The Work of a Poet

Cockton Hill Infants School


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 on 1st Nov 2016

New Video – Anything – Poem Set to Music

We have made a new video over the last few days. I composed a short piece of music to accompany my poem Anything. The poem is about friendship and is suitable for younger children (KS1), but it is likely to appeal to older students (KS2) as well. This poem is in my new book, What Are You Like, which is due for release 23 February 2018.

Karen, my wife, is the guest performer reading the poem and also she made the video. The images are all shared by Creative Commons License. They are credited in the description on YouTube and below the video here.

Images in their order of appearance:

  1. kittens CC-BY-SA Susan
  2. Chicks CC-BY-NC Andy Purvlance
  3. Labrador-Puppy CC-BY Tyler Allen
  4. Baby’s Best Friend CC-BY Brandon Atkinson
  5. Buds CC-BY Juhan Sonin
  6. kids CC0 klimkin
  7. children CC0 Bess Hamiti
  8. Best Friends CC-BY-SA Rod Waddington
  9. girls whispering CC0 Olichel
  10. Handsome Indian boys CC-BY Nithi Anand
  11. Cups Full of Chats CC-BY-NC Mo Riza
  12. Best friends CC-BY Robert de Bock
  13. The Cat-Circle of Love CC-BY-NC Gloson Teh
  14. Maternal instinct CC-BY-ND Tambako The Jaguar

The Lightsaber Kid


The Lightsaber Kid

Open the lid
and out jumps
The Lightsaber Kid.

I want to call
the piece of tubing he uses
a Light Saver.

He calls it a Light Chamber.

He deflects bullets with it.


I made a vid
of him in action.
He liked it.

OK kid,
I said,
get back in your box.

So he did


This poem previously appeared on PolaroidBlipfoto.

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!

Back to school after the Christmas break?

Walnut cake

Back To School?

Back to school after the Christmas break?
Finding it hard to stay awake?

The Head’s in her office, head on the desk
All she needs is a little more rest

But now’s the time to raise a smile
Into the hall, the kids all file

And though half term seems a long way off
There’s still cake in the staffroom that you can scoff

copyright notice

Bernard is available for workshops in schools, particularly primary age (KS1/KS2). He is based in Manchester, but happy to travel further afield. Over the years he’s also worked successfully in partnership with Road Safety officers combining the road safety message with creative writing. To book Bernard for a workshop in your school, see Contact page.

Image credit: “Luxembourg Vianden Nut-fair 10” by PlayMistyForMe – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons –

Will you be driving home for Christmas?


Driving Home For Christmas?

Will you be driving home for Christmas, Eddie
On a dark and dismal day?
I hope you make it back, Eddie
And that everything’s ok

You might be someone’s daddy, Eddie
Yes, you might be someone’s dad
Not a fuddy-duddy daddy
But the sort that makes kids glad

That Dad’s at home for Christmas
And adding to the fun
Delivering hugs for all the children
And big kisses just for… Mum!

The weather is turning to Autumn and a Poet must be prepared

man in mac with umbrella


“You look like a poet
who’s expecting rain,”
said the photographer
I bumped into
down Woodbrick Lane.

Don’t forget National Poetry Day: It’s a tough job being a Poet!

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


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 National Poetry Day. If you’d like to know what I can do in your school, please contact me.

Have a chat with a cat


Chat To The Cat

Chat to the cat
about this and that.

Pass the time of day.
She’ll not disclose your secrets

but she’ll absorb
every word you say.

Confess to the cat
your worries.

Confide in the cat
you may

for she’ll disappear
when she’s heard enough

and perhaps ferry your fears,
maybe transport your tears,

possibly carry your cares

Don’t forget it’s National Poetry Day in UK on Thursday 2nd October

Remember National Poetry Day 2014

I’ve posted some other reminders and resources for National Poetry Day already, but here’s video that may inspire ideas and discussion.

Remember by Christina Rossetti