Saturday, October 11, 2008

Week 10

Rodney, Who Was Mean to his Sister, and Copped It Big Time:A Cautionary Tale

Meredith Costain

If you’ve ever had a brother
I know you’ll understand
That brothers are a nightmare and
Should totally be banned!

My brother loved to call me names
Like Ferret-Face and Freak
If I complained he’d pick me up
And dunk me in the creek.

Our creek was full of leeches
That latched on to my toes
And slimy eels and tadpole tails
That ended up my nose …

He tickled me relentlessly
Put toast crumbs in my bed
Gave all my dolls bad haircuts –
Then hanged them in the shed.

We’d wrestle in the lounge room where
He’d pin me to the floor
And twist my arm behind my back
Till I’d cry out ‘No more!’

He’d cheat at every game we played
Refusing to take turns
My tiny arms were black and blue
From daily Chinese burns.

He’d pinch me and he’d punch me
Snap mousetraps on my thumb
He’d raid the cake and biscuit tins
Then dob me in to Mum.

One day I got my own back
It really wasn’t hard
I laid a trail of biscuits
That led out to our yard.

And there amongst the hay bales
He was cornered like a rat
I climbed aboard our tractor

So listen up dear brothers
Here’s my advice to you
Be gentle with your sisters or
They’ll GET YOU TOO!

Meredith has been writing doggerel – and catterel! – since she was six. Her poems have appeared in various publications but she is best known for her book of action verse for the very young, Doodledum Dancing (Penguin, 2007). This poem is from When We Were Young (Penguin). Her other books include several titles in the Aussie Nibbles series, Musical Harriet and No Noise at Our House (due in September). Visit her at

Poetry exercise: Choose someone you know who you'd like to write a poem about - sister, brother, friend, grandparent. Write down three things you know about them, and six descriptive words for them. Try to work all of these things into a poem - maybe you could write one verse about each thing, or tell a story in your poem about something that person did. Your poem doesn't need to rhyme - try writing it by focusing on story and using great descriptive words first.

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