Poetry Shelf May challenge: Cats and Dogs

When I picked some favourite poems from my April cloud challenge, I showed how poems can do many different things with the same topic. You can check out the post here.

I had a long list of ideas for May but in the end picked my favourite thing to write about: 🐈‍⬛ cats and dogs 🦮. My own poetry books brim with cat and dog poems. Maybe because we had three cats and two dogs and they would always end up in a poem! Not all at once though. They liked to be the star and have a poem all to themselves. We have no pets now, but my daughter has the cutest new puppy named Pablo. And my friends have gorgeous newish kittens!

You can write a cat poem, or a dog poem, or a cat and dog poem.


ONE: Play with sound. Listen to the sound of every line. Make patterns that sound good with dog or cat words. Try short lines or long lines. Listen to how words sound as partners (elastic cat, darting dog, gingernut cat, chocolate chip dog).

TWO: Play with detail. Use you eyes to gather words that show what the animal looks like, how they move and sound. All cats look cute but not all cats are sleek and the colour of macaroni cheese!

THREE: Tell a story in a poem.

FOUR: Use your imagination. Invent your pet. Or use a real pet and invent something about it. Your poem can leap and bound in any direction you want.

FIVE: Memory. Go scavenging for a fascinating memory about your pet cat or dog (or someone else’s).

SIX: Use humour. It might be all the way through or saved until the last line! You choose!

SEVEN: Mood can be like the poem’s heart beat. Sometimes it is a challenge to write a sad poem without ever using the word sad. Or happy. Or mad. Other times those are the words you want to use. You choose!

EIGHT: Poem forms are like poem houses. They have rules but you can always PLAY with the rules. There are so many forms. Haiku, sonnets, acrostic, limericks. People write whole books about them.

NINE: I love how poems can surprise me. It might be the word you choose. What happens. The first line. The last line. What you don’t say. What you put next to something else.

TEN: Layers are fun. Poems have a truckload of things going on. Maybe everything above without realising it. I don’t think about it when I write a poem, but later I might see I have used my ears and eyes, my heart and mind. It makes me feel good when I write a poem, and writing a poem is always a mystery! It is a discovery. It is a hot air balloon ride. It is archaeology. It is a road trip. It is what you want it to be. No rules. Or you can use rules! The important thing is you enjoy writing it, and maybe you will discover a little something about words, yourself, and the world.

🦮 have FUN 🐈‍⬛

Deadline: 28th May

Send to: paulajoygreen@gmail.com

Don’t forget to include: name, age, year, name of school

Put CAT or DOG POEM in subject line so I don’t miss it.

I will read at end of May and post a few favourites. It’s not a competition but I will give a few books away.

2 thoughts on “Poetry Shelf May challenge: Cats and Dogs

  1. Sophia Davies, 6 yrs old, Green School NZ

    Big Cat had one kitty inside her.
    Kitty had a baby inside her!
    Big cat pops out kitties, cats and babies.
    “Mummy, can we go and get a wheelbarrow full of kitty food?”

    Sophia Davies


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