Monthly Archives: September 2021

Poetry Box September challenge: some favourite lockdown poems

Photo courtesy of Marlon and Angelo

REPLYING TO YOUR EMAILS: I have received so many poems and emails in lockdown, I discovered I missed replying to some for the other challenges. If I don’t reply to your email a few days after the deadline please let me know.

TIP: I can’t post PDFs. Sadly some cool poetry missed out as I don’t have time to type your poems out.

TIP: Wait at least a day before you send your poem, read it aloud, and make sure you are happy with hopw it flows.

NEW CHALLENGE: October 1st (I am excited!)

Thank you so much for sending in such a TREASURE HOUSE of lockdown poems. I loved the way you showed how poems can do a GALAXY of things, how using your ears and eyes helps when you write a poem, how imaginations are cool and real life is equally cool in a poem.

I loved how Chloe wrote about her favourite lockdown meal (pasta carbonara), how some of you thought about cats, how Jerry showed how a book can be important, how Isabella used capital letters to start every word, a bit like how lockdown is full of capital letters (we see things stand out when we go walking).

I loved how Rameeen showed the sunset colours she sees when she goes out walking, how Margarita looks at Covid Earth from the moon, how Isabella shifted her boredom to getting better at something, how Ameer used a handful of words to celebrate listening to the rain, how Alexia’s kebab poem has a superb and surprising twist, how some poets were were inspired by Edgar Allen Poe.

How Mia dreams of Denmark and how Linna shows the importance of kindness is.

I loved how Megan gave us a recipe for lockdown with a perfect ending (just what I need). I finish the post with her poem and April’s splendid sea poem. Great notes to end on.

So many wonderful poems and as always I am so sorry I can’t post them all. This is never a competition – this is is a chance to fall in love with what poetry can do – to find your own words to share a thousand ways of feeling and thinking and being in the world.

WHEN I AM OUT OF LOCKDOWN: I will send books to Chloe (Westmere School), Megan (Kingsway School), Ollie (Merrin School), Alexia (Russley School), Gus (Richmond School) and Dante (Ilam School).

The Poems

Lockdown Kindness     

Kindness is a thing that goes ping ping ping.
It’s important  to be kind during lockdown.
When most people’s faces have a frown. 
If you make them happy you will have the kindness crown.
Talk to people nicely.
Don’t eat anything spicy.
Or you will go……. 

Linna C, Y3, age 8, College Street Normal School

My Book

A magical portal within my reach,
A world of my own, and my own to share,
A way to travel and see Charlie’s Giant Peach,
A place to make new friends with elves and hares.

Jerry, age 12, Y8, Churchhill Park School

A Night in Lockdown

The rain 
splattered on the roof. 
The moon 
spread her arms wide 
and lit up my house. 
A turtle dived
into the sea  
to catch a jellyfish.
The trees waved 
in the wind.
Two horses 
are walking slowly 
in the snow.
The ice crystal clear.

Dante A, Y3, age 7, Ilam School

Chloe’s Carbonara

Chloe’s cheesy, crunchy, crispy carbonara.
Soggy eggy sauce.
Sweet and salty.

Chloe L, age 5, Westmere School


When i wake up i see rain i hear the pitter patter on
the tin roof i open my cold door that feels like ice
i walk down the hall to be greeted by the smell of
bacon frying.
i taste the bacon    the bacon takes me on a journey to a sunny day.
Maybe rain is not so bad

Gus, Y6, aged 10, Richmond Rd School

A Sweet Treat

”Beep, Beep, Beep” the timer going off
The air smells strong and sweet
I grab the black tea towel from the bench,
Slowly I look inside the old oven
”Let’s see if it’s done,” I say impatiently
I pick up a long sharp wooden kebab stick
Carefully I pull out the pan from the scorching hot oven,
I stick the clean kebab stick in the batter to see if it’s ready
It comes out looking the same as it did before
I exclaim, ”Wow”, impressed at how it turned out.
After an hour of letting It cool, as gently as possible
I flip the tin upside down onto a plate
”It’s ready!” I yell
Suddenly a big stampede of elephants come running down the hall
Excitingly wanting the sweet treat on the bench

Alexia M, Y7/8, Russley School


I hear the thump as the tūī hits the ground.
In lockdown there is normally not a move,
Not a sound.

I smell the smell of brownies from a cook.
In lockdown most of us settle down with a book.
I see the early morning trees.
In lockdown we sit down,
Loong cups of tea.

Miri H, Y6, Richmond Road School

Apart          from         friends


 17 August 2021
All of New Zealand moved to Alert Level 4 at 11:59pm 

Dad came to pick 
me up from school, 
it was half past four, he said 
“bring anything home that you will need 
we could go into lockdown”. 
I was just standing there 
stunned like a petrified goldfish 
but then Dad said “go”. 
I went and ran to get my stuff. 
Then we left.
Mum made dinner, we all helped. 
Then while we were eating it 
We listened to the announcement. 
The levels had changed.


31 August 2021
All of New Zealand south of Auckland moves to Alert Level 3 at 11:59pm. Auckland and Northland remain at Alert Level 4.

After two weeks we went into level three 
but that didn’t change anything. 
Mum still going to the supermarket,
masked and handsanitiser
waiting for her when she gets home. 

