Poetry Box November challenge: some favourite Aotearoa wildlife poems – Part 2

 

9780143772514

Wildlife in Aotearoa by Gavin Bishop, Puffin (Penguin Random House, 2019)

 

Poetry Box’s last challenge of the year has seen a record number of poem arrivals and it has taken me days to read them all and write back which is why I am posting today and not November 30th.

To get such a swag of heart warming poetry inspired by Gavin’s book and the birds, animals and fish of our country is AMAZING. Wow! I have loved the fascinating facts and the way you used your ears and eyes.

I loved the way you have been inventive and thoughtful. I loved the way your words danced and sung. I loved the way messages about caring for our planet were important. So many different ways to write a wildlife poem. So much poetry joy!

I have added macrons on Māori words so let me know if I missed one please.

I am very sad I couldn’t pick all your poems but I have tried to get a range of subjects and styles and locations.

I know you are all passionate writers and remember that is what matters – when I don’t get picked (it happens!!) I just remind myself how happy writing makes me. And I write another poem. Or book!

Watch out for my summer challenge! Do follow my blog so you can do things next year with me! And yes – I will do a wrap post in a few weeks maybe with a secret summer challenge or three.

 

I put names in a hat as I read all your poems as this is a challenge not a competition and I pulled out these: I am sending Ava (Russley School, Christchurch) Gavin Bishop’s Wildlife in Aoteaoa thanks to Penguin Random House. I am sending Groovy Fish to Maddison (Churton Park School, Wellington), Niamh (Westemere School, Auckland), Mia D (Selwyn House).

 

PS I will have a copy of Groovy Fish for someone who emails me and tells me which poem they like here and why! Open to any age – even adults! paulajoygreen@gmail.com

The wildlife poems

 

Morepork

A morepork hoots while I’m in bed
I look out the window and I see its soft feathers
It’s sitting on a branch in my garden saying “morepork morepork”
It looks around and stares at me without blinking.

Ivy M age: 6 Y2  Ilam Primary School, Christchurch

 

Kiwi

Kiwi have nostrils on the tip of their beaks.
Kiwi are nocturnal.
Kiwi’s beaks make noises that squeak.
Kiwi eat wētā and worms.
The worms wriggle and squirm.
Kiwi feathers are as soft as a feather floating in the sky.

Sophie C Age 6 Westmere School

 

 

Tūī Fly

Tūī fly
in the sky.
They hunt for food
way up high.
They dive down on to trees
and suck the nectar… yummy!

Sofia C Age 6 Westmere School

 

Haast Eagle

Claws curled
Claws jagged
Claws are samurai swords

Beak big
Beak large
Beak pointy as a shard of glass

It is ready to fight

Wings grand
Wings mighty
Wings wide as a vast desert

Hunt
Hunt
Hunt

Soaring through the sky, searching for moa…

By Hunter L Aged 9 LS5 Westmere School

 

Kiwi

Kiwi only come out at night.
They have short wings,
and are not good at flight.
Kiwi eat wētāa
wētā are crunchy.
They eat them on Tuesday night,
and wētāaare munchy.
Kiwi put their beaks in the ground to get bugs.
Their feathers are soft as silk.

Rory D Age 5 Westmere School

 

The dance of a Tui
A tūī’s dance is like a powerful blizzard.
Its wings flap up and down like the ocean waves.
My tūī’s beak rattles,
remembering her previous journeys to Akaroa.
Her feathers tell stories to warn her friends of oncoming climate change.

Eileen C, age 9, Ilam School

 

Pīwakawaka
On the Heaphy track
little pīwakawaka flutters
in the air and snatches
the sandflies before they bite me.

“Peep, peep, peep, peep,”
she sings and opens her throat
and fan and dances
with great joy.

She hoovers up spiders
and grub that dare come near
her cup nest lined with hairs
and covered in soft webs.

When the wind rises
above the strong kauri,
pīwakawaka returns to her nest
and two of her eggs,
to sleep and warm them.

Tom N Age 11 Year 6  Hoon Hay School/Te Kura Koaka

 

Fantail

Funny fantail wiggling its tail

Acrobatically flying through the trees

Nosy little creatures

Twittering chattering squeaking

Always putting a smile on people’s faces

In the shade of a pōhutukawa tree

Lovely little fantail!!!

 

D’Artagnan R Age 10 LS7   Westmere School

 

 

A Tuatara
I am a tuatara
I live in a rocky burrow on an island
I am 1 of 100,000 and more are dying
I smell mushy murky mud
I hear birds singing and trees rustling
I feel sharp rocks underneath my scaly feet
I taste raw crunchy wētā in my mouth
I see forest wherever I go
I walk around seeking for bird eggs or something to eat
I love being a tuatara
And I love being me.

Joe M  Age 9 LS8 Westmere School

 

Special penguin

Little blue penguins
Have wings but can not fly.
Dog are predators.
The world’s smallest
Penguins nest in burrows or
holes
1kgs standing over 30cm.
I’m as blue as a sapphire
As tall as a chair.
Living in Antarctica where it’s freezing
Cold and just perfect for ice-skating.

Olivia C  Y4 Fendalton school

 

Tuatara

Beware
I am the Tuatara
The Tuatara with three eyes
The Tuatara who lives in a self constructed burrow

Beware
I am the Kererū
The Kererū that weighs 650g
The Kererū with a white chest

Beware
I am the Albatross
The Albatross with the largest wingspan of any bird
The Albatross that can travel 10,000 miles in a single journey

Maddison A Age: 11 Year: 6 Churton Park School

 

Chatham Island Robin
Tiny button eyes
Ebony black feathers
Spindly twig legs
The Chatham Island robin

Scouring the forest
For wētā and worms
Always on the run
From malicious cats and rats

Racing across
The forest floor
There’s barely any of us left
Only 234

In summer
I care for my young
Hiding them away
From stoats and other scum

A violent squeal
Is what I call
When danger comes

My eggs are speckled
Beige and brown
Like a chicken’s
But smaller

At night I retire
To my nest
I tuck my tiny beak in my feathers
And rest
The Chatham Island robin
Cheers!

Sophie B  age 10, Y6, Churton Park School

 

Our old friends
Did you happen to know
We have a dinosaur of our own.
It’s called a tuatara,
And they don’t like to be in the mara.*
These guys fan out their spikes,
And rats these guys don’t like,
They’re 200 million years old,
Which explains why they look like mould.
They also have wrinkles,
They don’t look like sprinkles.
Our friends have more than two eyes,
They just love to eat all blowflies
Our tuatara has been alive,
for quite some million years time,
So if you see our old friend,
Some time with him you should spend!

* Māori name for garden

Mahinaarangi W  Age: 10  Richmond Road School

 

Poi eee!!

Tuft of a white fluffy poi… (EEE)
Unique as a little elephant
Indestructible
Sounds like a Squawking duck, and a Squeaking owl.

