Category Archives: NZ Children’s poetry

Poetry Box May challenge: some favourite poems from Talking with Our Grandparents




Thank you so much for all the fabulous poems inspired by your grandparents (and an aunty!). I felt so moved reading these.

I imagined having grandparent poetry readings in schools! You could invite gandparents in for morning tea and then read them all your poems. How wonderful. I once took a group of young poets to a retirement village and it was completely amazing! I must do it again.

I really like the way Westmere School went hunting for grandparent secrets because there is so much we can learn from our elders. I like the way some of you wrote about how your grandparent was when they were your age! I like the poetry play and the surprising detail.

Remember this is not a competition but a challenge – but that each month I send a book to at least one poet. This month thanks to Gecko Press I am sending Encyclopedia of Grannies to Charlotte C at Ilam School.

It was so hard picking poems to post – I loved them all – I do hope you try my June challenge.



My Grandad


When my grandad was alive, we lived in Rambukkana, in Sri Lanka.

The clothes he wore were black, white or grey.

His hair was as white as a snowflake.

My grandad used to love to play with me when I was a baby.

He has passed away.

Rynie R  Age: 6 yrs, Ilam School


The Collectors

My Grandparents’ house is wonderful
What is best about them is that they collect
Knucklebones, greenstone, scout blankets
And Grandad’s old school pencil case

Ben E,  Age 7, St Andrews College


My Grandpa

My Grandpa’s face
Is as crumbly
As can be
So you can tell he is old.

He lives in a special house
As big as can be.

Max D, age 6 – Ilam School



My Gran


My Gran

Bakes lemon slice

Chops it into squares.

She sings like a bird

And walks like

A queen.

She is as sweet

As a buttercup.

Charlotte C Age 7 Year 3 St Andrews College




Grandad as old as time.
Grandad who watches the trees turn green, then brown, then green again.
Grandad your brown hair is now grey.

Isobel P, Age 8, From Ilam School, Christchurch


Sumner Beach

At Sumner beach my grandma watches a clown fish find a new home to lay its eggs.

My grandma sails on the sea.

She goes snorkelling with dolphins and sees a coral reef.

By Caitlin Coupé  Age 6  Ilam School


My Granny and Grandad’s House

My Granny and Grandad’s
House, a place where
I like to
Play in the grass
Rolling, tumbling
With my grandparents.
A place where I like to
Make amazing cakes
That are big, small,
Skinny and fat
With my grandparents,
But the thing that I like
To do the most is
Just being with my
Granny and Grandad

Aine, Age: 11, Year: 6, Fendalton School



In memory of Grandad


As time passes slowly by, my branches start to snap

I am growing older and my trunk could soon collapse

But I need never worry, my grandchildren are here

My tiny seedlings in the soil will always be near

I am only human but my inner thoughts tell me

That nothing ever truly dies – life is like a tree


Skylarose,  Te Awanui Class Years 4-6. Maoribank School, Upper Hutt

(Teacher’s note: Skylarose wrote this after talking to her grandad who died this week of cancer, making his thoughts even more pertinent.)


For My Grandad

I love my grandad, he cares for me, like I’m a fern in his garden
He keeps me healthy and gives me things I need like his soil for his trees
He lets me visit great granddad Warner who isn’t so fast and agile anymore
And lets me visit my great grandmother’s grave,
I love my grandad like he’s all the stars shining as one
he makes me feel alive, he makes life fair.

Georgie M, Age:9, Selwyn House School


Hide and Seek (written from the perspective of Nan)


When your big cousins were young

I loved to play hide and seek with them

I would pretend I didn’t see their tippy toes

Peeking out from under the curtain


When you Dad was a little boy

I loved to play hide and seek with him

I would pretend I didn’t know that under the bedclothes

He was curled up like a hedgehog


When I was a little girl

I loved to play hide and seek with anyone

I would pretend to hide as I galloped through the orchard

And no one could ever find me


Now I am an old granny

I love playing hide and seek with you

I can pretend I am young again

And remember my whole life has been one happy game

By Daniel L. Age 10, Year 6, Adventure School, Porirua


Poppy’s Lolly Jar

Poppy hides his lolly jar.
Lachie and Michael look in the car.
Where are the jelly snakes?
Where are the chocolate flakes?
Poppy’s put them on his bedside table.
Come and get them if you are able.
His camera will catch you.
There’ll be a hullabaloo.
When Poppy shakes the jar
you’ll be no star.

Tom N  Age 10 Year 6  Hoon Hay School/ Te Kura Koaka


My Auntie Denise

My Auntie Denise flies as high as a bird
With the clouds
And the sun
And the moon.
With what rises
And the leaves
That blow the wind
That howl
And the trees
That crash into little pieces of smoky wood.
I know she loves the wind
And nature.
Her hair is brown
As a crunchy leaf
Cracking to the stars.

Mathilda H  Age 6, Year 2, Ilam School



Richmond School sent a wonderful bunch of poems – I really loved the way these poems took me back in time and made the grandparent in the poem come alive. Here are some:


Grandma’s Life of Secrets
Going on a ship from England to NZ,
learning the Kiwi vibe,
wasn’t quite what Grandma was made for.
Her posh accent vs the kiwi twang…
Grandma never understood why
she sounded like a horse,
in a pack of ponies.
Grandma had two brothers,
and a Dad.
Two girls in the family was like
being ice cream in the hot sun.
When Grandma was 10
she had a lot of friends.
She loved that she had been brought
to a brighter nicer place of warmth.
She didn’t mind much…
apart from the fact…
she never
had a

Francesca F age nine year 5 Richmond Road School


Grandma’s Secrets
Grandma is a survival specialist.
She survived the night,
In a hole, in a glacier,
Watching the stars shine bright.

She went diving solo
Watching a shoal of stingray
Gliding past her face.

When she was a child,
(That’s hard to imagine)
All her siblings,
In the beginning,
Were younger than her,
I think.

When she was young,
In her classroom among
All the children
There wasn’t a single screen.

Instead of a white-board,
There was a single blackboard.
Just one teacher
To forty kids.

She was born in Scotland,
Made her way to New ‘Land.
Went to Whāngārei.
She went to stay.

