Monthly Archives: June 2013

My great-grandfather planted


My great grandfather planted
apple trees in Mapua,
he might have panned
for gold in Arrowtown’s icy river.

I ate a scone, a little dark chocolate
and watched a small white dog
scoot across the park on three legs.

I squatted in the Chinaman’s hut
and felt history flap about me
like a flock of birds.


It’s like walking on icing sugar!

When I can I will keep a poetry diary of my mini holiday. In keeping with the week’s competition I will try and include food and at least one simile. This is a true story!

It is nice to be in the beautiful south!

I was going to cycle the Queenstown trail today but will rest my bruise and wander Queenstiwn with my girls instead.

The Remarkables

It’s like walking on icing sugar
polka dot clouds in the sky
sun shining but it’s the four
layers that keep me warm.

I am zigzagging down hill
crisp mountain air sweet
on my cheeks, when
slam smash thump

a snowboarder
tackles me to the snow
his snowboard slamming
into my leg at break leg speed.

The bag of snow bites
into my bruise.
The tomato soup,
hot spicy creamy,
goes down my throat
like exploding pockets
of sunshine.

Ask an Author ….. A Friday challenge


I want to post some more author interviews over the coming months, so I want to get you  involved.

If you feel like it:  Send me the name of a New Zealand children’s author you would like me to interview and say why.  Then include TWO questions you would like me to ask the author. I don’t mind if they only write stories.

I will pick some of my favourites and see if I can track the authors down! (I have already lined up Kyle Mewburn for this year but you can still pick him!)

Send to Include your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s name and email address if you like.

radio. mountains. food. similes. whoosh I’m off!

Greetings poetry fans

I am off to the South Island today to walk and ski, and walk and see a glacier or two. So I may not have much internet access until later on next week. (So maybe you will see some mountains instead of the same old beach photos!)

Yesterday I had a great chat with Kathryn Ryan live on National Radio. It is really strange sitting in a small room with ginormous headphones on and talking to some one you can’t see, It makes you really concentrate on what the person is saying. She does it all morning and is really good at it. When I was driving home I thought of all the things I could have said. A radio is not like a first draft when you write. You can’t fill in and edit. But the general idea was that children’s poetry is a wonderful thing to be involved with as both reader and writer, teacher or parent.

You can listen to the interview here:

Meanwhile you have until next Thursday (July 4th 6pm) to send me your food poems with a simile. Send to Include your name, age, year and name of school. You may include your teacher’s name and email if you like.

If you are new to this blog you always check back through the poetry challenges and send me in a poem (click on poetry challenges in the sidebar). I always write back to children who do the challenges and I post my favourite poems. I can’t post everything so if you miss out try again. (That’s what authors do, keep writing and keep sending!)

Sophia’s underwater realm

Sophia told me she didn’t use similes but she used metaphors. See if you can spot them. This is a poem as rich as the deep sea. The length of the lines suits the poem.

The Underwater Realm


A watery Kingdom,

An underwater world

Hidden from view, lost in a forest of slimy tentacles

Stingrays stand guard in their black and white uniforms, defending a vault of sand dollars

Clownfish perform while a school of fish are learning about boats

Catfish chase their tails and seahorses gallop in circles

But all is hidden from view, blocked by a wall of waving arms, reaching for the sky

Nothing can be seen by the outside world but a few scattered fish, lost in the paths of the sea

All is veiled by a slimy barrier of seaweed


I am from Saint Kentigern Girls School, I am 11 years old and am in Year 7.


East Taieri School takes off like a fleet of birds

Year 5 and 6 from East Taieri School have sent in some poems and I would like to post some of them. They took up my idea of seeing unusual things together.

Ben has written a poem about skiing, and as I am hopefully about to have a day on the mountain in Queenstown this weekend, this struck a chord with me! He has captured a moment beautifully and used some surprising similes. I am hoping my skis don’t take off like birds! Great job Ben.

A crash on a snowy slope

As I clip my skis on I see people skiing down the soft snowy slope.

The lifts take off like a fleet of birds ready to roam.

My skis slide and my poles push down the slope.

The snow is like water flicking into the air.

I look up and see the people in the lifts waiting to get to the top.

But without looking in front of me my skis flip and …THUMP!

My legs are crossed and I slide fast down the slippery ice out of control but I say to myself,

“No need to worry everyone crashes in skiing.”