Paora S age 11 Richmond Road School

 

 

Noisy Kiwi

Crac crac crac
Kiwi stomping here
Pipi pip pip
Kiwi picking here
Grr grr grr
Kiwi bitter here
So noisy and cute
Yet forests seem mute…

Name: Alex E  Age: 7   Y2    Ilam School

 

 

Beautiful Ruru

Looking up at the beautiful Moon
I hear the sound of a ruru
Its beautiful massive yellow eyes
Silently staring into mine
I gaze – wondering what to say
Come my friend, come out to play

Ilah  age 8  Year 4 Maoribank School

 

Kiwi bird – deep in a forest

Long lost in the forest in a place warm as heaven
I hear your sound – “Ki- wi ki – wi ”
Your whiskers so helpful
Your feathers but no wings
But again, I hear you deep in the forest
So I sing to you
Oh kiwi so brown you run but don’t fly
But you’re still a special bird on my mind
Kiwi bye bye
Lost deep in the forest
My mum says “It’s time to go”
I will see you again
Now found in the forest

Kylesha M 8 years old  Year 3 Maoribank School

 

 

Kakapo tries to fit in

Chubby little bird what a cutie he can be
He’s cousins with a Kaka who’s really quite neat.
His sharp claws can make him fit in with Kea
Who might tease him about his weight and sneer.
His song is too simple for a group of popular Tui
His fashion’s a bit trashin and his feathers are gooey.
A Kiwi’s nose is grand compared to his short stubby one
Yellow eyed penguins? Nah yellow eyes I have none.
There’s a Fantail, Kakapo says with hope
He’s chubby like me…. his tail is too cool, I bet he’ll just say nope.
Kakapo feels sad inside, his eyes well up with tears
Even the blue billed duck is not weird enough to be one of my peers.
He looks up and Takahe says don’t cry your exactly like me
You see.
I won’t tease you about your weight cause your belly’s just like mine
Your voice is average, it really is in line.
Your nose is the same as mine and who wants a big nose
Yellow eyes, who wants those.
Brown are the best, right
A big tail, hmm you would blow away like a kite.
So please be my friend and don’t decline.

Alexander F, age 10, Ilam School, Christchurch

 

The Special Penguin
I am a Little Blue Penguin,
the smallest one of all
I live for about 6 years,
Scientifically called Eudyptula minor.
I come out in the cover of darkness,
hide inside my burrows in the day.
I eat fish, squid or krill it is the best.
My feathers are as soft as velvet
I tweet a happy song.
Swimming round the ocean,
Now the day has gone.

Leona K age 9  Selwyn House

 

Ruru

Yellow eyes so big and bold
Peering through the old hollow tree.
He turns his head round 270 degrees
And flies down and digs his talons
into a termite nest.
Sensitive eyes to the sun pointy beak
Who knows where he is in Punakaiki

Georgia 8 Selwyn House School

 

Little Blue Penguin
My little blue flippers
flap away in the water.
My white streamlined stomach
Rumbles and moans.
My dark grey beak
Chomps away
on any food I find.
I swim away from the sharks
towards the plankton.
I am the Little Blue Penguin
Shivering in a cave in Akaroa.

Anneliese S age 11, Selwyn House School

 

A bat is what your looking at…

Flap
flitter
in the night.
A bird
an insect
not at all.
A bat is what your looking at.
It scoops an insect.
Gobble, gobble.
Yum, yum, yum!
A bat is what your looking at.
This one isn’t normal though…
a native New Zealand bat,
as little as a mouse, bat,
As squeaky as a rubber duck, bat…
a long-tailed bat.
Quite rare they are,
fluffy on their head,
and boy their wings can spread.

Ella M LS6 Westmere School age 10

 

Longfin Eels

Slither sliding like a sea snake,
Live in rivers, inland lakes,
Hunt at night in the dark,
Eating drinking like a shark,
Feed on fish and water snails,
Have sharp teeth like a killer whale,
They don’t look like an eagle
but they use noses like a beagle,
They are here and they are there,
Longfin eels are quite rare
They are never really seen
They do have eyes but they can’t see
I love eels and you should to,
They are sweet and you are too.

Jemma L Westmere School Y6 age 10

 

 

Big Brown

He feels as soft
As a pillow.
And he’s beautiful as
Bright flowers.

He walks like a
Waddling penguin.
And squawks like an
Old squeaky tractor.

He is as brown
As milk chocolate.
As he lies in his
Cosy burrow he nibbles
On earthworms.

The big kiwi
Is very rare
We need to look after
him with care.

Olive W, LS6, Age: 10, Westmere School

 

Life as a Kea
My beautiful orange feathers flash up and down
As I fly up and down the West Coast.
My olive green feathers,
wave in the wind.
When I hop around the frosty floor,
I munch on berries
And an audience crowds around me.
I am a fan of car window wipers.
At the end of the day
I fly back to the ski field
and huddle in the freezing snow.

Mia age 11 Selwyn House School

 

Giant kōkopu
Declining in numbers
20 years living
300-400mm long
Speedy predators
Close to extinction.

Kōura
Camouflaged in the lake bed
Moulting leaving behind the previous covering
Hunted by large trout and shags
Hunted by us for a crayfish snack.

Gemma H Age 11 year 6 Churton Park School

 

Saddleback
The saddle burnt on it’s back
Noisy and active
Foraging for food
In the NZ forest
Aidan C,  aged 11  Year 6  Churton Park School

 

Wildlife

Be amazed by
The flightless, nocturnal Kākāpō
That makes ‘Boom! Boom! Boom!’ noises at night.

Be amazed by
The giant, vicious Haast’s Eagle
That hunts for Moa with a bird’s eye view.

By Emily Y  Age:11 Year 6 Churton Park School

 

Manukura
Watch out for
The only white kiwi
Known to the world
Manukura is her name
Digging her nose
Into the dirt
To find
Something to eat
They saw her as a tohu
A sign, a gift to the world
So they named her Manukura
A brave strong leader
Madison R Churton Park School age 11

 

Be amazed by
The slimy Archey’s frog
Growing up to four centimeters long
Jumping from tree to tree
camouflaging from its predators

James age: 10, year: 6,  Churton Park School

 

Upokororo

Dead in reality
But alive in our hearts
It haunts the waters
Where it once laid
The fin that transfers from red to blue
Mesmerizes us all
Where did it go in the 1930s?
The mystery is a secret we shall never know
from now on and into the future
We will never know the mystery of the grayling fish

Jack M Age 11 Year 6 Churton Park School

 

 

The fantail
I’m in a myth
I’m small and magnificent bird
I flit around in the forests
And make a `cheet cheet’ sound.
I eat fruit flies and berries
I’m black, white, brown and orange and small.
So that’s what I am!