2 September 2021
Northland moves to Alert Level 3 at 11:59pm. 
All of New Zealand except Auckland is now at Alert Level 3. 
Auckland remains at Alert Level 4.

7 September 2021
New Zealand except Auckland moves to Alert Level 2 at 11:59pm. Auckland remains at Alert Level 4.

After 3 weeks of not being able 
to see my friends in person 
I could finally see them 
but not hug them or touch them. 
School was almost normal with specialists
but online assembly in the class. 
Desks           spaced         out          and           distended
Apart       from        friends. 
Apart       from        everyone.

Forever hoping that we go into level one 

Emily B, age 11, Selwyn House School

The Mixed up ‘Backs to Fronts’ Wild Animals!

In my zoo I have a Cata-Lion and it is as fierce as a T-Rex
In my garden I have a Bun-Ingo and it is as friendly as a cute bunny.
In the wild there is an Eag-Cher and is as scary as a dinosaur made of fire.
In my zoo I have a Kiwi-Egg, brown and white.Its feathers are as soft as foam and its shell is as hard as a table.

Silvia, Phoenix, Seb, Zoe, aged 5, New Entrants, Westmere School


Lying in bed,
listening to the rain,
it sounds like an egg on a pan, or a static radio.
My whole room drowning in darkness.
Sitting in silence
I feel like the whole world is empty,
just like my head.

Ameer L, age 10 years old, Y6, Ilam School


I dream of going to Denmark,
In a plane high in the sky,
Where no eyes can spy.
I went there once,
As six years old,
Before the world was on hold.
We could go if we saved a lot,
And Delta,
Has caused this idea to rot.
I dream of looking at rows of brick houses,
In a straight line,
Of probably more than nine.
I dream of biting into food,
And feel it run down my throat,
While I wrote.
I dream of staying with my relatives,
For a year,
As an exchange.
Even though everything would be strange.
I dream of going to school there,
For that exchange year.
How different would it be from here?
There are no uniforms,
And only some teachers create storms.
How would it be to wear whatever I wanted?
From hoop earrings,
And ripped jeans.
It would be nice to actually wear my things.
Like bracelets,
And rings.
I dream of going to one of the Queen’s many palaces.
Eating ice cream,
So good I could scream.
Walking through white doorways,
Seeing wonder after wonder.
Everything a – gleam.
I dream of Denmark.

Mia C, Y7, Age 11, Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School


We Put Our Shoes On, And The Dog’s Collar On Too
To The University We Go, I Shout
We Walk, And We Walk, And We Finally Arrive
We Sit Down On A Small Hill To Have A Picnic
We Take Out The Food We Packed, Delicious I Say
Everyone Agrees With Me And We Go Further Into The University
There Are Some Traffic Lights
Some Of Us Go Left Others Go Right
The Dog Won’t Budge, He Likes His Mum
We Wait For Her, She Comes, It Did Not Take Long
Now The Dog Will Move And We Continue On Our Journey.

Isabella S, age 11, Selwyn House School

In lockdown from the moon

In lockdown from the moon
I see darkness all around
I see comets zooming like cars on the street
I see the mountains below
I see the seas and oceans as blue as my pillow
I see forest as green as grass
I see a planet circling the sun
I see craters like fingerprints on the moon
The clouds, the clouds as white as cream

Margarita G, age 7, Ilam School


I pull out the mixing bowl, set it aside
butter melting,
flour sifting, and sprinkling.
yeast bubbling, coming alive, 
egg cracking,
yolk falling like the sun

proving in the dark, warm cupboard,
oven preheating, hands kneading
warm dough
sticking to my hands, like glue
greasing the old, silver tin, with buttered paper,
placing the tin in the middle rack of the beeping oven,
toasty, comforting aromas fill the room,

crust cracking,
soft centre, like
smooth strawberry jam,
slides across the loaf.

Amelia G, age 12, Russley School


Pikelets are so yum
I’m going to cook me some
Flour, milk, sugar, and egg
With a little bit of salt my brother begs
Mix and stir and put it in the pan
Wait for a minute and flip it as carefully as I can
Smells so good can’t wait to taste it
It’s soft and milky there’s no way I’m going to waste it

Saraiyah, Y4 , aged 8, Richmond Road School

Waking in Lockdown

Waking in lockdown is like being trapped
In a stone prison
Having the hardest time
Being stuck
Far from
Your favourite friend
Nearly being struck
By lightning

Leo F, age 7, Y 2, Ilam School

Three poems inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s ‘The Raven’


Darkness cuddled me
Moon hugs me tight through the night
Until day creeps back

Yiying Q, age 9, Y5, Parnell School


Ravenous ravens roaming for food.
Across the woods they roar.
Violent beaks cawing louder than before.
Echoing through the darkness.
Nightmares, they cause frightening things.

Nina W, age 9, Y5, Parnell School


Three blocks down,
Deep into the ground,
Soil covers my head,
Still alive, not dead,
Mobs growl above,
A world with no love,
Need reach dawn,
I mustn’t respawn,
No light, no sight,
Ten minutes to midnight.

