how did a red wheel barrow get to be so famous?

Yesterday I was gong to post photos of our cats and today I was going to post photos of where I write, but I can’t find the battery charger for my camera. So I will do something completely different!

But first a patch of synchronicity (a word that here means when two unrelated events match). We have a foreign-language challenge on Poetry Box at the moment so it was a real surprise to hear two surfers walk behind me on the beach this morning speaking a language I didn’t recognise. It was Portuguese, but they weren’t from Portugal they were from Brazil! That is a long way away.

Today the sky and the beach were grey, but I kept seeing colour on my way. It reminded me of a really, really famous poem by William Carlos Williams called ‘The Red Wheelbarrow’. It was written in 1923, has 8 lines (4 couplets) and 16 words. It is a snip of a poem (like hot breath leaving a mark on a cold window), but so many people have said so much about it. It shows that you can do a lot with a handful of words when you write a poem. I am not sure if I can post it here, but you could go hunting and find it on the internet. Tell me if you find it.

What I love about the poem (there is so much to love) are the two colours that shine out: ‘red’ and ‘white.’

I thought it would be fun to write a poem about my walk today but also to invite you to write a poem with colours in. You can write a short poem like Carlos or a longer one like me. You could use just one or two colours or use lots (like a garden wild with colour!). I will post my favourites (I might be able to find a book prize for one poem!)

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


Here is my poem draft. It doesn’t sound right yet. So I will look at it again tomorrow! You can give me feedback if you like (like I do to you!) because this poem needs more work.


The Grey Day

out of the day glazed with grey

a black rooster with a red comb

a horse wearing a pale blue coat

a piece of orange rind on the black sand

a shrivelled yellow ball that will never bounce

footprints like stitching across the wet sand

two walkers dressed like black rocks

black rocks shivering like walkers in raincoats

purple jellyfish opening out like Japanese fans

little bluebottles that look like blue pebbles

a rusty pinecone and a pink hairclip


the misty grey racing in from the sea

is not like concrete, it’s like hairspray


there is a gull flying over me high

squawking, squawking, squawking

as if to say hello and good morning

unless they squawk and squawk

even when the beach is empty

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