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Thursday 15 February 2024

Valentine's Evening

I was sitting in a restaurant with my wife

when my website went down.

I pushed the button on my phone

but it wasn’t working.

I asked to borrow my wife’s phone

but the website still wouldn’t load.

I had ceased to exist.

My wife told me to put the phone away

and to focus on the meal, the beautiful evening,

but how could I do those things?

The universe had nullified my presence,

cancelled my very being.

If I was not there for everyone to find me,

then was I really there at all?

But I’m here, my wife said.

I’m right in front of you,

with a menu and new lipstick.

I reached for her hand

and felt the warmth, the flesh.

To let go now, I simply said,

would be a kind of death.

Joshua Seigal

Thursday 8 February 2024

EMOTIONS poems from Maidwell Hall School

This week is Children's Mental Health Week. I had a wonderful time visiting Maidwell Hall school, where I worked with a group of pupils from Years 2, 3 and 4 to create poems based on emotions. I gave everyone a short amount of time to choose which emotion they wanted to write about, and to turn their emotion into a list of metaphors. What follows is a small selection of poems from the group. Some of the lines have a slightly surreal quality, which I really like! I had great fun visiting, and I hope to be back again soon. 

Jealousy by Martha

Jealousy is when it feels in the middle

Like cloudy but not sunny

But with a little bit of rain

Jealousy is when you feel angry

And when someone boasts

You can feel rage 

Jealousy is every emotion

Whizzing around your head like a war 

But inside it’s like a number 4 

Out of number 8

Sadness by Daisy

Sadness is a storm raging through your head

Sadness is a drop of rain that gets you soaking wet

Sadness is getting bullied, when you just can’t dance 

Sadness is no friends

That bends like in the past

Anger by Teo

Anger is people shouting in my brain

Anger is in a long line in my legs 

Anger is losing in a game in my heart

Anger is when people lie in my eye 

Anger is everywhere!

Anger is people not letting me play with my feet [!]

Anger is annoying in my head

Joy by Alice

Joy is daisies and buttercups in my head

Joy is friends playing, shouting your name 

Joy is springtimetime and fruit 

Joy is cupcakes and sweets

Joy is fun in the summer breeze

Wednesday 7 February 2024


is the spice of life, they say. 

Well I don’t really like spicy things. 

When I come home to the same warm bed every night –

that’s the stuff I like. 

The same table, chairs and cutlery

waiting for me at breakfast – 

I like that. 

A different set of shoes in the hallway; 

some other car in the driveaway; 

a new school every few years –

that’s the stuff that burns

in the back of my throat. 

Variety might be the chilli powder,

but I want the solid stuff, the nourishment.

I need the potatoes, the chicken, the rice –

the things that fill up a life.

Joshua Seigal

Monday 5 February 2024

'NOTHING, REALLY' - a new poem for Children's Mental Health Week

Nothing, Really

A snake is coiling in my chest

A most unwelcome, fearsome guest

I’m feeling tense, I’m feeling stressed

But it’s nothing, really. It’s nothing. 

A tiger’s prowling through my brain

My legs are tangled in a chain

All hope is gurgling down the drain

But it’s nothing, really. It’s nothing. 

My stomach is beset by bugs

I’m being fed a bowl of slugs

My lonely life is lacking hugs

But it’s nothing, really. It’s nothing. 

There’s chaos crashing all around

I cannot stand on solid ground

I feel like I’m being drowned…

But it’s nothing, really. It’s nothing.

Joshua Seigal

Saturday 3 February 2024

Poems from Linton Village College

I recently spent a few days in the lovely village (town?) of Linton, on behalf the Lindon Children's Book Festival. I spent my time visiting schools, performing poems and running workshops. I was really excited to visit Linton Valley College, where I worked with some lovely groups of Year 7 and Year 9 students. I am excited to share two poems that emerged from my workshops. I hpe you enjoy them as much as I did!

If I Was a Colour by Elena Yr 7

I could be red

for I get angry and annoyed

I am like a bird

unable to fly

I could be green

for I am flourishing and calm 

I am like a flower

opening its petals

I could be yellow

for I have patience and brightness

I am like the sun

emerging from a cloud

I could be purple

for I am fair and caring

I am like a mother

helping their child 

I could be blue

for I am sad and lonely 

I am like a victim

of bullying

I could be any colour

nobody is one thing

There is difference in the world 

Colours by Adrienn Yr 9


Almost never pure

Never seen when coloured on paper


Always grumpy 

Snappy, unapproachable, harsh


Unloved. Alienated

Left behind, never to be seen again


In the shadows

Emotion? Gone. Quiet.

Saturday 27 January 2024

When I was seven, my parents sat me down

in front of the TV. They said there was something

I had to watch. They said there was something

it was my duty to watch. I wanted to go out and

play football with Alex but no, they said – I had to sit

down and watch the TV. I had to watch the documentary;

it was part of my history. And so I saw the chimneys,

the chambers, the smoke. I saw those bone-spectres ghosting

through Auschwitz, Belsen, Treblinka. I wanted to get away

but no, my parents said – I needed to see this. I needed

to be educated. And from then on, death stalked every lesson,

every playdate, every football match. Death inched

its fingers into every exam, every underage pub trip,

every awkward teenage clinch. It muscled its way

into all the corners of my life – graduation, job, marriage; 

past, present, future. See, nothing gets left but history.

Nothing remains but what is gone.

