Posted in Poetry Competition

Covid Poetry Competition!

 

There are only THREE more days to enter this poetry competition! Get your idea down and send me something – there are lots of poem-writing ideas and prompts in the poetry craft blogs under this entry. Why not try one of those, with covid, any aspect of it, as your subject?

Please read the RULES before sending your entry off!

The poems can be in any style, rhyming or non-rhyming, funny or serious.

You could write about Covid19 in metaphorical terms – as a tiger prowling the streets, perhaps.

Maybe you want to express how Covid19 makes you feel; what would you like to say to it?

How would you banish it, and where?

Maybe you’d like to write about how your days have changed, what you have been up to during your time with your family, the good things that have happened, things you have enjoyed about being home for an extended time. Think of the little details.

Your poems can be about anything to do with life as it is now.

RULES

Please read carefully!

PLEASE STATE YOUR:

NAME,

AGE,

EMAIL,

SCHOOL

and ADDRESS

on your entry which should all TYPED, no photos of poems, on ONE Word document, NOT in the body of the mail.

Do NOT send photos of written poems or Google documents or anything other than a Word or Pages document.

Send them in by June 15th, midnight, to poetliz @ mac.com (remove the gaps form the address if you copy this!).

Do not post your poems online.

The wonderful Roger Stevens of PoetryZone is going to judge!

There are no age-brackets – the competition is open to young people in the UK up to the age of 13, and there will be book prizes, including the following:

Huge thanks to the most generous and lovely publishers that we have here in the UK – in alphabetical order, Bloomsbury, Hachette, Macmillan, Otter-Barry, and Troika who have donated the books.
In the first picture, Apes to Zebras, by me, Sue Hardy-Dawson and Roger Stevens (Bloomsbury),  Be the Change, The Same Inside by me, Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens, Reaching the Stars by me, Jan Dean and Michaela Morgan (all Macmillan), and A Kid in my Class by Rachel Rooney (Otter-Barry). In the second picture, If I Were Other Than Myself, by Sue Hardy-Dawson, This Rock, That Rock by Dom Conlon (both Troika), and Poems from a Green and Blue Planet, Edited by Sabrina Mahfouz (Hachette).

 

Quickie Poetry Ideas for Teachers

Wanting a quick idea to practise using nouns, verbs, and adjectives?

the grass

glitters

its forest

Carol Bevitt, Susan Eames, Helen Laycock

I call these tribbles. Ask your class to write a noun, a nature word, on the top of a piece of paper.

Ask them to pass that paper to the child behind them, or at a suitable distance.

The new child then adds an action on the next line.  You can, if you wish, have a pool of verbs for them to draw from on the whiteboard, so obvious verbs are not chosen. This can also be achieved if the first child folds their paper so the noun is not visible.

Then the paper is passed on again to another child who writes the conclusion, based on the first two words. Ask them to use a noun or an adjective and a noun in the last line, and to keep it as short as possible.

Show them these examples to give them the idea:

 

The Volcano

belched

behind a hand of smoke

 

Susan Eames, Helen Laycock, Liz Brownlee

 

Tadpoles

wriggle

into frogs

 

Sherri Turner, Carol Bevitt, Helen Laycock

 

A bee

fuzzbuzzes its way

up the lupins

 

Liz Brownlee, Sherri Turner, Liz Brownlee

 

Then get them to pass the poems on again to be read out. These little poems give a great feeling of achievement, don’t take long and usually yield excellent results – hope you enjoy them! They can be displayed in many ways and if you choose connected initial nouns can be put together to make into longer poems.

Posted in Empathy Day

#Empathy Poem – A Child Speaks

Aged 9, Severn Suzuki founded the Children’s Environmental Organisation. In 1992, long before Greta Thunberg, aged 12, she and three friends raised the money to travel from Canada to speak at the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, to fight for their future and give a young person’s perspective on environmental issues. In 1993, she was honoured in the United Nation’s Environment Programme’s Global 500 Roll of Honour. Sill fighting for the environment, she is now also a speaker, television host and author.

 

A Child Speaks

 

Butterflies

are disappearing

like my breath on a windowpane

 

you would think

this clear view

would help them see

 

but no

 

maybe the last, gentle orangutan?

 

no

 

perhaps the ocean

lapping with plastic bottles?

 

no

 

possibly the last bee?