Jason R, age 10, Y5, Parnell School

If I Could Hypnotize My Cat

If I could hypnotize my cat 
I’d make him do my homework 
And if he saw a bird
I’d make sure he didn’t lurk
If I could hypnotize my cat 
Id make him make my dinner
He would make me pizza, 
Yum what a winner
If I could hypnotize my cat 
I’d give him lots of hugs
And I’d put his face on lots and lots of mugs
I really wish 
I could  hypnotize my cat.

Liam J, aged 10, St Francis School

My Cat Has Powers

My cat has powers
And they surely are dangerous
He has laser eyes
Oh how I wish they were contagious 

My cat has powers
He can make the ground rumble and crack
We surely would be safe
If there was an alien attack

My cat has powers
He’s got super speed
He could be a superhero
And do all the good deeds

My cat has powers
He’s starting to get into trouble
He doesn’t want to have them
He’d much rather just have a cuddle.

My cat used to have powers
But he doesn’t know
It’s amazing there’s no earthquake
When you hear him say meow.

Sam AB, age 9, St Francis School

Purrfect Peace

Two amber eyes glare at me
Telling me I’ve broken the rules
Day time is cat time
For lounging
And sleeping
And sleeping
Climbing on furniture
And sleeping

But the glare makes me guilty
I’m invading her homely haven
Now time is my time
For learning
And eating
And creating
And eating
And Zooming
And eating

I’m sorry cat
I promise to disappear again soon
I will leave you in purrfect peace
But until then I am begging you
Can you please stop chasing my mouse?

Daniel L, Age 13, Year 8, Hadlow School

The life of a lockdown cat

Playful kittens roam the halls,
Stealing gloves and stray socks
Meows and purrs galore
The life of a lockdown cat.

Licking our dinner plates
Running off with masks
Wondering why we won’t go to school
The life of a lockdown cat.

Chewing cables
Scuffing up the couch
Howling at us late at night
The life of a lockdown cat.

Nuzzling our legs
Napping on our laps
Loving us dearly
The life of a lockdown cat.

Eabha, Y8, Russley School


I am wave-washed,
Walking on the place in between sea and sand,
Knowing, that I am but a droplet of water,
Compared to the ocean of feet that tiptoed on this shore,
Living like the leaves on the trees,
And wandering with the wind and breeze,
I am lost but the ocean finds me,
Anxious but the island calms me,
Forever dreaming of the sunset with a blush of an amber rose petal,
I am wave-washed, adrift amongst the sea.

Ollie W, Age 11, Year 7, Merrin School

Marlon and Angelo were inspired Daniel Stoke’s poem ‘The door’ and hearing Gareth Ward’s thoughts on doors. They helped them see ordinary doors, everywhere, in magical ways.

The door

The door bars a prison.
The door locks secrets away.
The door gates a castle.
The door goes into a house.
The door is a portal going to a place of mysterious possibilities.

Marlon R, age 9 Y5, Pukete School

A door

A door is a gate of unknown things.  
A door is a giant’s gate.  
A door an overgrown passage.
A door is a stony hole to a world of magic.
A door is a door going through a waterfall.
A door is a hole in a boat to the sea.

Angelo R, age 7, Y3, Pukete School

Thank the Trees!

I get in the car after a long day of school
and the first thing my mum tells me is
“There is a case of Covid-19 in New Zealand.”
I sigh, 
Another lockdown right in front of my eyes.
I know we are lucky in New Zealand 
but I would rather be with my friends. 
The evening comes and the announcement is made
My mum checks her emails,
She said I have a day to prepare until school starts. 
Just another day on my own.
Online school is better than nothing!
Two days later I am sitting at my desk,
In my bedroom on my own.
The only company
I have is My classmates through a computer 
and my rabbits but they only ever sleep.
I get on and do my Schoolwork.
All done by 1!
I go and play outside
Not like there’s much else I can do.
I go to a tree I used to climb when I was little
I haven’t touched it much since then.
I put my hands on the nearest branch and give it a go.
I am up!
I didn’t know I could even climb it anymore.
A week later,
I finish my schoolwork again.
I head outside.
I try something new.
I use a tree branch as a bar.
Like the ones on the school playground.
I raise myself up,
All of my weight,
On my arms,
On the branch.
I lean forward.
Move the position of my wrists
And land my feet on the fresh, wet grass
I did it.
I go to do it again,
And again,
And on and on I go.
I am out there for about 20 minutes
Climbing trees,
On and on…

Isabella G, age 11, Selwyn House School


I wish we were out on this sunny day, 
But this is the price we have to pay.
I wish we could play on the soft grass, 
But we have to wait for this to pass. 
I wish we could play between the ferns, 
But this is the lesson we have to learn. 
I wish we could go out to run and shout,
But we can no longer have a friend over and roll about.
So we need to stay safe and stay out of trouble, 
And that can only happen if we stay in our bubble!

Amadeia D, age 10, Y6, Kaurilands Primary School

What Am I? . . .

I’m a million shades of mellow yellow, orange, lilac purple, and cute pink
It’s time to say goodbye once the enormous sun races down the horizon and shrinks
The next day I’ll come, my shimmering shades of colour will change, but the way you look at me will always
stay the same
I’m the Sunset and dazzling you with my bright and shimmering colours is my game
From a blue sky to tropical I become
Some days clouds will cover me, and wrap me up, but you can still see a bit of my shades,
I will keep astonishing you until night falls and I will fade

Rameen, age 9, Year: 5, Kaurilands School

Lockdown poem

I ran into the garage,
I used all my strength
to heave
the heavy object to the floor.