Catherine S Year:4 Age:8 Fendalton School

 

 

Fairy Tern

Fairy tern
Trying to survive with
Only 40 left living
They hover over fish
And eat
to keep
Their species alive
Sounding like squawking penguins
Fairy tern
Now I want to tell you
How to save the
Fairy tern…
So next time you see a fairy tern
Be aware of what I’m about to tell you.
Stay away from nesting grounds
And keep predators away, hey!

Miro P Age 9 LS8  Westmere School

 

Kārearea

Kārearea
The only native raptor in New Zealand
Feathers black as an eclipse
Flying through the sky
Talons as sharp as blades
It’s a meat eater
carnivore
It’s beak is like a knife
Predator of the sky

By Elliot P Age 7 LS5 Westmere School

 

Kingfisher

King fisher

Smart fisher

Chirping at you, fisher

Meat fisher

Treat fisher

Eating all the insects, fisher

Blue fisher

White fisher

Royal to New Zealand, fisher

Special fisher

Cheeky fisher

Luckily not endangered, fisher

Forest fisher

Flying fisher

Diving for food, fisher

Diurnal fisher

Pretty fisher

Flying like a bullet, fisher

Although I’m not endangered…
please protect me fisher!

Niamh Cotton 9 Westmere School

 

 

NEW ZEALAND FAIRY TERN

small, white, grey and black

feathers flutter wildly

twisting over the ocean

looking for a fishy prey

 

feet and beak shine

like newly minted coins

as they dive towards

the shimmering ocean

 

their ovoid eggs lie waiting

like hidden treasure

in a sandy dip

by the shore

 

Ava M, 11 yrs Russley School

 

THE BRIGHTEST NIGHT

I ruffled my feathers

in the rough stormy weather

dim-lit sky withered

evening smells slithered

puddle water glimmered

as last light shimmered

 

Benson L, 10yr Russley School

 

 

PĪWAKAWAKA

My fluttery tail and swishy wings help me fly

I can snatch little bugs straight out of the bright, blue sky

 

My brother is charcoal and I am chocolate

and when people whistle, I will come right away

 

My nest isn’t made of hay,

I am pīwakawaka, every single day

 

Eabha D, Russley School

 

 

PARTY IN THE SHED

There’s a party in the shed!

There’s a party in the shed!

The humans will be sleeping

the fantail will be tweeting

the cicada will never stop screeching.

 

There’s a party in the shed!

There’s a party in the shed!

The kea is coming

the kaka is coming

even the kiwi will make its way.

 

There’s a party in the shed!

There’s a party in the shed!

The little blue’s bringing the fish

the Kererū is bringing berries

even the bellbird is bringing the worms.

 

As the sun rises

we know we must leave

for now the world is waking.

 

Eliza S, age 10, Russley School

 

NZ Forest

The fantail glides around, circling the trees. My footsteps crackle against the golden leaves and old twigs. The fantail is distracted by every step I take. He lands, ruffling his feathers against a nearby tree. He picks himself up and flies against the light breeze. I snap a twig off a kowhai and put it out to the left of me. He cautiously flies down and lands on the twig. I take a closer look and scan the details. He has fluffy ombre feathers like Rapunzel’s long thick hair and three toes on each side of his petite feet. I whistle a short rhythm and a whole war party of fantails float around me like miniature ships on the light blue sea.

by Kimberly C, 13yrs Russley School

 

Kiwi’s Features

long beak scavenging for grubs

 

tiny wings to tuck his beak in

when he goes to sleep

 

fast legs bolting from predators

 

a kiwi’s shrill call

like my brother’s shriek

 

Liam B age 9, Year 4, Russley School

 

 

Fantail

Pīwakawaka, pīwakawaka
Flitter, flutter
Spider webs
For baby’s beds
Build the nest
Have no rest
Lay the eggs
The baby begs
Off she flies
in the sky

Leo Age 8 Westmere School

 

Hoiho
Hoiho eats fish and squid
It lives in the South Island
It has waterproof feathers and they
shine as brighter sky
Its eyes are neon yellow like the galaxy
It waddles away from predators like a baby
Its feathers are black, yellow and white
It has small feet
The parents hunt for food
and they all feast
on fish and squid

By Diana K Age 7 Westmere School

 

Hāpuku

Hāpuku Hāpuku
Giant grey hāpuku
on the ocean floor
feeding on crabs
Up comes a hāpuku
running for its dad!
Stretched puku
my puku
Humungous brown hāpuku
100 kilogram hāpuku
boosting through the water
coming at the speed
of light it turns midnight.
Speeding as fast as a bullet
Could be coming round
corners a hāpuku bumps in to me
Huge puku
Humungous hammerhead puku
Hāpuku Hāpuku

By Billy  LS5  Age 8 Westmere School

 

Powelliphanta Snails
Suck slurpy worms
Like spaghetti,
In the dark
They slither
along the
forest floor
looking for
famishing
food.
They’re nocturnal
You know
they need damp to grow.
The powelliphanta snail
has been found!

By Martha B Age 8 Westmere school

 

THE kōkako
I am a kōkako.
I am native to New Zealand.
I eat yummy leaves and fruit.
I have strong long legs like a stainless steel door.
The thing that makes me special is that all of my kind have rounded wings like a banana.
I sound like a screeching thing and if it is a word in English I am a scruncher.
I am endangered with an only 1300 left on the North Island.
When I fly in the air I feel free and alive.
When you are looking for me I am very hard to find.
I am a kõkako.

Julian S Age 10 LS8 Westmere School

 

Kaimanawa Horses

Kaimanawa horses
gallop in
the night, shining
in the moonlight. Black or
white, brown or grey,
they are always
kind. I ride on them when no one is
looking, and in the morning they vanish.

Sophie O, aged 7, Ilam School, Christchurch

 

The Kākāpō

The world’s only ground parrot

Comes out when the lights go out

In green feathered camouflage

 

Booming through the undergrowth

Calling for a mate

But not really ready to mate

Until the Rimu flowers

 

When facing fear

Is it fight or flight?

No, it’s freeze

Pretend to be a bush

Or moss on a tree stump

 

Once called the worlds ugliest

This cheeky native of NZ

Is really one of the cutest

With the longest lifespan

Yet only the smallest chance of living

Our critically endangered taonga

 

Precious psittacines

That scuffle and hide

They climb, they dance, they BOOM!

Some say that kākāpō can’t fly

But I know that’s a lie

Ambassador Sirocco flies like you or I…

On an AIR NZ 747!

 

Daniel Y6 Adventure school Wellington

 

 

 

 

Poetry Box November challenge: some favourite Aotearoa wildlife poems – Part 1

 

Abigail

 

 

The challenge to write poems about animals, birds and fish in Aotearoa has proved to be one of my most popular challenges ever and I am still working my way through all your emails.

I know you are all checking my blog to see if I picked your poem and I am hoping to get the post up today but I may not finish until tomorrow.

 

I have decided to break my post into two parts and share a bunch of fabulous poems from Royal Oak Primary School first. The poems are from the Kahikatea room (Y5 and 6 students).

