Happy NZ Poetry Day from Poetry Box – ten cool things to do


Dear young poetry fans,

Today is National Poetry Day in NZ. A perfect time to celebrate poetry.

Here some ideas of what you might like to do:

  1. write a poem for someone you love and give it to them (Mum, Dad, a friend, a sibling, a grandparent)
  2. get a NZ poetry book out of the library, read it and write a letter to the author (send c/- publisher)
  3. buy a NZ poetry book, read it and write a letter to the author
  4. chalk a poem on the pavement at school
  5. make a poem tree in your school library
  6. make a poem tree at home and send me a photo
  7. make a poem poster of your favourite poem you have written
  8. make poem biscuits with words on (thanks the Lovewells!)
  9. video yourself reading a poem
  10. write a poem just for yourself. Put it an envelope and open it next year on Poetry Day!


warm regards


Poetry bonanza Monday: Niamh’s challenge for you and an invite from me!

On Sunday it is Storylines Family Day in Auckland.

Come and say hello and sign my poem notebook. I want to get heaps of signatures from poetry fans. This is where you will find me:


10 am Limelight Room Reading some of my poems  (do come and help make an audience at this EARLY start! I plan to have some giveaways.)

10.30 am Dorothy Butler Stand signing books

11.00 am in the Poetry Zone Limelight Room reading the poems you make up/ giving tips

11.30 Paper Plus Stand  Owens Foyer   signing books

noon until 12.30      in the Poetry Zone  Limelight Room reading the poems you make up/ giving tips

1 until 1.30  LImelight Room  Doing a book talk with Leonie Agnew and Sacha Cotter on becoming an author

1.30 until 2pm  Paper Plus Stand Owens Foyer  signing books

2 until 2.30 I am busy being a Judge

2.30 until 3pm  Lower NZI At the prize giving for the competitions



y o u r       c h a l l e n g e:

Last week I invited you to come up with a challenge. Thanks for sending in so many good ideas.

I have picked challenges that Niamh sent in. She is aged 11 and goes to Selwyn House School in Christchurch. She sent in four challenges and I picked two to share. I loved these and want to try them too! I will send Niamh a copy of The Letterbox Cat as a thank you. I also especially loved Maddie’s challenge and might use her’s another time.

One: write your favourite word in a poem
rule —  it has to appear at least 3 times

Two: create a tree or flower of your own invention
rule – describe what it looks like or what it does in a poem

Paula’s tip: give your poem a sound check before you send it.


DEADLINE for your Niamh’s-Poem Challenge: Wednesday September 2nd

Send to paulajoygreen@gmail.com. Include your name, year, age and name of school. You can include your teacher’s name and email.

PLEASE say it’s for the Niamh’s-Poem challenge. Put in the subject line of the email please.

I will post my favourites and have a book for a poet (Year 0 to Year 8).

My favourite picture poems

Picture poems (ah yes, shape poems, concrete poetry!) are fun to do and it looks like you had fun with these. It was really hard choosing just a few to post. I was after a poem that looked good but that also offered something as you read it.

So I love the ones that sounded good or surprised me.

I am sending Ewen a notebook to write her poems in.

I am sending William a copy of my book the Letterbox Cat.




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Ella W, Year 7 aged 12  St. Peters School, Cambridge. (Paula: I love the slant of words like the wings)



Poppy R Aged 10 Year 6 Ilam school (Paula: I love the swirl of words!)



Madeline T  9 years old Year 5  Ilam Primary School (Paula: I love the words like apple peel!)




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Ben, I am an 11 year old Year seven at Saint Peter’s School (Paula: this poem flows just like a ball skimming through the air!)



Hayden P, age 10, year 6, and go to Ilam Primary School (Paula: I especially love the words that wrap the leaf up)


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Tessa A I am 13 years old, I go to Selwyn House School, Christchurch. (Paula: I love the way words make the shape and are like the bees inside!)


