Category Archives: Poetry

Poetry Box July challenge: move p o e m move!

Special note: I won’t open any attachments or links if you don’t include your details of name and school etc. I keep getting poems like sent like this but I don’t want to risk a virus. Put the poem challenge title in the subject line.


p o  e   m    s           Ca N           M      o         V       e


This month I am giving two challenges. One for younger children and one for older children but you can do either or both! This is a challenge about movement as I love the way poems move!

Movement in a poem can make a poem spark or kick or jiggle.


A challenge for younger children (or older!):


Write a poem about something that moves.

Hunt for good verbs before you start writing.

Verbs will be the gold nuggets in your poem.

Listen to your poem when you read it aloud

The number of words you put on the line will change the way the poem moves!



A challenge for older children (or younger!):


Write a poem that changes in some way.

Perhaps the rhythm changes.

Or how you see something.

Or what happens to something or someone.

A change in a poem can be a surprise.

It might change the mood of a poem.

Don’t forget to use your ears and listen to the flow.

Don’t forget to use strong detail.

Real detail helps your poem glow.

Collect strong detail (nouns, verbs, adjectives) before you start writing.


An Extra challenge:

Try making a picture poem that shows movement!


SEND your poem to

DEADLINE Thursday July 28th

Include your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s email if you like.

P l e a s e    p u t   ‘Movement poem’ in the subject line of your email.

I will pick some favourites to post on the blog and have a book for at least one reader and maybe even a book for a class.

I will post on Sunday July 31st.

these are some of my favourite THING poems

The Violin by Lachlan Hunter age 9.jpg

Lachlan age 9 Year 5 Russley School


Thank you for sending in poems about things. I loved reading them all and they were all so different. I had to take screen shots of some to keep the layout.

I HAD SO MANY to read. Wow! This was a very popular challenge.

I loved the flow of words in  Phoebe‘s poem and the little bits of repetition. This is a poem that sounds very good. It is surprising. I loved the mood and sounds of the lines in Emily‘s poem and the words in Zoe G‘s move like a bow. I love the way Xanthe‘s poem looks like the bristles of a toothbrush and Lachlan‘s looks like a violin. I love the pattern in Hannah‘s poem, the time-capsule idea in Laura‘s poem and the Lily‘s skinny poem.

I love the way Daisy-Jane becomes a piano!

Finley, Liam and Grace keep their things secret in their poems so we can guess what it is. Very imaginative. Loved all poems from this class but could only pick a few.

Polina‘s poem had such a strong mood, Charlotte used such warm doggy detail, Anika imagined so beautifully and what a terrific bunch of poems from Russley School. Such magnificent detail. Such great sounds as I read each line. I like the way you made some of them into pictures. I loved the way students at Waverley Park School collaborated using both imagination and ears hard at work.These poems flowed beautifully and hooked my attention.

Every poem deserved a spot on here, but I could only pick a few.

Keep up the great writing! Wow!

Please don’t be disappointed if I didn’t pick you this time  – I can tell you all loved writing these.

Give my July challenge a go.

I am sending Phoebe a copy of The Letterbox Cat.



Soft fur

squeaky and snuggly

it came from my great grandma.

It is a toy panda


I sleep with it all the time.

When I cuddle with it

I think of her.

by Michaela E, age 7 yrs, Russley School



A Rag Doll

A rag doll,
sitting on the bed,
watching everything
like a crow over corn.

A rag doll,
sitting by the light
of the glowing lantern,
as orange as a
fire beam.

A rag doll,
cuddled up in bed
when the
light turns off.

Phoebe D, Age 9, Fendalton Open Air School



On the wall
protecting my memory
with a layer of glass.
Reminding me
of the good times we had.
It reminds me of her warm hugs
on a cold winter’s night,
and my mum’s warm breath on my neck
The faces in the picture beaming out at me.
The cracked glass distorts the photo.
The frayed corners
the only hint of age

Polina C Age: 11  Year 7  Selwyn House School




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Rain Drop

A raindrop falls
down down down landing on the tip of a frog’s toe
Hopping all about the frog dances
All around jumping and diving
In the puddles Looking at the swamp
That surrounds him
Then he leaps away
Landing where he once lay.

Emily L  Selwyn House School  12 years old



Ice cream,
Piped up high,

A princesses dress,
Finished with bows,

Light catching the point,

Roasted over the fire,

Dissolving in your mouth,

Poised on one leg,

Shining in the sun,


The colour of love.

