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Poetry Friday -Poems To Blow You Away

It has been exceedingly windy in my neck of the woods the last few days. Cold, icy blasts of wind have blown across the bay and bullied those of us dwelling on the shore. The leaves of autumn have been dancing in my garden.The trees bend and cower.

So, batten down the hatches and hang onto your hat, because all this windy weather prompts me to share a couple of wind driven poems. 

It also provides an opportunity to reintroduce a couple of poets, previously celebrated here- the wonderful of Spike Milligan and the equally amazing Max Fatchen return to blow you away with their words.  

WINDS LIGHT TO DISASTROUS
As I sipped morning tea
A gale (force three)
Blew away a slice of toast
Then a gale (force four)
Blew my wife out the door
I wonder which I'll miss the most
She was still alive
When a gale (force five)
Blew her screaming o'er Golders Green
When a gale six blew
And it took her to
A mosque in the Medanine
Now I pray to heaven
That a gale (force seven)
Will whisk her farther still,*
Let a gale …
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Friday Poetry- Finding Your Favourites

Young poets are always asking, 'Of all the poems you have written, what is your favourite poem?' I have trouble designating a particular poem. For me, it's a bit like being asked, 'Of all your children, who is your favourite? 

Among a poet's collection there are poems that receive a good reaction, and poems that receive regular requests. There are also poems that have quite special memories attached to them. This makes them particularly special for me as the writer. Then there are those freshly made poems that as a poet I am keen to share. Those poems bring a new energy. Nestled among my favourite poems are some that are more intentionally thoughtful, because poetry is capable of appealing to every emotion. I like it when my poems make a reader, laugh and smile, giggle and guffaw, but I am equally pleased when my poems make the reader pause to think.

I am happy to declare quite openly though, the following poem, written by Brian Moses remains a personal favourite of …

Poetry Friday- Turning The Tables Poem

I am always looking for ways to link poetry to broader pursuits. Mathematics is one such area. Today i get to share a poem that includes numbers. The beauty of poetry is that just like mathematics it involves patterns. Both poetry and mathematics employ symbols and both involve  comparisons. Mathematics involves precise definitions and specific terminology- and so to poetry. There appears to exist plenty of commonality between the two. I think I need to explore this relationship further. In the meantime, here is a poem prompted by school memories and mathematical moments...

Turning the Tables
All through primary school
Amanda struggled to remember the answer to six times nine.
It remained her times table blackspot.

No fast recall at all…

Amanda now almost forty years old 
Still hesitates when making this demon calculation.
The numbers she needs always run and hide 
Deep inside her head.
The fog of confusion sweeps across her mind when six times nine is needed.

She remembers Douglas Lenton though…

Poetry and Food -Poetry Friday

I want to share a poem today from Eve Merriam, titled, 'How to Eat a Poem.' In this short poem, Eve Merriam invites us to embrace an appetite for both food and poetry. I found this poem at the back of a book called 'Eat This Poem- a Literary Feast of Recipes Inspired by Poetry, by Nicole Gulotta. The poem provides a fitting final piece in this in this artful book.

 The book, a gift from a friend, celebrates two of life's essential ingredients- food and poetry. My friend knows me extremely well. The book strikes a continuing chord in my personal life.  

Connecting food and poetry opens up fresh ways for readers to access poetry as well as adding deeper meaning to the food we cook for family and friends.


This book is a wonderful gift for poetry lovers and doubly so for those with a passion for food and cooking. I have no wish to analyse this poem. I merely offer it to you as one would offer a guest a tasty delight. Bon appetit!
How To Eat a Poem by Eve Merriam
Don't be pol…

Poetry Friday- Celebrating The Poetry of Max Fatchen

I went rummaging through my poet's suitcase and found a gem of a poem from the late Australian poet, Max Fatchen. Max was born on the Adelaide plains in South Australia in 1920. and grew up on a farm among hayfields and huge Clydesdale horses, which he drove in a plough that made quite crooked furrows (Max's assessment). Max died in 2012. 

Max later became a journalist working on Adelaide newspapers and worked throughout Australia and overseas. He most enjoyed writing stories about people. Four decades of writing for children, especially those of primary school age, began in 1966 with 'The River Kings.'  He wrote 20 books; his novels appear in seven countries and his poetry throughout the English-speaking world. As well as novels he a collection of short stories and several books of verse for young readers. His verse is frequently included in anthologies. Max had a wry sense of humour and this comes through in a lot of his writing. Since then it has been reprinted numer…

Poetry Friday 'Storm On The Island' Seamus Heaney

Given the fact that we recently celebrated St Patrick's Day, it seems appropriate that I take this opportunity to continue the Irish focus and recognize one of Ireland's leading literary figures...