I put on the hard hat
to protect my head and
climbed onto
the two wheeled motorbike.

The chase had begun,
my brother sped past me
but I quickly made a comeback.

I could smell victory in the air
But just when I thought the race
was over my brother
zoomed past me so fast that

he even knocked me off my
bike …
Wow what a race!

Jasmin M, Y8, Russley School

Pets point of view in lockdown🐕🐑🐑

(My dog Coco)

Waving to dad at the front step as he goes off to work.
Cuddles on the couch just me and you.
Running up and down the paddocks chasing the sheep.
Walking over to me as you feed the lambs.
Chasing after frisbees that you throw for me.

(My two lambs Funny and Money)

Feeding us our bottles on a warm spring morning.
Going for a ride on the basket on the back of your bike
We run as fast as we can as you eagerly try to tag us
Cuddles and pats on the sweet smelling garden.

Gabriella, age 9, Selwyn House School

Lockdown walks

His brown tail wags in the air
He makes a dash for the world outside
He excitedly jumps at the gate
Ready for his escape
I grab onto his long worn lead
The gate slowly opens
His eyes sparkle in the sun
He walks around like he owns the neighbourhood
He glares at the people who stare
He barks at the cats that growl
The day begins to fade
Home at last.

Michaela, Y8, Russley School


Let me have Tom’s room to myself.
Let me stretch out in the sun.
Let me wash my fur in peace.
Let me sharpen my claws on his bed.
Let me sleep away from zoom.
I wish Tom would leave his room.

Tom N, 13 years, Year 8 at Christchurch South Intermediate

I’m stuck inside

The sun is shining on my face,
The wind is blowing past.
I’m stuck inside my apartment house,
And I’ve got a virtual class.

The room is messy, 
Full of things.
With books, and toys,
And things that sing.

I’m stuck inside,
All all day,
And all I can do is
Play my video game.

With thoughts in my head,
Books in my bed,
I’d rather be outside,
I said.

With the tv turned on,
Writing lots of songs,
I’m stuck inside,
If only outside.

The sun is shining on my face,
The wind is blowing past.
I’m stuck inside my apartment house, 
And I’ve got a virtual class.

Penelope, age 9, Y5, Richmond Road Primary

A Lockdown Recipe

This recipe’s easy and won’t cause you trouble,
Just start with a bowl in the shape of a bubble,
And into that bowl, these things you will add, 
Listen quite carefully, and don’t say I’m mad: 
A generous chunk of devices galore,
A spoonful of Netflix, or possibly more,
A kilo of Zoom meetings —now that’s a lot—
Drizzle with takeaways (or maybe not!)
Pour in a bucket of “learning from home”,
Then whir it and stir ‘till it bubbles up foam,
Add a dollop of distancing, two metres apart,
Or instead, online shopping to fill up your cart,
Chuck in a bundle of updates at one,
(Glued to the screen ‘till the conference is done!)
Some of your breakfast, or dinner, or lunch,
Homemade, not store bought; throw in a bunch,
Add a gallon or more of emailing your friend,
And a bottle of thinking, “When will this end?”
Now give a good stir, and mix it all up,
Then leave it to set in a bowl or a cup;
But what in the world does this recipe make?
Cupcakes, or cookies, or maybe a cake?
No, what you’ll get isn’t something you’ll eat,
Not custard, not mustard, not veggies, not meat,
It’s none of these things; it’s time to uncover,
Memories, moments, it’s time to discover:
Hobbies, and passions, and trying new things—
Drawing, or knitting, or something with strings!
Finally, there’s one more thing that I’ll say:
Treasure the moments that make up your day,
The moments you laugh, the moments you smile,
The moments that make this recipe worthwhile!

Megan L, age 11, Y7, Kingsway School

April O, aged 7, Kaurilands Primary


Poetry Box August challenge: four extra sky poems

Things went all up in the air (the sky) for me in lockdown and I missed an email from a school that had resent their sky poems in a format that works on the blog. I so loved reading them all, I have posted them here. These poems are rich in sky images, sky words and are sky bright. Sky pictures grow so beautifully as I read. The four young poets have used ears and eyes to make their poems SKY LUMINOUS! You might get a little sky scene or a little sky story or different sky moods … poems can do so many things.

 From Darkness to Light

Dusk was to come     
So the sky hid the sun
And brought out the moon
With the stars to have fun
The midnight black sky
Was streaked with white clouds
Pinned on the sky were
Stars in large crowds

The sky changed its mood
From darkness to light
Because the morning had come
And it was radiantly bright
Warm autumn colours
Blended into the skies
And made a show stopping performance
for the sun to arise

by Abby P, Year 7, KingsWay School

The Sky and Clouds

Vast amounts of cloud floating in the sky,
As if they were virtual, not gonna lie.
Vantablack sky, starry and bright,
Before morning comes and shines its light.

Blue as sea, dark as ink,
The sky is just one colour, some people think.
It might seem cloudless, and only shows blue,
But the clouds have just travelled, like people do.

