Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Day! Truth Poem from Pie Corbett

The third poem for this National Poetry Day comes from wonderful Pie Corbett – English educational trainer, writer, author, anthologiser and poet, who has written over two hundred books. He is now best known for creating Talk for Writing which is a teaching programme that supports children as storytellers and writers. He has supported children’s writing and children’s poets as well as the education of primary children for many years. His main collection is called Evidence of Dragons, illustrated by Chris Riddell and Peter Bailey, published by Macmillan Children’s Books.

 

I set out to seek the truth

 

Not knowing where to look,

I took the lane towards the fields

to see what time might yield…

 

as the knot grass

caterpillar moth

humps and bumps

along the fence,

resting

for a second

at the wind’s touch;

then undulates

its rhythmic pulse

like a heart monitor;

its lean, stippled body

and soft bristles rippling,

as the whopper swan

flexes its neck,              stretches bridal wings,

open as blank pages           of frail feathers;

white washing-line sheets        take off in a flutter,

skimming the lake     with a clatter,

as the orb-weaver spider

tests each thread,

waits at the edge

to scuttle, seize and wrap

any unsuspecting fly

that passes by –

diamond specks of dew

freckle the leaves;

the web clings, glittering,

as kindly morning sun

warms the lane.

Early this morning,

while the sun set out at first light,

I sought the truth.

Not knowing exactly

where to look,

I took Farm Lane

towards the fields

to see where rambling

might take me.

 

The road ahead glowed,

blackberries polka-dotted hedgerows,

blackbirds broke the silence

and clouds scudded

through sheer blue above.

 

Truth blossomed with every step,

every stop to stare,

and there I found

that truth

was everywhere

I chose to look.

 

© Pie Corbett 2019  Photos © Nicola Stables

 

Thank you Pie Corbett for this fabulous Poem!

Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Day! Lies Poem from Philip Gross.

It’s National Poetry Day! Hip, hip hooray! This fabulous poem today is from Philip Gross, whose life as a Quaker informs much of what he writes with its special relationship between words and silence. His work includes poetry for adults and for children, thought-provoking fiction for young people, schools opera libretti, radio short stories and plays. His children’s poetry includes The All-Nite Café, illustrated by Claire Fletcher, which won the Signal Award, and Off Road To Everywhere, illustrated by Jonathan Gross, the winner of the CLiPPA (CLPE) poetry award 2011. His latest book, Dark Sky Park (Otter Barry), illustrated by Jesse Hodgson, was nominated for a CLiPPA this year. 

 

White Ones

 

with small scritchety claws

and pink

shortsighted blink-

ing-in-the-sunlight

eyes that looked raw

as if they’d cried all night…

 

One morning they were gone.

 

On holiday,

says Dad. Gone to stay

with their friends

in the pet shop. And so I pretend

I don’t know about the cage door

he left open. I try to ignore

 

the look on the face of the cat.

 

It isn’t that

wakes me up in the darkness. No,

it’s the scritch and the scratch

at the bars, those pink-eyed

lies. They’re only little

white ones, oh

 

but watch them breed and grow.

 

 © Philip Gross  (first published in Off Road To Everywhere (Salt, 2009)

 

Thank you for the fabulous poem, Philip Gross!

Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Day, Climate Truth Poem by Liz Brownlee

Happy National Poetry Day everyone! Here is my National Poetry Day Truth poem, published last month in Be the Change, Poems to Help you Save the World, Macmillan.

 

Greta Thunberg

 

When the whole world is deaf

by greed and by choice,

how do you change things

with only your voice?

 

It’s hard to be noticed,

harder to be heard,

but she stood up and spoke,

could not be deterred.

 

What made them listen?

What cut through their lies?

Not the pollution

or the fast melting ice,

 

not the experts or science,

not hunger or flood,

not the extinctions,

our hands red with blood,

 

it was her steady gaze,

on our planet, alight,

her desperate calm,

her demand, make it right.

 

It’s what we’ll recall

of her fight for our youth,

her luminous words

her courage, her truth.

 

© Liz Brownlee

Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Week Lie Poem from Trevor Millum

Trevor is a writer and performer of short stories and poems for children and has published lots of other stuff too. His poems are widely published and anthologised. He is also an experienced workshop leader and is well known for his work on creativity and developing the use of ICT in English.  His website is here.

