A Phantom Billstickers National Poetry Day celebration: Gemma wins a NASA space camp & writes poems with her brother Daniel plus a challenge




Kennedy Space Centre


Long time Poetry-Box contributors, Gemma and Daniel, have just finished a great big American adventure.  I invited them to share poems and photos.

It felt like the perfect way to celebrate National Poetry Day.


A challenge: If you have something special coming up and would like to make a poem-photo diary for Poetry Box (with parental permission) let me know what you have planned. I will let you know if I am keen to post it and give you tips. 

Or an idea for a poem feature. Tell me what you would like to do. I can not post ALL but I can post a few.

write about your idea to: paulajoygreen@gmail.com

Tell me which school you go to, your age and put POEM FEATURE in the subject line please. I will just choose two or three.


p o e m s    a r e     a    w a y     o f         d  r  e a  m  i  n  g


I loved reading these poems because they set me dreaming about space and beaches and movies and magic and travelling the world – from my kitchen chair. Thank you!


From Gemma:

I was selected from student applicants across the world to receive a full tuition Hall of Fame scholarship to attend a 6 day space camp programme at the U.S. Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville, Alabama. I then had to fundraise to pay for my airfare, which I did by completing 6 weeks of sponsored challenges (that was exhausting!).

At space camp I spent the week with 15 other trainees, aged 9-11, and we did all sorts of amazing science and engineering challenges including: building and launching solid fuel rockets, astronaut training on simulators, mars and space shuttle mission simulations (I was flight controller on the space shuttle!) and more. We also did lots of learning about astronomy and the history of space flight, and met astronaut Hoot Gibson.

I was invited to visit Cape Canaveral and the Space Coast as well, so we decided to make this trip as a family, so my science crazy brother could have some amazing experiences too. Then we built a road trip around it, so we got to see some of America while we were there.

Our ages are Gemma – 11 and Daniel – 8.



Gemma at space camp


The poems

(We mostly wrote the poems together, usually when we were driving because we did a lot of that!)


4th of July


Fireworks that disappear in a silvery cloak

Explosions swallowed by the hungry night

Illuminated splashes of colour pierce the air

Sparks rain down from a translucent sky

Loud rumbles echo overhead as the gods battle in the heavens

Colours flood along the seamless sea

Light fades away into the endless wall of nothing

But the magic is everywhere Gulf coast



Universal Studios

There is a place

As big as the universe

Where you walk around and around

And around and around

Until you don’t know where you started or where it ends.

Did you start in Diagon Alley?

Or within the mayhem of the Minions?

Where did you emerge after saving the princess?

And how did you transform into this dark character in a dark world

When just moments ago you were laughing with woody woodpecker

In this universe

You see twinkles in the visitors’ eyes

And you know

Anything is possible



Diagon Alley, Universal Studios


Gulf Coast beaches


Some of the most beautiful in the world

But all I can see

Is a sea of people

Sweeping down the coast

An endless wave of colour

Reaching for the horizon



Hemingway’s Cats


Hidden in sweltering heat

You might find cats

With five toes on their feet


Roaming a tropical paradise

Seeking shade

That is cool and nice


Hemingway is famous as a writer

But for us, seeing his cats

Made our visit brighter



The Florida Keys


A chain of bridges

Joins the island keys

Each one different

Hinting at the personality of the island ahead

Yet each one the same

Crossing the crystal Atlantic

A magic carpet

Connecting people


Screen Shot 2017-08-19 at 10.41.58 AM.png
Florida Keys


Alabama Ice Cream

*In Alabama they have really crazy ice cream flavours.  We wonder what a kiwi ice cream poem might be like?


Are you back from the trail?


Alabama pot hole

Deer tracks


Raccoon stripes


At the fair?

I recommend

Candy floss

Play dough

Or perhaps

Rainbow sherbet


Watching a movie?

It must be


Pirates treasure

Or even

Martian rocks dipping dots


And at the end of the day,

Indulge in

A Lemon sorbet

To keep that sweet tooth at bay






B eautiful turquoise water

A bundant sea life

H appy people everywhere

A place to swim with pigs

M uch to do

A tlantis its own Paradise

S unsets stretching in to the morning



New Life for Mum’s Sunglasses


The boat flew across the turquoise

The strong wind whipped the sunglasses

Right off mum’s face

They landed on a stingray

He thought he looked stylish

So he splashed about along the sandy bottom

Showing off

Until a fish swiped the sunnies

And swam away

Through the crystal ocean

The fish didn’t see the shark

His new glasses were too dark

The shark swallowed him whole

But spat out the glasses

When he swum forward

They stuck to his face

And suddenly he was looking super cool

He flaunted his new look

But was so busy looking at himself

In the reflecting water

That he crashed

Into iguana island

The sunglasses flipped off his head

Sailing through the air

Landing on a big ol’ iguana

Who said, “Who turned out the lights”?

The other iguanas wanted those sunnies

So they fought and scrapped

The glasses dropped back into the glassy tide

And floated away

A day later

On a nearby island

A pig called Panda saw something sparkling off the shore

He swam toward it

It could be food

But the sunnies bounced off a wave onto his face

The pig grinned

He turned to his piggy friends

And said

“My future’s so bright,

I gotta wear shades!”





About Huntsville, Alabama


It IS Rocket Science


In the rocket city

There’s a rocket around every corner

People rocket around

Talking about rockets

Rocking it

In The Rocket City





The Mars Generation


Eager young faces

Look to the stars

Searching for the path

To our new destination…





Sweet home Alabama


The locals long to listen to

Our kiwi accent

And dream of coming to

New Zealand

Just as we soak up the southern hospitality

And dream of staying in



Look Out Mountain


In the Appalachian range

Is a mountain they call

Look Out

Because it is so steep

That the train runs almost









And the view from the top is

Astonishing as you


Look Out

Over 5 states

Then descend

Within the heart of the hill

To find the cavern of crystals

The underground waterfall and

Mysterious magic of the mountain


Tornado Terror


Twirling twister

Tearing up trouble

Sending alerts off everywhere

Trees trembling in the vacuum torrent

Will it be ripping things to shreds?

Will there be roofs coming off?

Rocketing rubble everywhere

Causing death and destruction

Tragic and terrifying


(Daniel wrote this while the tornado was happening, then afterwards we used it to make the tornado shape poem J


Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 1.13.40 PM.png



16 States


USA has 50 states

To see them all would be so great

And so the mission has begun

To tick them off and have some fun:


Californ-i-a – a nice place to stay

Arizona – we could phone ya

New York – its all talk

Delaware – just didn’t care

New Jersey – felt so free

Washing DC – that was easy

Nevada – was a little harder

Ohio – had to try so

Texas – tried to hex us

Georgia – have I bored ya?

Alabama – heard strange grammar

Kentucky – we got lucky

Mississippi – not too tricky

Tennessee – done, yippee!

North Carolina – couldn’t be finer


Florida – weather couldn’t be horrider!




Screen Shot 2017-08-24 at 1.15.10 PM.png



Thanks Gemma and Daniel – I really enjoyed reading these.




Gulf Coast Beach (clearwater)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s