Saturday, November 29, 2008

Week 16


by Claire Saxby

In a blue Antarctic dawn
an iceberg calves -
shears from a glacier
and is released to the sea

sharp and angular
it hoards ancient weather
layers of ice clothing
a coat for each year volcanoes blew
and black ash fell like snow

deeply it sits
silent peaceful
innocent whale
deadly danger

storms blow
tides swell
nights fall and fade
age blunts the underwater blades
wind softens the face

the iceberg travels on
past old grandfather blues
and cheeky growlers
to finally fall and sleep
on a drift of fragile ice flowers

Claire says: I was helping my son research a project on food chains in the Antarctic and discovered the wonderful words that are used to describe the various life stages and shapes of an iceberg. From the moment it comes into being to its demise the iceberg is moving, transforming. So as my son constructed his project poster linking the ‘who-eats-who’, I collected iceberg words and scrabbled them together into a life history.

Claire is a writer of poetry, fiction and non fiction for children. One of her poems, ‘Pompeii Dog’ is currently travelling suburban Melbourne aboard a Connex train as part of a Moving Galleries exhibition. Her books include Ebi’s Boat and A Nest for Kora. You can see more of Claire’s work at

Monday, November 24, 2008

Week 15


by Margaret Campbell

We're leaving the shop
and the lolly jars on the counter,
the HOT WATER sign
and the boiler full of crabs.
We're leaving the petrol bowsers
and Dad's icecream churn.

We're leaving the boats,
the fish nets, full and gleaming,
the oysters on the Stony Wall
and the yabbies in the backwater.
We're leaving the sun-bright days
and the waves rolling and crashing.

We're leaving the beach
the cowrie shells and sandcastles,
just Dad and me together,
our ports are packed and strapped.
We're leaving Brampton Heads now,
for Army Camp and boarding school.

We're leaving.

Margaret says: This poem is from a verse novel called Cecelia's War. The poems are about me as a child during World War II, and later as a teenager. They reflect the life at that time - we owned a shop at the Heads - and how my father went off to join the Army, while I went to boarding school.

Margaret Campbell's first collection of poems, On the Outside, Looking In, was about reconciliation. Her YA novel, Shadow Across the Sun, was published by Lothian and she is working on a second. Cecelia's War is available to buy - email me for details.

Poetry exercise: Have you left a place you loved? Or lost something special? Write a poem about the place or thing, recalling all of your favourite memories about it. OR You could interview your parents or grandparents and write a poem about one of their favourite memories. You would have to listen closely and ask lots of questions! In Margaret's poem there are things you might not know about - bowsers, icecream churn, ports - ask someone older who can tell you. It will add to your reading of the poem.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Week 14

To Catch a Dewdrop

by Jackie Hosking

Between the wooden fence posts
Is where to set your net
Though best to try to make one of your own
You’ll need the smallest needle
And the most exquisite thread
For it must be the finest ever sewn

Imagine you’re creating
Reams of silken fairy lace
Each stitch must be exact without exception
Then hang it from the fence posts
Like a veil between the space
A doily matched by none in its perfection

Leave the net till morning
And then check it with the sun
Though best to go at dawn when day is new
Where you might spy some other nets
You’re not the only one
Cause spiders like to capture dewdrops too

Jackie says:
Spider webs are amazing. Spider webs at dawn, dripping with dewdrops are nothing less than magical and I've wanted to write about them for a long time. I've always found nature to be perfect, something that we, as humans cannot copy no matter how hard we try. Nature needs no help from us and that's what I wanted to get across with this dewdrop poem.

Jackie Hosking is an economical writer - she loves short and sweet with a twist at the end so poetry suits her very well. She has been writing poetry for children since 2004 and she plans never to stop. Her poems have appeared in The School Magazine, Comet, Rigby Blueprints and various other publications. Her favourite style is rhyme as she enjoys the challenge of searching for the absolute right word that says exactly what she wants it to say and that also, just by coincidence, happens to rhyme.
You can visit Jackie at two places - and

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Week 13

Did you look at last week's haiku? This week we have more work from Kathryn Apel - these are haiga. Haiku that are part of an image.

What do you notice about haiga that is different from haiku? We have the same idea of few words and short lines, but now there is an image too. We don't want to simply duplicate the image with our words - we need to do something more.

Exercise: find an image (a photograph or picture from a magazine etc) that you like. Write a modern haiku to go with the image. Try not to just write what is in the image. Add something extra in your words. If you are not sure about what a haiga is, Google it for more examples!

For more info about Kathryn, check last week's haiku entry.