Saturday, 31 December 2011

Swimming With Trout

New Year Resolutions 2012

Hi there! Well, this blog has been going over a year now – and we’re all still here, although the rate of new entries has slowed down a bit! I’m intending a bit of a shake up soon. (Watch this space.)

Have a wonderful 2012. May you swim with trout. Meantime - here are a few of our new year resolutions. Have you made any this year? –
Roger Stevens

My New Year Resolution Number 1: Not to make New Year's Resolutions. Only disappointment and a sense of failure comes with them. Number 2: To follow my own good advice re not making Resolutions. - Michaela Morgan

1: To be dafter – daft and wonky both make good poems.  (Don’t let my family see this – they already think my daft and wonky are off the scale.) 2: To be more awake when I’m doing ordinary things. Then I’ll squeeze all the juice out of everyday experiences, enjoy them more and have more material for writing. That’s a double whammy! - Jan Dean

I never remember to carry out my resolutions. This year I made a resolution
to carry out my resolution when I made a resolution. And decided NOT to make a resolution so I didn’t have to carry it out. Then I remembered - I wanted to carry a notebook at all times to write all the ideas I forget when I don’t have a notebook
to note them down in. So I've made a resolution to carry out my resolution to carry out my notebook, and thus carry out my resolution and carry out a notebook for the first time ever, after all.
If I remember. - Liz Brownlee

I resolve not to complain at the drop of a hat.
I resolve not to drop my hat. Bernard Young

1: To spend more time searching for the ends of rainbows.
2: To swim with trout so they're not as jealous of dolphins. 
3: To get rid of some of my old books so the house doesn't explode
- Sue Hardy-Dawson

1: To write a poem in tiny words on each finger nail.
2: To buy a magnifying glass.
3: To learn each poem by heart.
4: To cut my nails.
5: To see how many finger-nail poems I can remember.
6: To stop being so silly.
The End. - Celia Warren

This Year… Be Kind to Animals

Agree with aardvarks
Be nice to bees
Cook for caterpillars
Dance with dolphins
Entertain elephants
Frolic with frogs
Giggle with gorillas
Holiday with hippos
Inspire iguanas
Joke with jackals
Kiss koalas
Lunch with llamas
Motivate moose
Natter to numbats
Organise owls
Play with platypi
Queue with quail
Read to rabbits
Snuggle with snakes
Tickle terrapins
Understand unicorns
Value vultures
Wave at whales
eXercise with oXen
Yodel with yaks
and let zizzing zebras zzzzzzzzzz
-Jane Clarke

And finally, for the grown-ups...

Not get drunk
Not be rude
Not eat chocolate
Or other nice food
Cut down on drugs
Fags and caffeine
But wait until   
- Andrea Shavick.

Monday, 19 December 2011

A Poem Is Not Just For Christmas

A poem is not just for Christmas
A poem is for life
It’s for a child, a mum or dad
A husband or a wife

It’s for the changing seasons
For the many, for the few
But this poem is for Christmas
This poem is just for you

Roger Stevens

Have a wonderful Christmas everyone. And a happy new year. From all the secret poets.

Monday, 5 December 2011

That Poetry Time of Year

by Roger Stevens

Why not give poetry books for Christmas this year? There have been some great poetry books for children published in the last twelve months. Here are a few of my favourites. Why not share yours? Let’s spread the word!

Hear Here (Hands Up Books) by Trevor Parsons. It’s his first collection of poems and great fun. (See the review by the Undercover Poet). Also from Hands Up Books I’d recommend Ian Bland and Philip Waddells’ new collection Go to the Head. Laughs a plenty here – as in Philip’s…

A mischievous phantom called Clarence
Loved making a sudden appearance
He thought the trick cool
Till a humourless ghoul
Reported him to his transparents

When there’s so much doom and gloom in the publishing world – wonderful small presses like Hands Up Books need all our support. Check it out here -

Other poetry books published this year included The Language of Cat (Frances Lincoln) by Rachel Rooney, a stand out collection that should be on everyone’s shelves, as should Pie Corbetts’ beautifully written Evidence of Dragons (Macmillan). I’d also recommend Best of Enemies, Best of Friends (Wayland) Brian Moses’ anthology for older children and teenagers.

For younger readers I'd recommend Hey Little Bug (Frances Lincoln) by James Carter. A lovely book, and great for reading aloud.