Jacob H Year 7, KingsWay School

Dawn to Dusk

I woke up bright and early
And the sunrise caught my eye
But what stood out from the image
Was the radiant sky

Boysenberry purple
Was where the gradient begun
Then bright pumpkin orange
And yellow from the sun

It didn’t take long though
For the sun to reach sky-high
Surrounded by the luminous blue
That filled the daytime sky

The sky hid behind clouds
Too shy to show its face
But revealed a cyan canvas
When the clouds drifted out of place

As the moon took centre stage
And the hours drifted away
The sky gradually darkened
For it was no longer day

What was once a lustrous azure
Now a midnight blue
Gradually getting darker and darker
Setting quite the view

Soon the sky was pitch black
And every corner dark
But speckled on the night sky
Were stars with their own spark

Like sprinkles on a cupcake
Each one, ever so small
I peered up at them
I’d catch them if they’d fall

But I soon heard Mother’s voice
Calling me away
So I waved back to the sky
And said, “See you when it’s day!”

Megan L, Year 7, KingsWay School


The sky keeps the clouds, so many.

The sky is a mirror reflecting the ocean.

The sky is above  for us to explore.

The sky is a canvas for God’s design.

The sky is a blanket keeping us warm.

The sky is my Father’s and so am I.

Zoe W, Year 7, KingsWay School

Poetry Box review and some popUPpoem challenges: David Hill’s Three Scoops

Three Scoops, David Hill, One Tree House, 2021

David Hill is a writing whizz and has penned some of my all-time favourite Aotearoa fiction for children. His new book Three Scoops is genius. He has written three long SHORT stories. One is historical, one is fantasy and one is science fiction. I gobbled them all up at the weekend.

One Tree House page

A history story (‘Coming Home’): Harry and his horse Blaze are inseparable. He and Blaze are heading to South Africa in 1890 by ship to fight in the Boer war. Harry thinks it is a great adventure and has no idea about the harsh realities of war. Blaze has no idea what is going on and runs away before boarding the ship. The two stories interweave. Lost and confused, Blaze is trying to find his way home. Harry is discovering war has much graver consequences than those of an adventure. He misses and is worried about Blaze. He misses home. Men and horses go hungry, get wounded, die. On both sides. So many complicated questions simmer as I read.

A fantasy story (‘I wish’): Trent and his mum move to a new town which means a new school and new friends. Only problem is Trent finds life boring and thinks he is boring. Until he finds a mysterious box of books in the lounge. Open one of the books changes everything. What I love about this story, is the way it is real life gritty while also letting a bit magic in. Stories can have so many layers whatever the genre. Read this one and you will find David’s characteristic wit, humour and wisdom as well as the bounding imagination. What sells it for me, is the way the story digs into things that shape and challenge us. How sometimes you feel awkward and not good enough. How sometimes you have to choose between helping yourself out and helping someone else out.

A science fiction story (‘Strange Meeting’): David reminds us of how the world was 70 million years ago, and what happened when an asteroid hit Earth and wiped the dinosaurs out. Cut to a time in the future. Sophie’s parents work at the Mahoe Launch Site where a rocket/satellite is about to take off. Sophie is about to give a talk to her classmates when Pita interrupts because he is worried something bad is about to happen. His wise Koro communicates with a power and understands the preciousness of the land. The story navigates science, and what-ifs, and how our relationships with other people and with the land (Earth!) are so very important. Is the space work good for Earth or will it place it in danger? The story is tense, yet is layered beyond a fast moving plot. Again questions simmer as you read.

Three deliciously complex stories that are compulsive reading because you can’t wait to find out what happens – but also deliver vital questions for you to ponder over. AND that get you thinking about what it means to be a human being on planet Earth. Wonderful!

David Hill lives in Taranaki, and has been writing fiction and nonfiction full time for 40 years. His novels and stories have won numerous awards, and have been published in around 15 countries and nearly as many languages.

The popUPpoem challenges

A history poem: Find a person in the past and use them as a starting point for your poem. You could use someone you know (an older relation) or someone you don’t know from the past. Before you start your poem write down a few questions you would ask them if you could, or will ask them if you can. See if you can find out some fascinating things about them.

A fantasy poem: Take a box of books as your starting point and let your imagination go flying. Is there a question your poem explores? Without saying the question out loud. Over to you: this is also a chance simply to enjoy a dose of fantasy (imagination) as you write.

A science fiction: Set your poem in the future where the world is a little bit different than it is now. What is good and bad about how it is different?

Deadline: Friday October 1st

Send to:

INCLUDE: your name, age, year and name of school

Don’t forget to put Three Scoop poem in subject line so I don’t miss your email.

I will read all the poems the day after the deadline and will post some poems on OCT 5th. I will have a copy of Three Scoops to give away and maybe another book or two.

Poetry Box shares poems from the National Poetry Day challenges

CHECK OUT my September Poetry Challenge here (writing poems in lockdown)

National Poetry Day ended up being a little bit different because we were all in lockdown. I had suggested loads of exciting ideas for schools to do that didn’t quite work in lockdown! But what fun reading the poems you sent in.

I invited a bunch of my favourite Aotearoa children’s authors to read a poem and then we included poem challenges for each reading. You can hear them still!