So I uncross my legs and push, push, push with all my might like a fighter wanting to win the battle and …

Finally I am up sliding down the hill like a pro.


Ella  has had fun with a list of surprising things and not so surprising things. I like the way she moved from dogs barking to double rainbows.  I also think the short lines work really well. Great job Ella!

A normal morning

In the morning I see and hear

Cars on the rail way track

Shoes hanging from power lines

Dogs barking

Double rainbows

Cows mooing

Wheels squeaking

Trees creaking —

and that is all in a  normal morning

By Ella


Julian has written a poem that is a bit like a story (which is always fun!). He has found a great rhythm and I like the way his poem offers a little surprise — this could actually happen! Great job Julian.

At the beach 

As I run along the beach

I kick the ball across the soft sand

Into a little pool

In there I see two giant crabs

A limpet hanging for its life

A couple of tiny fish swimming in a group…

Then strangely enough I see a two dollar coin

Will I take the risk of getting snipped by a crab and get it…

Or shall I be good ?

By Julian 


I like the way Jack’s poem has a sense of humour and is slightly whacky. I was pleased to see it turned out all right in the end. This poem made me laugh. Great job Jack.

At the Dental School

When I go to the dental school

And get into the room, I see…

Lots of groovy glasses on patients’ faces,

Lights as bright as a car head lights turned on full,

Dentist men looking funny in dresses, wearing their masks, linking up, waiting like soldiers

ready to battle those naughty teeth.

I lie down with my mouth open as wide as I can.

Then the man says “No problems here, You’re free to go.”

My dream Dental School visit.

By Jack 


Laura Ranger’s similes pop and sparkle

When Laura Ranger was a child she wrote poems (she is now an adult!). She wrote really good poems that lots of people loved. She had her poetry published in magazines, she won prizes and Bill Manhire picked one of her poems to go in his book 100 New Zealand Poems. Then, most exciting of all, Godwit (Random House) published a little book of her poems in 1995 (Laura’s Poems).

Unknown  Unknown   Unknown  Unknown  Unknown   Unknown   Unknown

What I love about Laura’s poems is that they are about ordinary things in her world and that she also uses her imagination. These are some of her titles: ‘Mum’ ‘My Dad’ ‘My House’ ‘My Dog’ ‘It Gets Dark’ ‘Winter’ ‘My Zoo.’ Laura usually only puts a few words on a line, sometimes she uses a little rhyme and she always adds great detail. Sometimes her poems are like tiny stories; you can tell she has used her eyes and ears. What often makes her poems pop and sparkle for me are the similes she uses.

I don’t have permission to post a poem, but here are some of Laura’s similes:

‘My skin is as smooth/ as a piece of driftwood/ on Otakei beach’   from Sands

‘The moon is a silver hubcap/ in the sky.’    from God

‘The hills curve and rise/ like loaves of bread’   from The Sea

Laura’s book is out-of-print now sadly but you can find it in libraries.

See if you can find a copy and tell me about your favourite poem in the book.

Use it as a starting point to write one of your own. Send to Include your name, age, year and name of school. You may include your teacher’s name and email if you like. Say it is Laura’s challenge.

alien seaweed challenge

When Molly, Nonu and I were on the beach this morning I spotted something odd —  I had no idea what it was. I started hunting for similes as we walked along the beach. This what I came up with in my head. It is not a polished poem … just a first draft!

Take a look at the photo and see if you can come up with some good similes and a seaweed poem. Send to Include your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s name and email address if you like.

Beach Walk

This morning I saw something strange.

It looked like a little alien sleeping in the sand

or a strange octopus that had crawled

from the deep sea,

or an exotic flower blown

in from China,

or a slithery snake with three tails.

Molly and Nonu sniffed

and licked, tails wagging

at the alien seaweed.


a little dog story

Usually our dogs run with Michael on the beach north in the morning for five kilometres, and sometimes Molly comes with me as I walk to the south end of the beach.

Today, however, it was just me on the beach with the dogs. Nonu is nearly blind and is used to running and sticking close to Michael. So today was confusing for him. First he kept stopping to wait for Michael and then I would have to call out to him so he could find me again. Once he gave up on waiting, he started barking at me to start running and the only way I could stop him breaking the peace and quiet of the beach was to run! Finally, after I bathed his eyes with sea water, he walked along with me sticking close. Molly, on the other hand dashes and darts all over the beach.

This is exactly the kind of story I like to turn into a poem. I will pop it in my notebook!

Check out my photos:

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