And finally – for poetry lovers everywhere, for children, for grandma and grandad, or for the bird lovers in your life – Celia Warren’s magnificent RSBP Anthology of Wildlife Poetry (A&C Black).

Oh, and I nearly forgot. You could also give that very special person one of my books as a present. A Million Billion Poems (Part One) (A&C Black) – an anthology of all my favourite poets – Does Your Face Fit (A&C Black) – an anthology for teenagers – or my latest solo collection Beware! Low Flying Rabbits (Macmillan).

So – what poetry books will you be buying for friends, brothers, sisters, children, parents or grandparents this Christmas? Do let us know.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Through a Letterbox

I like taking photographs and sometimes the pictures inspire a poem. What I select from the photo - how I frame it - can influence my poem. I recently photographed a butterfly with a torn wing. It's late in the year to see Red Admirals still flying around and, in strong winds, no wonder s/he was a little the worse for wear. When I trimmed my picture it was the shape of a letter box. So then that shape became my 'virtual letter box' through which I imagined looking at the world - and the butterfly - going by. Here's my poem - followed by a writing challenge for you.

I'm looking at life through a letterbox.
It's safe behind closed doors:
No wasp to sting, no sudden shocks,
No threats, no debts, no broken laws.
No fears, no foes, no trampled toes,
No gossipers who mutter by,
But, look! – one lonely butterfly,
Still pretty with a wing that tore.
Poor thing. It has no letterbox.
Poor thing. It has no door.

What I'd like you to try is writing your own poem 'Through a ...' whatever it is you are looking through. It might be a letterbox, too. Or it might be through your fingers, through a telescope; binoculars - held back-to-front; a toilet roll; sunglasses; a glass tank (perhaps you are a goldfish?) Have a go!

by Celia Warren

Poem © Celia Warren 2011

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

There Was An Old Writer of Limericks

by Philip Waddell

Humour can and does appear in many forms of poetry but one form of poem that must have been invented for humour and for which I have a very soft spot is the limerick. 

Here is an early example by the 19th century artist and poet Edward Lear who famously helped to popularise the form:

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, 'It is just as I feared!
Two Owls and a Hen,
Four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard!'

Whilst the form looks easy, writing an even mildly amusing limerick presents a sizeable challenge.

I’ll often start my attempt by picking a name (a person’s or a place’s) with which to end the first line of my limerick. Having thought of one I’ll try to think of as many words that rhyme with it as I can to see if any combination of the name with two of its rhymes suggests anything funny. Picking Hyde, for example, I came up with this:

Mad Hatter

A whacky teenager from Hyde
A hat with a bell on once tried.
‘Does this hat,’ he asked, ‘Mum,
Make me look sort of dumb?’
‘Of course not!’ she said, but she lied.

But as the limerick by Edward Lear shows your first line doesn’t have to end with a name. You can choose any word that has enough rhymes. I make a list of the rhymes as they occur to me and if the list begins to look long I’ll save thinking time – and maybe discover a few words I wouldn’t otherwise have thought of – by getting out my rhyming dictionary. Words ending in ean, een or ine gave a good long list that led me to this:

Fetching Appearance

There’s a shy insect, leggy and lean,
Hides in foliage not to be seen,
It pretends it’s a stick,
So convincing a trick
It’s been fetched by a dog on the green.

Sometimes I’ll think of a pun* that might make a good ending to a limerick:

Unhappy Customer

From Frankenstein’s clinic he barged
And shambled, grotesque and enlarged
Raging, ‘Man, am I mad
At the treatment I’ve had
And worse, now I’ve been overcharged!’

Sometimes I’ll just write something extremely silly:

The Monster Of Sponge

The monster of sponge has been cursed,
By a witch, with a terrible thirst –
Now it drinks and it drinks
And it drinks and it drinks
And it drinks till it thinks it will burst!

I’ll even make up a word to end a limerick:

Creative Writing

A writer of rhyming verse said,
When stuck for a rhyme go to bed,
If still stuck when you wake,
For your sanity’s sake,
Just make up the word that you ned!

Sometimes a limerick that amuses me will just pop into my head but mostly I find the finished poem will only come after lots of rewrites. If I have managed to write a limerick that I like I’ll next try to give it an appropriate and if possible, punning title. But that’s just me and the title of your limerick can be just its first line.

Finally, don’t be surprised if most of your limericks end up in the bin. Most of mine do. But the pleasure you’ll feel when you write one that makes you smile or better still giggle will, I promise, make all the effort worthwhile.