Then she moved to Port Chalmers.
It certainly charmed her.
She decided to stay.
My perfect grandma today!

Gretel H, age nine, year 5, Richmond Road School, Auckland


Poem for Nana Banana

My nana has lived in New Zealand, since she was a child,
Her young life wasn’t particularly wild.
She often spent her holidays at a farm,
Which sounded quite calm,
Except for her 6 or 7 bothers and sisters.
She told me that her leather shoes gave her blisters,
When she ran in the green field.
But if she hopped in the bath her feet healed,
It felt nice, but it was quite slow.
In the morning her dad would get his hoe,
Gather his crops, and make some dough.
A few days later she would go home,
Back in Auckland it wasn’t as nice to roam,
Because it wasn’t as green,
And it was a different sort of clean.

Wolf C Age 10 Year 6 Richmond Road School


Glorious Granddads

(warning only half of this poem is true otherwise my granddad would be bald)

My grandad was a child in the blitz,
he must of thought it was more evil than Voldemort’s nose slits.
If you were in the blitz, you would know that the bombs would make big old pits.
So people would move you to the countryside,
where you eat stuff a bit like rotting silverside.

Old gramps was very sad when he had to move in with Brad, (that’s a random name).
It might have even made him mad.

The guys (and girls) who got him there saw that he was tearing his hair.
So they sent him back hoping to keep his hair intact.
He went without slack and didn’t even look back.

When he arrived home
his mother didn’t dare pass him the comb.
She gave him a hair growth lotion,
to grow more hair in a nice smooth motion.

For my glorious granddad who is turning 90 this year.

Toby R 10 yrs old Year 5 Richmond Rd School



Thank you Westmere School for sending a terrific bunch of poems – i really enjoyed the sense of humour running through them and the way some used strong detail to make the person in the poem come alive. Here are some:


My Teency Tiny Grandma

My Grandma
was born on a farm.
When she was was younger,
she was mini,
she was little,
she was tiny.
She complained about being short…
So her dad said…


So she did.
For ages.
But it obviously did nothing,
she is still..
(but she is pretty cool!)

Ashlin P Age:11 LS6 Westmere School


Nanny Maree

Her favorite toy was Bestest, the doll.
Her favorite ice cream was strawberry.
She had a favorite subject, English
and she didn’t have a nickname
(she hated them).
She was nice,
and didn’t get bullied.
nor did she do it herself.
She read a book
(or two)
when she was bored.
She had an incident with a cat…

Ella M Age 9 LS6 Westmere School




Secrets about Grandad…
My Grandad had a teddy called Ted.
His favorite colour was red.
He liked hokey pokey ice cream.
His favorite food was pork chow mein.
His favorite plant was a poppy.
He had a rabbit that was hoppy.
His favorite sport was to run.
He thought school was fun.
Secrets about Grandad…

Olive W Age : 9 LS6 Westmere School


My Gran’s Life

My granny’s very fun
But was she fun when
She was young?
Yes she was.

She had a friend called Cath
She had a huge bath.
Guess what?
They are still friends.

She had cats.
She made them hats.
How many cats did she have?
10, 20, 30?
No only 2.

My granny liked licorice,
And she would wish,
For a big dish,
full of licorice.

My granny had her feet in plaster.
It was a huge disaster,
but it didn’t last a…

Tilly Obrien 9 years ls8 Westmere School


My Nan

My granny is called Nan
I am her biggest fan.
She used to love to help bake steak and mash,
with my great gran Lorna.
They used to knit sweaters in the winter,
to be warmer.
Her favorite color was red, like the flowers at the beach,
swimming with her pony, called Peach.
She fell off her pony,
it kicked her in the head.
She woke up in the hospital bed,
luckily she wasn’t dead.

Molly Davidson age: 9 LS8 Westmere school

My Grandma’s Childhood.

When my grandma was young,
her favourite book was Peter Pan.
Her favourite food was plum jam.
She was a straight A student.
She was very diligent.
She loved to dance and sing.
Tap, ballet, jazz… everything.
Her favourite color was red.
She loved to lie in bed.
She dyed her sister’s hair green.
Her first friend was Eileen.
When my grandma was was young.

Laura J Age 10  LS7  Westmere Schoo



When my Grandma was Young

When my grandma was younger,
she was wiggly, jiggly all over the place.
She just didn’t sit still
in Maungawhau Primary School.
Her favorite subject was grammar,
she loved it the best,
forget about the rest.
The thing that made her sad,
was when people left her alone.
She had two pets,
a cat called Sandy
and a bluey called Budgie.
a budgie called Bluey!
That’s my grandma’s childhood.

Ava R Age: 9  LS7 Westmere school



My Grandma’s favorite color is red
But before it was blue instead.
Her favorite animal was a bird
And it has not changed.
She would come in the room
To make everyone’s day.
She was always happy,
Just like today.
She ate eggs and rye bread
And she still does.
She had golden hair the color of honey,
And she was always so funny.
She was an artist just like now,
And that is my Grandma
From then to now.

By Maya B Westmere school age:10


The Strange But Funny (But Maybe Not True) Poem About My Nana

We call her Nina,
although she wasn’t a cleaner.
She was very funny,
and her hair was quite fuzzy.
She had a cat,
and her best friend’s name was Pat.
Her favourite food was schnitzel,
and her boyfriend’s name was Mitchell.
Her favourite colour was green,
but she didn’t like ice cream.
It maybe quite funny,
but only a bit is true …

Katelyn M LS7 Age:9 Westmere school


We call our grandma Oma.
No, she is not Dutch.
She lives in New Zealand.
My cousin named my Oma, from her first words.
She liked wiggly jiggly jelly.
She doesn’t like to be called Sally.
She hated grotty, green beans.
She loved the colour red
Like the rug on her bed.
She liked walking along logs
With her eight little dogs.
Oma sings us songs every night
In the soft moonlight.

