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Thursday 30 June 2022

'FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL' - poems from Orchards Junior, West Sussex

Well now. I am really excited to be writing this blog post. I recently worked with Year 5 at Orchards Junior School in West Sussex. The aim was to produce poems about their wonderful school, with me collecting the poems at the end of the day in order to compile a special, bespoke poem. I look forward to sharing that poem on my blog soon. In the mean time, I'd like to share two very special pieces that emerged from the workshop. First off, Alexie in Year 5 produced a really imaginative piece from a very interesting perspective. Secondly, their teacher Mrs. Jones wrote a frankly amazing poem. I love it when teachers join in with my workshops! Here are the two fantabulistic poems: 

Waiting for the Start of School, by Alexie Year 5 

The school stands silently

The leaves drift across the playground

The window creaks quietly 

The school stands up straight 

The playground freezes in the cold 

The paper rumbles angrily

The pencils clash together 

The lockers slam impatiently 

The whiteboard whispers in frustration

The sharpeners rattle loudly 

The books slap with frustration

The rubbers bounce about 

The teacher walks in


They stop. 

First Day of School, by Mrs Jones (TEACHER!)

It’s time. The iron gates ready themselves to peel open

and let the flood of feet flow forward

chitter chatter, pitter patter,

running, shouting, laughing, racing

“I’m first!” “No, I’m first!”

The doors fly open,

bags are shoved, bottles grabbed, 

chairs claimed, pencils readied

eyes scanning for clues

at what this new day will reveal. 

Sixty eyes expectant,

a gang, a troup, a clan. 

I take a moment to look,

to really see what is behind each mask,

to read each expression like a poem or a book, 

to assess where my feet

will need to travel first. 

My class, my children, my joy.

“Good Morning, Everybody…”

Wednesday 29 June 2022


So you got up and fed the cat. That’s something.

You hauled one leg, then the other, out of your

pyjama bottoms, and you fought doggedly across

the rugged terrain of the landing. You wielded

your toothbrush like a club. You stood under 

the shower’s strafe for as long as it took

to deter the enemies under your skin, if just

for a while. You got yourself dressed: trousers,

T-shirt, socks – the kit. You sat for a bit then went

to the shops for milk and fruit, whatever your tired

gut could take. You wrote. That’s something.

Even read a bit too. You talked with your wife –

only half hearing through the hounding static,

but you talked nonetheless. You watched

some show about the Vikings. That’s something.

That’s something. And when the day was done

you dropped heavily into bed, your mind bulging

with a thousand tiny battles, a thousand mini victories.

Joshua Seigal

(published in Every Night is Full of Stars,

ed. Aoibhin Garrihy, Bonnier Books)

Tuesday 28 June 2022

Poems by Year 4 at Brampton Primary (Newham), inspired by Pie Corbett

I recently had a fantastic day at Brampton Primary School in Newham, East London. I worked with several Year 4 classes, doing different activities with each class. In one of the classes we looked at Pie Corbett's piece 'A Poem to be Spoken Silently', which you can view here. I asked each pupil to imagine their favourite place, and then reimagine at night time. Using the prompt 'it was so silent that...', I then gave each pupil the chance to jot down some lines. A great variety of work was produced, of which the following is a small, delicious sample: 

Paris by Ana

It was so silent that…

I could hear the people of Paris hustling

The sly birds flying and flapping their wings 

The Arc de Triomphe bending all on its own 

It was so silent that 

I could hear the break baking in the bakery 

The frogs still croaking even though they died [!]

