My brother had a puffer fish,
He kept it on his desk.
A slimy little puffer fish,
Balloon-like and grotesque.
And if you took it by surprise
Or loudly slammed the door,
It puffed till it was twice the size
That it had been before.
One day, we found the puffer fish
Was absent from its bowl.
Our cat looked rather devilish,
For she had downed it whole.
And how my wicked brother laughed
When pussy said, ‘Mia-ow!’
Inflated like a rubber raft
Then loudly went kerpow.
Doug says: I apologise to cat-lovers for this poem. I am one myself, but I’m afraid the image of a cat expanding like a rubber raft was too good to pass up.
‘Puffer Fish’ is from a collection of humorous poems called Spiky, Spunky, My Pet Monkey (Puffin 2004). Other books of Doug’s include Sister Madge’s Book of Nuns, Tumble Turn and Kevin the Troll. Doug has also worked on many popular TV shows, including SeaChange and Kath and Kim.
Rhyming poems are lots of fun, but in fact are extremely difficult to write well. You need a good sense of rhythm, and know how to rhyme without it disrupting the poem you are trying to write.
A good start is to write a four line poem in which only the second and fourth lines rhyme. Choose a subject (it certainly doesn't have to be humorous) and think about what you want to the poem to say. Poems with short lines do lend themselves to humour, and longer lines allow you to sound more serious. If your rhymes are not working, or your rhythm is clunky, try a different pair of rhyming words.
The best thing you can do is to read good rhyming poems and listen to the rhythm and think about the rhyming words. Doug has used desk and grotesque to start with - his rhymes are surprising, and it adds to the fun!