Georgia M age 9 LS7 Westmere school


My Nana’s Story

When my Nana was little,
she had little to do.
She ate chocolate,
from the chocolate fondue.
She got in trouble, but that didn’t stop her,
to have kids, at 16,
and move out for her own good.
She raised them good,
but not good enough.
She’s old now, and my dad is too.
She used to play tag,
now she plays the lotto.
She used to like pink,
now she’s in the red rose spirit.
She was very fit,
now she barely gets
out of the house.
There was not much to do,
so she sat on a couch,
Not on her computer like now,
because there was no such thing…
On her phone?
Why no, it’s like the last line
There was not much tech,
But there was a TV,
only one channel,
but that’s OK.
She had brothers,
to play games,
in the nice, cold, rain.
Anthony J LS7 Age:10 Westmere School

Poetry Box May Challenge: Talking with our grandparents




TIP: If you are a keen young writer get a parent to follow my blog so you keep up to date with the challenges I post. Look down the sidebar.


Last week I posted a review of Encyclopedia of Grannies because I loved the book so much. It has inspired this month’s challenge.

Here is my favourite page from the book (thanks Gecko Press for letting me share it!).



Encyclopedia of Grannies spread 3.jpg


Thanks to GECKO PRESS one young poet will receive a copy of the book!



I invite you to write a poem after talking (in person, on the phone, by email or snail mail) to one of your grandparents, or an elder in your whanau, or an old person you know and care about.

Inside every old person is a little house and the child that used to be! That is like a poem!

Let’s go exploring and find out about the girl granny, the boy granddad, the child elder and the youngster old person. Let’s go exploring and find out what your granny loves to do right now. What is it like being old?


First: make a list of questions

Second: ask the questions

Third: use the answers to write a poem. Show me what surprised you. Show me how our treasured old people are rich in stories and wisdom. You might want to write a suite of little poems or one long poem.




Here are some starting points to help (I say granny but it can be any old person):


Does your granny have a nickname?

What can she remember about when she was little?

What does your granny like to do now?

What is it like being old?

What makes her happy?

What makes her sad?

What important question would you ask her?

What bit of wisdom can she share?

Does your granny have a saying?

Has your granny ever done some funny? Adventurous? Surprising?

What is the most adventurous thing she would love to do in a made-up poem or story where she can do ANYTHING!!

What is her favourite meal / food?

Where does she like to hang out?

What is her favourite animal?

What is the most fascinating place she has ever visited?

Find a copy of Encyclopedia of Grannies as it might give you inspiration like it did me.


Deadline: 26th May

Send to:

Please include: your name, age, year, name of school

Don’t forget to put OLD PEOPLE POEM in subject line so I don’t miss your email.

Open to Year 0 to Year 8 in Aotearoa.

I will write letters back at the end of the month.

I will have the book to give away thanks to Gecko Press.


Extra challenges for passionate young poets

Remember my blog is all about the joy of writing and reading poetry (it is never a competition!) – and setting you challenges! Here are some I am running in all year. Email me if you want to do one and want tips on what top do next. I will email you back asap!


Review a poetry book

Interview a NZ children’s author

Write a letter to a NZ children’s author

Write a letter to a poet from anywhere and any time ( I will give tips)

Show a cool class poetry exercise with poems you have done (from a child or from teacher and class)














Poetry Box April challenge: a celebration of food




Pop’s Garden


out of my big green

back garden I pluck

little red tomatoes

sweet explosions

and I think of my Pop

and his tomato rich

greenhouse the berries

and the lettuces

we picked for lunch

and our secret walk

to the diary to get

an ice cream cone

that dribbled

onto my gardening

knees and shiny shoes


Paula Green




The past weeks have been weeks of such sadness and pain as we come together to mourn those who died in Christchurch’s terrorist attacks.

We have come together, listened, laid flowers, prayed, sang songs, reflected.

As a nation we are thinking hard about what happened in Christchurch, and what has happened in the past, and how to be a country that is tolerant, loving, kind and caring. We use the word solidarity because we are making a chain of hands that will be strong and welcoming.

Many of us were born in New Zealand Aotearoa but many of our grandparents and our great-grandparents and our ancestors were not. Some New Zealanders are new arrivals who have come from places of terrible suffering.

Our openness and our kindness will be our strength. Our willingness to welcome our different ways of dressing, our different food, our different religions. Because humanity will hold us together. Our Muslim communities are showing us the way. With such compassion and forgiveness and warmth.

The past few weeks have filled me with such hope that we will continue to stand up against racism, violence and needless suffering with our joined aroha.


I have thought and thought about what to set you as a poetry challenge. Because in tough times, when we feel helpless and lost for words, it can be hard to write. But it can also be good to write.


I have decided to host a celebration of food poetry in April.

Food is so important.


April will be a time to share our food memories, the food our families make, the food we love, the food that sets our taste buds tingling, the food we grow, the food of our cultures, food experiences, the way food connects us to those we love (like my Pop).

Let us show we are made of many foods, many memories, many shared tables, many harvests.

I will write back to all young poets after my deadline.



start by gathering a feast of words and then play with them (can you get 50?)

how many words will you put on line? Play with this.

which word do you like on the END of the line? Play!

try three endings and pick your favourite.



Deadline: 26th April

Send to:

Please include: your name, age, year, name of school

Don’t forget to put FOOD POEM in subject line so I don’t miss your email.

Open to Year 0 to Year 8 in Aotearoa.

I will write letters back at the end of the month.

I will have a book or two to give away.



A cabbage poem

My nana would boil cabbage to billy-OH

I slice it into thin threads with apple spears

and chive confetti and spring onion rings

a peppery dressing and I’m set to GO!

Paula Green


Remember my blog is all about the joy of writing and reading poetry – and setting you challenges! Here are some I am running in all year. Email me if you want to do one and want tips on what top do next. I will email you back asap!


Review a poetry book

Interview a NZ children’s author

Write a letter to a NZ children’s author

Write a letter to a poet from anywhere and any time ( I will give tips)

Show a cool class poetry exercise with poems you have done (from a child or from teacher and class)















Poetry Box March challenge: Some favourite Through the Window Poems


Thank you so much for the bumper BUMPER crop of poems. It has taken me all day to read them. So many poems from Christchurch children this time!  I wanted to be able to post all your poems but it’s not possible. I have picked just a few (well this feels like a BUMPER post)so please don’t be sad if you missed out this time.