The clappering shoes of tourists

In the Palace of Versailles 

The Beach by Moyo 

It was so silent that 

I could hear the palm trees swish 

Hear the city lights go on and off 

The beach’s waves swish and swash 

Hear the loud, hot burning weather 

The crowd’s spirits whispering in my ear

Outside My Window by Lewis 

It was so silent that 

I could hear the gentle drop

Of a leaf from a tree

I could hear the swift swish 

Of the grass 

The neighbour’s music

From inside their house 

I could hear

A top on the glass 

The Cat Cafe by Hareem 

It was so silent that I could hear 

The cats purring in their beds

And meowing for their food 

The cute little cats

Crawling on the mats 

And making their way

Onto cosy laps 

It was so silent that I could hear 

The people munching on their cake 

The cats could hear it too

And knew it was food 

So I give the cats food

It gives me a purr

Nothing is better

Than a good old purr

Friday 24 June 2022

More fabulous poems from Bury CE Primary, Year 3 and 4

Yesterday I shared some wonderful poems written by Years 5 and 6 at Bury CE Primary, West Sussex. Today I would like to share some more poems, this time written by children in Years 3 and 4. I asked everyone to think of their favourite place (big or small; real or imaginary). I then asked everyone to jot down some ideas, using details from their five senses. Afer providing a few model poems, I then gave each pupil a short amount of time to create their own piece. Here are a few of the lovely results:

Mexico by Frida Year 3

The smell

of tacos

being cooked 

and people 


in the streets

the sound 

of people 


and the waves



the shore


speaking Spanish 

and sunbathing

in the sun

Florida by Charlie Year 4

You can hear

The waves crashing 

You can hear

The sunshine burning 

You can hear 

The people eating 

You can hear 

A dog barking 

You can hear 

Crowds shouting 

That’s Florida 

London by Connor Year 3

I went to the window

on the top of the sky 

I saw double decker buses

zooming across the road 

I saw toy shops crowded

with talking people 

I saw the sun reflecting

on the bright red postboxes 

I saw lots of rollercoasters

in the amusement parks 

I saw the Buckingham Palace guards

chatting near the gates

Ukraine by Misha Year 4

Thursday 23 June 2022

'I'M MADE OF' - brilliant poems by Year 5 and 6, Bury CE Primary, West Sussex

I spent yesterday working with Years 5 and 6 at Bury CE Primary School, in West Sussex. In class we focused on the idea of identity, and what goes into making us who we are. After some initial warm-up activities in which I asked pupils to jot down some idea about things that matter to them, I gave them the prompt 'I'm made of...', and let them loose on some poetry! I am delighted to share a small selection of their fabulous poetry. 

I’m Made Of by Zoey Year 6

I’m made of 

Hugs from mum and dad when I’m having a tough time

The thought of ice cream, especially lemon and lime 

When by best friends want to come round and play 

And when my grandma comes to stay 

I’m made of 

Television, staring at it 24/7 

My birthday when I turn 11

When I go to Wagamama and get katsu curry

I feel a rumble in my tummy 

I’m made of 

Love. So are you. 

Never believe it’s not true. 

Who Am I? By Max Year 5

I’m on of those people

Who bike on deadly bike tracks 

Someone who does ridiculous things

That nobody can do 

But when I tell other people 

They don’t believe me at all 

I’m someone who goes karting

In karts that can hit up to 40mph 

And no one believes me 

I’m someone who scooters

In scooter parks 

And can do wheelies and jumps 

And yet again

No one believes me 

I’m a person 

Who does not always lie 

And I hope I will not die

Any time soon 

But still they don’t believe me 

Then I find someone who believes me 

I tell her crazy things 

A friend


I’m Made Of by Tom Year 6 

I’m made of 

My mum’s delicious spaghetti 

Poppy and Maisie sitting on my lap 

The excitement of a rugby match 

I’m made of 

The best family possible 

Double-jointed arms 

Playing sports most days 

I’m made of 

Taking dogs to vets 

Finding out they both have cancer 

And cuddling my wonderful dogs 

Every evening 

I’m Made Of by Harry Year 5 

I’m made of 

Roast dinner on a Sunday evening 

My dog curled up next to me 

When I slept as a baby 

The scent of the salt on fish and chips

Wafting up my nose 

I’m made of 

A set of brilliant parents

And a little sister 

I have a girlfriend 

Who makes me happy when I’m sad 

When I play football all my worries go away 

I’m made of 

My nan who died  three weeks ago 

Age 84 

Monday 20 June 2022

A poem for the Transport Secretary

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is well known for his pseudonymous dodgy dealings. I thought I'd have me a little fun with this here mesostic poem

Sunday 19 June 2022


now lies prostrate on our kitchen floor.