I loved reading all the poems, and am so sorry, as always, that I can’t pick them all to post. I especially loved the way Daniel (Hadlow School) and Jerry (Churchill Park School) tried masses of the challenges. Daniel tried one from each reading! I love the way Daniel and Jerry’s poems are full of energy, imagination, humour, shifting moods, and terrific word choices. Once I get out of lockdown I will send them each a book. I will also send a book to Eabha (Russley School) and to Lachlan (St Dominic’s Catholic School).

Do try my September challenge above – but this week I aim to have at least one POP-UP poem challenge for you to try with give-away books.

The poems

Untitled | Object Poem

Hard backed, and thick spined
Stories hidden beneath the surface
A world created by one, and shared with many
Tale of joy and strife
Layers of crisp white paper hold knowledge
beyond my years
I open up the book and
run my index finger across the page,
taking in every word
I’m ready to begin my adventure.

Eabha D, Year 8, Russley School


A boiling oven
bakes our planets
Dominant in the solar system,
burns anything that comes near
Reluctant to relinquish its power
keeps our planet alive
Proudly holds its title
centre of the solar system

Ruby K, Y8, Russley School

Moon Cycle

luminous orb                                                                    
in an inky sky
clusters of stars
hang around you
specks of light add to your glow
mesmerising, perfect
delicate as a Christmas bauble
yet strong
you sleep
I arise
an endless cycle

Ruby J, Y8, Russley School

The Rocket’s Smoke

Lachlan W, age 9 , Y5, St Dominics Catholic Primary School

I can feel

I can feel happy and I can feel sad
I can feel proud and I can feel glad
I can feel distraught
I can feel overwrought
I can feel lonely and I can feel mad

Olivia C, age 10, Y6, Saint Dominic’s Catholic Primary School


Imagine…Your dreams,
Inside your head.
A fire-breathing dragon,
Your bed as a ship in the sea.
The night,
In your bed,
Is when this imagination comes alive.
You, as a daring and brave knight,
Everyone loves.
You, on a swing,
Swinging from the moon.
This imagination,
Happens deep, inside your head.
Those memories that your dreams have,
Living deep,
Inside your heart.
Even in heaven,
That imagination,
Lives on,

Logan R, Year 4, Russley School


Leilah W, age 10 ,Year 5, St Dominic’s Catholic Primary


A twirling of colours, 

Dancing before me, as I gaze into the horizon 

From the deepest blues to the brightest orange 


Gently fading,

Like ink in water 

Soon all the colours are gone.

Darkness remains…

Little stars begin to twinkle 

The dark ocean shimmering in starlight 

Slowly a silvery glow fills the night sky

As an enormous ball radiating light 

Rises into the night

Lighting up the sky 

Like a giant firefly…  

Transfixed by this wondrous sight 

My heartbeat slows, 

My eyelids grow heavy,

I slowly drift off to sleep. 

Under the light of the Moon.

Jake J, age 10, Y6, St Dominics Catholic Primary School

Three poems from Jerry:

What I do

I ka-zoom around,
I ka-boing up and down,
I ka-zing here and there,
I ka-jinx a bear,
I ka-pow like superman,
I ka-boom like popcorn in a pan!
Cos that’s what I do.


Open the window,
If you want to see the fairies and knights,
Open the window,
If you want to see pigs fly,
Open the window,
If you want to see raining cats and dogs,
Close the window if you want peace and quiet.


On those dark, dark nights,
You take a hand,
And lead the way,
Without you, 
The world wouldn’t be the same.

Jerry, age 12, Y8, Churchill Park School

Daniel L also tried a bunch of challenges:

Vasanti Unka

My Favourite Pen

This magic of science
So sleek and light
Hard yet comfortable
And comforting
An aid in sharing
And showing caring
A tool for working
And passing time
A bridge for thinking
Without it
My hand is lost

Gareth Ward

Through the Gate

I peek through
The old wooden gate
Paint chipped off
Held together by lichen
Surely hiding a history

Through the broken slats
I see an overgrown past
Thorny blackberry
Hiding happy lambs
Chasing children

My eyes search further
Over fields of buttercups
Cows with bells graze
Women walk with pails
Men with metal forks

I slide back
The gate leans awkwardly
In a concrete wilderness
Perfectly placed
Out of place

(my sister helped with this one)

Philippa Werry

Dealings with Feelings

If you feel down
Think like a clown

If you feel cross
Think like a boss

If you feel mad
Think like Sir Galahad

If you feel tired
Think like you’re wired

If you feel confused
Just think what you choose

Donovan Bixley

A food-focused feline

Frantic for the fridge
A dramatic dad
Menaced by a miniscule mouse

A paper plane pursuit
Reaches for the rodent
A panicked puss
Mistaken for a mouse murderer

Trapped together
Cat conspires with cunning
A furry free ride
A mouse’s mercy mission

Running through the house
leaping out the catflap
Rolling on the grass
Scampering to the bush

Licking lying lips
Strutting success
Dad delighted
Tabby treated to tasty tidbits

(Note- this was a poetry rewrite of a story I wrote)

Melinda Szymanik

Sun hides behind hills
Nature’s game of hide and seek
Moon searching the night

Tania Roxborogh

if you     wear
your tee shirt every single day
eventually it will be covered in
greasy food stains
green grass marks
whitey toothpaste
furry cat hair fuzz
blobs of paintness
anything that’s fun

Elena de Roo

(I didn’t really know how to do this challenge “unwrap it like a present” )

In Finnish Lapland

If you peek out of the warm bed
You’ll see a window
If you peek through the window
You’ll see pine trees
If you peek beyond the trees
You’ll see snow
If you peek around the snow
You’ll see reindeer
If you peek amongst the reindeer
You’ll see Santa
But don’t let Santa catch you peeking!

