It’s Good To Be Back In School

There was a warm welcome from the outset for me and my guitar, when I visited St Mary’s C of E Primary School, Stoke on Trent, on Tuesday. I led poetry workshops with years 2, 3 and 5. A highlight was working with year 5 to compose a class poem (with guitar accompaniment) about Macbeth, which they have been studying. The weather was an added bonus, meaning we could have my poetry performance outside for the Reception children. We ended the day with a whole school assembly, and each class presented a selection of the poems that they had produced during the day. Then I rounded things off with a performance of some of my own poems. Thanks everyone for a great day.

Boxing Day


Boxing Day

It’s the day to
be a contender
and go the distance

It’s the day to
face the foe
toe to toe

It’s the day to
bob and weave
and float like a butterfly

It’s the day to
you don’t have a glass jaw

It’s the day to
roll with the punches
and not be out for the count

It’s not the day to
and throw in the towel



We comfort one another
We who never learn

The losses continue
The fires still burn

We comfort one another
We who never learn

Cutting it Fine for Manor Green Primary Academy


I really thought I was going to be late. At 9.15 a.m I was due to perform to KS2 at Manor Green Primary Academy and my 4 mile journey ended up taking 45 minutes to complete. But I did make it with a few minutes to spare and was, after signing in, immediately presented with a cuppa. A good start.

Obviously I performed Traffic Jam as well as Explode, Brilliant, Orange Socks, Lollipop Lady (plus many more poems) before finishing off with a lively rendition of Ref Rap. Thanks (pupils and staff) for listening so well and for the enthusiastic participation.


The rest of the day was spent leading hour long workshops in the hall (two classes at a time) with children working on their own, in pairs or larger groups. They worked well and within that hour I shared writing ideas, they wrote and we ended each session by listening to many of their new poems. A massive amount of poetry was composed that day.

Thanks to all at Manor Green for being so enthusiastic. I enjoyed my time with you and hope to see you again. Perhaps KS1 next time?

‘Light’ Poems at Tithe Barn Primary School (Heaton Mersey, Stockport) on October 5th

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I spent a great morning with a fantastic Year 6 class and their poetry loving teacher. I performed some of my poems and then got them writing. We kept to the National Poetry Day theme of ‘Light’ (which complemented the work they’d been doing in science).

As their teacher regularly gets them writing poetry I found they needed very little stimulus. I began with a short exercise based on the senses (e.g. If you could taste light what would it taste of? If you could hear it and it spoke to you what would it say? One answer was I’m faster than you!).

I then gave them a few writing options and suggestions to trigger their poems.

Light Bulb Moment – If you had a bright idea what would it be? What might you invent?

Trick Of The Light – I thought it was a…..(table?, tree? )
But it was a….(dog?, ghost?)

Lights Out – When the light goes
What lurks in the shadows?

Before lunch we managed to hear their new poems and fitted in a Q/A session where they asked me about writing and my life as a poet. A very satisfying morning. Thank you Tithe Barn for such a warm welcome. I left feeling quite light-hearted.

Light is the theme of National Poetry Day 8 October 2015


A Light Verse

This hefty is a light verse
to substantial celebrate National Poetry Day.
I’ve massive included a few weighty words
cumbersome so that it doesn’t millstone float away.

A new poem on the theme of ‘Light’ to celebrate National Poetry Day on October 8th 2015


 Light Rain

Around 4 a.m.,
lamp-light lit,
heavy rain. I am

not the only one
awake. Un
less my neighbour, a

cross the road, has left
a light on
by mistake. I start

to fret
about his electricity
being wasted.

Maybe I should knock
on his door,
ring his bell? Get wet!

Ah, the rain the rain
I’m drifting off again
imagining myself

as keeper of the light,
a lighthouse keeper.
light sleeper.

Another View


This place is full of scenery.
There’s not a shop in sight.
I need to buy a burger.
There’s nothing here I like.

There’s nothing here I like.
It’s all hills and trees and lakes
and oldies who love hiking.
I need to phone my mates.

I need to phone my mates
and tell them what I’m going through.
I have to trek for hours
just to admire a view.

‘Just admire that view,’
is all my dad can say.
He’s driving me round the bend.
I’ve got to get away.

I’ve got to get away
from fresh air and greenery.
I need noise and traffic.
This place is full of scenery!

World Book Day Week 2015

Teachers in fancy dress at Aldbrough Primary School
Aldbrough Primary School

These colourful characters are the staff at Aldbrough Primary School (East Yorkshire). I was there to help them celebrate World Book Day. It was a lot of fun. The children were all dressed up too and I enjoyed performing for them and helping them write their own poems. A selection of their superb work was shared at the end of the day. It was well worth the early start and the long drive.

“We were very happy to have secured a booking with Bernard for World Book Day 2015.  The children (and staff) enjoyed Bernard’s poems, especially the ones they could join in with.  They were all clearly inspired by Bernard’s poetry and produced some excellent poems of their own which they shared with the whole school in lots of different ways at the end of the day.”  K. Jessop, Assistant Headteacher, Aldbrough Primary School.

I was in schools the whole week. I spent two days in Acacias Community Primary (Burnage, Manchester) performing and leading workshops. I also led two after school sessions there, where children and their parents wrote poems together. I spent a day in Whitegate End Primary (Chadderton) and finished off the week with a visit to St Brigid’s RC Primary (Manchester).

So I’d like to say a big thank you to all the schools who booked me and made me so welcome and a big sorry that I had no other dates available that week for the many schools who wanted to book me. But, as I’ve said before, a poet is not just for World Book Day Week. I’d be more than happy to visit your school any time. If you’d like to know more please do get in touch.

Lesson Planning For Next Term? Inviting A Performance Poet To Your School?

Bernard Young in a school arms in air

A poet in your school? Why not? The right poet (I mean me! but there are lots of us) can offer an exciting start to your school day (I include guitar and just enough joining in during my morning assembly performances). The children head off to classes with loads of writing ideas already in their heads and I then work with all ages throughout the day.


Teachers tell me that having an enthusiastic practitioner of the art in the classroom has a tremendous effect on them and the children. Together (teachers, children, poet) we produce fantastic new poems and usually share them before home time. After that we all go home (apart from the teachers who have yet another after-school meeting to attend).

For some ideas for bringing poetry in to the class room see my collection of blog posts on the subject – classroom ideas. Another way is to have a look at some of my videos on YouTube. They can be used for a sing along break during the day, or as a springboard for other poems using the same patterns. If you want to discuss what I could do in your school and what it will cost, please contact me.