We were inspired by Gavin Bishop’s new book Wildlife of Aotearoa (Puffin) and I am pretty sure he will be inspired by these.

The students have done utterly magnificent eye-catching artwork to go with the poems. Each illustration is alive with colour and movement. Looking at these fills me such joy I feel the children must have filled with joy to create them.

The poems are equally exquisite. The words are gifts for ears and eyes as the poems  sound good and also build a striking picture of the animal, bird or fish in your head as I read. The poems have been so beautifully crafted. Lines leap out at me, similes catch my attention.

I love these poems so much I am a sending a copy of Groovy Fish to the class and I put all the names in a hat and picked out Abigail to get a copy too.

This is poetry magnificence! And it makes me so happy. Thank you!

 

 

Daniel.jpg

Eliza.jpg

Emma.jpg

Jess.jpg

Lisa.jpg

Maria.jpg

Poorvi.jpg

Markus.jpg

Sophie.jpg

Santiago.jpg

Zara.jpg

Zoe.jpg

 

 

Poetry Box secret poem challenge: Keep Calm and Carry

 

20191122_081227

 

I spotted this sign in a cafe in Timaru and it felt like the perfect title for a poem (the sugar has hidden the final word). Now I am wondering if there is actually a word behind the sugar!

In my mammoth post on my fabulous Storylines Festival Tour I hid three poetry challenges  – this was the last one. Simple – write a poem using this as the title. Daniel did all three challenges and wrote another very cool poem for this – I love his poem because it has a twist in its tail. And sometimes I think we are all carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders and it hurts. Glorious poem!

Russley School in Christchurch also sent in a cool bunch of poems. They ranged in mood and I loved that – and always surprised me. I liked the way some poems followed the pattern of my poem and some poems made their own pattern (form). I loved reading these as they made me feel good and made me want to write. Wonderful!

I put all the names in a hat and pulled out Eabha D to send a copy of Groovy Fish.

I will post the Wildlife poem picks in the next few days as I have so many to read!

 

 

Keep calm, and carry…

 

Books for your sister

Shopping for your dad

Washing for your mum

Papers for your neighbour

Sports gear for your teacher

And cats, just for fun

 

But only carry what you can manage

If you try to carry the weight of the world

You might hurt your shoulders

 

Daniel L, Y6, Adventure School, Wellington

 

 

 

Keep Calm and Carry

 

Keep calm and carry

one gaming console

two tūīisinging

three chocolates melting

four fat fantails

five bowls of Weetbix

six hairy dogs

seven whales swimming

eight dolphins diving

nine kittens purring

ten tall towers

eleven birds chirping

twelve raindrops falling

 

Mitchell M age 12 Russley School

 

 

Keep Calm and Carry

 

Keep calm and carry a quiet noise

like ninjas running along rooftops

acoustic guitars, playing in the background

 

closing my eyes and looking into the empty abyss

watching movies flicker before me

feeling the wind rush through the open window

 

seeing the trees sway around me

colouring the blank canvas of people’s lives

 

walking down lonely roads

feeling the grass below my feet

water washing up the shore onto my toes

 

by Charlie K (age 12) Russley School

 

 

Keep calm and carry

 

one chocolate fountain

two quacking ducks

three Christmas trees

four bowls of jelly

five big fat Santas

six maths boards

seven skinny humans

eight sneezy grandfathers

nine bars of gold

ten double digits

eleven movie tickets

twelve golden watches

 

by Mckenzie age 12yrs Russley School

 

Keep Calm and Carry

 

one purring cat

two watermelons

three fluffy dogs

four lions roaring

five bowls of curry

six singing parrots

seven dolphins swimming

eight whistling trees

nine brothers dancing

ten birds chirping

 

by Emerson B age 11yrs Russley School

 

Keep Calm and Carry

 

Keep calm and carry

one Mt Everest

two multiverses

three hundred mansions

four Santas to give me toys

NOT MY BROTHER.

Six Lamborghini Venenos

Seven pet tigers to play with

Eight Tesla trucks

Nine rainbows to bring colour to my life

Ten sixtillion dollars.

by Huzaifa S (age 11yrs) Russley School

 

Keep Calm and Carry

 

Keep calm and carry…

one magenta butterfly

a pair of fluffy socks

three buttercup flowers

four sparkly stars

five soft kittens

six shimmering snowflakes

seven joyful books

eight Christmas reindeer

nine naughty narwhals

ten stripey tigers

 

by Jasmine M age 11yrs Russley School

 

Keep Calm and Carry

 

Keep calm and carry the shimmering ocean view of Sumner Beach

two ripe feijoas, so sweet to eat

 

Keep calm and carry your three favourite days

and four classic show tunes to hum on your way

 

Keep calm and carry five birds singing sweetly

and six lovely memories to think of every day

 

Keep calm and carry seven slices of chewy mozzarella cheese

and eight pairs of winter boots to warm up your knees

 

Keep calm and carry nine summertime flowers

and ten of your closest friends who support you in every way

 

But most importantly, keep calm and carry

your heart, wherever you go

 

by Eabha D, age 11  Russley School

 

 

 

 

Poetry Box secret poem challenges: random word poems that make me smile

My second secret challenge from the Storylines Festival Tour was inspired by the words in a poem St Albans School made up with me but I could NOT read my writing – just these words:

 

the wild wild wind, chocolate milk, a fox, a chicken, a super sheep and something lovely

 

The challenge was to use at least three of them in a poem.

I got a cool poem from Daniel plus Westmere School in Auckland sent in a fabulous bunch. I love these poems so much because they made me SMILE! I am sending Groovy Fish to: Olivia and Emma.

 

A True Story

 

The wild wild wind blows fiercely around Porirua.

 

A chicken coop gets blown open, and the chickens escape.

As soon as they get out, the door slams shut.

The chickens are trapped outside, with no shelter and no food.

Then someone comes running.

The someone grabs the chickens and puts them back in the coop.

Something lovely is what the chickens found when they were safe and dry.

A beautiful mess of corn kernels and cake met their beady eyes.

Then, of course, to relieve stress, they had a chicken nap.

 

Daniel L, Y6, Adventure school, Wellington

 

The Chicken’s Cluck

The wild, wild wind,
Blew between the trees,
The skies were dark,
In the park,
There was a chicken,
Clucking away,
Between the swings,
On that cloudy day,
With a fox in the bushes,
And a super sheep in the sky,
What could ever go wrong,
Right?
Well,
The fox crept up,
As quietly as he could,
And the chicken continued to cluck,
Like a chick-related duck,
The super sheep flew down,
Like a falling clown,
And stopped the fox,
that was ready to pounce,
So a flower grew,
Where the fox lay,
As beautiful,
as the brightest day.