The PhD from Penn or wherever was not

so penetrating when faced with the bat, was it?

I dealt the blows and you drew the blinds.

It took both our strength to haul the body

to the bathroom. Bones can be tough to break –

I gave them a crack whilst you held the

bin liner open, tying the knot in the way

I’ve come to love. And after it was all over,

we both scrubbed the place clean with

disinfectant. You called the dude’s lab,

said he wouldn’t be in tomorrow; I drove us

into the night to dispose of the remains.

I suppose that bit was a bit of a pain, with us 

being afraid of the dark and all, but you are

my wife, I love you, and all else is bullshit.

Friday 17 June 2022


I’m not like a bigot or anything

but to be honest it’s time to ship ‘em out.

They come over here, no knowledge

of British cultures like respect and honesty,

and they take all our top jobs.

They’re lazy and untrustworthy.

Sure, sure, they’re not all bad, like.

In fact I’m friends with one or two of them,

but enough’s enough, y’know.

It’s time to ship ‘em out. Send a message.

Stick em on a plane.

We need to dissuade more from coming, you see.

It’s like a swarm. A swarm of insects.

Most of them are unskilled and untalented,

and they’re just a drain on our resources.

I think, if you ask me, that we should look after our own.

To hell with them. Ship ‘em out...

it’s time to put every last Tory on a plane. 

Wednesday 15 June 2022


I told her that the Queen is the only

person in the country allowed to eat

a swan. She looks up at me quizzically

and asks why anyone would want

to eat a swan. The Queen can do

what she likes, I reply – she’s the Queen.

So does that mean the Queen actually eats

swans? she asks. I’ve no idea, I say – 

it’s just that she’s allowed to, if she wants.

So why can’t I eat a swan? she asks.

Would you want to eat a swan? I reply.

No, she says, but I want to be allowed to eat

a swan. I tell her that she is my queen, and for

the rest of my life I will fight for her right

to eat a swan. It’s not fair, in this day and age,

that just one privileged person, through a mere

accident of birth, is allowed to eat swans

whilst others are not. I will move mountains

to ensure that she, my queen, grows up in

a world where she can eat a swan, a world

where swan-flesh is democratised. There will

be no more barriers to this delicacy. Or maybe,

she says, the Queen shouldn’t be allowed to

eat swans. Maybe no one should be allowed

to eat swans. I think you’ve got a point, I say,

whilst sharpening my carving knife.

Sunday 12 June 2022

a poem about joining TikTok (follow me @joshuaseigal)


So I’ve gone and done it

In my mid 30s

Finally down with the kids

Does anyone say that anymore?

‘Down with the kids’?

Or are there now phrases I’ve never heard before


‘Hangin’ by the dongle’ 


‘On the half-banana’ 


‘Fully Helsinki’?

Anyway, I’ve done it

Joined TikTok

And I’ve no clue what to do now

Colourful things are flying at me from all sides 

I’m hearing all kinds of unfamiliar noises

And I feel like I’ve entered some kind of alternative reality 

A reality that has propelled itself forward with jetpacks while I wasn’t looking

While I wasn’t even aware 

While I wasn’t even aware that I wasn’t even aware

And it all feels…


And suddenly I think I understand

What Old People mean

When they talk of what things were like in ‘their day’

And how their neighbourhoods are different from when they were little

And how the buses have changed

And the supermarkets have changed

And you can’t pay for things in cash anymore 

And there are more than four channels 

I understand now how the things I take for granted 

Are alien to those who came before me 

Those who now feel like they’re barely hanging on

Because that’s how I feel now

In the land of the TikTok

The land of zaps and zooms and flashes and colours

And I tell myself I’ll try to swim

I promise I will

I’ve dipped the tip of my toe in this weird kaleidoscopic sea

And I will soon try to swim

When I next open the app

Whenever that may be