Hmmm… smile and worthwhile… I wonder…

*My dictionary defines a pun as a joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

What We Didn't Do On Our Holiday

When I was at school (when schools were still in black and white), at the beginning of a new term, we would always have to write a poem or an essay entitled What I Did On My Holidays. At the time I quite enjoyed it, but I realised when I became a teacher myself that it wasn’t such an inspiring idea. So, how about writing a poem about what you didn’t do – or wished you had done – on your holiday?

First make a list of all the things you would like to have done. These can be regular activities, like going to the beach, painting, playing tennis, visiting the zoo – or maybe you could use your imagination a little. For example how about water ski-ing in the Mediterranean, white water rafting in Peru, swimming with sharks, having tea with The Queen, winning a million pounds, travelling to Mars, going back in time…

Then use the list to write a poem. (See Jan’s List Poems below for more ideas.)

Here’s a poem I wrote on a similar theme.

Travelling by car is much more fun
Than flying in an aeroplane
Anyway, Mum gets airsick
And there’s nothing to see when you’re up in the clouds

I’m glad we didn’t go to Italy
Because I can’t speak Italian
And Blackpool beach is underrated
When it rains the glistening sands are beautiful

In Italy, Alex says, the sound of the surf
Keeps you awake
But we’re not far from the beach.
It’s only a ten-minute walk, if you run

You don’t see many dolphins from Blackpool beach
But, even better, we swam with the jellyfish.
We much prefer fish and chips
Who wants to eat boring old Spaghetti Bolognese, anyway?

I’m glad we went to Blackpool
Not to Italy, like my best mate Alex
Mum said we mustn’t tell him what a great time we had
He’ll only be jealous

Send your poems to us and we’ll publish them here or on The Poetry Zone.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

List Poems

by Jan Dean

List poems can be good fun. 
First choose a big idea.
• Things to take on holiday/ things to take to the beach/ the caravan/ camping
• To-do list for Friday/ before turning off the light / planning the party
• Shopping list / Christmas presents to buy list
• Top days out list / worst days out list
… any list will do.

Now begin with some real things that make sense on the list you chose.
For example - Animals I’d like to be – in order:

Some kind of lion. A dolphin. A bird (such as Gibson’s Wandering Albatross – because it’s a great name and I've actually seen one).
An Irish Wolfhound
Dragon (who says it has to be a ‘real’ animal?)

Next play with the ideas that you’ve come up with. It can be really simple.

Animals I’d like to be – in order.
A lion – no-one would mess with me then.
A dolphin – best swimmer ever.
A bird – lots of birds - I’ll try out sparrowing and parroting,
eagling and puffin-ing.
An Irish Wolfhound – big as a donkey.
A dragon, a dragon, a dragon
Red as fire and fierce as a volcano.

Or write a picture of each creature you chose

I’ll be…
I’ll be a lion. Some kind of lion,
a black lion that roars like the night
or a silver lion with claws like crescent moons.
Maybe a mountain lion
high over a golden canyon
yellow eyes watching
lizards skitter in the sand.

I’ll be a dolphin
not a bottle-nose or a porpoise
something bluer and more beautiful
the sea become skin and muscle
waves leaping.

I’ll be a dragon
and carve the air into winds,
ride the light.

Now play again. keep working, changing and rearranging your list and your ideas until you're really pleased with the result.

I want to be a bird
I’ve heard
it’s good to be a bird
word on the street
says being a bird’s sweet.
You could tweet that….

And again: 
I’d be a lion, but I couldn’t eat raw meat
I’d be a dolphin, but I’m seasick
Gibson’s Wandering Albatross could be good
but would I stray too far?
- fly too far south, past icebergs
over white Antarctic frost -
Would I get lost?
I’d be a wolfhound – wild and lairy
kind of smelly, kind of hairy.
I’d have to wear a lead and collar with a tag on…
Don’t fancy that
I’ll be a dragon.

Have a go. See what you come up with. And send us your poem!

