The Work of a Poet

Cockton Hill Infants School

Work

Sometimes I jump in my car
and head off to a school
with my poetry books and guitar.

As a rule
I have a fantastic time.

I perform some of my poems.
Then we write poems that rhyme
and poems that don’t
and some poems that are songs.

Children work in pairs
or small groups
or alone.

We get together near the end of the day
and the young poets perform their fresh new poems,
with a partner or several friends,
or on their own.

I’m told such a day gives them a break
from their usual lessons.

Then I go home
and count my blessings.

 

This poem first appeared on blipfoto.com on 1st Nov 2016

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

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.

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.

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:

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.

Fancy a change for National Poetry Day? Thursday 4th October 2018

Photo copyright Bernard Young Two Knights fighting

National Poetry Day, your chance to enjoy, discover and share poems you love, will take place on Thursday 4 October 2018. This year’s theme is Change: use it to start thinking about your celebrations now. Maybe you would like a poet to visit your school and help things along (if so, contact me)? For more information about National Poetry Day and useful resources see: https://nationalpoetryday.co.uk/

Here is a poem of mine for people who are thinking they might like a change of career. This poem is in my new book of poems for children ‘What Are You Like?‘.

Career Opportunity: Knight Required

Are you brave, honourable
and chivalrous?
Do you like wearing metal suits
and enjoy being called Sir?
Then this could be the job for you.

Your duties will include
wielding a sword, jousting
and clanking about.

Preference will be given
to those candidates
who come equipped
with their own warhorse and squire.

If you think
you’ve got what it takes
turn up for an interview
and show us what you can do.

NOTE: Candidates will be left to fight
it out amongst themselves.
Castle Management accepts no responsibility
for loss of life or limb.

A Chocoholic’s Poem for Easter

Chocolate Fudge Cake photo CC-BY-SA James Petts https://flic.kr/p/bPoDDZ
Chocolate Fudge Cake photo CC-BY-SA James Petts https://flic.kr/p/bPoDDZ

Addict

I don’t choose cheese or chicken
I don’t touch marzipan
Chocolate’s my addiction
I indulge whenever I can

I gobble it for breakfast
I guzzle it for tea
Choc-a-block with chocolate?
Send for me

I may not have my own teeth
I may be overweight
But as a chocolate-chewing chomper
I’m not just good – I’m GREAT!

Please don’t prohibit chocolate
Don’t impose a chocolate ban
‘Cos I’m a chocoholic
A desperate dangerous man

And I need chocolate – NOW!

This poem is in my new book, ‘What Are You Like?’. For signed copies of my book, please contact me via the form on the books page.

Some more chocolate pictures to make your mouths water:

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