Saturday, August 15, 2009



I looked down at my jumper
And found a strand of wool.
My brain told me to leave it.
My fingers told me, Pull!

I tugged and pulled and rolled it.
The strand grew to a ball.
I’m wearing just two sleeves now
And Gran’s not pleased at all.

Sherryl Clark
(a jumper is a knitted sweater!)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Week 12, 2009

by Meredith Costain

Riding along, with Molly and Jack
Down to the creek on the bicycle track
Birds in the air
Wind in my hair
Creek full of ripples and ducks that go quack!

Bicycle track
Molly and Jack
Creek full of ripples and ducks that go quack!

Off to the creek with a snack in my pack
Wheels whizzing round with a clickity-clack
Kites in the breeze
Magpies in trees
Dogs running free and the sun on my back.

Snack in my pack
Dogs running free and the sun on my back.

Riding back home on the bicycle track
Hungry for dinner with Molly and Jack
Bike in the shed
Jump into bed
To dream of tomorrow when we can go back!

Birds in the air
Wind in my hair
Kites in the breeze
Magpies in trees
Bike in the shed
Jump into bed
To dream of tomorrow when we can go back!

Meredith says: When I was young, I rode my bike to school along the banks of a river. The steady rhythm of the wheels going round helped to bring words and images into my head, and I wrote my first poems this way. For this poem, I wanted to try to reproduce that mesmerising rhythm. These days, I ride along the banks of the Merri Creek in inner-city Melbourne with the dogs from the poem – Molly and Jack. And the turning wheels definitely helped to bring the lines and images I needed. You should try it some time!

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), where this poem is from. Her other books include several titles in the Aussie Nibbles series, Musical Harriet, No Noise at Our House and My Baby Love. Visit her at

Write your own poem: What is something you know about that has a rhythm of its own? Someone playing drums? The train going past? Your mum tapping her fingernails on the table? A friend bouncing a ball? Write a poem about the action, but try to write it in a way that gives us the rhythm as well. You don't need to use rhyme - repetition works just as well - but if you want to rhyme, have a go!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Week 11, 2009

by Lorraine Marwood

This is the morning doorway

Cockatoos landing, dip
yellow crowns and beak speak.
Cockatoos leaving, dip
white breast coats and beat feet.

A whole river reflection
from tree so many centuries high,
as cockatoos bustle
the same unbroken hustle.
As eyes like water jewels
preen the comings
and goings from SCREECH TREE!

Lorraine says: We were in a caravan park with lots of very old gum trees, and a little stream nearby. At sunrise the cockatoos would screech away, then at dusk they would fly home to roost in the hollows of tall tree trunks. What a glorious noise they made as they flew out, then flew in again. A cockatoo is such an iconic Australian bird, I just had to write it a poem! I sat near those trees and wrote the first draft. Screech Tree identifies the most striking feature of the Cockatoo- its noise.

Lorraine loves writing poetry. Her latest book 'Star Jumps' is written in prose poetry (published by Walker Books). She believes poetry both cuts to the essence of a story or emotion, yet at the same time provides layer after layer of surprise and sensory detail. Her website is

Write your own sound poem: What do you hear every day? Have you ever stopped to listen to each and every sound? Try closing your eyes and identifying each sound, which one is close, which one is far away. Do you know what every sound is? Which one resonates with you the most? Write a poem about it.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Week 10, 2009

After the Fires
by Jenni Overend

May moisture fall softly on the tender scorched earth
May a green haze spread amongst the blackened stumps
May bunches of leaves sprout on charred trunks
May small creatures find sheltering hollows left by fire
May birds find food and fill the air with song
May autumn rains gain strength to
fill rivers and moisten wetlands
for frogs and waterbirds
May the earth feel renewed and restored
May human hearts lose their fear
and communities unite
and grow strong
And broken hearts find joy where least expected.

Jenni says: We live in Toolangi which is about 15 minutes drive from Kinglake, a little township devastated by the bushfires of February 7. The wind changed late in the afternoon as the fires were sweeping toward our
township, swinging north, and we were saved. But every time I drive back to Toolangi, I drive through acres of scorched forest. This is what inspired 'After the Fires'.

Jenni Overend is a writer and teacher who lives in the mountains above the Yarra Valley. She writes for adults and children, but her books are for kids. Her most recent book, Stride's Summer, was about a
boy and his pet cockatoo and their experience when a bushfire swept through their home town.

Write your own poem: This kind of poem is known as a litany, where you repeat the same words at the beginning of each line. In earlier times, it was also called a prayer. You can write your own litany about almost anything, but it works best when the repeated words add extra meaning. Some examples of repeating words are: I remember, This time I, This is what it means, Have you ever. Choose a repeating phrase that sings to you, and write your own litany.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Week 9, 2009

by Sherryl Clark

Which two? Can you
name them, tell me
who they are?
Do they live together,
or are they at
each other’s throats?
This world, so bent on
assimilation, so vocal
about fitting in,
wants one tribe,
one way of living.
Drums beat, words spin,
you climb into an aeroplane
and flash across
a web of countries,
flying over people
you never see.
Try this – live with
the other tribe
without knowing their language,
their customs, their version
of courtesy.
See how well they treat you.
See how well
you treat them.

First published in Trust Me! (Ford Street, 2008)

Sherryl says: The idea for this poem came from hearing someone complain about people in Australia not speaking English and not ‘fitting in’. I remembered when I first traveled overseas what a confronting experience it was to be in a country where English wasn’t spoken – you suddenly understand something of what it must be like for new immigrants here!

Sherryl Clark has more than 34 children’s and YA books in print, including her verse novel, Sixth Grade Style Queen (Not!), a CBCA Honour Book. Her latest book is Tracey Binns is Lost (UQP). Her website is at

Write your own poem: Is there something you feel very strongly about? The environment? War? Famine? Try a political poem – but don’t preach. Instead, use imagery and ideas to get your readers thinking.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Week 8, 2009

by Jackie Hosking

It begins with a drip
Like a clap
At the back of the hall

As the curtain comes down
There’s another
Like the other

Tip tapping
Pitter patting
Hands clapping
Keeping rhythm
With the rain as it falls

Till it rises again
Like a skirt in the wind
Flip flapping
Slip slapping of skin
Against skin
Till they’re pelting the stage
With applause

Jackie says: Night Rain was first published in The School Magazine (Blast Off) in 2008. I wrote it after listening to the rain one night in bed and I realised how much like clapping it sounded, especially as it got heavier and heavier. I could imagine a large crowd of people jumping to their feet to applaud something amazing.

Bio: Jackie thinks she might be a poet, or if not a poet, a place where poems like to hide. And when she finds one she is really grateful that it chose her for its hiding spot. If you’d like to read some more of Jackie’s poems you can go to her website at

Write your own poem: When we write a poem about one thing (like night rain) and compare it to another (like a performance) without using the words like or as, we're creating a metaphor. Think of something you are familiar with, or have seen or heard or experienced. What did it remind you of? Do the cars in your street remind you of an amusement park? Does your local shopping mall/cnetre remind you of a circus? Write a poem in which you describe this by using words that would also describe the thing it reminds you of.

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.