Friday, 5 August 2011

La Fuite du Stegosaurus

Dans le musée
Je prépare
En secret
Ma fuite

A midi
Pour faire diversion
Va s’envoler au plafond du musée
Et plonger sur les gardiens
Pendant ce temps
Je vais me glisser tranquillement
Par la sortie secours
Et me fondre
Dans la foule Parisienne

Roger Stevens
Translated Yveline Bady

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Fun on the Tube

by Roger Stevens

It was a special day in the poet’s calendar, National Poetry Day. I was on my way to visit a school near Regent’s Park, in London. The train from Brighton to London was late and I was worried that I wouldn’t get to the school on time. Then I had a most peculiar and action-packed tube journey.
I boarded the tube at Victoria underground station. It was only a few stops to Regent’s Park and so I thought I would just about make it on time. But the tube train sat in the station for ages. Eventually, the driver announced that the delay was due to a man hitting a train further down the line.
I thought this was very odd. Usually, I thought, a train would (usually tragically) hit a person, not the other way round. I imagined a train going past and a man leaning over and slapping it. “Take that,” he’d say. “You naughty, naughty train!”
Eventually we started up and I glanced at my watch. I might still get to the school on time.
But we hadn’t gone much further when the train stopped – in a tunnel. The driver announced that as it was National Poetry Day, every passenger had to share a poem with everyone else in their carriage. I recited a haiku because, as you know, they are very short. A couple of passengers didn’t know any poems (hard to believe I know) and I thought we would soon be moving again. But then a tall guy with long dreadlocks stood up and began reciting a rap poem. He was very good. We all kept the beat by stamping on the floor and clapping. But the poem went on for ages and ages and I knew now that I would surely be late.
We finally got moving again and we were nearly there – when the train stopped once more.
“I’m really very sorry for the delay,” the driver said, “but there has been an incident. A zebra has escaped from its enclosure at London Zoo and run into the tube station. It scrambled down the escalator and is running around in the tunnel somewhere, but we don’t know exactly where.”
Well, that was it. Now I knew I would be late for sure. We waited for about five minutes until the driver announced, “I’m sorry, we’ll be here just a little longer, but we hope to have the situation under control soon. We’ve sent a lion into the underground tunnel to catch the zebra.”
I finally reached the school about half an hour late. Before I gave my poetry performance I apologised and told everyone why I was late. They all clapped. They thought I’d made it up! Especially the bit about a man hitting a train. 

·         Have you had any exciting or just strange journeys that you could turn into a poem or a story. If you have, let us know.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Nursery Rhymes

by Gerard Benson

My lifelong love of poetry began with nursery rhymes. And I still love them. I’ve read many great poems by many great poets. Also thousands of poems by more humble contenders ─ profound poems, funny poems, sad, happy, love poems, hate poems and probably a thousand or more about living creatures, from William Blake’s “Tyger” to Christopher Isherwood’s “Common Cormorant”. But I always return to those
marvellous little rhymes of childhood. Little Miss Muffet (what’s a tuffet? by the way) Little Jack Horner, Jack and Jill, that Black Sheep, and Bo Peep, and Mary Mary and Baby Bunting and that unfortunate baby whose cradle was put at the top of the tree. I love them all. There’s a Grand Old Duke, and Old King Cole the music lover, and that Queen who ate bread and honey while the Maid was having her nose pecked off. What a cast! They all seemed quite real to me ─ as real as my teacher or the nurse on a bike who used to
come round. Or my parents. Or even me!

I’ve been wondering why I so took to them. Partly it was the rhythm; they’re all highly rhythmic though mostly not metric. The simple patterns of sound. The powerful alliteration. The strong rhymes. The nonsense words. The marvellous sprinkling of capital letters. But all these elements served the strange little stories they
told.. If you sit on a wall you might fall off and shatter; or the lessons they taught ─ if you have no penny you can’t buy a pie; or the characters they introduced ─ that upper class thief the Knave of Hearts, the incorruptible Milkmaid, the vicious but no doubt put-upon Old Woman who lived in a shoe, the Piper’s Son who stole a pig.