Hannah Age 12, Year 7, Selwyn House School


The Notebook

She spills her heart and soul into its pages
Ink dapples the paper
But it is not ink to her
It is her memories and her joys
Her fears and her dreams
Her secrets and her sorrows
One day she will look back on it and remember
Until that day it is a time capsule
Waiting to be opened.

 Laura D 10 years old Year 6 at Stanmore Bay School


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Lily, aged 10, Year 6, Fendalton Open Air School


It just sits there waiting
Jaws closed, saliva ready
Eyes set on the brown portal
That releases new prey.

Suddenly the jaws open
Showing the deepness of its throat
And as the liquid drops into his its throat
The roar sends it down.

Finley B (11)- (The toilet) St Martins School, Christchurch



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It hangs there, lifeless
A dark mass of material
Surrounded by darkness
The door creaks open.

Her fingers reach out
Grasping it
Placing it upon her shoulders.

Grace O (10) (The coat) Year 6 St Martins School


Treasure Box

It holds a land of gold and comfort
A smell of roses and lavender
A wish book
ten for each person

Everyone you meet has this something special
So some can fly
some may sit clouds
Some may heal or have X-Ray vision
That’s what I know
I have been there

Anika B age 8 Year 4 St Andrews Prep School



He sticks to his loved ones.
He leaves a bit of himself with them.
A headless horseman
Twisting his saddlebag,
Kicking its spurs to grow faster.
Sleek and smooth
His horse is.

Liam G (9) Year 5 St Martins School (A glue stick)



Long, sharp, white teeth as pointy as a pin.

Long, fluffy, warm inky black fur with round patches of blond fur.

Pointy ears like a cone and as fluffy as a Minky blanket.

A deep, loud bark that travels around the neighbourhood.

A canine, my best friend. Gracie.

By Charlotte M 7 years old Year 3 Homeschool


Cell Phone

I hear my sister’s alarm

clicking and ticking

The ring tone vibrating crazily

like a mad dog.

She plays annoying songs and

I turn into the Hulk.

by Zion S, 8 years old, Russley School



Rusty red guitar,

found in my Dad’s garage.

The strings, the smell of an

old bronze medal.

The frets, the colour of hot, burnt toast.

It reminds me, of my Papa playing with it.

The funky rhythms, the beautiful tunes,

old school lyrics and Nana singing along.

By Taralina L year 7, age 12, Russley School

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Gloomy Piano

I sit here all day…

Waiting for Beethoven

Lily comes in and slams my tongue down on my chin

She clunks with her elbows again and again and

again and again on my freshly moisturised face

I screech an F sharp!

By Daisy-Jane       Year 7           Age 11


The Skate That Rolled

A once special human

Fought in the war

Wearing a blue top

With red, yellow and white stripes

His feet moved like wheels

So fast, so smooth

His arms were like toothpicks

Thin and narrow

He was wrapped in love

Tied up

He is gone

He never existed

He was the

Skate that rolled

By Zoe (11) and Anna (10) Waverley Park School, Invercargill Room 11


Thrashed around in the stormy sea
Dented lid
Rust covered
Scratched paint
Padlock broken
Golden metal handles
Cracked inside
Beaten by colossal waves
Washed up on the sandy sea shore
Rust covered
Treasure chest

By Seryn (10) Priscilla (9) Annabelle (10) Amber (9) Waverley Park School
Room 11


Final Piece

Building with my fingers

hands sliding over

the dimpled lego bricks

hands fumbling through

the instructions

trying to turn the page

breathing becomes heavy as

the final piece falls into place

Lego house.

Joe D (10) Waverley Park School Room 11



Poetry Box April Blog: Poetry is Sound

What a wonderfully busy month March was. I made a start on my big new book by spending a few days in a research library in Wellington. It was so amazing holding the letters of a poet who was born over a hundred years ago. It reminded me of how much I love exploring and finding out things.

Today I am off to Napier to help celebrate our new NZ Poet Laureate – CK Stead. I will be staying on a marae for two nights so I am very excited. I get to go out for pizza one night before reading my poems with the other poets.

And I will be getting my new collection of poems for adults ready. It comes out late May I think. It is called New York Pocket Book.


This month I thought you could explore ways to make a poem sound good. I love reading my poems out loud and I always want them to sound good.

I think writing a poem is a bit like making music.

This month you can send me a poem that sounds good when you read it out loud. This doesn’t mean it is a poem about sound. It means you listen to every line as you write.


My sound tips:

Play with how many words on a line. That changes the sound of your poem.