The most important thing for is to LOVE writing the poem.

I do hope you try my April challenge and the bonus challenges I have running all year.

All poems are like little windows because we look into them and get transported to so many different places. These poems especially so. Thank you young poetry fans.

I have a book for Michelle Z from Ilam School because KINDNESS is my word of the month. And a special thank you to the young poets at Three Kings School for making me laugh with your brilliant sense of humour.


I think this is a record post – so go hunting for the poem you love best!


Sunset Roses

Through Granny’s living room window,
the wild yellow and red roses
open like sunsets.
Bees fill their pockets with pollen.
Ants carry sugar grains
on their shoulders,
from the kitchen through
leaves and thorns to their nest.
In the dark tunnels of soil,
a little sparrow looks for lunch.
A fat yellow cat nudges
a yellow rose as if to say,
“When is it winter?”

Tom N 10 years old  Year 6 – Hoon Hay School/Te Kura Koaka

Through the window
Through the window is a river which leads you to a secret backyard.
Fish lead you under an cave,
taking diamonds to you,
gathering for a festival,
just for you.
Be kind and have fun,
is the most important thing,
Listen to the eel slither,
to give help to everyone,
for an awesome day, giving food,
and be the best
you can be.

Michelle Z, 7 years old, Y3, Ilam School, Christchurch


Through the Window


The iron fences are tangled together,

The old wood pile is slowly sighing,

The birds are licking their lips during cicada season,

A leaf’s face is wooshed by wind.

My view through the window

Louis H Age 9  Year 5   Three Kings School

Through my window I hear the sea crashing.
I see boats, the yellow shining sun.
Dolphins jump up and down all day long like kangaroos.

Maddy H, Year 3, 7 years old, St Andrews College, Christchurch


Through the window of the garden


Through the window of the garden

I can see swallows

Chirping, swooping, diving

Something is stalking them

But it’s black

How can that be?

It is midday

The garden is as green as the grass

A cat is in the garden

Stalking the forever swooping swallows.

Adele S, 9 years old, Year 5, St Andrews College, Christchurch


Through the window onto the pollution

I look through the window into the pollution palace.
The seagulls pluck at the rubber tyres
like animal rubbish sorters.
Ripping old muesli bar wrappers
to fill their empty stomachs.
The waves wash over
the beach leaving foam filled bucket
like a dog with a angry mouth.
Sweeping into the sea.
Filling the sea.
Destroying the sea.

Phoebe J, 10 years old, Y 6, Selwyn House School, Christchurch.


Through the Bedroom Window


Street lights flicker over the cars

Foam on the waves look like little ghosts haunting the ocean

I hear the wind pushing the clouds along the air

Stars open the dark sky

Saskia F, age 7, St Andrews College Preparatory School


Through My Night Window

Stars shine in the dark night

Stars dance as the cold wind blows

Stars twinkle

When the moon awakes

Lucy, age 8, Y4, Ilam School, Christchurch


A Window Of Wonder
I looked through the window and saw lots of stuff
like a big buff baboon sitting on a balloon.
And a huge fat cat that was stuck in a hat.
And a great white centipede that looked like Canterbury
with a great brown cow that went meow.
There was also a centaur that had a metal kettle on its hair
and a great white sea that looked like a bee.
With a dolphin with a hole in its shoe.
And lots of stuff that looked like a nut
like a brown caterpillar that was curled up around a colossal fossil.
With a cloud that had too many great cows
and a frog that bobbed up and down
with a huge lizard tail coming out of its hat.
there was also a clock that had been sent to the none clock land and back
with an iron figure that looked like a digger.
And also a bird with three wings.
I looked closer to see something staring at me
was it a cow or a meowing cowering hound.
That’s when I realized it was brussel sprout covered in an orange skin tan.

Then I stopped looking through the window and went home to explode with what I had just seen.

Leon  age 9 year 5 Richmond Road School, Auckland



A list for a bedroom window


Charlotte Kerr, age 7, year 3, Ilam school, Christchurch



Through the Window


The field remembers when it was covered in sea water,

The road says, “I need to take a rain shower, so I can be clean again.”’

Kids try to take the rocks of the rock wall – this hurts the wall,

House roofs sunbathe,

Trees give a high-five to the sun.

My view through the window

Rhys J, Age 9, Year 5, Three Kings School, Auckland


A Smorgasbord of Colour

  • Scenes from a restaurant window


The midnight blue sea stretches restfully

Embracing the black silhouette of another island

The night sky beckons me

To watch its amazing colours

Deepest blue

Fading to turquoise

Morphing into a brilliant orange

I see the endless horizon

Reaching out to greet the sky

As I watch

Darkness swallows the magnificent colours

Leaving an inky black void

Dotted with stars

Night has arrived

Daniel, Age 10, Year 6, Adventure School, Wellington


Through the Window


Rocks in the rock wall argue over who should get the comfy spot,

The gate is calmly waiting to be opened,

Birds perching in the tree gossip about the new turf,

New houses are showing off their new hairstyles,

The court is waiting to get it’s new turf dress,

The goal post is persuading the rugby players to kick the ball over its head.

My view through the window

Louie A, Age  9 yrs, Year 5, Three Kings School, Auckland


The Window

I open my window
It’s Midnight, pitch black outside
The wind swallows me, taking me on a adventure
I land on the beach
The hollow sounds welcome me
The waves collapses on the shore
I kneel down to touch the golden sand
All a sudden, the sand disappears into space
Everything vanishes
I close my window
My dream has come to an end.

Reham Y, Age: 9. Fendalton School, Christchurch


The cloud out the window
I looked out the weirdly, wobbling, window,
I saw a cloud that looked like a rainbow.
The cloud turned into an ocean,
The waves had a slow, wonderful motion.
Then the ocean turned into suntan lotion,
Someone handed me some ice cream,
It reminded me of a sun beam.
The cloud seemed to linger.
It was close enough to touch with the tip of my finger.
The cloud turned into a pair of feet,
I sat on my little green seat,
And listened to a musical beat.
Out the window, the cloud was now an eagle,
Somehow I thought it was a beagle.
That was all the cloud wanted to be,
I would have liked more, but I had to agree,
That was all the window let me see.