 

Olivia P Age: 11  Westmere Primary School

 

 

The Fox that Stole my Food

I was at the beach
listening to the wild wild wind
blowing in the air.
The air smelled of chocolate milk
and roast chicken.
But then I saw
A little fox that
Did such a big thing!
IT TOOK MY BIG ROAST CHICKEN!
I was sooooooooo mad!
I chased it down the beach.

Mia G  Age:9 Westmere School

 

What I Saw
I looked out the window
And I saw
A spooky scary super sheep
Staring back at me.
I walked out the door
And I felt
the wild weird wild wind
blowing me away.
I walked to my bedroom
and I spilled
My super yummy chocolate milk.
I got a fright! Ohh such a sight…
The spooky scary skeleton
Staring back at me.

Tilly O’Brien age nine Westmere School

A Perfect Day

Out on a freezing day blows the Wild Wild Wind
The air lingers of roast chicken and gravy
Take a sip of my ice cold chocolate milk
See a red fox curled up on the snowy hill
Walk down the street and get a whiff of something Lovely
Roses? Christmas trees?,Freshly Baked Bread?
But as soon as I have time to think it is gone
Rush back inside to get a blast of warm air
Sit down by the table and devour the chicken
After a quick shower I lie down on my bed and fall asleep instantly
What a Perfect Day.

Conor L Age 9 Westmere School

 

The Runaway Cheetah Poem

The fox ran as fast as a crocodile.
The chicken ran as fast as a skateboard.
The sheep ran as fast as a penguin.
The snail ran as fast as an ant.

Cooper D Age 6 Westmere School

 

 

The Eat Poem.

The fox ate the ox
and the chicken ate the fox
and the sheep ate the box
and the box ate the rocks.

Ana B Age 6 Westmere School

 

 

Super Sheep… dun dun dun ..

The fox and the chicken
listened to the wild, wild wind.
Super Sheep
was flying to Mrs Meep,
to deliver chocolate milk…
BON APPETIT!

Rose L Age 9 Westmere School

 

The Super Sheep Sugar Gang

The wild, wild wind
whisked up
some chocolate milk
to give to
the Super Sheep Sugar Gang!
It was something lovely!

Emma T Age 9 Westmere School

 

Poetry Box secret challenge poems: The Tree

 

 

 

 

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Inspired Poetree

This is not a Wishing Tree

Or a Giving Tree

It’s not a Faraway Tree

Or a Nickle Nackle Tree

It doesn’t have a Magic Tree House

Or a Thirteen Story Tree House

But this tree has more stories

Than we will ever know

Daniel L, Y6,  Adventure School, Wellington

 

 

I saw this magnificent tree at Darfield Primary on my Storylines Festival Tour. i challenge you to write me a poem inspired by it. Daniel sent this magnificent poem which draws upon his reading history which In thought I was very cool. I will pop a surprise book in the post for him.

 

 

 

 

 

Poetry Box on tour with Storylines from Blenheim to Timaru: my poems, children’s poems, photos and 3 secret poetry challenges with Groovy Fish to give away

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Philippa, Eileen, me, Vasanti and Libby – Anne took the photo!

 

 

On the road poem

 

The mountains disappear into the grey sky

but everywhere I look I see more mountains

 

I imagine the mountain peaks looking down

 asking me Where are you going?

What will you discover?

Will you poetry dance in schools?

 

Paula Green

 

 

When Storylines invited me to do a children’s author tour from Bleheim to Timaru I instantly said yes after several years of saying no to things. Now that my big book Wild Honey is in the world I have more time for school visits, author tours and festivals. Exciting!

I was with Libby Limbrick (the Storylines rep), Anne Dickson (Manager of the Community Library at Mahurangi East and Storylines committee member) and three authors: Vasanti Unka (picture book whizz), Philippa Werry (writer of fiction and nonfiction fascinations) and Eileen Merriman (who crafts YA and adult fictions that move you and make you think). It was a DREAM TEAM.

This was the best author Tour I have ever been on – every school was a highlight and STORYLINES made sure we had comfy beds, full tummies, good coffee, yummy meals and quiet times.

So THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to the Storylines crew, the authors and all the schools that made this a memorable week.

 

t h e  v e r y  f a b u l o u s  S t o r y l i n e s  T o u r

 

Here is my tour – I didn’t keep a diary so this is from memory. After the first day I wrote the poems down when we were making them up but I can’t read all the words now as I was writing so FAST. Do let me know if I got your poem wrong. And a thousand apologies to the first schools because I have not got copies of the poems we made up together.

BTW all the words come from the students – none from me. I just ask questions!

I loved reading from my brand new book Groovy Fish (Cuba Press).

 

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I have three secret poetry challenges in my blog and some copies of Groovy Fish to give away. DEADLINE is FRIDAY so be in QUICK!!

 

 

 

my top poetry tips for Y0 to Y13 and beyond

 

use your EARS – listen to the music your poem makes

use your EYES – gather bits of the physical world for your poem

poems can FEEL the world – heart

poems can THINK the world – mind

poems are freedom to play with words and subjects in any way you like

 

 

 

Day One

 

 

 

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First stop for Eileen and me is Ward School –  we got to see the whole school (45) from NE to Y6. Such a warm welcome to start our journey but I am so sad because I didn’t write the poems down. The room was full of bounding imaginations and glittery words firing. Eileen talked about becoming a doctor and a writer – even when she had hurdles  in her path. And about how she felt something something was missing in her life when she had grown up – writing stories.

And now she does it all the time. Even when she is on a really really busy Storylines Tour! I loved how she talked about making characters glow in a story.

 

My turn to do poetry! I am wondering what I am saying in this photo? Maybe there are poems hiding in the ceiling or in the clouds! I am wearing my AROHA T shirt on the first day because I LOVE writing poems.

 

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Next up Kaikoura High School and a group of Y8 to Y10s. I got to have scrumptious egg sandwiches with the librarian and English teachers and talk about poetry and Wild Honey. Oh and crisp Nelson apples (my uncles were Māpua orchardists!)

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I read my poem ‘The First School Journal Ever‘ from The Baker’s Thumbprint (Seraph Press) and talked about the way School Journal stories took me back in time, across the world and around home. I LOVED reading them. They made me want to write.

We made up a poem about childhood with crunching crayfish, digging in the sand with diggers, the taste of play dough, the smell of hot sausages, being adopted and much much more. It was a cool poem. The poetry energy in the room inspired me to make up my own poem in the van.

 

When I Was Five

 

I started writing poems when I was five

with the Matāpouri ocean and the giraffe clouds

and the sticky fat crayons and red hot tomato soup

and the crunchy Māpua apples and the leaning

tower of library books that

got my words

flipping and floating and flying.

 

Paula Green

 

I loved exploring Kaikoura: the knobbled white rocks bright against the brilliant blue sea.

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After talking to the fabulous Kaikoura High School students I got to crunch on crayfish and it was so YUM!