Play with long words and short words.

Hide rhyme in your poem.

Use words that almost rhyme.

Use words that sound delicious in pairs or triplets.

Put the words in surprising orders.

Listen to the rhythm of your lines. How can you change it?

Will you have verses?

Make sound patterns of words in a poem.


SEND your poem to

DEADLINE April 27th

Include your name, age, year and name of school. You can include your teacher’s email if you like.

PUT sound poem in the subject line of your email.

I will pick some favourites to post on the blog and have a book for at least one reader.

I will post on April 29th.


Happy poem days

from Paula x

Toitoi is a terrific new journal for young writers and artists – they publish poems!

Screen shot 2015-11-24 at 7.48.45 AM


The very lovely Alice at Port Chalmers showed me this journal. Some of her students have work in it.

Then the editor sent me a copy! It is really really good. You can send in sample  drawings to see if you can illustrate poems or stories by other children. You can send in poems and stories.

I was so delighted to see Monica from (I know her from Christchurch) had done the cover drawing.

This is where you can go to check out submission details.


This seems like a great thing to work on over the summer. I think the poems in the first issue are wonderful. Congratulations!



Toitoi 2 is already in the pipeline but

Submissions close for Toitoi on Friday, February 19, 2016​.



My favourite mood poems from this term-long challenge


What a great idea to give you a challenge to play with over a number of weeks. Mood poems are a challenge. I gave you lots of tips to give your poems strength.


I really loved the poems that used strong detail.

I loved the poets who had used their ears to check their lines.

I loved the poems that hid the mood for the reader to guess.

I loved the poems that played with words.

I loved the poems that told a little story.

I loved the poems that had a surprise somewhere.

I loved the poems that built a strong image and that image built a mood.


Here are some of my favourite poems. I loved reading them all. Some needed a bit more editing with your ears and eyes. I did challenge you to write a suite of poems (or a class set) so I have mostly picked children who did.

This is not a competition but a challenge but I do like to spread books around. So I have a copy of The Letterbox Cat for Daisy (if you have it will find something else) and a book voucher for William.


Thank you so much for trying my challenging, especially the classes. I have picked one class to highlight in my next post but wow! You are all represented here as you all blew my pink socks off!


Quake Drill
Under desks,
Holding on,
Quake drill,
A deep gravely voice rang from the speaker,
Tummy summer salting,
Shaking like a steam train,
Quake drill done.

Jenna l  Year 5, 9 years old Vardon School


Salty as the Sea

My tears

make salty streams

entering the house.

I run to my bedroom

and shut the door

as silent as a mouse.

My tears stream

down the stairs

and my mother

rings the bell.

Time for tea

my tears

salty as the sea.


Hot as the Fire

My face grew hot as the fire,

My brother said it’s like a train,

He’s such an annoying liar.

When I get to school

I suffered the boys in my class.

Two poems by Daisy A Room 6 Ilam School.



Stay Awake

I make people lie down

And relax like a dog

Or like a cloud.

I make them

Want to stay up

Till later

You can’t stop this mood.


I’m Red

When children get laughed at

This mood can strike.

Donkeys get this mood

And the mood makes them

Kick you hard.

This mood can make faces red

With a scared look on others.


Umm …

This mood makes children scared

That they will say something silly.

So they just don’t say anything

And if their parent is there

They will just hide behind them

And hold them.

Three poems by William Sherborne  Age: 7 years St Andrews School


The Rainbow of My Moods 


Volcanoes in my stomach

Erupting in loud shouts

Fiery feelings fall from my head

Until the magma cools down



My words are mean

My mouth leaks with rudeness

I snap like a crocodile

Until things go my way



Bouncing with joy

I light up

I think before I say

I feel like doing what the family wants to do



Like an extra

Not needed


Wondering why I am here



Lacking energy

Disinclined to exert effort



Low spirits

No enthusiasm



My eyes turn everything into food

A book is a sandwich

A bouncy ball is an apple

A plate is a cookie

But my tummy still rumbles



I am the flat ocean

I am a tree with no breeze

I am peaceful music

And … asleep


Did you guess the moods?

Red = angry

Orange = snarky

Yellow = happy

Green = redundant

Blue = listless

Indigo = hungry

Violet = calm

Daniel Lovewell Age 6, Year 2, Adventure School, Porirua
Teacher Mrs Pepperell


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Gemma Lovewell Age 9 Year 5, Adventure School, Porirua
Teacher Mr Mac:



Oh, Yippee!

