Poetry for the People! (Poem)

Save me from critics poetry
Impenetrable and verbose.
Without a regular rhyming scheme
And written half in prose.

Save me from verbal caviar
The emperor’s new clothes.
Put away the selfie stick,
This ain’t no time to pose.

Poetry’s blood, and dirt, and fire,
The hand up when you fall.
But above all else, poetry is
Something that’s there for us all.


flickr.com/photos/stevpas68/8158152473 / Creative Commons

Heading In To Work (poem)

I want to be a slug-a-bed
Sleeping in my nice warm bed
But now I’m on the bus instead
Heading in to work

Thoughts are swimming round my head
About the stupid things I said
But now I’m on the bus instead
Heading in to work

I feel I’m hanging by a thread
Like butter scraped on too much bread
And now I’m on the bus instead
Heading in to work

My mind turns to the day with dread
A thousand messages unread
Because now I’m on the bus instead
Heading in to work

I wish I’d ran, I wish I’d fled
But now I’m on the bus instead
But now I’m on the bus instead
Heading in to work


Creative Commons

Coming up…

I enjoyed taking part in the NaPoWriMo and A to Z Blog Challenge last month – it brought a bit of structure into this daydreaming poet’s life. In an attempt to recreate some of that structure, for the next few weeks (and maybe longer, if it works) I’m going to publish on the following topics:

MONDAY – Office poetry. Because us office drones need a bit of light relief

TUESDAY – Slug poetry. An under-represented area. Embrace your inner slug.

THURSDAY – “From Bad to Verse” – a short series of advice and useful links for those who are interested in writing rhyming picture books, based on my own experience

FRIDAY – Zombie poetry. Brains…. Brains…

So if any of this grabs your interest, please drop by and check them out, along with any other flights of fancy or whimsy that pop into my head while I’m staring out of the window at work. Hope you’ll join me 🙂


Y is for Thorn / Word Economy (poem)

I recently completed the A-Z Challenge of writing a poem every day throughout April 2015 themed on a letter of the alphabet. Having the supportive friends that I do (!), one then pointed out that in Old English there was ANOTHER letter that slowly fell in to disuse through the middle ages, even though we still see it’s legacy today in English village signs. This letter is known as “thorn” and represents the “th” sound, originally written as “þ” but then mutated into a “y”. So, Nick challenged me to write one more poem for this alphabet collection and wrote his own too – check it out here: https://babbitman.wordpress.com/2015/05/07/y-is-for-thorn/

The deadline for this was the þirteenþ of May (unfortunately not a Þurþsday)…

Word economy
My good friend Nick has made a case
To crown the thorn back into place
As letter number 27
(Bring it back from letter heaven)

“Why use two instead of one?”
Is how your argument be-gun

I think you’re right! But let’s go further
And check that every letter’s worth a
Place in the new alphabet

(One in which our needs are met
Without the need to get upset)

So we’ll keep the thorn, but oþers go.
þis is how our language grows.

We’ll join the Yanks and drop most “U”s
Colour/ color – you can choose!
We’ll phase out “X” at þe start of words
(þat will please þe blogging herds)

We’ll drop þe “H” (so many do)
“C” kan go, and so kan “Q”
(þe “Q” of “quay” makes no sense to me.
Let’s ekonomise and kall it “key”)

Is this too much? Would you endorse it?
Or does language grow best,
If you don’t force it?


Friday Favourites – The Big Animal Mix-Up

As part of Rhyming Picture Book Month (RhyPiBoMo) in April, we were invited to share a favourite rhyming picture book every Friday. The month is over, but I have one more book I want to share. “The Big Animal Mix-Up”, by Gareth Edwards, and illustrated by Kanako Usui is a fantastic, fun story, perfect for a wide age range of young children, from 2 to 6.


Little Bear’s dad tries to teach him all the animals he ought to know, but the problem is they are a little mixed up! What would happen if a bird was mixed up with a cat? Would it purr? Would it have fur?

What would happen if a cat was mixed up with a bird? Would it fly in air? Would it have feathers not hair?

