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The Legend of The Spinach Gatherers -Poetry Friday

As a child I was told endless tale tales by adults. Tales of questionable feats and acts of daring-do. Sometimes these tales were designed to either scare me unnecessarily, or encourage some degree of modification in my behavior. I was told to watch out for elephants who enjoyed squashing badly behaved children and to be afraid of going near the creek because crocodiles lived there -when in fact nothing remotely life threatening lived in the local waterways.

 I further recall being told that green jelly was made from cow's hooves and that swallowing chewing gum could kill you. It would stick to your heart and you would die! It's amazing how such nonsensical stories stay with you. Well, I'm not too sure what the inspiration for this piece of contrived nonsense actually was, apart from a desire to have a bit of fun. 

You might consider some of the slightly doubtful things adults told you in order to get you to cooperate, or merely to scare you into complying with their wishes.…
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Goodbye Eighteen Poem- Poetry Friday

A somewhat whimsical retrospective poem to mark my 2018...

Goodbye Eighteen

Last year
I failed to win the lottery
Wasn’t an award recipient
And I failed to repair anything of significance

Last year
I forget to cull my book collection
Didn’t spend a single night in Paris
And didn't compete in a marathon for the first time

Last year 
I chose not to watch Masterchef
I didn’t get around to cleaning out my office desk
And I failed to snap any selfies at famous landmarks

Last Year
I didn't eat a single snail
-Nor a married one for that matter
And yet again, I failed to find any joy in Trump's tweets

Last year
I still refused to like cats
Or anchovies
Or cats who like anchovies

Last year
Was similar to the year before
This year shapes up as being the same

Poetry In Cotton Tree- Vacation Verse

Spent a few days on Queensland's Sunshine Coast recently. I was staying in a quiet corner of Maroochydore- a place called Cotton Tree. It is more than twenty year since I last visited this particular locale. I was pleased to note that it still moves at the same, gentle pace. So relaxing. Swimming, walking, exploring, reading, relaxing and eating all helped to set the mood. Coffee and close observation of my surroundings set me up to write...

I noticed that once the fog of work cleared, the words began to flow. My notebook pages filled quickly with a swag of poetry pieces, along with other writing. Words have always gained my attention quite easily. To take possession of them and apply them with purpose has imbued me with excitement all my life.

The mind clears and the words appear.
Most of the poems were short and concerned quite diverse matters. Some were locally inspired, while others appeared from my reading and conversations, or they merely arrived without prior notice. It didn&#…

Poetry I Knowetry- Purchasing New Poetry Books

I am continually adding to my collection of poetry titles. The books that catch my poet's eye are an eclectic collection of works. That's what is so exciting about conducting these ongoing searches through the poetry zone. Fascinating discoveries await. Writers are collectors, after all. I must continue to feed my need. You cannot be a writer unless you are a reader. Here are some treasures I recently added. I commend them to you as worthy of your consideration:

Khaled Hosseini, widely read author of 'The Kite Runner' presents the hauntingly beautiful Sea Prayer, a poem across many pages. It is a poem of longing for a life lost to bombs and conflict and the need to take a perilous sea journey. The best books make us think...

Jacqueline Woodson's verse novel was delight to read. It celebrates poetry and rejoices in the power of resilience as witnessed by young Lonnie Collins Motion better known as 'Locomotion' as he learns to deal with personal grief. I am an …

The Origins of a Poetic Life

My earliest memory of writing poetry was back in primary school. In Grade 3 I wrote a poem about Springtime. We were probably all told to write a poem about springtime...
My classmates seemed to like the words I created way back then and suggested I share it with our teacher. So, I did that too and our teacher liked it too and asked me to share it with the class.

 I cannot recall the exact words of that particular springtime poem. The words have long vanished I'm afraid. However, I have never forgotten the feelings that washed over me knowing other writers liked my words.

That response lit a spark energizing me to continue, to persist. My self belief was instantly boosted. I had been awakened to the power of words- the power of poetry. I wanted more of that feeling and the only way to obtain it was to write more of the same- poetry. It is true that when we feel something we are doing is valued by those around us, an energy is produced and we are more inclined to continue.

When I share…

A Michael Rosen Poetry Prompt

Thanks to the wonderful Michael Rosen, (the poet who gave us the enduring appeal of 'Chocolate Cake') for providing this simple, yet effective poetry prompt!

Topic/focus: After Dark

3 Questions to prompt the poet within...

What can you see?
What can you hear?
What are you thinking?

And the result is thus!

(Whispered) After dark
(Whispered) After dark
A cat darts across the street
Car lights dance and dazzle
And bats take flight
(Whispered) After dark
(Whispered) After dark
Crickets sing
Owls hoot in the gathering gloom
Sirens wail in the city streets
(Whispered) After dark
(Whispered) After dark
Is my door securely locked?
Can ghosts squeeze down the chimney?
Is the moon shining brightly?
(Whispered) After dark
(Whispered) After dark

I urge you to try it for yourself

Mentor Text Magic- Pookie Aleera, A Verse Novel

The effective use of mentor texts is something worth sharing. Exposing impressionable young writers to exemplars and allowing the words of a trusted author to influence the writing student writers produce, is important in our work as teachers of writing, and teachers of writers.

My friend and colleague, Leanne Hunter currently teaches Grade 3 at Toorak College, Mount Eliza in my home state of Victoria. Leanne choose to read a personal favourite of mine, 'Pookie Aleera Is Not My Boyfriend,'by Steven Herrick to her eager young learners. In this verse novel, award-winning author Steven Herrick presents a heart-warming tale about friendship, grief and the importance of baked goods. In a country town, in a school just like the schools you know, the kids in Class 6A tell their stories.  – it's honest, quirky, funny and frequently heartfelt. It is written from many characters' points of view - the cool kid, the funny kid, the bullied kid, the teacher, the school cleaner and ev…