Best day, ever!

Nothing could be better!

Let everyone know my feelings!

Oops sorry Mum, too loud!

Adrenaline rushing through my veins!

I love this feeling!

Who doesn’t?

Let’s go to the playground!

Oh, ok,

I’m still ecstatic!

Yea, cheerful,

Yes, I’ll set the table!

I’ll do whatever you say,

Jessica A age 10 Gladstone Primary School Auckland


My Mood
My mood is a dog,
My mood is cat,
My mood is the bright sun shining.
My mood is a rainbow glimmering in the sky.

Ruby T, age 7, Year 3, Ilam School


Nothing here for me



Clouds blocking the sun.

Blue, black, white.

As alone as

the moon.



Elizabeth v W Age: 10 St Cuthbert’s College


Red Hot

Hot red cheeks

As hot as a fire

Awkwardly walking down halls


Charlotte W Age 10  St Cuthbert’s College



Raised Voice


covers my face,

growling like a bear.

explodes my brain, bang,

yelling, crying,

raised voice.


Lizzie H   Age 9 St Cuthbert’s College




everywhere anywhere.

Palms slippery,

my spine

like jelly wobbling,

internally alone

tip toeing, slowly, carefully,



for forever,


Lizzie H Age 9 St Cuthbert’s College



Fizzing Body

Yellow, jumping around,

Vibrating sweating sports playing.

Leopard fast as me,

Electricity runs through my veins.


Felicity Qin Age 9 St Cuthbert’s College


Uh Oh

Holding out the lollipop

Signs in

Cars zooming

Felling like it’s my first day of school.


Isabella C Age 9 St Cuthberts College



Shadows seem to follow,

in the dark of night.

Running away,

Nobody understands.

Defeated like deflated balloons.

Grey, black, white.


Elizabeth v W Age: 10 St Cuthbert’s College


When I’m singing

Rows and rows and children sitting on the exceptional stage
My heart was beating
I felt my adrenaline pumping
The stage felt like I was in a boiling hot oven
I could hear beautiful singing
There was a HUGE crowd in front of me
My family was very supportive
The funky monkeys in the spotlight
I could feel my legs shaking
I had a HUGE grin on my face

Name: Poppy P Year level: 5 Age: 9 School: Vardon School



Jumping around like a bunch of rabbits,
can’t help smiling,
wearing my special, white dress, above the knee with a white rose,
strap wraps around my body.

My friends arriving
Lots of laughing
Talking to each other
Chomping party food
Cake brought out
I hear my friends singing Happy birthday
eating cake
smoke coming from candles like smoke from a chimney.

Nisha 7 years old Vardon School
My teacher’s email is



Greasy butter polishing the popcorn,

large cup filled with lemonade,

this place is amazing

with all the action packed picture,

the seats are as a million pillows,

snacking on sweet and sour lollies,

they make my eyes squint,

this place is the best place on

a rainy day.


Dry, flavorous popcorn,

flat lemonade with too much ice,

what I’m watching is terrible,

the picture is rubbish,


my seat is so uncomfortable

someone’s kicking the back of my chair,

pulling chewing gum off my “NIKES”,

people chattering away I’m going to leave this place

I’m full of so much anger.


Screams Everywhere, I’m hiding under my jumper,

feels like they’re popping right at me

it’s like they are going

to pop right behind me,

I’ve spilt my drink and

popcorn everywhere,

I can’t stand this anymore.

Zachary Dew Year 8 Age: 13 Northcross intermediate    

The Best Time Of The Year

Frost creeping up the window making star like crystals

The smell of pine and the wind making a soothing whistle

I dive into fluffy white powder that feels soft like cashmere

I look up at the sky the snow crystallizing like a chandelier

Drinking hot cocoa in my comfy jacket

The snow covering the city like a huge white blanket

My nose and cheeks are rosy

Watching Christmas classics nice and cosy

Making yummy gingerbread houses covered with sweets

The holidays make everyone so upbeat

Presents under the tree

Make the kids squeal with glee

Ngaire L Year 8  Northcross Intermediate Sabine Brooke


Cowering In The Corner At Night

Cowering in the corner at night,

Shadows dance against the walls,

Where is it?

I know It’s here.


It’s up on the bunk bed,

It’s here, I can hear it,

I lean into the wall,

I can sense it.


It’s coming to get me!

From under the Bed!

Close my eyes, here it comes,

Cowering in the corner at night.