Turn the page and discover the hilarious results in this fantastic rhyming story

I’ve been reading a lot about “mentor texts” lately, ie texts that demonstrate a particular writing technique well. For me, this does an amazing job of getting the right mix of humour for both adults and children, setting up hooks for the page turns that beg for the child to join in, and has a great refrain that the reader can have some fun with too: “Hang on a minute!”

“This is a fish
It has very soft fur
If you give it a cuddle you’ll hear it go purr.
Hang on a minute!
A fish can’t do that
If it’s furry and purry it must be a …

It’s a simple idea, beautifully executed. I could read this over and over again, and my boys could listen to it just as often. Recommended!


“U is for… Used to be” (poem)

I used to be a secret agent, but tired of all that spying.
I used to be a hard worker, but found it much too trying.
I used to be as good as gold, but cashed it in for pennies.
I used to have a head of hair, but lost it in my twenties.

I used to believe; now my well of faith is dry
I used to have a future, before the years went by.
I used to give the orders: now I do what I’m told.
The worst thing about getting old is… getting old.

I used to be a copper, but rusted in the rain.
I used to be a cabbie, but longed to drive a train.
I used to be a wild animal: now I’m an indoor cat.
I used to be a little this, but now I’m more a that.

I used to be a Red, but now my colour’s Green.
I used to be Easter: now I’m Halloween.
Life used to be just better. Regrets? I have a few.
Know that when you’re tested, be careful what you do.

I used to be a fighter, but now am less a lover.
I used to be overt, but now I’m undercover.
I used to be a man of mystery, now my life’s an open book.
I used to be a president, but now I’m not a crook.

I used to wear sharp suits: now I’m dressing down.
I used to be lost: but still I don’t feel found.
I used to be a big cheese. I’m now a Babybel.
I wonder about the choices that led to my own hell.

I used to be cutting edge, but now my wits are dulled.
I used to be a writer, but all my tales are told.
I used to be hot stuff: now I’m yesterday’s stuffing.
I used to be a million: now I’m more like nothing.

I used to be the many, but now I’m in the few.
I used to have the answers: now I wonder what to do.
I used to be. Now, not to be. A life unmade;
A belt unbuckled; a song unsung; a piano unplayed.

I used to be in the circle, now I’m outside looking in.
I used to be hot-headed, now I take it on the chin.
I used to be a dreamer; now it’s a bloody nightmare.
I used to be spontaneous, but now it’s only childcare.

I used to play the king, but now I wear no crown.
I used to be an adverb; now I’m just a noun.
I used to have it all; then we had to part.
Everything changed in the blinking of a heart.

I used to tell tall tales, but time has changed a lot.
Should you believe a word of this?

You should not.


Friday Favourites – Jumblebum

I am taking part in Rhyming Picture Book Month, aka RhyPiBoMo (https://angiekarcher.wordpress.com/), and as part of this we are asked to share our favourite rhyming picture books every Friday. This week’s choice is Jumblebum, by Chae Strathie and Ben Cort. http://www.amazon.com/Jumblebum-Chae-Strathie/dp/1407108018

“This is the story of Johnny McNess,
Whose room was an eye-popping, tum-churning mess!”

Nothing will make Johnny tidy his bedroom – but then Johnny has never met the Jumblebum (a “beast” made out of the mess in his room)… And this snuffling, snorty monster is looking to fill his big jumble tum!

This is a really lively, fun story, with a simple bouncy rhythm. If you are looking for a mentor text for great use of alliteration and assonance, then this fits the bill too – it’s full of wonderful lines such as “the horribly slobbery Jumblebum beast” and “later that night, as he snoozled and snored, Something was stirring down there on the floor”. Throw in some onomatopoeia (“hurrumph, harroo!”) for good measure, and you’ve got a great mixture!

On a more personal level, this is also the book that ensured that my son kept his room tidy for over a year… he took the idea of the Jumblebum beast very literally! You may not want to encourage that, but if you are having trouble getting your child to keep their room in some vague sense of order, remember the Jumblebum Beast!