My favourite short short poems

Thank you for the bundle of short poems you sent me. I couldn’t post them all but I have posted a lot! It is like a little box of chocolates with many different tastes. I love the echo between the bell ringing and the bird tweeting in Ewen’s poem. And Thomas’s poem with teeth! Oh and Corey’s sky. And the way Olivia’s things that go together made me feel warm inside. And Jackson’s c r u c h i e bar!

It was so so hard to choose a young poet to send a book to … but I have picked Lily. I am sending her a copy of Our Big Box, the book Gemma Lovewell wrote and had published when she was five (now she is eight). Thispoem felt like it has been around for ever. It felt just right. Maybe Lily will write her own book! Thanks to the Lovewell famly for donating this.

I sat down to write a short poem,

I ended up on the internet.

‘I try to be productive but for some reason it never works!’ –By Rusheen, age 12, year eight, Brooklyn School


Chirp of a bird;

a school bell ringing.

Ewen aged 12,  Year 7, Cobham Intermediate School, Christchurch

The thing that wasn’t there

the thing that wasn’t there

it might just disappear

so it looks like thin air

Lily Year 4 Age 8 Fendalton School 

Things that go with Things

marshmallow on sticks

fire goes with logs

I go with mum,

I love them

Olivia Wang Year 4 Age 9 Fendalton School, Christchurch



Black teeth

White teeth

Monster teeth

Timmy’s teeth

Dirty teeth

Poems with teeth.

Thomas Year 4 age 8 Fendalton School  


feel the crunch

beneath your teeth

and the lumps

like goose bumps

Jackson Year 4 Age 8 Fendalton School 


machines go




working through the night

Jackson Year 4 Age 8 Fendalton School 

Thomas  Year 4 age 8 Fendalton School  

Tank my dog is really clumsy

sitting in his dinner

weet-bix on his head

By Colin, age 9, Prospect School

Spider Angel

A spider making an eight legged snow angel

coughs and takes his last breath

Emma, Selwyn House School, Christchurch


Ocean blue,

And poppy red.

Sunset orange,

When I’m in bed.

Isis, 11 years old, Selwyn House School

The Goldfinch

Among the grass

Lay a goldfinch

Trying to fly high

Caitlin Age 9, St Andrews College


Yellow spongy man,

Works in Krusty Crab,

Golden spatula flips patties,

Pineapple is home.

By Andrew Year 3 Prospect School

the night sky

the darkness of the night, the stars twinkled

the wind shimmered, the night sky

Cory Mcelwee Forrest Hill School           

I just discovered this moon poem from Fendalton School that is just perfect

I am busy picking all the children to read with me on my Hot Spot Poetry Tour and I have just discovered this gorgeous moon poem by Emily in the Christchurch Our Place folder. I love this poem very much indeed. I like the spark between the mage of the orange and the image of the moon. Every line sounds good and is not overcrowded with words. I am very much hoping Emily will read with me in Christchurch!

I am going to send Emily a really really cool book for her really really cool poem thanks to the Lovewell family. It is called Fancy Nancy: Poet Extraordinaire by Jane O’Connor (I am going to get my own copy!). Nancy thinks poetry is sensational. The book is all about what she loves about poetry! Poems that tell a story or make you laugh. Poems that a very very short. Poems that are lyrical (sound good!). Nancy has a poetry club she calls a Palace of Poetry. I am getting a few more copies of this book for prizes. maybe Poetry Box is like a big Palace of Poetry and you are all members! Thanks the Lovewell Family and congratulations Emily!

Like the Moon

When I walk

into the kitchen

I see a lightish orange

shining into my blue eyes.


I go up

to the fruit bowl

take the orange

and start peeling it.

When I am finished

I quickly cut it up

and push it into my mouth.


There is a half-moon tonight

like my half-eaten orange.

Emily Year 4 Fendalton School Christchurch


Back home after three weeks on the road

Such fun to hit the road (and the skies!) and visit NZ schools. A big thank you to Storylines and The New Zealand Book Council and all the schools that welcomed me into their libraries, halls and classrooms. I met inspired teachers and inspiring students. It was slightly scary but fabulous fun reading poems I have never read out loud before from The Letterbox Cat. Even though I sounded like a sick frog. I still sound like a sick frog! Sadly sick frogs can’t run at the beach with the black sand and the wild waves. But they can write blogs and read books and watch movies in a cosy room.