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By Ewen W aged 13, Year 8, Cobham Intermediate School, Christchurch (Paula: I had such fun reading this – it is a little hard to read with the squiggles like the mysterious house)


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William, Y3 St Andrew’s College (Paula: I love the windy trail of words on the page!)

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Harry, Y3 age 7, St Andrew’s College, Christchurch (Paula: I love the way the words make the shape and the poem is surprising)

Some of my favourite poems from The Fourth Fabulous Poetry Competition and a hidden challenge for you


c   o   n   g    r   a   t   u   l   a   t   i   o   n   s  !

So many fabulous poems came in for this i want to post a small collection of some of my favourites. It was hard to choose as I had so many.

What I love is the way a poem can surprise you. You know you want to go back and read it again. You know eyes and ears have been hard at work.

Congratulations young poets. You have done a fine job. I do hope you try some of my Monday challenges in term time.

A challenge for you all: If I get 30 comments on this post, I will pick one child to send a copy of A Treasury of NZ Poetry for Children. Tell me which poem you love and why. Extra points if you pick one that is not from your school!  Tell me your age, year and name of school and teacher’s email. I have an copy of Dear Heart: 150 NZ Love Poems for an adult who comments on a poem.



I am a cunning panther

Black as pitch black night


I leap quite majestically

I silently stalk my prey


I spring up to scale large trees

I growl like a deadly beast


As I am a cunning black panther

Black as pitch black night

Quin aged 10, Year 6, Hauraki School


Bright Green

Prickly, wet grass

yummy, juicy grapes

wobbly, slimy seaweed

bumpy, hard broccoli

Lincoln, Y2, Age 6, Barton Rural School



Big scary creature of the night

eagle like wings and fur not light

big scary creature of the night

claws like razors teeth like knives.

Big scary creature of the night

howling out my name

big scary creature of the night

please tell me you are tame.

Lucas, Y5, Age 9, Good Shepherd School



The shimmering sun.

The quailing wind smashes me.

The sand is so soft.

Logan, Y5, Age 8, Good Shepherd School


Night is a Fright

All the shadows on the wall make me fall, fall, fall

All the spooky sounds make me scramble

slip and fall

I try to think about my love of ponies

Bur it doesn’t help

I listen to my Mum and dad drink Sprite

oh how fizzy “oooo” what’s that sound? “ahhh”

I think only think night gives me a fright!

Jemima, Y2, Age 6, Good Shepherd School


The Night Sky

the stars glisten like Lake Tekapo

with the sun on it

the stars are shiny like black ice

white, like paper from the Bible


stars shoot through the sky

like rockets

Alex, Y6, age 10, Russley School


My Grandad

My grandad is as tall as a giraffe

My grandad is as friendly as a monkey

He wears blue glasses

like me

He used to sew up shirts in the air force

Now he carefully sews up my teddy bears

Josh, Y4, age 8, Russley School



She is as happy as a beautiful bright fish


She looks interested when she is watching

Chinese news


She helps me when I am scared

of the dark


She is a Chinese teacher

and artist


She draws flowers




and fire-breathing dragons

Sophia Y4, age 8, Russley School


Black Beard Dad

One time my dad caught a leaf

instead of a fish


He runs

a bit like Usain Bolt


He is a geologist

he blows up rocks


He wears a soft checked shirt


and has fillings between his teeth

like silver stars

Fergus Y3, age 7, Russley School



Plink, plonk, plink there is the rain

Plink, plonk, plink there it is again

Rain splashes on the roof of my house

like little girls doing tap

pitter, patter, pitter, patter

like a possum scampering

across our roof.