 

no

 

we save the rights

of those with a voice

 

but we are the undefended

 

the last tiger walking

 

and all the adults do is talk

 

about talking

 

© Liz Brownlee

 

Posted in Empathy Day

#EmpathyPoem – Feeding the World

Another #EmpathyDay poem – again from Be the Change, Poems to Help You Save the World, written with Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens, Macmillan.

9-year old Katie Stagliano brought home a tiny cabbage seedling as part of a school project, and tended it so well it became an enormous 40lb cabbage! She donated it to a soup kitchen where it fed 275 people. Katie decided to start vegetable gardens so that she could donate the produce to help people in need. Katie’s Krops now has 100 gardens across the US, helping feed people in need.

 

Feeding the World

 

One cabbage seedling,

with small stems bowed

and pale leaves furled,

 

given food and water

and love can grow

a heart to feed the world.

 

© Liz Brownlee

 

Image from Bayer CropScience UK by creative commons license and changed by removing the background.

 

Posted in Empathy Day

Snow – #EmpathyPoem

I’m posting lots of empathy poems today! Here is one about snow, and small gifts. This poem is in Be the Change, Poems to Help You Save the World, written with Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens, Macmillan.

 

Snow

 

Swirling slowly

in lilting flight,

as cold as stars,

the soundless white

 

of drifting feathers

spreading wings,

to sing the songs

that snowflakes sing,

 

of how small gifts

of peace and light

can change the world

in just one night.

 

© Liz Brownlee

 

Image by Bert Reimer on Flikr by creative commons license.

Posted in Empathy Day

#EmpathyDay – Refugee Poem

This poem is in The Same Inside, Poems about Empathy and Friendship by me, Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens, Macmillan

 

Refugee

 

After the bombing

and all are lost

and gone

 

I walk

 

I can carry only

my father’s pride

my mother’s longing

my brother’s blood

my sister’s hope

and my dreams

 

but my father’s pride

cannot be carried

as a refugee

so I lay it down

 

and walk

 

when I sleep

my mother’s longing

is too painful to hold

so I lay it down

 

and walk

 

until my shoes

fall off my feet

and I leave

my brother’s blood

and my own

on the road

as if it is worthless

 

and I walk

so far and

sleep so little

I cannot remember

my dreams

 

so I lay them down

 

I can carry only

my sister’s hope

which is light

 

in my heart

 

 

© Liz Brownlee

Posted in Empathy Day

#Empathy Day: Anne Sullivan – Teacher to Helen Keller

It’s empathy day! Here’s another poem about empathy. This is from Reach the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls, by me, Jan Dean and Michaela Morgan, Macmillan.

Helen Keller lost both her sight and hearing as a baby. She became very frustrated as a child, living in silence and darkness until her family employed Anne Sullivan. Despite being partially blind herself, she cleverly found ways to help Helen communicate.  Anne was Helen’s teacher, support and companion for the next 49 years until she died – by then, she had enabled Helen get to college, learn to type, speak, get married, tackle social and political issues, including women’s suffrage, and write a book.

 

Anne Sullivan, Teacher to Helen Keller

 

I started with the word for ‘doll’,

finger-spelling on her hand.

This child could neither hear, nor see –

how could I help her understand?

 

To fill the space for song and bird,

all that sound and light explain;

out of reach did not exist

and dark and silence had no name.

 

Until I spelled into her hand

under a pump – though deaf and blind,

the word for water and the water

flowed together in her mind.

 

That living word grew in her hands,

gave her ways to hear and see,

let in hope and joy and love

with words that set her free.

 

© Liz Brownlee

Posted in Empathy Day

Arguing – Poem for #EmpathyDay 2020

Today it’s empathy day! I have permission to post this poem from a forthcoming collection of mental health poems for primary school age – Being Me, Poems about Thoughts, Worries and Feelings, Otter-Barry Books, by me, Matt Goodfellow and Laura Mucha. This is just a placeholder image – we have a fabulous illustrator on board!

Posted in Poetry News

Gorilla for #EmpathyDay!

Today is #EmpathyDay2020! And so all day there will be posts about Empathy and love. This is an old post from my personal website, Lizbrownlee.com .  (Poetry Roundabout is for ALL poets and poetry!).

Gorilla N'Gayla twins Sabine Bresser

The image above was not taken in the wild, it is taken at Bergen Zoo by Sabine Bresser, of N’Gayla, a gorilla who unexpectedly gave birth to twins, one boy, one girl, a very rare event for gorillas.