Lies

A lie
set free
like a fly
where will it settle
where will it go
will it mate
and reproduce
produce maggots
of untruth?

A promise made
Emerging like a butterfly
From its cocoon
Tests it wings
Takes flight
Settles… moves on…
Can it be trusted?

A reminder…
A buzzing fly
banging at the window pane
of your mind
flies off around the room
out of sight, out of mind
And returns
bangs against the pane again

An excuse..
Wriggling
Avoiding the light
A worm
Wanting the haven of deep dark soil
Away from the pecking beaks
Of close questioning

 

© Trevor Millum

Thank you very much for this great lie poem, Trevor!

Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Week Climate Truth Poem from Roger Stevens

Roger Stevens is a National Poetry Day Ambassador, a founding member of the Able Writers scheme and runs the award-winning website www.poetryzone.co.uk for children and teachers. Roger (link to 3 Simple Steps to Perk up your Poems) has published 40 books for children. His book Apes to Zebras – an A to Z of Shape Poems (Bloomsbury), written with Sue Hardy Dawson and Liz Brownlee, won the prestigious NSTB award in 2018. Recent books include  I Am a Jigsaw; Puzzling Poems to Baffle your Brain (Bloomsbury 2019) and Moonstruck; an Anthology of Moon Poems (Otter-Barry). This poem is from the Tricky Questions, Talking Points section of the just published Be the Change; Poems About Sustainability (Macmillan) written with Liz Brownlee and Matt Goodfellow.

.

Getting to the Truth

Some people say
drinking cow’s milk is bad
For one thing
cows expel huge volumes
of greenhouse gasses
which contribute
to global warming

They say
Drink almond milk.
Almonds are good for you.
And they are.
Very good for you.

But it turns out
that nearly all the world’s almonds
are grown in California*
where there are often droughts
And did you know that
in California
it takes
six thousand litres of water
to produce one litre of almond milk?
That’s BONKERS!
And farmers are ripping up
healthy citrus groves
to meet the rising demand
for almond milk.

Oatmilk seems to be a better alternative
But the whole point is this.
Don’t always accept
what you read on a label.
or what people tell you.
Don’t always believe what you read
in the papers
or see on TV
or on the internet
If you really want to help
Just dig a little deeper
Try and get to the truth

*around 80%

.

© Roger Stevens

.

Thank you for the poem, Roger!

 

Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Week, Climate Lies Poem from Dom Conlon

We continue today, the day before National poetry Day, with a climate lies poem from Dom Conlon. Dom launched onto the children’s poetry scene with Astro Poetica, illustrated by Jools Wilson, a collection of poems inspired by space and praised by Nicola Davies, Jon Culshaw, George Szirtes and many more. Since then he has been published in magazines and anthologies whilst performing and teaching in schools and libraries around the North West. He’s a regular guest on BBC Radio Lancashire where his poetry covers everything from the universe to grief. Dom’s work can be read here.

There is no new land to discover

 

The law passed in the year

twenty-it-doesn’t-matter

making it illegal to make anything

which could not biodegrade

but change came too late

they’d already climbed into the plastic bath

and cut it loose from the plumbing

plug plugged in taps stopped

as the latest flood

licked away the wall like a stamp

sending them out through the town clutching

each other like loofahs

but all we found all we have of them now

is the rubber duck

squeaking its parched cry over a sea of bags

whispering in the wind of days out days shopping

days caught below a storm filled with gossip

of how the world does not need saving.

 

© Dom Conlon

 

Great Climate Lies poem, Dom, thank you.

Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Week, Climate Truth Poem from Liz Brownlee

Happy National Poetry Day Week from me! If you don’t know who I am, I’m a children’s poet, I own Lola the poet assistance dog, I quite enjoy performing but prefer organising poetry events, I write this blog, and my own, and I have five published books, the latest of which is Be the Change, Poems to Help you Save the World, from which the following poem comes. It is not too late to change the world. The truth is we just need to love one another, help one another and cooperate with one another.

