Friday, April 24, 2009

Week 7, 2009

by Anne Young

In the damp-earth dark where no child goes
Fat white bottles nestle like molars
Spray bottles clutter, triggers poised to spurt or mist
Cloths jumble in bright buckets
Germ-killer chemicals swell the air with sickly sweet
Posters and notes command: Take Care! Watch Out! Do This, Do That
A cluster of brooms shelters beneath the king mop,
wide and orange and shaggy
The vacuum cleaner coils like a ridged serpent, waiting.

They lurk ‘til the quiet of all-children-gone
Then slurp and suck and wipe and swish
Rubbish gone, mess gone, grime gone

Silent and clean

Return to the damp-earth dark
Where no child goes.

Anne says: Schools without children are like shells without the sea – remembering, waiting. Occasionally a treasure is hiding in the stillness, as I found one afternoon when I stayed late in a small rural school.

Anne Young: ‘I write in a variety of genres, mostly for children. My true love, in writing and reading, is picture books. I use them in learning activities and read them aloud for pleasure across all primary school grades. I am the author of one published picture book, Just Like Me.’

Write your own poem: Do you know of a secret place? Somewhere that you’ve discovered? Somewhere all your own? Or somewhere imaginary? It might be a cubby, it might be under your bed or in your wardrobe. Write a poem that describes this place and what happens there.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Week 6, 2009

by Claire Saxby

Winter is a frostling,
fingers long and sharpened.
It scales up and down my back,
flicks at my cheek.

Winter is a gustling,
fingers bold and stinging.
It needles through my skin,
tours through my bones.

Winter is a soakling,
fingers swirl and flick.
It rivers down my neck,
ices up my toes.

Winter is a crispling,
fingers fresh and vibrant.
It blows bright into my lungs.
reminds me I’m alive.

Claire says: I mostly write free verse but sometimes I like the idea of some structure. This is the second poem I’ve written using this repeating structure. The first was themed around Autumn. Winter is often described as having long cold fingers and I wanted to take that idea further. I didn’t want it to rhyme, but I wanted a strong rhythm. I saw winter as a series of imps, each doing their bit to make the day unbearable. But although winter can sometimes be long and cold, it can also be clear, sparkling and invigorating.

Claire writes poetry, fiction and non fiction for children. Her poem, ‘Pompeii Dog’ is currently touring suburban Melbourne aboard a Connex train in the Moving Galleries exhibition. Her books include ‘Ebi’s Boat’ (CBCA Notable Book 2007) and ‘A Nest for Kora’. You can see more of Claire’s work at

Write your own poem: One of the fun things you can do in a poem is make up words. Choose a subject (it could be a season, or a sport, or an animal - anything really) and make up four new words that describe your subject. Look at Claire's poem again for examples of how to do it. Then write your own poem and include your new words.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Week 5, 2009

by Janeen Brian

Two cockatoos soar and
pin back blue sky
with yellow-beak screeches and
snow-white wings.

Left in their wake,
two tiny clouds,
crested-white and angel-winged,

like bird impressions.

Janeen says: I’d stepped out of a suburban shop, thinking about what I’d just bought. When I heard screeches in the sky I looked up. What I saw was a pair of cockatoos – two pure white creatures flapping jubilantly against a bright, blue sky. That was startling and satisfying enough. But then I glanced to one side. Immediately behind the birds, were two small, fleecy clouds. They were bird shaped, with wings outstretched - almost replicas of the cockatoos. I couldn’t believe. It was a magic moment. My purchase seemed dull and inconsequential after that!

Bio: ‘I am constantly looking about in my environment. I love noticing things, or finding things and then writing poems; crystallising experiences or images into the right words, with the right flavour and with an inherent rhythm. I have three books of verse, Silly Galah!, Nature’s Way A –Z and By Jingo! and also two picture books in narrative verse: The Super Parp-buster! and Columbia Sneezes! My latest book is Oddball (Walker Books) and my website is:'

Write your own poem: When did you last get a surprise or a fright? Was it real, or did you imagine it? Write a poem that describes the experience - what surprised or frightened you, how you felt, what was the outcome ...