Was Neil Armstrong really the first person to walk on the moon?

Moon and clouds decorative

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
in 1959
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.

Image link to order on Amazon.co.uk
Cover Image of Moonstruck

New Anthology of Poems About Space – Spaced Out!


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.”

See on Bloomsbury

Spare a thought for all the hardworking poets on World Poetry Day 21 March

Man at desk with title text It's a tough job being a poet

Tough

It’s a tough job being a poet.
I’m surprised it’s not better paid.
Perhaps there should be guided tours of workshops
so non-poets can see how poems are made?

There’s no respite if you’re a poet.
You’re working all the time.
You have to get on it if there’s a call for a sonnet.
And people expect you to rhyme.

It’s more demanding than being a surgeon.
It’s harder than digging a road.
We deserve much longer holidays than teachers.
It can be stressful writing an ode.

We sometimes work until lunchtime
if we need to complete a quatrain.
Yes, it’s a tough job being a poet
but you’ll never hear us complain.

Remember a poet can be an enthusiastic inspiring addition to your classroom all year round, not just for World Poetry Day. If you’d like to know what I can do in your school, please contact me.

Celebrating World Book Day at Greenfield Primary

Teachers from Greenfield Primary in fancy dress

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.

A poem for Valentine’s Day

Tulip petals photo copyright Karen Cropper

I’m not sure if this is romantic or not. I’ll let you be the judge. Happy Valentine’s Day! (This poem is in my book, What Are You Like?).

Ooh! I Think You’re Wonderful

You’re the wings on my aeroplane
You’re the strings on my guitar
You’re the star in my night sky
You’re the fuel for my car

You’re the answer to my question
You’re the pen that writes my line
You’re the spring in my onion
You’re the tingle down my spine

You’re the zipper on my jacket
You’re the ketchup on my chips
You’re the method in my madness
You’re the promise on my lips

You’re the headline in my paper
You’re all my favourite smells
You’re the last piece in my jigsaw

Oops!

Sorry,

I thought you were someone else

New Year Resolutions – What are yours?

Person in a hat copyright Bernard Young

Here are mine! Happy New Year everyone!

Eight Resolutions

I resolve
not to complain
at the drop of a hat

I resolve
to make more fuss
of my wonderful cat

I resolve
to investigate becoming
an adventurous acrobat

I resolve
to treat no one
like a dirty doormat

I resolve
not to indulge
in tit for tat

I resolve
not to expose my
neck to a vampire bat

I resolve
to take more notice of this
and that

And I resolve
never to drop
my hat

Happy Christmas Everyone

Frosty Figures photo copyright Bernard Young

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.

World Book Day Lesson Planning Resources – Save the Date 7 March 2019

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.

In 2018 I had a busy week around World Book Day and spent the day itself at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary school in Cheshire. There is a write up and some pictures here: http://www.stjosephs.cheshire.sch.uk/news/world-book-day-/32704

A blast from the past at Beverley Library

East Riding Festival of Words

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.

There’s still time to book a poet for National Poetry Day on 4th October

Book a Poet for National Poetry Day

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 4th October. If you need a little help, there are some FREE LESSON PLANS and other resources for National Poetry Day on the NPD website.

The theme this year is CHANGE. There are some poems about change on the NPD website here: https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/poems/change-poems/

I still have some availability that week, if you want me to come to your school to perform and run workshops, but contact me soon to avoid disappointment.

This is a poem of mine that I have recently written on this theme, which might be suitable for KS2 and above to read and discuss.

Changes

I recall
us playing bat and ball,

my daughter and I,
under an ever changing sky

(sun – clouds – sun)
for year after year.

We played on this familiar beach
with those bats, and that ball,

which I’ve now passed on
to a couple of friends with a son

still young enough to have some fun
with them.

We,
my daughter and I,

(she being grown up
and busy busy busy)

had left them for I don’t know how long
among the cobwebs in memory’s forgotten cupboard.

It’s good
to see them being used again.