Joshua Seigal

Friday 19 January 2024

Wonderful poems from Year 7, on the theme of 'Home'.

I recently worked with a brilliant bunch of Year 7 students at Westminster Under School, London. Their challenge was to write the first draft of a poem on the theme of 'Home'. After an initial task, in which I asked them to note down any associations they had, and encouraged them to broaded their horizons beyond merely considering the bricks and mortar of their houses to the specific emotions and events that signify 'home', I shared some poems on the theme, and then set them to work on creating their own. I am delighted to share a few of the results. I think you'll agree that the following poems are deeply moving. 

Home by David

The laughing of my little sister 

as dessert is served. 

The roar of happiness from my father

when his team finally scores. 

The tutting of my mother

as the dishes are left undone again. 

The comfy 1950s Christmas movies. 

The broken chords my one-year-old cousin

smashes on the piano 

while the sweet melody of a violin

is drowned out. 

My snail called Bob sliding across 

the dinner table. 

The look on my grandma’s face. 

Running barefoot with the dogs

through the rainforests of Africa. 


My uncle thrashing us on FIFA. 

Playing football with ny cousin. 

Sunday roast with our family twist. 

Warm apple pie dripping with custard. 

Church on Sunday mornings. 

Orchestra, a place where I can flow

with the music. 

These are places I’m always welcome.

Where is Home? By Ari

Where is home?

One half of home lies in the sunshine 

scattered away on the other side of the world. 

The other home lies here,

where I hope, where I live ,

but still it is not fully home. 

Where is home?

It is split across the earth.

One half is where half of my dearest heart lies.

Home is here where the other half lies,

like two pieces of a tricky puzzle

struggling to go together. 

Where is home?

I am lost. 

The real meaning of home is split.

I don’t know who to look to.

I don’t know where to go. 

Where is home?

Remember by Luke

Remember the time

that was truly mine?

Remember nursery toys

and loud, angry ‘OI!s’

Or maybe the toy

I was always dreaming of,

home cooking and pak choi,

Lego building on a cold day.

Remember the time

that was truly ours?

My brother watching television,

football and loud roars.

Or maybe the bunk bed 

I always shared,

I would lay down my head

and dream without any care. 

Remember the time

that was truly yours?

Remember building Lego 

and parents that always said ‘No’

Or maybe your home cooking,

your bedside light,

the last chocolate,

yours for the taking.

So what are your memories,

big and small?

What are the times

that are truly yours? 

Home by Henry


The place of all feeling, 

Happiness, sadness and confusion,

The comforting feeling of my bed,

Slowly drifting off into deep rest.

Ice puddles,

Long walks, 

A wet dog

Jumping up at once-dry trousers.

The salty, fresh smell

Of buttery pasta

After a long day at school,

Kind, bright pictures on the wall,

The blue wallpaper in the big hall.

The constant drilling from next door,

The annoyance, 

The excitement and anticipation

Of cricket on TV,

Constantly watching with my cousin.

My friends,

My family,


I will never let you go.

Thursday 11 January 2024

The Man With the Job

There is a man up there,

and he doesn’t know you

and you don’t know him,

but his job is to keep you safe. 

He has everything he needs – 

big guns, big shields, and also 

a big heart. He is tasked

with making sure bad things don’t happen. 

That’s his job. 

And he knows things. 

He can see the bigger picture

that you don’t see;

he can weight up many different calculations

in his brain at once. 

And you can’t see him

and he can’t see you, 

but believe me son, he’s there. 

He’s there, with his guns and his shields

and that big, big heart,

and he’s gonna keep you safe. 

Joshua Seigal

Sunday 7 January 2024


I’m ringing one of those bells, like the ones

cancer patients ring in the hospital. But this

isn’t a hospital, and I’m not a cancer patient.

There are people lining either side of the hallway,

but they’re not doctors or nurses. Or maybe

some of them are doctors, but not cancer doctors.

Maybe they are friends or family, or both. Anyway,

they’re clapping me. I’m ringing this bell, and they’re

lining the hallway, giving me an ovation. I’ve made it.

Through all the hard work, sickness and failure,

I’ve come out the other end. I’ve emerged from

the darkness, and I’m ringing the bell. This is how

I picture it anyway. Maybe it’s not quite like that.

Perhaps every day it’s a different bell. Or maybe

it’s the same bell every day, and you get to ring it

anew each time you go to bed. And the only ones

there to clap you are the voices in your head.

Ring the bell and listen, listen carefully. You’ve

made it. For now, you’ve made it. Listen, friend. 

Joshua Seigal

Tuesday 2 January 2024


I got me a Poetic Licence

and I ain’t afraid to use it. 

My Poetic Licence means I can

use words like ‘ain’t’,

and no one can stop me. 

My Poetic Licence means I don’t

even have to use a full stop

at the end of this sentence

if I don’t wanna 

(I’m also allowed to use

words like ‘wanna’.)

When I flash my Poetic Licence 

I’m allowed into buildings labelled

Authenticity, Emotion

and Artistry.

Other buildings won’t admit me

unless I hand in my Poetic Licence – 

those places are named

things like Exams, Elitism

and Conformity,

but I got me a Poetic Licence

and I ain’t gonna hand it in

to no one. 

See, my poetic Licence lets me

say things like this

at the end of a poem:


Yeah I got me a Poetic Licence, kid,

and I ain’t afraid to use it…

Joshua Seigal