Meg Y3, Age 7, Carncot School


The Raging Bull

The ocean is an angry bull

Charging to the water’s edge

Pounding the seabed with its powerful horns

As the day goes on, he roars and roars

Carrying away sticks and stones


Licking his greasy hooves

The storm passes through

He sits with his head hung low

Calm and still

Waiting for the wind to blow and for the sky to turn grey

Sophie, Y6, Age 11, Carncot School



There is a giant monster in my house

Searching and perching on my couch

Munching and crunching on my favourite snacks

He hears the floor crack and is tempted to look  back

I run upstairs, knock my head

Only to find another monster in my bed

Antoinette, Y6, age 11, Carncot School


Winter Is Here

Icing sugar is falling from a crying cloud.

White messages are falling from the sky.

White owls in the sky are dropping their feathers.

Angels are losing teeth and are dropping them.

Little girls have frozen wands,

they are making it snow.

Sabina Y3, Age 7 Arrowtown School


Mapua Estuary

Where the shy hermit crabs scutter away from prying hands,

Where the nimble swallows flutter while chirping their careless songs.

Where the old boats gently bob like nodding heads,

Where the flapping flags cast a jittering shadow.

Where moorings fight an endless struggle against the tide,

Where live music drifts around crimson pohutukawa.

Where an army of pines sway in chorus with the rolling breeze,

Where seagulls clutter the skies scaring away the gently peace.

Where mud flats offer a feast to the restless oyster catchers,

Where driftwood quietly slips away, away to another faraway land.

Hamish, Y8, age 12, Arrowtown School


Winter River

Pebbles line the riverbed,

The bare willows lie above,

Riverweed starts to freeze,

Dead leaves rustle in the wind.


The bare willows lie above,

Sparrows fly overhead,

Dead leaves rustle in the wind,

With the crisp smell of the air.


Sparrows fly overhead,

Riverweed starts to freeze,

With the crisp smell of the air,

Pebbles line the riverbed.

Sarah Y8, age 12, Arrowtown school


Chocolate, a musical sensation

I tear open the purple wrapper

with a satisfying rip!

The taste is soothing and mellow

like smooth jazz,

an orchestra of flavours on my tongue.

It fills me with addictive adrenaline,

once I start I cannot stop,

a drum solo in my mouth.

My taste buds explode

all the flavours in harmony,

I give in and admit defeat.

Chocolate is …

the ultimate beat.

Paddy-Kees Y8, age 12, Arrowtown School


Rain Guardian

If I could control the rain

I would be called the Rain Guardian

I would go to places like Egypt, Africa and Iran

And water the crops making them come to life

I would donate water for dying children and people

I can help the Earth become a better place

I can heal the hearts and souls of people in the world


Anna Y6 Age 10, Fairburn School, South Auckland


Lonely Fox

Rain falling

leaves tumbling

fox squeaks

bush rumbling

water leaks

bees buzzing

fox drinks

spots a lynx


best friends

will never end.

Clara age 8, Ilam School



There is a boy waiting on  a fence.

Waiting, just waiting

for his father to come home.

There is a woman looking out a window down a gravel road


Waiting for her lover to come home,

home from the horrible battlefield


There is a mother with wrinkles of age painted on her face

sitting on a porch rocking back and forth, waiting.

Waiting for a child to come home.

She waits for the horror to end.


Waiting just waiting.


For a son,

a husband,

a father,

a man.

Waiting, just waiting

for a loved one to come home.

Jackson, Y8, age 12, Chisnallwood Intermediate, Christchurch















Paptoetoe Intermediate in South Auckland are a whizz at picture poems

I had two days at this school recently working with two groups of children. We explored how to use imagination, how to use ears and eyes and how to write from what you know and what you don’t know.

We started with a two-hour double group workshop that was magnificent. Lots of shared ideas as we made up poems together.

Here are some of the poems that come out of our workshops. There are some terrific picture poems and then some terrific regular poems. I adore the way Jade played with her lines. The words on the ends of her lines are outstanding! The picture poems are so good. Perhaps they will inspire other classes to try doing one. The students worked really hard on these. Fun to read out loud too! Eyes and ears were hard at work in all the poems.



