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The BURP Poem

Sometimes a single word can  spark an idea for creating poetry. So upon hearing a man burp/belch while walking along the street a couple of days ago, I began to ponder the word burp. A poet can never be sure what will spark an idea, but it pays to be ready when inspiration strikes.


When I was growing burping was not something my parents approved of. It was always considered socially unacceptable or simply bad manners to make such noises. however I also learned that in some cultures, notably Chinese and Indian, burping was regarded as acceptable in certain situations.

Burping after a meal can be seen as a sign of appreciation, and being well fed. In  other cultures such as Japan, Northern America and Europe, burping during a meal is considered bad manners.

Burping is probably one of those inappropriate things that we also find funny. To hear a loud burp suddenly emerge from a baby is something most of us consider quite amusing. It's hard not to laugh. Some people possess the special a…
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Celebrating Hilaire Belloc With A Little Caution

Today I want to celebrate the poetry of Hilaire Belloc, another poet I recall from my school days. Our teachers often read his poems to us to remind us to behave ourselves otherwise horrid things might befall us. Apart from intriguing poems, with such a distinctive name, Hilaire Belloc was hard to forget.

Born near Paris, France, on July 27, 1870, Hilaire Belloc was raised in England, but remained a French citizen until 1902. 

He is best known for his poetry anthology, ‘Cautionary Tales for Children (1907) 
It was a collection of satirical tales of caution based on the popular tales of the 19th century. Belloc wrote his cautionary poems in rhyming couplets. They were gruesome and funny at the very same time. Many of the children appeared to have a strong wicked streak about them. 

Belloc is also known for his illustrated 1896 children’s book, ‘The Bad Child's Book of Beasts.’ It was a collection of poems that gave humourous advice to children. The book sold over 4000 copies, which was…

Short and Sweet Poems

Let's Hear It For Short Poems!
Sometimes a poem can prove effective even though it is short in length. As a poet I appreciate poems of every length and style, but just for today I want to focus on the short and sweet version.

A short poem needs to have some punch, and because they employ so few words, word choice is particularly important.

One of my favourite short poems comes from the late and great Spike Milligan who wrote this clever little poem:

A Silly Poem

Said Hamlet to Ophelia
I'll write a poem to thee
What kind of pencil shall I use?
2B or not 2B?

I also like Lillian Moore's poem, Red. It employs a simile in a most effective way.

Red

All day
across the way
on someone's sill
a geranium glows
red bright
like a
tiny
faraway 
traffic light

I can't imagine Shel Silverstein not having fun writing this short, but very funny poem.

Anteater
"A genuine anteater,"
The pet man told me dad.
Turned out, it was an aunt eater

And now my uncle's mad!

So now I share with you dear reade…

Inspired by Walter de la Mare

Walter de la Mare's book of poetry for children, 'Peacock Pie' was first published in 1913. I have a copy of this anthology that was republished in 1962. 

Walter de la Mare (1873 - 1956) was a British author of diverse talent who wrote everything from poetry to horror stories to children's books. His writing focused around the themes of childhood, imagination, and the supernatural. 

During my school days I recall being introduced to Walter de la Mare's poetry and a lot of it has stuck, which is a sure sign that his words made a connection. I particularly liked the poems, 'Five Eyes' and 'Silver' which are reproduced below.

Five Eyes

Walter de la Mare

In Hans' old Mill his three black cats
Watch the bins for the thieving rats.
Whisker and claw, they crouch in the night,
Their five eyes smouldering green and bright:
Squeaks from the flour sacks, squeaks from where
The cold wind stirs on the empty stair,
Squeaking and scampering, everywhere.
Then down they pou…

Time To Skedaddle Poem

Using Colloquial Phrases and Idioms In Poetry
Idiom:
An expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its words, as in kick the bucket (meaning to die). 

Colloquialisms:
A colloquialism is a word, phrase, or other form used in informal language. Such words and phrases develop and become part of the every day language. Strangely most people know exactly what they mean. The word, 'yobbo or yob' was used frequently when I was younger. The word was applied to young men considered to be poorly dressed, bad mannered and uneducated.

