I hope you have all had wonderful holidays. Teachers will be thinking about going back to work, planning a few lessons, probably. I hope you will be thinking about some poetry orientated lessons for National Poetry Day, which is coming up on Thursday 3rd October. If you need a little help, there are some FREE LESSON PLANS and other resources for National Poetry Day on the NPD website.
On 20th July 2019 it will be the 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin landing on the moon. Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon on 20th July 1969. However, I have a tale to tell of the first woman on the moon ten years earlier.
The First Woman on the Moon
Little known fact:
the first woman on the moon
was Mabel Greensmith.
She went up there in a dream
and when she woke up
she knew her dream was true.
Mabel was my Mum’s best friend
so, of course, she told my Mum
all about going to the moon
and my Mum told me.
And then we all forgot about it.
However, ten years later, in 1969,
when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon
(‘one giant leap for mankind’)
it was regarded as a big deal.
But he went up in a proper rocket
and had to wear a spacesuit
whereas Mabel did her moon walking
wearing only a pair of slippers
and a flannelette nightie,
and with her hair in rollers.
If Mabel had been in the papers
and on TV
it would have been great
but she wasn’t one for a lot of fuss
and continued to live quietly
as one of us.
Though it’s a shame she didn’t leave a slipper
or one of her rollers up there
for Neil Armstrong to discover.
That really would have put the earth cat
among the moon pigeons.
This poem appears in Moonstruck edited by Roger Stevens recently published by Otter-Barry Books.
I’m pleased to have 2 poems in this book that is to be published on 16th May – Spaced Out: Space poems chosen by Brian Moses and James Carter from Bloomsbury Education.
“Blast off into space and explore the galaxies with a constellation of illustrated poems about the sun, moon and stars, black holes and worm holes, asteroids and meteorites, and even weird alien life forms.
From shape poems and free verse to rhymes, kennings and haikus, Spaced Out will take you on an intergalactic adventure. Join Brian Moses and James Carter and a wealth of new and established poets to discover your inner space cadet!
This starry collection is the perfect way to get children interested in poetry.”
I had a brilliant time at Greenfield Primary in Hyde celebrating World Book Day. It’s always great to see teachers and kids dressed up as their favourite book characters. We kicked off, as I usually do, with a performance to the whole school. There was plenty of enthusiastic participation from pupils and staff in the hall. Through the day I did eight class workshops. Each class, from Early Years to Year 6, produced a class poem (with guitar accompaniment) of excellent standard. Subjects covered included football, their school, friendships and music.
Thank you to Mrs Stokes who was inspired to write a little verse about my visit:
Bernard Young, Bernard Young,
We really loved the songs you’ve sung.
Thank you for travelling all this way
To Greenfield Primary School today.
Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and New Year. Here’s a little poem from me, sparked by what I could see in the photo.
Gifts From Above
They’ll have been out in the early hours,
the wintery Christmas creatures.
They’ll have been stalking the forests.
Searching for parcels.
Sniffing for presents.
The presents you didn’t receive.
The ones that fell
off the back of the sleigh.
Yes, they’ll have been out
in the night’s blue and white,
the wintery Christmas creatures,
claiming what’s theirs;
the packages that landed with a thump
on the earth of their forests,
the parcels caught in the branches,
the boxes wrapped in bright paper
and signed ‘…with love.’
Gifts from above.
Every year World Book Day is the first Thursday in March – this year the date is Thursday 7th March. There are lots of resources for primary schools on the UK World Book Day website here: https://www.worldbookday.com/resources/primary/
I’ve already had enquiries about that week so if you are thinking you might like a poet to come into your school to liven things up, please do contact me early to avoid disappointment.
Young people often ask me how did I start out as a poet. Well my first job was a librarian, but I was interested in poetry from an early age and writing all the time. Then I started out running occasional poetry workshops and readings as part of my job of librarian. Then I became a part-time librarian and a part-time poet. The last place I worked as a librarian before becoming a full-time poet was Beverley Library. 25 years later I found myself today performing my poems to children from St Nicholas Primary School at Beverley Library as part of the East Riding Festival of Words. We also wrote two group poems with guitar accompaniment. One was a poem celebrating the school and the other was all about Halloween. It was great to return to Beverley and it brought back a lot of happy memories. Thanks to everyone who I worked with today.