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.

A Folly of Poets

In May a group of poets got together and recorded some videos of our work. Thanks are due to Liz Brownlee for organising it and to Pete Brownlee for recording and editing the videos.

This is me performing my poem, Love Is Blind:

This is the out-takes from all of the videos:

Photos from Durham Junior Road Safety Officers Event 2018

Bernard on Guitar at JRSO Event Durham 2018

Here are the photos from the Junior Road Safety Officers event in Durham on 13th June 2018. The photos are great and all taken by Lee Dobson. There are a few of me and the poetry workshops below. More about getting the road safety message across through poetry in Durham schools here.

20 is Plenty! – Promoting Road Safety in Durham Schools

Teachers Are Terrific photo by Bernard Young

A great message in a shop window in Barnard Castle

I’ve done a lot of work over the years in schools promoting the Road Safety message using poetry. People ask me how does that work? Well, the Road Safety officers of the council block book me and then make the arrangements with a number of schools where they want to get the message across about things like crossing the road carefully, riding a bike wearing a helmet, encouraging adults not to speed (20 is plenty)… I visit with the Road Safety Officers and we have a fun time with a serious theme. Examples of some of my poems that I use for these kind of workshops are on my Road Safety Poems page, but we also get children to write and perform their own.

I’ve had 2 such weeks in June funded by Durham County Council and I have another in September. So far I’ve visited the following Durham and Barnard Castle primary schools: Finchale, Framwellgate, St Godric’s, Blue Coat, Green Lane, St Mary’s RC and Montalbo Nursery and Primary School.

It was such an enjoyable time with great work from the pupils and enthusiastic teachers. We produced some particularly good class poems with music accompanied by guitar.

As part of this block of work, I also performed and led a workshop at a Junior Road Safety Officers (JRSO)* event at County Hall in Durham, with pupils and teachers from 12 Durham schools, officers from Durham County Council, the Mayor and Ron Hogg (the Police and Crime Commissioner for Durham Constabulary). It was a fantastic celebratory event of the work of the JRSOs over the past academic year. We split up into 3 groups with 20 JSROs from the different schools in each. A Road Safety Officer facilitated each group, and 3 group poems were produced in under 30 minutes and then performed at the event. The standard was excellent.

* Schools nominate a minimum of two Year 5 and 6 pupils to be junior road safety officers for their school. Their job is to spread road safety messages by running competitions, speaking in school assemblies, creating noticeboards and organising campaigns. (https://www.durham.gov.uk/article/6548/School-road-safety-schemes)

Fancy a Change of Job? How about Cowboy Teacher?

Cowboy on horse

I’ve recently had the pleasure of spending some time with Eric Ode (ericode.com), an American singer/songwriter and poet. I knew he’d be the perfect person to read my poem “Wanted Alive: New Teacher For Cowboy School”. This poem appears in my new book, “What Are You Like?”. I think he has done an excellent job for me. Thanks, Eric! I thought it would be a good one for the theme of National Poetry Day this year, which is “Change”. National Poetry Day is on Thursday 4th October 2018.

If you click on the orange arrow in box below, you should be able to hear Eric reading my poem with his wonderful cowboy drawl.