 

Snow

Swirling slowly

in lilting flight,

as cold as stars,

in soundless white,

 

their drifting feathers

spread their wings,

and sing the songs

that snowflakes sing,

 

of how small gifts

of peace and light

can change the world

in just one night.

 

© Liz Brownlee

Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Week, Lie Poem from Coral Rumble

Wednesday’s National Poetry Day Week poem is from the wonderful Coral Rumble. Coral has worked as a poet and performer for many years and now specialises in writing and performing for children. She has three collections, Creatures, Teachers and Family FeaturesBreaking the Rulesillustrated by Nigel Bainesand My Teacher’s as Wild as a Bisonalso illustrated by Nigel Bainesand has poems in over 100 anthologies for young people. Her website is here.

The Lie Fox

 

Sometimes, the Lie Fox

Races out of my mouth

Before I can stop him.

 

He’s a sneaky character –

Crafty, cunning, conniving,

Tricking my tongue into action.

 

Speedily, he darts into ears,

Wriggles into the minds

Of my trusting friends.

 

He’s sly, that artful Lie Fox,

Always prising open my pursed lips,

Chasing the truth into dark corners.

 

© Coral Rumble

 

Thank you for this great lie poem, Coral!

Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Week Truth Poem by Kate Williams

Kate Williams wrote her first poems for her children – anything to get them to sleep at night! But they stayed awake and suggested she sent them off to a publisher. She followed their advice and has been writing poems ever since, with around 200 published to date in books and arts magazines for children in the UK, Australia and the US. Kate also provides poetry workshop days for primary schools. Here is her website.

 

If we let it

As true as the blue of a field cornflower,
As surely as the glory of a great, green wood,
As stark as the bark of a midnight fox,
As clear as the dear robin’s cheep-cheep-cheep,
As true as me and you, and all we ever knew,
our world will fall away if we let it.

© Kate Williams

 

Thank you for sending your lovely truth poem, Kate!

Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Week – Truth Poem by Matt Goodfellow

Matt Goodfellow (links to What Poetry Offers in the Classroom) is a poet and National Poetry Day Ambassador. His most recent collections are The Same Inside (Macmillan 2018), written with Liz Brownlee (me!) and Roger Stevens, and his solo collection, Chicken on the Roof  illustrated by Hanna Asen (Otter Barry 2018). He visits schools, libraries and festivals to deliver high-energy, fun-filled poetry performances and workshops. His new book, Be the Change, Poems to Help you Save the World, written with Roger Stevens and Liz Brownlee (me, again!), is out now. Matt’s website is here.

 

Walk

the mown path
through the park
sparkles with dew
which stains the tips
of these too-tight shoes
and way way up
in the stillness
of the blue
passengers
sip cardboard teas
suck boiled sweets
lean back in their seats
and know nothing
of me
down here
on my last walk
to school
© Matt Goodfellow
.
Thanks for this lovely poem, Matt.
Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Day – Celia Warren’s Favourite Quote from William Blake

Celia Warren has been writing poetry ever since she learned to read, and has been published in hundreds of children’s anthologies. She has compiled two anthologies: The RSPB Anthology of Wildlife Poems illustrated by a range of fabulous artists, (Bloomsbury) and A Time to Speak and a Time to Listen (Schofield and Sims). Celia loves reading and performing her poems to anyone who’ll listen! Her latest book, Don’t Poke a Worm till it Wriggles, illustrated by Sean Longcroft, A&C Black, is all about worms! Celia’s website is here.
.
A Truth thats told with bad intent
Beats all the Lies you can invent
.
William Blake
From Auguries of Innocence
.
Thanks for sending that quote, Celia Warren!
Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Week, Lie Poem by Philip Waddell

Originally from Guyana, Philip Waddell has lived in England for most of his life, these days near the wonderful city of Oxford. He particularly enjoys writing humorous poems and likes directness, wordplay and poems with a twist. Since 1997 Philip’s poems have appeared in well over a hundred anthologies, many published by Macmillan and Bloomsbury, and with his good friend Ian Bland, performance poet, he has co-written and illustrated two collections of poems, A Bug in My Hair! and Go to the Head! .

 

Compulsive Liar

 

My best friend tells lies all the time.

He says he’s lost his homework

when he hasn’t even done it.