I chose it because of her incredibly proud and loving smile. She is, reportedly, a happy character.

Gorillas are among my favourite creatures.

To see how gentle they are, watch this short film of a chance encounter two men had with a wild gorilla family in Uganda.

 

 It says it all, really, doesn’t it?

They are immensely strong but rarely use that strength to do harm.

They live in balance with nature, mainly on flowers and leaves.

They are very endangered.

Here are two quotes by Dian Fossey, from “Gorillas in the Mist”, published in 2000 by Mariner Books.

“The more you learn about the dignity of the gorilla, the more you want to avoid people”.

“When you realise the value of all life, you dwell less on what is past and concentrate more on the preservation of the future”.

All life is bound together in one huge link of dependency.

Our food, our water, our shelter, and our lives in every country are bound up in cycles, and one link that leaves a chain can have catastrophic effects on the creatures and plants above and below it.

We should be looking to every loss, every creature or plant in trouble, to see how to help them.

We are stripping the planet. We are destroying the very air that sustains us, and the water we drink.

We do not have the knowledge of contact with the earth any more that gives us the careful path to tread in between taking enough and leaving enough, for others, and for the continuance of our species.

Things that the gorilla knows.

We need to take a step back out of our lives and think about what is really important before it is too late.

Where is it all going to end?

.

Gorilla (for Julia Green)

.

A gorilla has massive muscles,

and is ominously dark,

can uproot banana trees

and strip the bark,

but his character is subtle,

sensitive and calm,

his power used for warning,

and rarely to harm,

for his colour has been made

from the shadows in the breeze,

his nature from the sunshine

and his food of flowers and leaves.

.

© Liz Brownlee

.

If you value gorillas, you may want to help here: WWF.

.Photo © Sabine Bresser

Information from WWF.

Posted in Poetry Craft, Poetry Fun!

A Poem on a Kite – Craft and Poetry

Robert Couse-Baker, Flikr creative commons

Today I am going to show you how to write a poem about a kite, and then write your poem on a kite to hang from your ceiling or window!

This is a kite poem I have written in the past:

 

The Kite

 

I am the emperor of wind

my world is sky and sun

 

air surrounds me, guides me

moves me so we are one

 

my red skin glows like fire

I am kite; part silk, part light

 

my tail patterns in circles

in loops and swoops of flight

 

watch me become the wind

and the wind take shape in me

 

it is my soul, my life, my all

it sets my spirit free

 

© Liz Brownlee

In your poem, YOU are the kite. You will be thinking about what it would be like to be a kite flying in the sky, being moved by the wind.

Your first line will be I am a kite – in your second line, you will say where or how you fly. You will use a word for sound in this description. Think of the sounds a kite will hear up in the sky. It could be the sound of insects (what noise do they make?), or the wind, or aeroplanes, whatever sound you think the sun makes (make one up!), or the sound of the people down below, watching.

Your sound words could use onomatopoeia. This word is said: ono-matter-pee-a. No, I can’t spell it either, I had to look it up! These are words that SOUND like what they are describing: ‘The kite swished‘, ‘the wind buffeted the kite’. The words in bold describe the sound, and sound like the sound.

I have imagined what sound the air is making and put that:

I am a kite

I fly through the singing air

Your third line will describe what you (the kite) look like. You will use a metaphor – a metaphor describes something AS something else.  ‘The kite is a spiral of colours.’

I am a diamond

Your fourth line will describe what you are doing, using a verb (a doing word).

shining under

Your fifth line will describe the sky. I thought about what was in the sky as well as the kite – you could think about the colours in the sky, or the wind, or a smell, or clouds, but I remembered that even when it is daytime, the stars are still up there in the sky.

a sky of invisible stars

Your sixth and seventh lines will describe the wind with a simile (when you say something is ‘like’ something else) or a metaphor (when you say something ‘is’ something else). Think what the wind is like for the kite – some words which might help you are: friend, helper, song, home, life, fun, dancing partner, hero, path, direction, pattern.

The wind is like

a mother to me

Your eighth and ninth lines will describe how the wind helps the kite.

helping me to fly

and guiding me back home.

Yay! You’ve finished your poem. Read it out – can you hear anywhere where you could improve it, perhaps by taking out a word, putting one in, or changing a word for a better word? Does your poem make sense? Can you change it a little so it flows well?

