field 


Some come to Stanton, and you’ll see

Fox One, Fox Two, and Baby Three

They’re wonderful, we all agree – 

Those foxes on the field!


Monday, 16 May 2022

WONDERFUL POEM BY CHLOE, AGE 8

Chloe's mum recently got in touch with me to say that my latest visit to Fleetville Infant School, where I have been Patron of Reading since 2014, inspired Chloe to write her own poem. I was especially impressed with the sophisticated humour and use of rhyme in Chloe's poem; it really made me smile! I hope you, dear reader, enjoy the poem as much as I did. Here goes:


A Gorilla Came To School Today 


A gorilla came to school today 

He appeared at the front of my class. 

His fingers were as big as bananas  

He was wearing big spotty pyjamas!  

He was small and quiet 

Not very scary 

But he was a little bit stinky 

And ever so hairy! 

We tried to do a science test 

He tried his very best 

But he got everything mixed up  

And made an awful mess! 

We went to the gym 

Where he dived right in 

He loved doing the press ups 

But ended up getting hiccups! 

We all love our new classmate. 

He’s funny and happy and daft. 

We hope he comes back tomorrow 

As all we’ve done today is laugh!

Saturday, 14 May 2022

I'M SITTING

opposite my grandpa and he has

a bottle of whisky and some benzos on the table

in front of him. He’s eighty-five and the furrows


in his face say he’s never had therapy.

He tells me that the pills are just painkillers, 

that the whisky is apple juice, but I can see


those red lines crowd his eyes, trace my lineage

back through them to my mum with me in her arms

as she paces round the dining room table,


and on through my grandpa to his own mother,

watching Hitler as he raves in a Berlin park.

I can feel myself sinking through the pit 


of his pupils, and no matter how hard I try 

to claw at the sides this legacy is my destiny:

a shame no shower could wash away.


Wednesday, 11 May 2022

READING IN THE BATH

My elbows hurt, the book gets wet

I drop it in and get upset

It’s something that I just don’t get – 

Reading in the bath


Everybody says it’s great 

I tried it once and got irate

It’s something that I really hate – 

Reading in the bath


The pages got all moist with soap

I tried awhile then gave up hope

From me it gets a hearty ‘nope’ – 

Reading in the bath


I spent a tenner on the tome

To keep it neatly shelved at home

So leave out all that bloody foam – 

Reading in the bath 


Yes give me bed, or couch, or train

Or boat, or car, or aeroplane

Such things don’t cause me half the pain

Of reading in the bath…


Monday, 9 May 2022

WORRYING ABOUT NUCLEAR WAR

means that you’re probably not worrying

about paying the bills on time,

or desperately sick relatives,

or your job going down the toilet.


It probably means that your marriage

is in a state of adequacy,

that your roof isn’t leaking,

and that your fridge contains enough food

to last until the end of the week.


Worrying about nuclear war implies

that, in all likelihood, you’re not waiting

for ominous test results,

that your car hasn’t failed its MOT,

and that no brown envelopes squat on your doorstep.


Your cat isn’t missing,

your baby is sleeping through the night,

you’re not being chased by the Mafia.

All in all, it seems, 

your life is pretty good


and apparently you’ve got a lot to lose.

Suck then, on your worries,

like a boiled sweet,

and savour deeply the flavour

of everything that’s yours.


Sunday, 8 May 2022

SUNDAY

This afternoon

I was in the park

eating an ice cream

and I saw two toddlers

screaming with glee

chasing a tiny dog.

The kids’ parents

looked on laughing;

the dog’s owner

didn’t seem to mind,

and I thought to myself

that, sometimes,

the world isn’t

such a bad place.


Monday, 2 May 2022

ANNIVERSARIES

Well they’re not really real, are they,

merely marking as they do 

the way our minds


take a knife to time

and slice out some segment.

Those apples


still grow on the trees

as they did before;

the same heart still pumps


the same blood around the body.

And that same old moon

still rises and falls


rises and falls


and you’re still gone