He says he’s feeling sick

when he wants to bunk off school.

I’ve even heard him lie about his name –

when we got caught scrumping apples one time.

My friend is such a liar that he’ll even lie

for absolutely no reason at all.

For example if you ask him,

‘Do you like chocolate ice-cream?’

which everyone knows he’s crazy about,

he’ll automatically say ‘No, I hate it.’

 

My dad says, ‘That boy’s a compulsive liar,’

which means that it’s so natural

for him to tell lies that he can’t help it.

But yesterday something happened

which I believe shows that there is some hope for him.

Our teacher asked him who, in his opinion,

was the smartest pupil in the school.

Quick as a flash he pointed at me and said, ‘He is.’

I don’t know why everyone laughed.

 

© Philip Waddell (Originally published in anthologies by Brian Moses and Tony Bradman)

 

Thank you for this great poem, Philip Waddell!

 

 

Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Week! Monday’s Poem from Laura Mucha!

Today’s poem for National Poetry week is from the fabulous Laura Mucha!  Laura has worked as a face painter, studied flying trapeze, philosophy and psychology, and swam in Antarctica before becoming a lawyer. Now she spends most of her time playing with words. Her poetry has been published in books, magazines and newspapers around the world, and she’s performed on BBC Radio, at festivals and in schools. In 2016, she won the Caterpillar Poetry Prize. You can read and listen to Laura’s poetry here.

I Did Not See What He Said He Saw

No witness stands, confirms his claim.
No doctor certifies he’s sane.
Optician – none, his eyesight – poor,
perhaps he might believe he saw
precisely what he says he saw…

But that’s just it – a mere belief:
the mind’s a trickster, joker, thief.

And so, as I have said before,
I did not see what he said he saw.

© Laura Mucha

Thank you for that great poem Laura!

Posted in Poetry News

Children’s Poetry Summit Launches Blog for Children’s Poetry Professionals

The Children’s Poetry Summit is a UK network of individuals and organisations actively interested in poetry for children. It provides a regular forum for discussion, information exchange, and sharing of ideas, and a pressure group which campaigns for children’s poetry. Members are children’s poets, publishers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, organisations and individuals interested in children’s poetry. It was founded by Chris Holifield, who was Poetry Book Society director, and is now director of the T S Eliot Prize, and Gaby Morgan, children’s editor and children’s poetry editor at Macmillan.

They meet a few times a year in London (I am a member), and exchange information and ideas about raising the profile of children’s poetry, creating opportunities on behalf of poetry for children through publishing, bookselling, schools etc.; and of course also support and promote the writing of poetry for children.

They have a new website where you will find fascinating blogs over the year, every Thursday- not just the poets, but publishers, librarians, Forward Arts (who organise National Poetry Day), and every conceivable organisation that helps promote poetry for children, that is also represented on the Summit. Occasionally there will also be guest blogs.

Why not have a look? At the moment there are blogs by Michael Rosen, Cheryl Moskowitz, Brian Moses, Roger Stevens, Laura Mucha, Teresa Cremin, Rachel Rooney, and this weeks blog by Janetta Otter-Barry (links are to blogs, performances or entries on the A-Z of Children’s Poets on this blog).

So – if you don’t follow Poetry Roundabout, please do so if you are interested in everything Children’s Poetry related, and whether you are an adult writer of poetry for children, a young writer of poetry, a fan of children’s poetry, teacher, or an industry professional, please also follow Children’s Poetry Summit which will have a blog every Thursday.

Thanks to Chris Riddell for his lovely artwork which is the Children’s Poetry Summit logo.

Posted in National Poetry Day 2019

National Poetry Day 25th Anniversary!

Yes, National Poetry Day has been running for 25 years and this year there will be big, ongoing celebrations!

The National Poetry Day Ambassadors have received their National Poetry Day badges, and there’s no prizes for guessing which one I like best. I’ll give you a clue, it’s yellow and has a dog on.

National Poetry Day will be Thursday, October 3rd, and theme this year is Truth. 

If you have any poetry events happening in relation to NPD, you can post them on the NPD website for free. You can also send them your truth poems!

You can also send me your truth poems, and they might be posted here!