Now I have a four weeks back home to recharge my batteries, refuel my energy tank and stop sounding like a sick frog before it is time for A Hot Spot Poetry of New Zealand.

This is on my ‘to do’ list!

1. Pick the children reading with me on the tour.

2. Sort out the schools performing poems on the tour.

3. Post my challenge for A Treasury of NZ Poetry for Children.

4. Finish all the Treasury author interviews and chase those I haven’t got yet.

5. Share some new books with you.

6. Post all my favourite poems from the recent challenges.

Otaki, it’s my home town …. A poem

A visit to Year 7 and 8 students at Otaki College this morning and we did heaps of poetry in the hall. We made up this poem together about Otaki. The students said it was a beautiful place to be and they were lucky to live here. The poem shows this so well. It was a great session. Thank you.


Sunny Otaki
golden sand and calm waves
white batters, pipi, cockles
the river, rough stones and sand dunes
Aunty Finns huge chicken burgers and deep-fried ice cream
T Street Park, slides and swings
a view of Kapiti Island, shiny, magnificent, spectacular
sports players, rugby and league
Otaki Cinema, the film festival
It’s my home town.

Clouds kites cats rain tui and a morepork make poetry at Te Aro School

Today I visited the North Island winner of The Third Fabulous Poetry Competition — Te Aro School on The Terrace in Wellington. I had a fabulous day working with all the students. Four sessions of interactive poetry and words were sparking. I really loved working with you all. Thank you!

Here some of the poems we made up together:

Year 2 to 4


Like mashed potatoes
white pom-poms
clouds making shapes
fluffy candy floss.

Like sheep running across
the sky, smooth and milky
marshmallows drifting.

The Kite

From Wellington to Auckland
floating drifting sprinting
moving side to side

Rainbow kite
whistling, flipping to France
flapping wings.

Floating island to island
pink bows springing upwards
twisting turning drifting.

Years 1 and 2


Cold rain
see-through rain
rain soaks
the rain goes on the ground
hailing rain
rain goes sideways
rain drips
rain spits
rain makes mud
heavy rain
pitter patter rain.

Little Snow

My cat likes to sleep in a box boat
my cat likes to sleep in a T Shirt
my cat likes to sleep in a basket

My cat eats sardines
my cat sets fish
my cat eats cat food

My cat jumps
my cat scratches the curtains
my cat sleepwalks.

Year 3 and 4


Small sleek
slick quirky chirpy
lowering, highering
white necked, sharp eyed DJ
slipping, zipping, dipping
ocean blue, fast


The aliwhale likes
climbing trees.

The morphin flies
in the sea.

The monkig likes
killing fleas.

The liondog
chews bones.

The snicker likes
to eat worms.

The sharkigator walks
on land.

The cathog likes
to roll in mud.

The pigwolf
licks up sand.

The zegar
likes to pounce.

Years 7 and 8


Vicious local
on the hunt,
floating feathered wings
brown cloak,
perching on trees,
round eyes
light up the night.

(We experimented with all kinds of last lines to change the mood of the poem. It was fascinating.)

Visiting Wellington schools and a motel dog

This morning I woke up, opened my curtains and there was Wellington …. well the back of a building! So nice to be here. Yesterday I got to visit the very warm and friendly Wadestown School. This is a school that already has poetry in its walls and floors and ceilings and on the tip of every child’s tongue. I love the idea of taking a poet’s poem and writing your own version. This is what one class had done. It is what I had already decided to do for my Treasury challenge. On Monday I am announcing the details. Later today I will post one of the poems we made up at Wadestown.

Meanwhile no hotel cat where I am staying but when I opened my door this is what I saw.


A sneak preview of A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children

I have just got my advance copy of A Treasury of NZ Poems for Children and I am so delighted with how it looks. The illustrations by Jenny Cooper are so very very good and Megan‘s design brings everything to life. I can’t wait to share the book with you in October and November. The book will be in shops in October. It even has three gorgeous ribbons and a dust jacket.

photo 3 photo 2 photo 1