Wolf C 10yrs old Year 6 Richmond Road School, Auckland


The Stranger’s Storm


I’m lying on my bed staring through the window

Of my parent’s house

My home staring at the storm out the window

It’s as dark as the oil of the ocean

The lamp beside me gives barely any light

Then a loud cracking noise fills the silence

And light fills the room

Then as quickly as it appeared it disappeared.

Suddenly I see a lantern outside

And open the front door which is next to my room

When it opens, the storm stops

The stranger and their lantern are gone.

William S, 11 years old, Year 7, St Andrews College, Christchurch


Screen Shot 2019-03-30 at 1.22.54 PM.png

Phoebe Age: 8 Years Old Year 4  Ilam SchoolChristchurch


Through The Window Of My Telescope
Aerial pulses lighting up my night
Bright supernovas casing a rainbow storm
The black bang that could end it all
Like fireworks on steroids
The stars as cold as diamonds hanging onto every sound
A meteor supernova to large
The zero gravity screaming into my limbs
Until the stillness of a new world breaks through

Sylvie K, Age: 12, Selwyn House, Christchurch



Through the Arctic Window


I feel the Arctic breeze

I hear Huskies yap

Their owners tell them to stop

And give them treats before the snowstorm rages

Ben, age 7, Y3, St Andrews College Preparatory School


 Through the window


The cloud looks like a beaver.

The puffer fish from the sky is anxious.

The power pole is sunburnt.

The field is shaped like a fish.

   My view through the window

   Dana C Age 8, Y5, Three Kings School

The Crazy Window

I looked out of the reflecting window.
It was raining so everyone I saw was wearing raincoats.
I saw different colours like Red, Blue and Gold.
All the cars turned on their window wipers, wishing and washing the windows.

Up in the sky I saw a big bright Rainbow.
Slipping and Slopping went the people who were walking,
Rock and Crazy Rolling went the vehicles driving passed.
Falling and Crawling went the raindrops on the windows,
Crissing and Crossing across the crazy window.

Kavafau P Age: 10  Year 6  Richmond Road School  Auckland


A window on the kittens
The breath of the kittens
Like warm wind.
Climbing up the scratching poles
They are kitten ninja warriors,
As playful as toddlers,
As brisky as the wind.
As soft as pillows.
Just the sweetest things you’ve

Emma Geddes, age 9, Y5, Selwyn House School, Christchurch

The Race

As I look through the commentator’s window
Onto the race course,
The 7 horses and their jockeys leave the gates,
There is tension in the air
The smell of horse manure,
And fresh hay from their breakfast
It’s my favourite place in the world watching the horses
The 7 horses sprint over the finish line
As fast as a quarter horses
And it’s all out my window

Alice Murphy, 9, YR5, Selwyn House School, Christchurch


Through The Window

Through my bedroom window, I a see a drop two drops of rain, dripping down a leaf from the old kowhai tree, racing each other until they hit the ground and the race is over.

Through the library window, I see a bee, delicately sipping nectar from a flower.

Through my kitchen window, I see a cat, roaming around the fence, waiting to pounce on a bird.

Ruby W M, age 10, Selwyn House School, Christchurch


The Sea Window

Through the creepy waved deep blue sea.
I see a window shining at me.
I see a giant eyed squid very heavy but tiny.
I hear it squirting out ink that has words.

William Y,  7-yrs, Year 3, St. Andrew’s College, Christchurch


Through the Window


Coffee-coloured trees sway from side to side,

Seaweed-green grass gets stomped on by happy children,

Mossy rocks are bundled up in a big bunch,

Birds glide joyfully over the huge trees,

Air whips into acorns as they fall from an oak tree.

My view through the window

Raffaella C Age 9, Year 5, Three Kings School, Auckland


Through the Window


“Woosh, woosh! I’ll keep you cool,” say the trees all at once,

“You can’t see me, you can’t see me!” taunts the aeroplane that just flew over.

“I’ll never let you go!” cried the mountain to the houses clinging on to its side.

My view through the window

Georgia L Age 8 Year 5 Three Kings School



Watching the World

I’m looking out the classroom window, watching the clouds scudding by.
I can see skyscrapers in the distance, watching the world come to life.
Early morning, late afternoon, the view is always changing.
Trees rustling in the cool afternoon breeze, leaves blowing gently about.
Harsh winter winds outside, blowing everyone away.
Outside the window, everything is happening, going by without a sound.
In the city, looking out the window there are buses and cars, people and noise.
When the window is open, smells and sounds drift in and away.
Hot summer afternoon, freezing winter morning, I’m looking out the window.
Looking out the library window, books blocking the view.
Looking out the car window, watching everything rushing by.
I’m looking out the classroom window, watching the clouds scudding by.

Gretel H, age 9,yr 5, Richmond Road School Auckland


Through my Window

I had a window
it was sort of bad because
I could not see through
It rhymes and chimes
when I asked it to.
It turned as a friend to it.
One day I turned my
back on it. It started calling me names
like bay.

Jonny A 6 years old Year 3 Ilam School Christchurch


Through My Porthole


Every night

I watch the sun set

And orcas breaching over the moon

Flying fish gliding

Over the vessel.

Every night

The waves

Rock me to sleep.

I’m as warm

As a whale

In an autumn tornado.

Zachary Y3  Ilam School Christchurch



Through the window


Chimney tops chatter in the cold wind

Clothes lines rotate in the breeze,

Banana trees sprout of the ground,

Cicadas gossip,

Plants quiver,

Goal posts eye each other – ready to fight,

Houses hang on to the hill, as still as statues,

Trucks beep like an alarm clock,

Diggers grunt and moan,

The view through the window.

Sam C 10 years Year 6  Three Kings School Auckland

Through The Window Poem

I see black birds singing
I remember
The window
I see the the field that sits behind a factory
I see a balcony that nobody sits on.
I see a window that is blistering.
I see the rain drops falling.

Maria B age 6 Y2 Ilam School Christchurch

Poetry Box March challenge: through the window







I will reply to your letters after the deadline.