Bill Nagelkerke

The View From Where I Sit

Today from my window I can see
Fluffy clouds dancing in a green lake
A row of tall aliens doing the hula dance
A winged shadow surfing on invisible waves
Bright green ovals skittering off as if they are late
A rising golden orb wrestling with bullies in the sky
While bright yellow smiles wave a greeting from below

Daniel L, Age 12, Year 8, Hadlow School

Poetry Box shares poems from the quiet POP-UP challenge

FIND September poem challenge here

Hare and Ruru: A Quiet Moment, Laura Shallcrass, Beatnik Publishing, 2020

I so loved reading Laura Shallcrass’ picture book, Hare and Ruru: A Quiet Moment, I invited you to write some quiet poems. If I haven’t replied please let me know as I am getting loads of emails. I am going to send a surprise book to Mia when Tāmaki Makurau moves out of lockdown.

Thanks for sending me all the quiet poems. I loved reading them and discovering the way silence is so often brimming with noise we don’t at first hear.

Image by Ava, Y8, Russley School

Here are some favourites

In My Head

In my head,
I can say things that shouldn’t be said.
It’s as quiet as can be.
I can hear whatever sounds I want.
Even the stormy sea.
It’s the quiet in my head,
that makes me go to sleep.
It drowns out all the other sounds.
In my head I can build towns.
I can make up my own stories,
and characters.
All in the quiet of my head.

Mia C, Age 11, Y 7, Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School

An Ode to Silence

The wind has slowed,
The cows are quiet,
The sound of heavy trucks has long since passed.
Tales have been told of you since long ago,
But never before has one been true.
They say you are dangerous,
The bringer of the end,
But maybe they have never seen,
The truth behind the myths.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,
Is what they always say,
But maybe it’s the ear that has so much today.
You are the absence of sound,
The bane of all noise,
You are silence,
A powerful thing,
But fragile just the same.

Alex S, Age 13, Y 8, Palmerston North Intermediate Normal School

Forest At Twilight

The wise owl hoots as the wind whistles
through the dying leaves.
The pitter patter of field mice
running through a tall green maze.
Wings of moths flutter gently in the forest.
Twigs underneath my feet crackle
as I tiptoe around the tree roots.
A distant stream’s water crashes
against the river beds lulling the tired critters to sleep.
Pebbles crunch beneath me.
The tapping hooves of an approaching creature
frighten me.
I run from the forest,
my shoes scraping against the dirt path.

Eabha D, Year 8, Russley School


remnants of sun
cast shadows on my face
like torchlight at midnight
emerald grass
sways slightly in the cool breeze

blackbirds chirp joyfully in the treetops
“follow me!” a child shouts playfully
gravel crunches
under my feet every step I take

like potato chips
bubblegum pink
bumblebee yellow
crimson red, and tangerine 
are smeared across the sky

smile plastered on my face
I become a silhouette
in the distance

Ava M, Year 8, Age 13, Russley School

Poetry Box interviews Laura Shallcrass (Hare and Ruru: A Quiet Moment) plus a POP-UP POEM challenge for you

Laura Shallcrass by Laura Shallcrass

Laura Shallcrass’s Hare and Ruru: A Quiet Place is an extraordinary book. It is the perfect book to read when you feel like everything seems too much and all you want is a bit of quiet in our topsy turvey world. Hare struggles to find a quiet place so goes searching. Everything seems to make a noise. Ruru comes up with Quiet solution. Genius. I just adore this story.

The writing is a honey current. The illustrations are even sweeter.

Laura kindly answered some questions because I got curious about quiet things – and I have popped a poem challenge at the bottom of the interview. When we get out of L4 lockdown in Auckland I will have a poetry book to give away. This is not a competition, I just like giving books away, and sharing the poetry love.

Hare and Ruru: A Quiet Moment, Laura Shallcrass, Beatnik Publishing, 2020

The interview

Paula: Do you like quiet corners? Do you have one?

Laura: Quiet corners are rare in our house so mine tend to be outside. My favourite is not so much a place but a time. I love 5 o’clock. It’s time to feed the animals and it’s usually a beautiful peaceful time.

Paula: How do you feel in your quiet place?

Laura: I feel relaxed, fulfilled and calm.

Paula: Where do you write and draw? Do you like it to be quiet?

Laura: I write and draw in a small studio off our garage. But I don’t need quiet for these things. When I’m writing I like to listen to music and when I’m drawing it’s usually an audiobook or a podcast.

Paula: If you shut your eyes now, what can you hear?

Laura: I can hear birds, one of my sons looking for food or craft supplies, horses munching and plodding out in the paddock and the pitter patter or our whippet checking up on everyone.

Paula: What inspired you to write this story about an animal (Hare) hunting for some quiet?