This is mine, written out:

 

I am a kite

I fly through the singing air

I am a diamond

shining under

a sky of invisible stars

the wind is like

a mother to me

helping me to fly

and guiding me home.

 

You can write your poem neatly onto a piece of card or paper and hang it on the wall, you could draw a kite to go with it, or you can display it as a kite. Below are the instructions to do that.

First, you need to make your poem into a diamond shape. This is why you have an odd number of lines, one line has to be the middle. First of all you need to write your poem as I have below – so that the lines get steadily longer until the middle line, (probably line 5, which will be the longest line) and then shorter again. You will have to play with the words, adding some words from the lines above or below to get the shape correct. If it won’t work, then add words, or take some away. When you have finished, read your poem out to check you have not added a word in a line and still have it in the line above, for example – this is easy to do!

I am

a kite,

I fly through

the singing air. I am

a diamond, shining under

a sky of invisible stars. The wind

is like a mother to me,

helping me to fly

and guiding

me back

home.

 

Notice that in line 5, where I have added two words from the line below, I have shown where the line finishes by a full stop, to also show where the next line begins. You could also put in a comma.

When you have your shape right, all you have to do is draw a diamond on an A5 sheet of paper or card. You could do it on A4 if your have a lot of words and are worried about fitting them in!

How to draw a diamond shape! Measure and mark half way along the top and bottom of your paper, and half way down each side.

Join the marks with a ruler and pencil!

Then cut the kite out and place it on another piece of plain paper. Use the kite as a template to draw around.

Draw a line across the middle of your rough paper kite and then, again roughly, divide each half with 5 lines. You may need an adult to help with this. Then write your poem in on your rough piece of paper. Work out how to write the lines to fit your kite properly. It might take a while to do this! You may need to change where some of the words go. Don’t worry, you can’t get it wrong, as long as all your poem is on your kite!

Then put your kite next to the rough copy and copy your poem across. Notice I have tried out two pens to see which one would be the right thickness to write my poem in. I wrote the poem on the good kite in pencil again to guide my pen words. Then I rubbed out the pencil when it was dry.

Then it is time to add a tail to the kite. I had an old pipe-cleaner which I twisted into a spiral, but you can use lengths of ribbon, coloured string, wool, anything that looks like a kite tail and which you can attach to your kite! I attached the pipe-cleaner with sticky tape and then a staple.

Then a made a tiny bow from parcel ribbon to put on top of the staple – you could use wool or string or even cut out a bow out of magazine paper or coloured paper to stick there – but make sure it will not hide any of your words.

Thread a thick needle with some string, wool, embroidery thread or ribbon, knot the end and push it through near the edge (not too near the edge!) of your kite, a little way down the top side of the kite, either on the right or left. I put my hole between the third and fourth lines. This means your kite will hang at a jaunty angle.

And then you can hang it up!

Hope you enjoy yourself!

I am so pleased to say that red bubble at Farfield School, @SchoolFarfield have written some wonderful poems by following this idea! Look here they are, flying high!

Posted in Poetry Competition

Covid Poetry Competition!

 

There are NINE more days to enter this poetry competition! Get your idea down and send me something – there are lots of poem-writing ideas and prompts in the poetry craft blogs under this entry. Why not try one of those, with covid, any aspect of it, as your subject?

Please read the rules before sending your entry off!

The poems can be in any style, rhyming or non-rhyming, funny or serious.

You could write about Covid19 in metaphorical terms – as a tiger prowling the streets, perhaps.

Maybe you want to express how Covid19 makes you feel; what would you like to say to it?

How would you banish it, and where?

Maybe you’d like to write about how your days have changed, what you have been up to during your time with your family, the good things that have happened, things you have enjoyed about being home for an extended time. Think of the little details.

Your poems can be about anything to do with life as it is now.

RULES

Please read carefully!

PLEASE STATE YOUR:

NAME,

AGE,

EMAIL,

SCHOOL

and ADDRESS

on your entry which should all TYPED, no photos of poems, on ONE Word document, NOT in the body of the mail.

Do NOT send photos of written poems or Google documents or anything other than a Word or Pages document.

Send them in by June 15th to the email address under Contact in the menu above.

Do not post your poems online.

The wonderful Roger Stevens of PoetryZone is going to judge!