I will post some of my favourite poems on Friday March 29th.

I will have at least one book to give away.

Read my tips before you start!

Remember: Poetry is PLAY! So have fun.



Poems start from all kinds of things – ANYTHING!!

Sometimes I stop everything and look out the window and turn the view into a poem.


I might try making the view fresh by using new similes or making my poem sound good.

I hunt for small details that surprise me and big things that fascinate.


Sometimes my poem is as short as lizard and sometimes as long as a snake.

I always read my poem out loud to hear the way it flows.


I like to use my ears: today I can hardly think because the crickets are making a racket, our dog is whining and our cat is scratching and the kereru is flapping and the umbrella is slapping in the south-west wind.

Sometimes what I see reminds me of something else.


Your challenge is to write a poem sparked by the view through a window.

There are no rules but I strongly recommend leaving your poem for a few days and then reading it again before you send it to me.


Look out the window for at least 5 minutes before you start writing. Wait to see what surprises you. What intrigues you. What delights you. What makes you feel something.

Jot down words and phrases before you start. See where you mind and eye and ears DRIFT!

Your poem can be plain or tricky!! Funny or serious. Real or imaginative. Rhyming or not rhyming. Have long lines or short lines.


Deadline: Monday March 25th

Send to:

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

Don’t forget: put through the window poem in subject line so I don’t miss it!!


Here are some xtra challenges for extra keen poetry volunteers:

Let me know if you want to  do any of these (then I will tell you what to do next!)


Review a poetry book

Interview a NZ children’s author

Write a letter to a NZ children’s author

Write a letter to a poet from anywhere and any time ( I will give tips)

Show a cool class poetry exercise with poems you have done (one child or from teacher and class)


I really want to post some of these this year!!! I need some volunteers:  children and classes.

Haere rā! An interview and poems from Gemma (12) – a foundation Poetry Box fan


Skimming Stones




Skip plop!


Skip    skip    plop!


Skip    plop

Skip    skip     skip     plop!

Skip    skip     skip     skip     skip     skip     PLOP!

Clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap clap!\


Gemma Lovewell written at the age of 10


Gemma has joined in poetry challenges since I started Poetry Box. She is in Y8 at Adventure School in Wellington and will be graduating from the blog this year. I have loved reading Gemma’s poems – especially her playful use of words, her agile imagination and her attentiveness to the world about her. And I have seen how she works with other children. A few years ago I visited her school when I was on my Hot Spot Tour of New Zealand. She, her mum Robyn, and brother Daniel, had baked poetry biscuits and we ended up making poems with them (see photos below).

It has been such a pleasure getting to know Gemma through poetry. I will miss her – but I wish her all the best for her writing, reading and space adventures as a teenager and as an a adult. May her days gleam with poems! I am sending her a copy of 99 Ways into NZ Poetry to dip into over the coming years. Thank you so much for joining in and inspiring other children!

We have done an interview, we have hunted out some photos and she has picked some favourite poems that she has written – old and new. And I have added a surprise poem at the end.





Paula: You have been following Poetry Box for a long time. What did you like most about it?

Gemma: That there were so many different kinds of poems I got introduced to, and so many different ideas to write about.  It really broadened my writing into a new genre that we didn’t used to do much at school.


Paula: Why do you like writing poems?

Gemma: They are so efficient!  You can express yourself in less words.  It’s less complicated than writing a story…but you are still kind of writing a story.  Also my brother and I have fun making up poems together  – we do it when we walk to school, or in the car, and we can usually remember them pretty well.


Paula: What were a couple of your favourite poetry challenges?

Gemma: I honestly can’t choose.  I like them all because every challenge is different and makes you think just a little bit more.  I have discovered I love writing Haiku though J


Paula: What was the hardest?

Gemma: Definitely the picture poems.  It is so hard to get the words placed exactly right, and sometimes you have to change the words to fill the gaps.  It takes ages to get it right!




Paula: Name some of your favourite poetry books.

Gemma: Macaroni Moon was my first favourite poetry book and so I think it will always be my favourite.  I also like Spike Milligan’s Silly Verse for Kids and Animals because when mum reads the poems from that we all get the giggles. Another amazing one is Kwame Aleander’s  The Crossover – it is a novel about basketball, but the whole thing is written in verse.


Paula: Oh cool, Crossover is my pile of books to read over summer. There is another one too – Rebound. What else do you like to read?

Gemma: Anything!  Everything?  I read A LOT – usually one book every night.  I like fantasy best, and my favourite series is the Inheritance Series.  I love reading any series because you get to know the characters.  I also like to sneak my brother’s library books into my room and read whatever he is reading…


Paula: Do you have a top tip for young poets?

Gemma: My advice is always the same:  Don’t think, just write!  Because if you relax and just let the words fall out, you poems will be more genuine.  You can do the thinking (fixing up) once you have the words on the page.


Paula: What else do you like to do in your spare time?

Gemma: Spare time?  What’s that!  I have a busy life.  I am very in to sport – I play rep cricket and basketball, so there is a lot of training. I do scouts as well, and have lots of badges.

I also like horse riding and travelling with my family.


Paula: What sort of things do you hope to write in the future?

Gemma: I hope to write a diary, written from somewhere off earth (I plan to be an astronaut!).  I would love to publish something “out of this world” J


Paula: I can  see why! You had the amazing trip to NASA. What were some of your favourite poems you wrote for a challenge?

Gemma: I loved loads of my poems.  Two of my favourites are ‘Skimming Stones’ – because it is so simple but I think it captures the moment exactly.  The other is ‘Concrete Cat’ –  this poem has become quite famous and been used as an example poem around the internet!  Teachers in my school and other schools use it to teach picture poems, and that makes me proud.