Laura: I wanted to write a story about mental health and a few key things which have helped me in my struggles with anxiety in a way which wasn’t too confrontational and could be easily understood by young people.

Paula: Has anyone ever said something wise to you (like Ruru does to Hare) that has really stuck?

Laura: I’ve read lots of wise words but can’t think of any spoken ones off hand.

Paula: The world is full of sound. What sounds do you like to listen to? That make you feel good.

Laura: I love the sound of our kids playing happily, of the horses munching and blowing, pretty much everything I’m listening to now!

Paula: What do you do when the world gets TOO loud?

Laura: I like to go for a ride. Horses force you to be completely present and forget anything else. I find it a bit like meditating, when I get off I’m completely refreshed.

Paula: I love the illustrations. How did you make these?

Laura: I like to draw with pencil and paper first, it helps me get the composition and proportions right. Then I scan it in, trace the line drawing and add the colour.

The POP-UP challenge

Try writing a poem that is QUIET.

Try writing a poem about your favourite QUIET place.

Shut your eyes and listen to the sounds you can hear. Turn those sounds into a poem.

Write a poem that showcases all the sounds you hear on a walk. Or in your kitchen. Or your garden.

Write a poem about the quietest QUIET you have ever experienced. Even the quietest places I know have sounds!

Gather up QUIET words – use them to make a quiet poem word pattern.

Write a poem that tells a story about a quest for QUIET.

Where do you like to hang out when you want to be QUIET? Make a poem.

You can send an illustration too if you want.

Use your imagination and come up with your own QUIET idea for a poem.

Deadline: Monday 13th September

Send to:

Include: name, age, year, name of school or homeschooled

Don’t forget to put QUIET Poem in subject line so I don’t miss it

I will post some favourite poems on 15th September. I will have books to give away! I will read all the poems at the deadline. I can’t post PDFs!

Laura Shallcrass is an artist and author who lives near Queenstown with her husband, two boys and an ever-growing zoo of furry friends. So far these include three horses: Giddy, who is enormous but kind, Taffy the pony, and Cash, who is overexcited and likes to party, Kota, the Labrador, and Frida, the whippet. Laura’s first book, Hare & Ruru, won the Russell Clark Award for Best Illustrated Book at the 2021 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Beatnik Publishing page

Laura Shallcrass website

Poetry Box September challenge: writing poems in lockdown

Last year when we were in Level 3 and 4 lockdown, I wrote a lockdown poem every week for the Herald. I look back on my notebook of poems and it is a fascinating record of that time.

Here we are back in lockdown, and for those of us in Tamaki Makaurau, it is going to be longer than for the rest of Aotearoa. I am okay with this. I am okay with keeping safe. I feel lucky that writing is my happy place.

This month I challenge you to write lockdown poems. The poems don’t need to be about lockdown, but they will be written while we are all at different alert levels, and life isn’t exactly normal. They will be a record of where your mind and heart (and maybe even legs!) were travelling.

Some ideas

Let your imagination take you travelling to somewhere else. Write a poem about the journey or the destination. Use your senses to bring the place alive – or write about the journey!

Write a poem to share your lockdown experience. What changes for you? What do you love? What do you miss? What are you doing?

So many of us are out walking in our neighbourhoods in lockdown. Take your poetry eyes and ears as you go walking. What do you see and hear that you might usually miss. Collect words and phrases as you walk. Collect nouns and words. Now play with your discoveries and create a poem.

Our eyes and ears get used to what we see and hear everyday. Listen and look at where you live. Hunt for things you miss or usually don’t pay attention to. Write a home poem. Play with how you set your poem out. How many words will you put on the line?

Sometimes we cook things more in lockdown – especially things we don’t usually cook. Write a lockdown food poem. Hunt for smells and tastes, colours and textures. Have you cooked anything? Maybe you could write a poem recipe, or a recipe poem?

Do you have a pet? How is lockdown for your pet? Does your dog love going for walks. Watch your pet for awhile. Use your powers of observation. Add some surprising things about your pet.

Imaginations are good in lockdown. Try inventing an animal or a vegetable or another planet or a mode of transport or ice cream flavour or a house to live in. You could write a poem AND do an illustration.

Sometimes I just like playing with with words. Pick a subject (a colour, the moon, stars, an animal, the sea, grass, clouds, the road, trees, a bird, music, … you choose!). Make a list of words that pop into your head when you think of that topic. Now play with words to make a poem word pattern, repeating words can be fun. Listen to your poem. Look at your poem.

Poem tips

You can do what pleases you when you write a poem!

Only use my tips if they help.

Try new things (ways of writing, topics, sounds, similes, moods, length of lines …)

Listen to your poem.

Read it out loud to someone.

Are there any words that don’t sound right?

Keep your poem for a few days before sending to me.

Give your poem a title.

Try three different endings then pick your favourite.

Do the same with the first line.

Try setting your poem out in a different way.

Try adding a surprise somewhere.

You can include an illustration of your own.

Deadline: 28th September

Send to:

Include: name, age, year, name of school or homeschooled

Don’t forget to put LOCKDOWN Poem in subject line so I don’t miss it

I will post some favourite poems on 30th September. I will have books to give away! I will read all the poems at the end of the month. I can’t post PDFs!