Most of them have a deeper meaning ─historical, satirical, religious, anciently topical ─ available to the scholar. I once attended a lecture where a distinguished scholar/poet explained that Jack and Jill introduced children to “the terrible story of the Fall of Man” ─also dealt with, though at greater length by Milton in “Paradise Lost”. Ring-a-ring-of-roses is about the plague, Contrary Mary is probably Mary Tudor. But do we care? It’s for their pared down simplicity that I love them. And for their strange surrealism. Children have no problem with this, but what are we to make of a violin-playing cat and a spring-heeled cow? I think that was my absolute favourite. And I once took the liberty of rewriting it in style of of Robert Browning, one of my favourite poets:

Hey Diddle Diddle, t’employ a childish phrase
And thus begins my tale (tale of a cat),
And where else, tell me masters, to begin
This rigmarole of puss and violin
Than here at top o’ the page? Then Diddle I says
A feline fiddlist and a leaping cow,
You catch my drift? I thought not. Hold I trow,
Hold hard. A cat (hold on to that!)
A fiddle, and a cow i’ th’ sky
Over the moon! milk for the green cheese,
(A fancy but I set it down) and these
Occurrences watched by a Pekingese,
A pooch who laughs, though none knows how or why,
At plate and spoon eloping. Zooks! The moon’s adaze!

When I’d almost finished writing this article I opened my falling to pieces copy of Mother Goose Treasury and came across dreadful news. London Bridge is falling down. What should I do? I know, build it up with silver and gold. Trouble is I've got none.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Reversible Poems

by Liz Brownlee

In 2009 I was organising a family poetry exhibition for Bristol Poetry Festival. I wanted some short poems to hang from mobiles to decorate the exhibition room. Rachel Rooney sent me the first poem - and it could be read both ways - forwards and backwards. I thought what fantastic fun it would be if all the mobiles could be read both ways, from the top, and from the bottom, and asked the poets who were helping to write some for me. This Rachel’s poem:


I printed the words out on a series of clouds, a white one at the top, and getting gradually greyer as they went down, until the bottom one was black with lightning running through it. The mobiles were a great success and everyone enjoyed them. But not all the poets could write them, it’s surprisingly hard to make it make sense both ways! Sometimes they said the same thing in a different way, sometimes they said something slightly different. Here is one of mine:


Each word was written on a buddleia flower, which had butterflies perched upon it. Here is another:


The words were hung in a swarm of bees. If you would like to try writing a reversible poem, it helps if you use the words ‘like’ ‘as’ ‘for’ ‘by’ in the middle and lots of naming and describing words either side. A very simple but beautiful one by Jane Clarke:


Have a go!! If you want to make a mobile, I printed the words on card, laminated them, cut them out, and made a hole in the middle of the bottom of the top word, the top and bottom of the middle words, and the top of the last word. Then I bought some fishing swivels - each word had a tiny metal trigger hook through its holes attached to a swivel and then attached to the next word with another trigger hook. The swivel helps the letters to turn.

Send us your reversible poems! We’ll put them up.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Rhymes with a Reason

by Celia Warren

Why rhyme? (Apart from the fact that rhymes are pleasing to the ear, and it's always good to keep your ears happy!) Well, for years and years, people – not just poets, but lesser mortals, too – have used rhyme because it's memorable. It makes ditties easier to remember and repeat to others. Here are a few memory rhymes that, most likely, you already know. The first is a short-term weather forecast, by looking at the sky at sunset and sunrise; the second a long-term weather forecast, by observing which trees come into leaf first in the spring:

Red sky at night: shepherd's delight.
Red sky in the morning: shepherd's warning.

Oak before ash, in for a splash;
Ash before oak, in for a soak.

Then there are historical rhymes, that help keep significant dates in our heads:

Remember, remember the fifth November,
The gunpowder, treason and plot,
And I see no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

In fourteen hundred and ninety-two,
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

Sometimes people write witty ditties that comment on the politics of the day – what parliament does that affects our everyday lives or, often, our means of making a living – being able to put a roof over our heads, clothes on our back, and bread on the table (the three main things we actually need in life)! 

I was recently reminded of this ditty that summed up people's anger and frustration at no longer being able to let their livestock feed on 'common land' following a 17th century 'enclosures act'. Stealing was punishable by death or flogging (depending on whether you were a man or a woman, would you believe!), but the government could 'steal' from the poor quite legally:

They hang the man and flog the woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But leave the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from the goose.

Making up poems like this, to share the pain, may have made people feel better, even if it didn't change anything. Just as now, awake very early this morning, and looking out at a red sky, I can't change the weather. It just tells me that the TV weatherman got it right last night, when he said it would rain today.

