Curious poems, curious things–thank you Curioseum!

The_Curioseum_cover-197x300   The_Curioseum_cover-197x300

I introduced you to this astonishing new book from Te Papa Press called The Curioseum: Collected Stories of the Odd and the Marvellous (It’s filled to an electric brim with poems, stories and illustrations). You can hear some of the writers read here! See my post here.

These are my favourite poems from my challenge to write about an object that fascinates you.

It was really hard to pick just one poet to give a copy of the book to, but thanks to Te Papa Press I am sending a copy to Mitchell. I loved how he used so few words to say so much. He made the watch come alive for me.

First up Ewen‘s terrific poem. I love the mood of this poem and I definitely agree with the ending! She told me: ‘I borrowed this book, The Curiouseum, from our local library and my favourite part was ‘The Saurus’ by Marisa Maepu, I loved how this animal ate so many words that it couldn’t fit in its book! My poem is about my grandfather’s calculator.’


Complicated Simplicity

From my grandfather

math teacher,

something filled

with numbers.


Inscribed in small,

delicate letters,

‘mini calculator’

it says.


Though how

does it work,

my brother comes

to see,

clicking numbers

discovering how.


It’s simple when

you know how

but more complicated

than it looks.


Ewen aged 11, Year 7, Cobham Intermediate School, Christchurch


Dylan‘s poem has super-duper detail and super-duper similes. I love the picture it makes in my head and I love the ending! Great job!


My Witch

I bought a witch from the shops.

Her hat is like a dinner-plate

with a carrot on the top.

Her hair looks like spider webs

her eyes are like pebbles.

Her eyebrows are like caterpillars

or worms.

Her nose is bony

she has a broomstick chin.

Her shoes are black and old

(they are dirty too)

her toes are poking out.

I think my witch

needs a bath.

by Dylan O, 6yrs old, Year 2, Roydvale School, Christchurch


My other favourite poems for this challenge came in a cluster from Russley School in Christchurch. The teacher (and writer!) Melanie Koster told me this:  ‘I brought in some old, curious objects to school to inspire the young poets. We had an old pocket-watch, a florin and a battered old German dictionary that was given to my grandfather while he was in a POW camp in Germany.

I got a copy of The Curioseum and read a couple of pieces to the children (fantastic book! Thanks for the recommendation!) We also listened to some of the writers read their work on YouTube.’

How wonderful! Here is what a couple of the young poets came up with (I loved them all but just picked a few to post today):

I love the way Riley‘s poem ends and the way it flows:


Bang! Clatter!

I’m made.

1962 has a new florin in town.


I’ve met up with my million relatives.

I’m thrown in a big sack.

The top opens

thousands of my relatives

start screaming.

As they go away from me

tears start to roll down

my surface.


As 46 years have passed

I’ve nearly been around every shop

but one

antique store.


I see a person walking in

through a small crack

in the cash register

He purchases a pound of butter

he hands over five dollars

the register opens

I’m handed over to the man.


He walks straight over the road

and into the antique store.

He looks at me and I look back

I’m put on the shelf

as an antique.

By Riley G, Year 7


Holly‘s poem has great detail and sounds good when you say it out loud:

I Am the Great Old Book

I’m old

a great old book

I’m thin

the front of me is bent

I was published in Great Britain

my spine is getting wrecked

and turning light green

edges coloured with pinky purple

and cream

By Holly, Year 5


MItchell‘s poem shows how an object can hold such memories and move you:

The soldier’s watch

looks like a circle

the back is green

with silver sparkles


sounds like guns

banging very loud


feels sad in the heart

missing family


smells like gunpowder

By Mitchell, Year 7


Azryn‘s poem is short but full of things to discover in it:

Understanding German


The old tattered spine

has string falling out.

Nowhere to go but on a bookshelf.

Should it be in a museum or

should it be in a house?

My prisoner of war number will always

be remembered.

By Azryn Year 6


Monica‘s poem makes a book come alive inside her poem with stunning detail. I loved it!:

Life of a Book

I was once a beautiful tree.

My leaves were so smooth that they shined,

but the axe cut through my waist,

a disgusting stump left behind.


My body was sliced into slithers,

a needle stitched me together.

Words were tattooed on my belly,

I was bound in a cover of leather.


I rode in a monster of wheels,

to a place of joy and delight.

I was placed with more of my kind,

and stayed there overnight.


In the early morning a bell rang,

adults and kids filled the shop

I felt myself fly through the air,

and then I came to a stop.


In front of my cover a girl stood,

she opened me up wide,

she read the words that covered me

I felt an amazing feeling inside.


I heard her read my story,

of adventure, mystery and quest,

I felt the love that she had for me,

my heart felt very blessed.


Now I’m a very old book.

my home is the little girl’s shelf.

I’ve watched her live her life.

now she’s getting old herself.


That girl made my life amazing,

I’m glad I’m the one that she took

I was once a beautiful tree,

and now I’m a beautiful book.

By Monica K, Year 7

3 thoughts on “Curious poems, curious things–thank you Curioseum!

  1. Aunty M

    Oops! Sorry Dylan, I think when I emailed your poem in I made a wee typo, I think your poem is supposed to read “Her HAT is like a dinner-plate with a carrot on the top” (not ‘hair’!)
    My apologies! Super duper poem anyway. :o)


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