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Cape Reinga

Sun sizzling


rocky cliffs high

waves converging ahead

a light house standing bright

howling winds


paper flies

smells waft toward

mystic hillsides

Artic drinks cold


a new journey



the horizon.





Burning sun

ocean views

palm trees swaying

left and right,

the smell


greasy pork

crunchy skin




America (Los Angeles)

Cabs hooting loud

shopping on 5th Avenue

tourists everywhere

flashing cmaeras

touchdowns, home runs, 3 pointers

skyscrapers taller than normal

celebrities hiding from paparazzi

dangerous drivers

car chases

oversized food, priceless experience

bumpy plane ride

fresh air.



Where My Nana Lies

White crosses everywhere

curvy shaped stones

in thousands of rows

brown pine cones

skinny twigs

flowers coloured like rainbows

solid grey stones

fresh cut grass

wafts into my nose

dark rocky dirt

feelings hurt

butterflies mutter around

speeding cars I see

white and gold embroidery

many rest in peace.



Old Home

Under the speckled trees

the siblings lie

listening to

sparrows fly by.

The smell of

freshly cut grass

fills the air.

While Dad mows the lawn

Mum watches us.

Cousins jumping

on the trampoline

squealing with delight.




saying thank you

There are many ways to say thank you. Sometimes I get cards in the mail and sometimes I get very lovely emails. In this busy busy world I still think it is important and lovely to say thank you.

It is something I try to do.

I really appreciate it when children thank me for a book I sent. But some children thank me for picking their poems or just for giving feedback when I didn’t pick their poems. That is pretty special!


I always feel like thanking teachers and Principals who work so hard in schools trying to make school a fabulous place to be. Such good ideas. Such hard work.

I just wanted to share this card I got by email as it felt very very special. I loved visiting Matarau School and doing Skype sessions. Amy and Brendan gave me permission to post this thank-you poem. It really moved me that they took the time to do this and to do it so creatively! Thank you so very much.




My Favourite busy busy busy busy poems and a challenge for you hidden in the post

I was so busy reading all your busy poems it took AGES!

Some of my favourite poems didn’t use rhyme but used strong detail to make a busy picture grow in my head as I read.

I especially loved the poems that surprised me with a line or an ending or the subject chosen. I loved going into the busy-ness of bees and ants. Some poems are funny and some are thoughtful. Some are so imaginative!

A poem tip: Lots of poems used rhyme for this challenge and when you use rhyme unless you are writing a nonsense poem make sure your rhyme fits the meaning. Sometimes it is like the rhyme is in charge of the poem and not the poet.

But sometimes rhyme is a shining star in a poem. It might be hiding on lines and it might be tricky nearly-sounding rhyme. It might be Dr Seussy rhyme that fits the topic and the meaning of the poem.


Here are just some of my favourites out of the huge truckload that arrived! Just becuase i didn’t choose your poem did not mean I didn’t like it as my letter will have shown.

It was really tough choosing a poet to send a book to but the ant poem really stuck with me. So I am sending Vivien a copy of The Letterbox Cat. Check out her poem.

Message for Finn: Did you know my partner Michael Hight does beehive paintings? He is famous for them!

A  c h a l l e n g e:  One way to get to be a better poet is to read poems others write! That’s what I do. I never stop reading poems by other adults and children. Tell me which your favourite poem is here and why and  add a comment to this post. If I get at least ten comments, I have one copy of The Letterbox Cat for my favourite comment. Please add your age, year and school. Email me if you have trouble posting it. paulajoygreen@gmail.com


Our Busy Family
Our busy family
Bizz bizz bizz
Busy like
A bizzerator family
My family
Has 800 bizzerators