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Vasanti, me, Eileen, Philippa and Libby on the way to dinner in the biting wind that soon switched off in the toasty sun.

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Nearly crayfish time! Thank you Kaikoura for filling me with poetry and delicious food.

 

Day Two

We drove over the windy inland road with the bumpy hills and the elbow bends

and I nearly threw up until I breathed in the sweet air next to the braided river.

As we twisted and turned I wanted to breathe in the hills and the sky and the

rushing water because every way I looked I saw beauty.

 

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Vasanti and I got to spend time with Y1 to Y6 at Waiau School and the Principal played the guitar and students stood and sang a magnificent waiata as a thank you.

Vasanti had drawn pictures to tell her story about becoming an author and it is so so good I want her to make it into a book. She talked about how she felt uncool as a girl but how she now feels really cool. I especially loved the illustration of her four older sisters and her one younger brother standing in a line wearing the clothes their mother had made them. Her mother had run out of the orange material by the time she got to Vana so Vana had to have blue in her dress as well as orange which felt very uncool.

I had such fun when the children and I sent words whizzing and whirling and we made up a cat poem:

 

A Cat Poem

 

I am a fat fat cat

I am cute cute cat

I am pretty kitty cat

I am a sleepy sleepy cat

I’m a cat with a hat

I’m a cat with a bat

I’m a cat with a cap

I like to chase rats

I’m a fat flash cat

eating dog biscuits!

 

Waiau School

 

(PS Our greedy cat would eat dog biscuits if we let her because she thinks she’s a dog I am sure – see The Letterbox Cat)

 

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Next Amuri Area School with Eileen. I had Y0 to Y6 and had a cracking good time reading Groovy Fish poems. We made up another cat poem because I love making up cat poems and they are never exactly the same. I love the way poem endings can make you laugh or cry, or ponder or puzzle, or have a twist in their tail!

 

Another Cat Poem

 

Black cat

scruffy cat

dusty cat

Meow!

 

I’m a fat fat cat

I’m a doctor cat

I’m a skinny cat

I’m a driver cat

 

I’m a silly crazy cat

I’m a mouse-eating cat

I’m a wide and racing cat

I”M A DOG!!

 

Amuri Area School

 

We read my Shabby Dinosaur poem from Groovy Fish and heard all the things that make him as full as a bull with happiness. Happy poems make me shine inside so I once did a happy-poem challenge on the blog.Here are some of my favourite happy poems from the challenge.

Amuri Area School was a very happy school and we made up this poem about what makes us happy. I felt shiny inside!

 

Happiness

 

All my kittens

going to the circus

dogs

drawing

playing rugby

wild cats

eating potatoes

a cute little bunny

going home after school.

 

Amuri Area School

 

 

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At the end of a long and marvelous day we drove through the darkening hills towards the slate grey sky and I was as happy as the shabby dinosaur – filled to the brim with poems. My favourite and most frequent question so far:

 

 Why do you write poetry Paula?

Because poems can do anything, there are no rules, and poetry makes me happy.

 

 

Day 3

 

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We stayed the night in Amberley and I wandered down by myself to the excellent Little Vintage Espresso to have poached eggs on toast and coffee in a small cup!

 

Eggs for Breakfast

 

Make the most of poached eggs on toast

when you are driving from the coast

 

with a little yellow sun in your tummy

that shines all day

 

Paula Green

 

 

 

First stop Waipara School (45 students). The older children were on camp and the younger children were at Sports Day so I had the seven Year 5s. How special was that? It was even more special because Toby had the library copy of The Letterbox Cat at home so I read some of his favourite poems. We made up a bunch of poems using our ears and eyes.

 

Panda

 

Black and white

like the night

like the moon

furry black

furry white

hunting for bamboo

eating and sleeping.

 

Waipara School

 

We read my ‘anifable‘ poem from The Letterbox Cat where you make up new animals mixing half of one with half of another and then deciding what they like to do.

 

Anifables

 

The snalion is

slithery and loud.

The panduin is

cold and hungry.

 

The hipmouse is

wrinkly and small.

The hippocat is

greedy and grey.

 

The rhiger is

ferocious and fast.

The butterfish is

flappy and scaly.

 

Waipara School

 

I especially loved the cat paintings on the wall of the classroom.

 

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Back on the road and Philippa, Libby and I stopped at Rangiora Public Library because Rangiora Borough School sent fifty Y5 and 6 students to hear us. I was fascinated by Philippa’s wonderful scrapbook with her girlhood stories and successes. I was even more fascinated by the fact she has been to Antarctica and written a book about it. Now that I am home I am going shopping for her books. Her writing makes me spellbound!

We were welcomed by a dog and next by the fabulous librarian and poet Jason Clements (Doc Drumheller) with a nourishing lunch.

 

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Once again the room filled like a poetry ocean: swishing words, wavy words, sweet and salty words. Here is the cat poem we made up.

 

Cat

 

I’m a flat flat cat

I’m a ratty tatty cat

 

I’m a flying aeroplane cat

I’m a tree climbing cat

 

I’m a black sack cat

I’m a black jack cat

 

I’m a fluffy wuffy cat

I’m a click clack cat

 

ust kidding – I’m a dog!

 

Rangiora Borough School

 

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On the road and Anne and I are at Leithfield School with fifty Y5 and 6 students. Yummo egg sandwiches with peppermint tea (I have a bag full of tea choices) and I am good to go. And even a dog is joining in the poetry session.

 

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Anne took a whole load of photos of me getting expressive with poetry.

 

 

The students were like a bubbling South Island river of words. What fun we had!

I was in the mood to make up a moon poem. This was the children came up with:

 

Moon

 

The big bright moon

the big round moon

the big fat moon

 

cheesy cheesy moon

shiny dimpled moon

rough bumpy moon

 

big chungous moon

a glowing ball of silver

massive pearl in the sky

shining light upon us

 

Leithfield School

 

I had seen signs for a beach but I never saw the sea so I got the children to show me their beach in a poem:

 

Leithfield Beach

 

Roaring waves

wet and stony

salty water

 

the mouldy pipe

deep dark edge

handful of stones

teaspoon of salt

 

sparkling blue water

different shades of navy

seashells everywhere

musky driftwood

 

dribbles of pebbles

crooked car park

wet and wild

 

Leithfield School

 

Back in the van to drive to Christchurch – the sky looks dangerous as the lightning flashes and forks – big black clouds dropping fat drops of rain (like in Bill Nagelkerke‘s poem). We are driving into a storm but the motel is cosy and dry.  I lie on the bed and turn on my inner sleep mode like I am a computer.

We had an evening event at Burnside High School to share stories and poetry with anyone who loves children’s literature.

I read the poem I wrote for the Prime Minister’s baby – I had never read it aloud before in front of an audience but I did record it for my blog.