Concrete Cat.png

(written aged 8)



Some poems from Gemma I have not seen before written aged 12 (unless I say)


The Lovewell Family

My Dad is the chief chippie eater, the terrible

Takeaway fiend and the private snack thief

He is the relentless singer of repetitive songs

He has more hair in his ears than on his head


My Mum is the famous family taxi driver, the maker of

Nutricious deliciousness and the unbelievable lover of veggies

She is the bossy one always making sure all hands are on deck

Our captain of the great ship LOVEWELL


My brother is the  unstoppable behind your back fighter and

the sneaky puncher, the follower-rounder and snitch

He is the unfathomable mixer of foods and drinks

His favourite name involves maths


My cat is the unrelenting food beggar, queen of the couch

and the only creature chased by butterflies

She is the killer of vets and her eyes are just as big as her stomach

Her belly moves more than she does


My family works together and sails together through the storms


A Spaced out Sonnet

I was born to be an astronaut girl

Going to galaxies far far away

To do so I must let my wings unfurl

Not wasting life picking pieces of hay


I won’t laze around on couches all night

Instead I must study my science and math

I shall work hard to keep my goal in sight

If I don’t get there you will face my wrath


When I look down from my home up in space

I’ll think of the loved ones I left behind

I’ll see the earth’s stunning beautiful face

That is the journey I’ve set out to find


As I’m part of the Mars Generation

I think I’ll thrive on earth separation




Rain Falls over the snow covered Mountains

And flows to the fresh water stream below


War is happening below

Death comes

Every second


If you survive your family cries out with love


Birds catch and search for worms below the trees

In the sea below, sea creatures roam free.


(written in workshop with Apirana Taylor at the age of 7)


Lunar Musings

The moon is a silver marble

Rolled out trying to catch the earth

But not quite reaching


It is a boy’s silver coin

Dropped into the drain’s

Deep cloak of darkness


Moon is the forgotten marvel

An untouched dusty surface

Except by a dozen men

Who dared to disturb the peace


It is the friendly face

That you see every night

The calloused face

Humans have


Trusted for centuries




Drop of water falls

Followed by a raging flood

Bitter taste of salt


Gemma at NASA Space Camp






The biscuit poem project at Adventure School


Screen Shot 2018-12-04 at 9.01.16 AM.png







When I went on my Hot Spot Poetry Tour I visited so many schools and did events in so many places collecting titles for a new book of poems for children. I have finihed the poems and have almost finished the drawings (yes! drawings!) This is the title Gemma gave me at Porirua Library  – she can have a sneak preview of my poem.


Eat Your Words

for Gemma


Verbs are salty

nouns are sour

adjectives are crunchy

adverbs are crisp


The alphabet tastes like pumpkin soup

the letter p tastes like passionfruit

the letter d tastes like donuts

the letter c tastes like pie crusts


You can roast s

you can toast b

you can butter f

you can bake t


Flip sentences like pancakes

dress with cinnamon and sugar

then gobble in a flash


©Paula Green 2018






Wow! Some favourite poems from the Margaret Mahy challenge



What a special treat to have my email box fill to the brim with poems inspired by Margaret Mahy books. It was extra hard picking poems to post as this is the LAST challenge of the year. There were so many TREMENDOUS poems!


I loved the way Gemma used titles of Margaret’s books to make a poem.

I loved the way Daniel made an acrostic poem to sing the praises of Margaret.

I loved the way you all got your imaginations bouncing and your words leaping.


And I loved the Tom was so inspired he wrote 5 poems- I can tell he loves playing with words and making poems.

Because I love sharing poetry books around, I am sending Chloe a copy of The Treasury of NZ Poems for Children.

It was a treat to read all the poems you sent – thank you so much! I will do a few more posts this year before I put Poetry Box to sleep for the holidays.


It  was a big LOVELY coincidence but The NZ Herald is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Margaret Mahy’s The Lion in the Meadow and invited me to write a wee story about what the boy was doing now he had grown up. It will be in the Herald’s Christmas Books feature on Saturday 8th December.


 t h e     p o e m s


Margaret Mahy

M aster of writing, you were

A lways entertaining us with such

R idiculous words from a remarkably

G ifted author

A ll ages adored your books and

R aucous rumbustifications as you

E encouraged us all

T o keep reading


M agical imaginator, you were

A ddicted to creating, and it will always be

H ard not to love your stories, as

Y ou were one of the greatest writers of all time

Daniel L Age 10, Year 5, Adventure School




Aunt Nasty…

There’s a King in the Cupboard

And a Lion in the Meadow!


Dashing Dogs!

It sounds like a Villain’s Night out…

The Tricksters!


The Seven Chinese Brothers

Can take the Underrunners

To the Green Bath


But what about the Witch in The Cherry Tree

The Three Legged cat

And the Great White Man Eating Shark?


The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate

Can take them to the Door in the Air

So they can start Making Friends


I think they are planning The Great Millionaire Kidnap

With the Pirate Uncle

And the Word witch!


Then we shall hide Down the Back of the Chair

And listen for Footsteps in the Fog

Until A Summery Saturday morning


And we will use the Dragon’s Telephone

To call the Good Fortunes Gang

To rescue us from this Horrendous Hullabaloo!

Gemma, Y8  Adventure School



Saturday Morning

On a Saturday morning I lay in bed, not wanting to get up
On a Saturday morning I read a book in bed, not wanting to get up
On a Saturday morning my Mum comes in, telling me to get up
On a Saturday morning I have Weetbix and toast, wishing that I hadn’t got up
On a Saturday morning I get dressed in my rugby clothes, reminding me why I got up
On a Saturday morning I get in the car with my Dad, who also had to get up
On a Saturday morning I arrive at my rugby game and see my friends, which is one of the reasons I got up
On a Saturday morning I score a try in rugby
I’m really happy I got up.

William F, age 11, Year 6, Ilam School, Christchurch.
Mother Pirate

My mother pirate
sleeps all day
wearing black boots
I call her queenfisher
She doesn’t like it
so she says to me
“you quacky duck”
and that’s my mum

Chloe W Age: 7  Ilam School



My Mother was a wonderful baker
She could bake all sorts of stuff
Biscuits, cakes, breads, slices
She was a master
But my favourite was her jam
Blackberry Jam
Sweet, syrupy stuff
Bread’s best friend.

Lachlan F age 11, Year 6, Ilam School, Christchurch.


Down the Back of the Chair

The chair, the chair,

Held riches and wealth

For many a year,

Without a person finding out.