There are no age-brackets – the competition is open to young people in the UK up to the age of 13, and there will be book prizes, including the following:

Huge thanks to the most generous and lovely publishers that we have here in the UK – in alphabetical order, Bloomsbury, Hachette, Macmillan, Otter-Barry, and Troika who have donated the books.
In the first picture, Apes to Zebras, by me, Sue Hardy-Dawson and Roger Stevens (Bloomsbury),  Be the Change, The Same Inside by me, Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens, Reaching the Stars by me, Jan Dean and Michaela Morgan (all Macmillan), and A Kid in my Class by Rachel Rooney (Otter-Barry). In the second picture, If I Were Other Than Myself, by Sue Hardy-Dawson, This Rock, That Rock by Dom Conlon (both Troika), and Poems from a Green and Blue Planet, Edited by Sabrina Mahfouz (Hachette).

 

Posted in Poetry Art and Craft

Words Grow on Trees – Art and Poetry Idea from Sue Hardy-Dawson

Yay! I’m very happy to have a guest art and poetry blog post here from the lovely Sue Hardy-Dawson!

Words Grow on Trees

Why not write and decorate your own word tree? Here’s how:

First of all you might start with a list of tree related words – I sometimes write my list as a mind map.

I have put a few ideas in mine, I bet you can think of lots more things the parts of the tree look, feel, sound and smell like.

I started mine with, ‘Words grow on trees’, because we’re making a word tree. Also when I was small and used to ask for more of my share of something grownups often used to say ‘Do you think they grow on trees?’ which if it was new shoes or a biscuit I thought was funny.

The first verse is about the roots. You will have different ideas so your roots will be made of different things.

 

Words grow on trees

from knotted roots

like coiled ropes

round ancient bones.

 

The next verse is about the trunk, I thought about the texture, things it reminded me of.

 

My tree has a fat trunk

bark, leathery and cracked

as elephant skin.

 

The next verse is about the branches, I thought about them being held up to the sky like arms, you will have your own ideas.

 

Long, strong branches

that can hold the moon.

 

The last verse is about the leaves. Mine are spring leaves, soft, green and new but yours might be autumn leaves and different colours or thick dark shady ones. I wanted my poem to end with words as it was a word tree and I thought about trees whispering words. Again it’s your poem so there are no wrong ideas.

 

Spring brings new buds

of soft green leaves

everyone of them soon

whispering different words.

 

Once you have written your poem, you are ready to make your word tree. Here’s my finished poem and this is what you do next.

 

Words Grow on Trees

 

Words grow on trees

from knotted roots

like coiled ropes

round ancient bones.

 

My tree has a fat trunk,

bark, leathery and cracked

as elephant skin.

 

Long, strong branches

that can hold the moon.

 

Spring brings new buds

of soft green leaves.

Everyone of them soon

whispering different words.

 

So here’s how to write out your poem, in the shape of a tree, starting with the roots at the bottom, so you read it up instead of down. It’s probably easier to show you so here is a picture:

Now the really good thing about trees is that you can’t really go wrong, so if as I did you have a word that sticks out it just looks like a twig. Basically, as long as it’s sort of thin in the middle, is wider at the root and has some branches it’s going to look like a tree.

Once you have written your poem in a tree shape, you are ready to put the leaves on. You could just draw them of course but I did mine with finger prints in paint. It works best with two or more colours and I would suggest you have another spare sheet of paper nearby to dab your finger on first so it’s not too thick and drippy.

Here’s how I built mine up:

So here’s my tree and I think it looks quite nice like that and of course you might just want to leave it there.

However I thought it might be even nicer to cut it out and stick it onto a different colour background and add some grass and other bits. So that’s what I did with mine and here it is:

© Sue Hardy-Dawson

Thank you so much Sue for that fabulous idea! 

Painting Poems by Julie Anna Douglas.

Julie Anna’s first book is a bright and positive collection full of promise, which is beautifully illustrated in a variety of styles. At its heart is the idea that creativity sparks creativity, and this is something I believe in passionately – at the end are a number of ideas to help you write your own poems, produce your own artwork and models, and interact with the poems in the book. You can buy Painting Poems here.

Here is my favourite from the book:

 

Whiskers

 

Whiskers appears in my garden each morning

just as I’m leaving for school.

Bright eyes flicker through the lavender

full of the wisdom of the woods.

Black-tipped ears glisten in the sunlight,

searching for whispers on the breeze.

Elegant, graceful, poised.

Standing still and serene.

We pause for a golden moment

shared in silence.

Frozen in time

until we blink back to life.

 

© Julie Anna Douglas