I also got everyone to think about the power and magic of stories and where they were carried us as a child. We made up a poem together:

 

Stories

 

Stories lead us to hills that open

so we can walk inside

to where the sidewalk ends

to Narnia in the back of my parents’ wardrobe

to African rainforests

to the cherry tree in the garden

to the dusty attic

to camels in the desert

to the bathing shed on the wharf

to the moon and the stars

to our back lawns.

 

A bunch of children’s literature fans

 

 

Day 4

 

 

 

A city school after all the little country schools! First yummo date scone and coffee from my favourite cafe Little Poms.

I got to go to St Albans Primary to spend poetry time with nearly 400 children (Y1 to Y4, I think I had the biggest and the smallest group of tour!).

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It is always exciting to do poetry in a hall FULL of children because I never know what will happen. I always do my silent test – we are all one-hundred-per-cent silent – listening to sounds outside. You never know what you might hear: a train, birds, crickets, cars, sheep, the wind in the trees, the rain, thunder, a siren, chat chatting voices, laughter.

Levi sent me a cool travel poem he had written after my visit and now I am inspired by him to write a travel poem!

We had such a cool poetry time but I was so excited writing down our poems I can only read one of them (see the happy poem below). The rest is too-fast scribble! I am SAD!!

We made up a mysterious poem about the wild wild wind but I can’t read my writing and it seems to have chocolate milk, a fox, a chicken, a super sheep and something lovely in it! It is a mystery poem! So I am going to challenge you to write one instead!

 

A BONUS POETRY BOX CHALLENGE: Y1 to Y8  You have to write a poem with at least three of these things in and I will post them on Poetry Box on Monday morning (December 2nd).

the wild wild wind, chocolate milk, a fox, a chicken, a super sheep and something lovely

Deadline: Friday 29th November

Send to: paulajoygreen@gmail.com

Include: your name, age, year, name of school

DON’T FORGET to put BONUS POEM in subject line

 

HOWEVER I could read the wonderful happy poem we made up. I felt like I was glowing with all the happy ideas, the warm mihi, and the sizzling poetry.

Poems can have one word on a line or right to the edge of the page. It changes the way a poem looks and it changes the music. Have fun playing with that.

 

Happiness

 

Watching the bird

making a nest in the tree

my fluffy grey dog

my cute little puppy

stargazing

watching the trees sway

watching my fish playing together

I love playing with my friend.

 

St Albans Primary

 

BACK on the road again to the second school of the day,  Darfield Primary. All the bends and elbows in the roads have disappeared and the roads are long and straight. There is always something fascinating to see out the window as though little poems are hiding in the paddocks, the mountains and the sky.

 

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Vasanti and I got to present to 84 Y5 and 6s (although maybe it was a bit less). We both loved the artwork on the classroom walls. I loved hearing Vana’s story again.

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Somehow we seem to make up sea-related poems. We made up a whale poem with only two words on the line. Try saying it out out loud!

 

The Whale

 

Splish splash

belly flop

clever clap

slimy smooth

big fat

really fast

super song

zig zag

I’m really a SUBMARINE!

 

Darfield Primary

 

We made up a penguin poem (we had a vote on which bird) and ended up with short snappy lines again!

 

The Little Blue Penguin

 

Flip flop

in the water

slide on ice

splish splash

a little furry

blue black shiny

tiny flightless

 

I am a penguin

living in Aotearoa

I’m an old surfer dude!

 

Darfield Primary

 

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Darfield Primary School had my favourite tree. It deserves a poem!

 

A SECOND BONUS POETRY BOX CHALLENGE: Y1 to Y8  Write a a poem inspired by this tree and I will post some on Poetry Box on Monday morning (December 2nd).

Deadline: Friday 29th November

Send to: paulajoygreen@gmail.com

Include: your name, age, year, name of school

DON’T FORGET to put TREE POEM in subject line

 

 

Back on the road again and I soon I am eating a scrumptious filled roll with the super librarians at Ashburton College Library in the actual library. Woohoo!

I spent time with a fabulous bunch of Y9 and 10 who had chosen to come to the session. The students listened intently and contributed widely (one has already sent me a magnificent poem that I loved so much!). I love the fact so many students joined in at all the schools I visited. Inspiring!

 

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With mountains on my mind and in the corner of every view it was time to make up a wee mountain poem. Little poems can be magnificent.

 

The Mountain

 

I’m a tall strong mountain

sky high

big bold

snowy rugged

jutting crippled

shadowed dark

 

Ashburton College Library

 

Then it was back to childhood – to the things that stand out in memory. It made me want to make up my own childhood poem. This was the students came up with:

 

Childhood

 

Sweet peaches sweet cherries

fairy bread cotton candy

familiar smell of sausages

grandparent’s cookies

sticky rice

 

Back home where the kookaburra sing

playing on the swing set

climbing the orchid tree

making daisy chains

running out into the farm playing

my guitar under the tree

 

Down the river

to the ocean

running through grass

do it all again

I’ll remember

 

Imagine

 

Ashburton College Library

 

We headed off to Timaru for our last night and our last events on Friday. We stopped off at a veggie place and stocked up on:

 

On the road

 

We got

the plumpest sweetest

tasting blueberries

in the world

juicy juicy strawberries

and pale green avocados

from the veggie man

 

and he thought

we were Australian spies

with our dark shades on

but we were busy

imagining

how to make stories

sweet and sour and crisp.

 

Paula Green

 

Next stop Temuka poettry (my pick) because I LOVE pottery (which is almost like poetry) so I bought a few plates to carry on the plane. As soon as I got home I made a homemade basil pesto, roast veggie, pasta salad to put on it. YUM!

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Day 5  (the last day!)

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Vasanti, Eileen, Libby, me in Timaru

 

Every morning before we headed off most of us got a good strong coffee. We loved the sign in this cafe and I loved a sign with one word hiding. One of my favourite questions at schools was:

Where do you get your ideas from Paula?

From what I see, hear, feel, think, taste, imagine!

 

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I got Anne to take a photo because this was a poem in the waiting!

 

Keep Calm and Carry

 

One shiny moon

two shimmering oceans

three daring stilt walkers

four hot-air balloons

five tūī singing

six date scones warm and buttery

seven seals gliding

eight clouds drifting

nine plump peaches

ten fascinating questions

 

in your acrobatic mind

as you watch the sun rise

on the shiny green paddock.

 

Paula Green

 

A THIRD BONUS POETRY BOX CHALLENGE: Y1 to Y8  Write a a poem using my title Keep Calm and Carry. 

It can be as short or as long as you like – let your imagination go dancing. Make up your own pattern. Play with how many words go on the line. LISTEN to every line.

and I will post some on Poetry Box on Monday morning (December 2nd).

 

Deadline: Friday 29th November

Send to: paulajoygreen@gmail.com

Include: your name, age, year, name of school

DON’T FORGET to put CALM POEM in subject line

 

 

 

We spent our last night in Timaru. Just one visit in Timaru before heading back to Christchurch and I got to go to Grantlea Downs School and do poetry with the whole school (Y1 to 8) in the hall.