Why not write a verse yourself to commemorate a special date in your family life, or to make a satirical point or comment on some aspect of life that annoys you? It may not change anything, but it's fun. And if it rhymes, you may remember it for the rest of your life.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Things That Can Happen On A Train

Writers do not hide themselves away in corners or secret rooms working on their novels and poems all the time. They sometimes go places. In fact, I’ve found that being a writer involves a lot of travel – and it’s not always possible to fly in my private jet, so I travel a lot on the train. I've had lots of train adventures.
Once, travelling from London Victoria to Brighton, as we approached the first stop, a lot of people stood up ready to get out. They got their coats on, hauled their bags down from the rack, shuffled about… but the train just kept on going.
Eventually the train pulled to a halt, but it had gone too far. The driver announced over the intercom that he was sorry he’d overshot the station but not to worry, he’d reverse back. We found out later that the train was being driven by a learner driver.
So the train started to go backwards. We were soon at the station again, but again the train didn’t stop. Instead it reversed, very slowly, straight past the playform. Eventually it stopped, the driver apologised again and we went forwards – and missed the station.
We went backwards and forwards for about half an hour until the driver got it right. When we finally came to a halt alongside the platform, all the passengers applauded and cheered.
The same thing happened at the next station, and the next. The journey took about three hours. It usually takes fifty minutes. But at each stop the learner train driver took fewer goes to get it right. By the time we reached Brighton, he had finally mastered the art of stopping a train in the right place. Which was just as well, as Brighton is at the end of the line. If the train had kept going there, it would have ended up in the ticket office.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The Process of the Process

by Sue Hardy-Dawson

When I was seven or eight I was friendly with a girl who lived a couple of houses down from ours. All of the gardens ended where the railway embankment began and so a few of us used to congregate there to play, build dens, things like that. It was rarer to actually be invited into a house to play back then or at least it seemed so to me. That’s why we dreaded the kind of rain that confined you to the house and the company, if you were unlucky enough to have them, of irritating younger brothers.

Anyway, on this occasion I’d been invited to the house of my friend and she had the thing I most coverted in the world - a dressing up box! What’s more it contained wonderful beaded shoes and silver and gold ball gowns. In the days of black and white TV I had never even seen such things outside of a fairytale book. However my friend would not let me even touch them, never mind try them on. I, of Course, just sat there meekly, turning darker shades of green in my envy.

Recently, whilst participating in one of Roger Stevens’ workshops this memory came back to me and with it a poem. Initially it was just as I’ve told the story above. But then I began to think - what if the clothes really had come from a fairytale? And so, as in fairytales, I got my revenge.

The poem I wrote I’m still tweaking - but this is where I’ve got to. It started out as “Dressing Up” and changed to “The Box” because I thought it would be more mysterious. See what you think:

The Box

She has a box full
of taffeta and ermine
shoes made from petals
those of a rose. Satin ones
worn to a husk dancing
under copper trees. A

princess’s quilt, a bag
of dry peas, precious
stones, a gift from the
trolls, a diamond tiara
and a giant’s cold gold.

The queen of Persia’s
red, purplish robes
scarves made of spider
silk, a witch’s warm
cloak. These things

she showed me. Her box
and the tales that she told.
Forbidden to touch them
one day I stole, it’s ebony key
and some beans which I sold

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Let’s Write a Poem

Here’s what you do. There are eight lines.
Line 1 - Write down something that happened this morning. But make it an out and out downright lie.
Line 2 – In the spirit of 1 – write a sentence with a sound in it.
Line 3 – Write a sentence with a colour in it.
Line 4 – Write a sentence with a number in it.
Line 5 – Write a sentence with a character from a book in it
Line 6 – Write a sentence with an animal in it.
Line 7 – Write a sentence with an emotion in it.
Line 8 – Write a sentence to do with the past, present or future.
Write quickly! Go for the first things that come into your head. (But by all means do a little work on the finished result.) The result may not be great poetry - but hey, it should be fun. Here’s my attempt. Children, students, adults, fellow poets - why not send us yours?

This morning I looked in the mirror and saw a slice of toast peering over my shoulder.
This morning I heard the crack of thunder and the laugh of angels
This morning I picked up my pen and realised, for the first time, it was red
This morning I drank 5 coffees, ate 4 muffins, rang 3 friends, tried to connect to the internet  twice and had one regret
This morning dawned yellow. The yellow turned to green. The green to blue. The blue to despair.
This morning a balrog landed on the roof. It got bored. It went away.
This morning Judy, our dog, told me a very good joke.
This morning I woke up with the Blues. That’s right. The whole of Birmingham Football Club were in bed with me.
This morning I saw the future. And there were more laughs in it than I had any right to expect.