Certain phrases and words expressions may develop in a particular language, dialect, or style of speaking. These terms may be used in conversation and writing in a particular country, state or region yet may be unknown to people living beyond that place, who remain unfamiliar with its use. Idioms and colloquialisms are continually being invented, while others fall out of use because they may have connections to a particular point in ti…

A Blast From Poetry Past

ABlast From POETRY PAST
I have written previously about the joy of rummaging. Well, today I did some more,- rummaging that is and it paid dividends. It seemed most appropriate on Poetry Friday.  

I uncovered a collection of long forgotten poems I wrote many years ago. -More than thirty years ago to be precise. 

This was my first anthology of poems. All hand written on pieces of card and presented in a spiral bound book format. I recall creating this book primarily for my children and my students at that time. 

Reconnecting with these early poems again was like seeing ghosts from my past. It was both thrilling and confronting. Confronting because the poems turned out to be much older than I first recollected. 

It was so good to reconnect and reread those historic words. It was a feeling akin to unearthing a pirate’s treasure. I got such a buzz revisiting work from this earlier phase of my writing life. I now have some new-old poems to reshape and consider. 

I now present a couple of those pr…

Food News Poem

'Ideas exist in things.' 

I heard that somewhere a long time ago and have never forgotten it. So, when I'm looking for ideas, I find it extremely useful to sit perfectly still and take a careful look around me. Today, as  I sat watching people eat in a favourite cafe of mine, I began to think about food. I must admit I like thinking about food. I love both eating and cooking. 

 I began to think more particularly about food back when I was a kid. Food I liked and food I avoided. I thought about some of the things people used to say about certain foods. Not all of which was true. A bit like 'fake news' we hear so much about these days.

Eventually my thinking lead to wanting to write something down- It often does. Well, a poem began to develop in my head, so I took out my notebook and started writing. When I got home, I just had to continue preparing my poem. Here it is for you to digest.


Food NewsGreen jelly's made from cow's hooves
Spaghetti's made from worms

Curating A Quality Collection Of Poetry Books

This is a message for teachers. Teachers who teach poetry, Teachers who want to teach poetry more effectively.

Go to your school's library and seek out the poetry collection.

Have a really good look at the assembled books. Take some books from the shelves and open them and examine the poetry within the covers.

If what you are seeing is a motley 
collection of ancient unattractive titles and there doesn't appear to have been any additional texts added to the collection in over a decade, then it's time to morph into the Poetry Warrior!

Don't get me wrong, there may well be some great poetry hidden away within those tired looking titles. It would be sad not to bring them to the attention of your probationary poets. However, it's time to begin agitating for more books to be added to the collection and fast.

It becomes difficult to grow a love of poetry among young writers without a varied collection of classic and contemporary poetry books for them to pour over. We want them…

Wheel Bad News Poem

When you read my latest poem, you can confidently infer that I've had an encounter with a shopping trolley recently. 
Well, you're right...  One of those trolleys of the the wobbly wheel kind that keep trying to take you in the wrong direction. 



Wheel Bad News

we all know
the wheels on the bus
go round and round,
round and round.

so, why is it
that the wheels on the 
shopping trolley
go wibble, wobble, wonk
wibble, wobble, wonk?

they should be going
round and round,
round and round
-just like the wheels on the bus
go round and round.

it's wheely bad I tell you
-wheely bad



Me and The Moon Poem

The moon has been a recurring theme in my writing. As a boy I pondered much thought regarding its magnificence. I would lie in my bed staring out the window imagining i could see a face on that distant orb. I witnessed Neil Armstrong's first tentative steps upon its surface while viewing a somewhat grainy black and white television set during my first year of teaching. I have stood under its full beaming reflection in the middle of Australia's heartland and marveled at the light it provided in that vast open space. I can still hear my father crooning the words, 'Blue moon, I saw you standing alone...' The moon even features in the title of my latest book of poetry. The moon has featured in many phases of my life.

So,it is hardly surprising that I would come to write a poem about the moon. When we have recurring ideas or thoughts, sooner or later, we feel an urge to capture those thoughts in writing.

Last night, the moon once again made itself known to me and today these …