Seamus Heaney was born in County Derry in Northern Ireland in 1939 and died in 2013. He became a multi award winning poet. His first collection of poems, 'Death of a Naturalist' appeared in 1966 and helped to establish Heaney as one of the major poets of the 20th century.

From that first anthology, I have chosen 'Storm On The Island.' This poem tells us about the stoic resistance of people and structures to an incoming storm. The island is not named. Poetic scholars believe this is a poem that can be taken literally, as a monologue on the life and attitude of island people facing a storm, or it can be understood as a  metaphor of political struggle on the island of Ireland. Heaney knew both worlds. 

The poems of this first collection are grounded in the soil of County D…

Friday Poetry: A Walk Through A Seaside Village POEM

Opportunities to make poetry exist all around us. We must practice being alert to possibility. As a committed traveller, wanderer and explorer, I find ideas in local settings as well as more far flung, some might say, exotic places as well. This poem found its origins in a morning walk in Ireland a few years back. I rediscovered it this week and have given it a bit of a polish and a dusting off. Please join me, and a wandering we will go...
Walk Through ASeaside Village
Breakfast failed to fire
The start of a brand new day
Just cindered toast
And hard-boiled egg
To set me on my way
Wandered down the main street
The shops were mostly shuttered
Birds on rooftops
Sat in silent lines
A single pigeon fluttered
Passed a man
With a bristled broom
His doorway keenly clearing
I offered him my morning smile
But he was not for cheering
Circled round a tree-lined park
As a couple did Tai Chi
A lean and hungry mutt took time
To bark and snarl at me
I wandered by the seawall
I felt the ocean spray
The angry, wild waves

Poetry Friday - No Rhyme Poem

Wordplay presents as a strong element in my poetry. I recognize it and readily embrace it. So the following poem is grounded in the tradition of playing with words. I have a natural tendency to slide into rhyme. It sings strongly in my sometimes muddled mind.

This poem gently pushes back on my rhyming predilection by employing synonyms to deny the rhyme. I feel like I'm telling rhyme to talk to the hand on this occasion. 

In the process, it was fun playing with words, as one might expect. As I say in the poem, don't get me wrong, I enjoy rhyme. I hear it constantly as I negotiate my day. Poetry exists in everyday talk. Often it goes unnoticed. Personally, I note it while quietly enjoying its presence. I even have my own rhyming dictionary...



No Rhyme This Time Occasion

I’m trying to stop this poem from rhyming
But I find my anxiety is steadily climbing increasing
Words keep forming in my mind
You know the ones
The usual rhyming kind sort
A childhood filled with rhyming verse
Just makes …

IDEAS For World Poetry Day

It's World Poetry Day, on 21 March. This day recognises the unique ability of poetry to capture the very essence of humanity. 
In every culture there are poets who feed the soul of their nation and present as advocates for the arts. 


For those of you not yet completely comfortable teaching poetry, or for those looking to freshen up their current poetry resources, Here are some possibilities to explore. 

Poetry Ideas Across the Curriculum

•Invite students to organize a collection of poems relating to their own culture. You could organize them around such categories as celebrations, families, food, holidays.

•Collect photo essays, newspaper and magazine articles, informational books, and historical fiction and invite students to use them as source material for poetry

•Make weather poems using weather reports as the basis for ideas.

•Encourage students to tell their own stories/experiences in poetic form

•Use a science activity to launch a poetry writing activity. A poem about volcanoes for …

Poetry Friday - 'Call The Roll' Poem

I have just lifted this poem from my notebook and revised it further before presenting it here. It was a poem that gradually developed over a couple weeks. I just kept adding to it as names came to mind. It is what one might call a work of 'faction.' A mix of fact and fiction. Anyway, here it is!
A list poem for Poetry Friday with a strong element of deliberate wordplay.  I laughed inwardly as I was composing it. Poetry as invention. Hope it makes you smile.




CALL THE ROLL In primary school
When my teacher marked the attendance roll each morning
She would call out our names
And we had to reply
PRESENT!
Once, someone replied,
PRESIDENT!
-and everyone rolled about laughing
Our teacher even smiled a little bit,
-but not much

I can still recall many of those names
Those faces of long ago
Personalities of the past
Our teacher calling on them to reply
As the roll was marked
They return to me once more
Ghosts from those classroom days

Ben Downe (A most flexible fellow)
Phillip Yagob (Always hungry, always…