 Jamie F 6 years old. Year 2. Ilam School


Busy Bees

Bees making honeycomb
At rapid fire speed


Bees hurriedly warding off a bear


Queen bee giving orders

Busy artist paints them

Finn P Ilam School, Christchurch, Year 4



The cornfield
is as gold as the sun
it waves
like they are
saying goodbye
I lie down
in the sunlight
with birds singing
around me
the birds are busy
the soldiers are busy
except me
Vesper W Age: 6  Year 2  Ilam School, Christchurch


Busy Busy Busy

Busy Busy Busy
As busy as bees
Working till the house shimmers like diamonds
Splish splash splosh
Goes the mop on the floor
It’s spick and span
But soon it will get dirty
So we will have to clean again.
Oskar R aged 7, Year 2, Ilam School



Busy / ysub

Busy, the bees,
working in the busy tree,
Ysub, the busy ants work in the busy hole.
Busy, the busy birds work to make a nest.
Ysub, the busy knights are getting ready for war.
Busy, the busy penguins are searching for food.
Ysub, the busy builders are making buildings, busy.

Ronnie L, year 3, age 8, Ilam Primary School



The ant hill

Citizens hurry to bring their
queen winter supplies.
Back and forth, back and forth.

Their world is extremely
different from our own.
it builds up faster and
more efficiently.

Adapting to the
ever-changing environment.
A fast world inside a slow one.

This society will
survive longer much
longer than ours.

Vivien Silver- Hessey age 10 Paparoa Street School


Busy gets very busy and often very clumsy
She bumps and stubs her toe
And scavengers for food very like a slowpoke.
Scurrying the street and bumping into folks
Jumps in her grey car
Causing a traffic jam
And drives into a dam.
A crowd of fluffy lambs
Come to the scene
At least she’s just a friend
My crazy friend BUSY!
By Alice Aged 11, Paparoa Street School


Hermoine being busy

Hermoine was busy

because she got a time turner first term that’s why she went two places at once. Professor McGonagall gave it to her because she signed up for all the lessons last year. At the end of the year she

needed it for a very important task. To save Sirius, Harry’s godfather from the dementers’ kiss. They managed to save him on Buckbeak, Hagrid’s hippogriff. They had to save him too because his head was going to be chopped off. Sirius flew away on Buckbeak to a cave.

Lily  Y2, Age 6, Paekakariki School
School time

Shining bright into my eyes the sun rises.

Yawning I get out of bed.

The switch flicks on then suddenly my brain starts working.  School.

Throwing on my uniform I glance at my watch 7:10am.

Multi tasking, scoffing down Weet-bix and putting on my shoes.

Rushing the toothbrush along my molars scraping them clean.

My body finds the warmth of my jacket as I sling on my school bag and shout my goodbyes.

Thud! thud! Clanking, heavy shoes on the new footpath.

Running for the bus, skidding to a stop.

The bus slows and the well oiled doors slide open.

Jasper, St Peter’s School, Cambridge


Busy Me

Busy Busy me waiting by the oven

checking the time again and again

Busy Busy me making a pie

no time to taste it, put it up high

Busy Busy me time to make a pie

shoo away the pesky fly

Lara Lamont Y7, Age 11, St Peters School


The Ocean Of People

Bang! Whack! You trip, and you fall,

You’re lost in a crowd, as you aren’t very tall,

You’re late, and you’re lost, and it’s not going well,

You’re in need of a map but there’s no time to dwell,

Your lace is untied, you can’t find the train station,

You stand squished in queue in terrible frustration,

When you finally get to the front of the line,

You look at the clock and it’s quarter past nine,

It’s all too much, you need to go home,

You tired, you’ve had too much of a roam,

So off you slope through the bustling crowd,

Off to a place, you know won’t be loud.

Mimi, St Peter’s School, Cambridge



The hurry,
The rush,
You walk,
Not noticing what is going on,

You suddenly stop,
You see what you are missing,
Yet you start to walk fast again,
You rush,
You hustle,
You stay what you always are,

Caitlin M 10 years old St Andrew’s College, Preparatory