 

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The artwork in the foyer was fabulous!

 

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I sat in the school waiting for it to fill to the brim. I was wearing my map-of-the-moon T shirt and wearing black so I was dressed like the moon in the night sky.

I told the school they were like one big whanau so I  let the youngest members of the family (NE and Y1) make up a moon poem with me before we did anything else.

They stood in line and stood up like poets, and used loud poet’s voices and let their words sail out of the hall to land in the trees. I asked them to pick one moon word but some picked lots and they didn’t matter a drop because poetry has no rules. Poetry is where we get to PLAY! and have FUN!

 

The Moon

 

A blue moon

looks like the sun moon

shining star

black

orange and bright

tells us it’s night

spinning sparkling

bright MOON!

 

Grantlea Downs School

 

Then I got to walk down the stage right into the audience! WOW! That was fun. Everyone joined in and was bubbling over with poems.  A fountain of poems! A waterfall of poems! A bright sky of poems! Timaru had had a big hail storm with hail the size of golf balls. It had been so windy we made up a windy windy poem.

 

The Wind

 

The strong wind

the powerful wind

the wispy wind

 

the wind blows

the winds breaks the bush

the wind comes and goes

 

wishing wind

flushing wind

the wind was furious

 

Grantlea Downs School

 

Oh I was sad to leave the school because it was my last session and now it was time to head back home.

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We stopped off at a cool cafe in Ashburton called Nosh and I had yummy yummy sushi. I had seen a place in one town called Secret Japanese Food and I wanted to write a poem about sushi with little secrets in  it.

 

Secret Sushi

 

In my sushi you will discover

the story of a hedgehog and a goat

a trapdoor to the moon

sparkling oceans

a map of the sky

and a secret letter from a secret owl.

 

Paula Green

 

Now it was time drive home past the grey rivers running and over the long bridges stretching and the green paddocks glistening to Christchurch to get my plane home.

 

This was the best author tour I have ever done because I loved every single school visit and I loved the other inspirational authors and I loved the way Storylines looked after us when we all worked so hard and when there was a truck load (van load) of travelling.

Thank you to every school I visited.  You have inspired me.

 

Back home to the bush and the ocean and the quiet (and our cats and Molly our dog).

 

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Poetry Box feature: Lily and Rose (8) interview Bill Nagelkerke

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 Way back then

 

My best friend’s

Mother’s

Mother’s

Mother,

And my best friend’s

Mother’s

Mother’s

Mother’s

Brother,

Rode scooters

In their youth:

Ninety years

(Or so)

Ago.

 

My best friend

Brought a photo

Of her

Mother’s

Mother’s

Mother,

 

 

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And her

Mother’s

Mother’s

Mother’s

Brother,

To show the class

That it was true.

Who knew

That kids had scooters,

Way back then?

 

 

from The night the moon fell down and other poems (Copy Press, 2019)

 

Bill Nagelkerke has a book of poems for children out – so Lily and Rose agreed to interview him.

You can find my review of the book here.

 

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The interview:

 

Did you always like writing at school or did you only start liking writing when you were an adult?

I started off by enjoying stories that were read to me and then stories I was able to read by myself – as well as stories I watched on TV. That led to me wanting to write my own stories, which I did when was about your age. I made them into little books, which I still have!. The first story I had published – and was paid for! – was when I was at high school. It appeared in a local paper.

 

Do you like writing poetry or novels best?

I like all kinds of writing but I think poetry can sometimes be the most difficult, because usually you don’t have very many words to work with and they have to be just the right ones.
If you were an animal, what animal would you be and why?

An elephant, perhaps. They have good memories and are thought to be very wise. They still get a very tough time though.

 

What are your 5 favourite books you’ve written and why?

My favourite book will always be the next one because I always hope it will be better than the last. But I do like the two short books I’ve written about Emily, a nine year old who loves to write. (Emily’s Penny Dreadful and Emily, the Dreadfuls and the Dead Skin Gang), as well as the stories about two brothers, Patrick and Pete, which you can find in a collection of stories called Egghead, and other surprises. A story called Old bones is also special because it’s set in a place where I used to live. A new book is due out next year, called The ghosts on the hill and its one I really enjoyed writing because it takes place in one of my favourite locations. (See question 6)

 

In the poem book you gave us, Lily’s favourite poem is the shoelace poem because of the words and she likes the shape poems especially the one about the moon, because it’s clever how it reflects. Rose’s favourite poem is about a mother and she likes the pictures throughout the book. Which is your favourite poem in this collection Bill?

That’s tough question . . . I like the poems that you’ve both picked and the reasons you’ve picked them. I’m also quite fond of the one called ‘Way back then’ – about the fact that children already had scooters nearly 100 years ago – because it was inspired by an old family photo. It’s so hard to choose, though. One day’s favourite might have to change places with another day’s favourite!

 

Have you visited any other countries? If yes, do you have a favourite place (in NZ or overseas)?

I’ve been to a few other places. I have lots and lots of cousins in the Netherlands, as well. One of my favourite places, though, has always been the Port Hills of Christchurch. (See Question 4)

 

What is your favourite colour and why?

Yellow. I don’t really know why. Perhaps because it’s such a cheerful colour.

 

What are you curious about?

Everything. There’s so much to be curious about!

 

Do you have any pets?

No, I don’t.

 

What is your favourite thing in the world?

Kindness.

 

Have your friends ever told you that they don’t like your writing? If yes, what did you do about this?

No, I don’t think they have. In fact, I’m probably my own worst critic. 🙂

 

 

A former children’s librarian, Bill Nagelkerke has written short stories, poems, plays and books for all ages, as well as translating other people’s books from Dutch into English. In 2013 he was awarded the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal for a distinguished contribution to New Zealand children’s literature and literacy.

Lily is 8 years old and has a twin sister called Rose. She is an animal lover and especially loves crocodiles. Her favourite kind of books to read are chapter books. She is a keen writer, and co-wrote wrote her own chapter book this year with her mum about a heroic Crocodile called “Agent C” who tries to solve problems in his community. Lily’s favourite subject at school is art. In her spare time she likes doing Gymnastics and is working on a dance called “Masterpiece”. Lily was once in a Lifeline TV commercial to raise money for this charity and thinks the most important thing in life is love. Her favourite food is doughnuts.

Rose is 8 years old too and….surprise! She has a twin sister called Lily. Rose’s favourite celebrity is Steve Irwin and she loves all animals, especially otters. Her favourite things to do at school are learning maths and class bike riding sessions. Rose’s favourite foods are carrots and raspberries. In her spare time, Rose takes drama classes and is starting as a chip eater in an end-of-year Harry Potter themed production. Rose likes to read books about brave and courageous NZ leaders and adventures (the Oh Boy and Go Girl series). She thinks the most important thing in life is to be a problem solver.