Don’t forget your sun block



Do you remember
when summers were longer
and ice creams were bigger
and creamier
and the sun rose like a messiah
and cast his love over the land
and all his worshippers turned pink
to show that they had been blessed
(for who, all that time ago,
although they knew not to look directly at him,
would want to shield themselves from him or think
to use sun block – which probably hadn’t been invented –
for who, I say unto you, would have imagined
that such a mighty being
would ever do them any harm)?
Thus his faithful followers
lay down before him
day after day
again and again
for ever and ever, Amen.

This poem previously appeared on blipfoto.

bernard copyright6

Remember UK National Poetry Day is Thurs 2 October 2014

NPD_logo_colour_landscapeUK National Poetry Day is a nationwide celebration of poetry that has been held on the first Thursday in October since 1994. The next National Poetry Day is Thursday 2nd October 2014. Every year the organisers suggest a theme to inspire events and contributions, and this year’s is Remember. Share your poems for the event via Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #nationalpoetryday or post them on the National Poetry Day Facebook page and follow the Twitter account to see what other people are doing. For more information about the day see the National Poetry Day Website.

Naturally this is a busy day for performance poets who work in schools, so it is worth booking early to avoid disappointment, and also having some flexibility around the day, perhaps having a poetry inspired week. If you would like me to visit your school, please contact me. This post will give you an idea of what a day in your school could be like.

Here’s one of mine on the Remember theme:

School Report

We never could remember
how to spell diarrhoea.
It was easier to invoke
a chill or an upset stomach
than to search for a dictionary.
But it didn’t matter
what my mother wrote
as long as her note
excused me from football
or rugby or cross-country.

Finally I openly rebelled
and raised a two-finger V
in time to be recorded for posterity
on the annual school photograph:
a brief yet permanent moment
of glory and defiance;
it went unnoticed for months
and prints were sold.
When parents eventually complained
I was caned and, unceremoniously, expelled.

This poem has previously appeared on blipfoto.


World Cup everywhere – everyone’s got football fever

Football fever copyright Bernard Young

Football Fever

I’ve caught football fever
Now I’m football mad
Football’s taken over
I’ve got football bad

Yes, I’ve got football fever
I thought I was immune
But I’m not sick as a parrot
Instead I’m over the moon

So I don’t need a doctor
I don’t need a pill
I’m not feeling awful
I’m not really ill

I’ve just got football fever
I’ve just gone football mad
I’m as crazy as my sister
As barmy as my Dad

We’ve all got football fever
Each one did succumb
But if you think we’ve got it bad
Wait till you meet Mum!

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This poem is in my book “Brilliant“. If you are looking for other football poems, there’s a collection of poems with the same title as this in my anthologies section.

Trying to get in to the mind of a cat

Cat sniffing a hand

Nose and Finger

Does the odour
of last night’s
fish supper linger?

Have you got an itch?
The human touch?
Is that what you long for?

What can you smell?
Who are you singing
your purring song for?

Post Bank Holiday Blues?

Never mind. Every cloud has a silver lining…


Your walks on the beach are over.
Your footprints will be washed away.
Tuesday will feel like a Monday.
But…….it’s only a four day week. Hurray!

Easter is over! When you go back to school, teacher, watch out!


Teacher, Watch Out!

If I stare at you
You’ll develop a twitch

If I ignore you
You’ll start to itch

If I look through you
You’ll not be heard

If I watch your lips
You’ll muddle your words

If I close one eye
You’ll feel unsure

If I close two
You’ll disappear

So watch it!

If you set homework
I’ll shut my eyes

And you’ll be in
For a big surprise

You’ll see!

This poem appears in Wanted Alive by Bernard Young.

Wishing you all a Happy Easter weekend

Man with arms outstretched as if in a cross

The Long Weekend

And on the third day
He rose

And feeling only slightly
the worse for wear
He ventured out
into the world again

“What day is it?” He asked

For, verily,
somewhere along the way
He had lost Saturday

And He discovered that it was indeed Sunday
and that in his stupor
He must have slept through Saturday

“I have risen again,”
He told anyone who would listen

And He danced joyfully
on the garage forecourt
as ice melted
and rooftop water
fell upon him

This image and poem originally appeared on

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Not one but four knots not for National Poetry Writing Month


4 Nots

1. Do not
get a knot
in your stomach.
Such stress will do you no good.

2. Do not
tie the knot
unless you are
100% certain you should.

3. Do not
forget to knot
each shoelace
or you might fall flat on your face.

4. Do not
tie yourself in knots
unless you are
an escapologist (or a masochist).

Also appeared on blipfoto.

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Is it OK to photograph people on the street?

people outside a cafe

Good Question

‘Oh yes,’ she says,
the lady with the fag,
‘it’s OK for you to observe us
through your viewfinder,
to pop this into your freezer
for consumption later,
to put words into our mouths
and tell our life stories,
but what about you, eh?
What have you got to say
for yourself?’

First appeared on

Did a bit of beach combing this morning

broken bucket on a beach

A Point Of View

I’m saying it’s a bucket,
a child’s plastic sandcastle building bucket,
that’s been washed up on the shore.

Someone left it, lost it, or,
as summer drew to a close,
decided to chuck it.

The sea took it.
Knocked it around for a while.
Decided to give it back.

I didn’t kick it.

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