He let them suffer,

He let them weep

He let them have nights with no sleep.

The poor family were at their end,

The father was driven round the bend.

Just as they were about to give up,

The chair erupted with all sorts of stuff.

Finally, the family could breathe again.

The chair had saved their lives.

By Eva M Karaka Room Royal Oak Primary School


The Bubble in the Wind
The bubble in the wind
flies gently by.
Over the trees
and into the sky.
Inside the clouds
the bubbles flies.
Into the wind
the bubble cries.
Next to a bird
who nips it flat,
and flies to the ground
with a great big SPLAT!

Christina S Age 6  Ilam School


Fruit Salad Flying
(After Margaret Mahy’s Down the Dragon’s Tongue)

Swizz, swoosh
Higher and higher
Whizz, whoosh
Warm and slippery
Fruit salad flying

Olivia L Age: 12 Year: 7 Selwyn House School


The Boy With Two Shadows
Footsteps rattling the sides of the concrete
Cracks splitting in the light
The delicate patter of a toddler’s step
A little boy’s walking alone

Swollen misshapen, two shadow swerve
Extraterrestrial shape
Two shadows based exactly the same
Sucked in by a little boy’s foot

The boy’s shadows dance and sway in the light
Both ugly, dark and small
The boy’s timid expression remains frozen
But the shadows duck and hide with a grin

The boy causes a stir as he walks down the lane,
Avoiding cracks at all costs
His two followers melt behind him softly,
Until all is left is a boy who once had two shadows

Sylvie King Age: 12 Selwyn House School


My Nan Sells Jam
Every morning she walks outside to smell the country air, she feeds the chickens then the horses and the spring lambs
Then she walks to her most treasured living creature
Her plum tree
She walks over and studies the condition of the plums then picks them
And puts then in her best woven basket
She walks back inside and mashes them together
and puts them in a jars.
Nan then will walk out onto the road with a table her jam and a country mag and set up a stand with her jam
Sometimes her stand with jam is busy sometimes it’s not
But my nan will always tell you one thing “I will never lose my love for plum jam”

Phoebe James 10 years old Year 5  Selwyn House School
The Santa Snail – After Margaret Mahy
Santa Snail walking running, you never know
Santa Snail curled up tight in his shell
Warm and cosy in his shell buried in the snow
A Santa Snail works all night long
Pulling his sleigh
With presents for other snails.

Mia D Age: 10 Year: 5 Selwyn House School


Mother Pirate

The woman who was a pirate,

Was fussy as can be.

Randomly, she sailed to sea,

Just to see the queen bee.

As greedy as a honey bear,

She then turned into the mountain deer!

Don’t look her in the eye,

Or you’ll be sorry!

Reham Y, Age 9, Year 5, Fendalton School


A Lion in the meadow
aahhh aahhh aahhh
The lion is stuck in tar.
Good, first I put a cage
over him.
His age is 7!
Oh no get the hose
Good, the tar is gone.
Let’s let him go
Wait! Let’s name him
Ahh um aha
Great idea.
Now let’s let him go
Ok bye Patrick!

Jonny A, age 6, from Ilam School
Milk In The Library

A cow walked into the library
To read a book on grass
She had a little accident and
Flooded the library with milk
Drenching books
Smudging ink
Wrecking leather
Milky mayhem in the library
Don’t open the door!

Finlay T  Age 8, Year 3   Ilam Primary


The lion in the meadow

The lion in the meadow gives a mighty roar

And then the mice run all along the floor

The lion jumps and I start to flee

While the lion laughs at me in glee

The lion makes a terrible sound

And I drop in fright to the ground

The lion runs

And I get stunned

Bye, lion!

By Josie P, age 7, Year 2, Ilam School, Christchurch


The Witch in the Cherry Tree
The noise echoed through the silent house,

I walked to the window,

Somebody was there,

In the tree,

I rushed to the other bedroom,

I joined my parents to gaze at the witch in the cherry tree.

Ruby T Age 10, Year 6 Ilam School


And to finish up FIVE magnificent poems by TOM

Lion in the Light
Father father what was that?
Hush my son only the lion
(scratchy-meaty ever so beefy)
out in the shed.

Father father what was that?
Hush my son only the lion
(purry-furry ever so roary)
out in the garden.

Father father what was that?
Hush my son only the lion
(shocking-rocking ever so coughing)
out on the deck.

Father father what was that?
Hush my son only the lion
(breaky-achy ever so wakey)
out in the kitchen.

Father father what was that?
Hush my son only the lion
Lighty-bitey ever so mighty)
down in your bedroom.

Corn Trouble
There is trouble in the corn field.
The magpies crunch for brunch
crunchy and brunchy til the dawn
opens the mouth of corn
and pop-pop-pop, the corn does drop.

There is trouble in the corn field.
There is popcorn on the road.
There is popcorn in the garden
and pop-pop-pop, the corn does drop.

There’s no trouble in the corn field.
All the corn is on the ground.
The magpies have sailed
in a river of popcorn.
There’s no more corn to drop.

The Boy with Two Shadows
I am here
but cannot be seen.
You will never know
where I take steps
or strike. You will
never know, where I’ve been.

I am there
but not here.
You will never know
where I am.
You can touch me
and I’ll disappear.

The boy looks at his shadow
In the sun
And realises he has two!
What will he do?

The Margaret Mahy Jelly Playground
There was a green can
of jelly in the supermarket.
Every customer walked past
and never bought him.
This left him lonely.
So one night he dropped
off his shelf.
His can burst open.
All at once the supermarket
was a green jelly playground,
With slides, swings
and a water factory.
This became known
as the Margaret Mahy Jelly playground,
where the children of New Zealand
could play safely for ever,
ever, ever and ever.

The Burger Burglar
The Burglar could never
resist stealing burgers.
Cheese and sour cream,
bacon, beef and onion,
pineapple and corn.

At night he broke
into houses to steal
only burger stuff.

He only left sauce trails.

A detective followed
the trail of sauce,
and caught him.

It turned out
he only stole burger stuff,
because he wanted
to make friends.

Tom N Age 10  Year 5  Hoon Hay School/Te Kura Koaka