Willem C Age 10 Gladstone Primary School


Ants in my Pants
In the moment,
I think into the past
the present
and the future,
jumping on the tips
of my toes.

I find a smile
appear on my face,
a smile
nothing can wipe,
I try to stop it
but it only widens.

My heart flops
on its face,
my breath quickens,
a fist pump,
a jump,
ants in my pants!

During the weekend I traveled to West Auckland (Henderson) for the Future Problem Solving nationals.

I had a great time topped of with a win which means qualification to the worlds in Michigan next year. I wrote this mood poem about how I felt….

By Ewen W aged 13, Year 8, Cobham Intermediate School, Christchurch



 Nearly Bedtime!

Eyes drooping,

Floppy thinking,

Angry people,

Minds swirling,

Drowsy kids,


Nearly Bedtime!


Headaches coming,

Exasperated stomping,

Drained of any thought,

Sleepy children,

Drowsy ideas,




Nearly Bedtime!

Ella E Age 10 Y5 Gladstone Primary School Auckland



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Jasper St Peters School Cambridge


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Rory St Peters School Cambridge



A Blue Feeling
I stared out the window looking
At the dark and miserable clouds
At the same time, I glared
At the rain falling onto the
Ground with the others coming with them.
They reminded me of the time
When my great grandfather died of old age.

The Pink Flowers

The pink flowers
On the field,
Danced together with the wind
Elegantly and gently,
As though it was conducting a show.
And as the endless show lasted continuously,
Something flashed in my heart.
I remembered the time
When my sister was born 2 years ago.

The Green Swivelling Leaves
As I lay down in the shade,
Peacefully and quietly,
I closed my eyes
And thought of all the times
When it was like now.
I thought for a little while
Until I thought of something.
I remembered the time,
When I was at the beach,
Hearing the waves colliding into the sea shore.

By Akiko O 9 years old  St Andrew’s College



It strikes over me like lightening
It’s always happiness, it’s never anger
Its love to feel it, its hatred to not
The world depends on it
If it is gone the world is tumbled

Lily E, 8yrs, St Andrews Preparatory
A shadow
looms over me
like rain clouds
over a city.

My hands tremble
like lips in
a stutter.

My eyes search
for an exit,
ice in
a desert.

My heart beat rides
a tsunami wave,
rising as it nears,
the land.

My head is positioned
straight like a china doll
awaiting what it is
above me.

By Ewen W aged 13, Year 8, Cobham Intermediate School, Christchurch

Mood poem (1)
Grey, black, very stormy.
Pink, yellow, lots of fun.
Purple, blue, with their stories filled with sadness.

Mood poem (2)
Blue, sad, stories that are never ending.
Yellow, happy, a number of fairy tales.
Pink, glowing, watch it all light up,
green, fun, play all day,
purple, calm, see it fade…

Name: Frances Age: 8  School:Fendalton Open Air School

On the floor, the floor so cold

Lies the bones, the bones so old

The moss creeps through the sewer grate

The rats pour out and seal your fate

The putrid smell burns your nose

Through a crack a thorn bush grows

Behind the door of solid iron

They will never hear your crying

The lock is tough, you’ll never crack it

It can be heard, the shout of static

The shackles are cold on your wrists

You struggle free with a twist

Through the bars you see a ray of light

Then down goes the sun and outcomes the night

The drip in the corner is making you insane

Then you hear clank of a chain

You suddenly feel the worst of pains

Then your skull cracks open and outcome your brains

The grey stone floor is now drenched in blood

Your lifeless body drops with a thud

The floor now has a new set of bones

Lying on the old, cold stones


Ben H Year 7 11 Years old St Peters Cambridge<>


I. Eruption

It is so frustrating
I want to punch the wall
And stomp in heavy boots
All the way down the hall

II. Complete

Sometimes I want to do this
And I just don’t know why
I just want to jump up
Very very high!

III. Frozen

I run
I hide
I panic
I just can’t

IV. Drooping

A tear
I know
It is not
to be a
good day

Finn Pearce, Year 4, Age 8, Ilam School, Kerrin Davidson Creative Writing Teacher





My 1000th post on Poetry Box needs a wee celebration – a piece of cake for me and something for you



Woohooo!  This is my 1000th post on NZ Poetry Box.

This needs a wee celebration so I am about to have tea and cake.

To celebrate I will have a challenge:


Write a poem on any subject you like, however you like.

I will be choosing a few poems that stand out.


Will your poem sound good when I read it out loud?

Will your poem surprise me somewhere (it doesn’t have to)?

Will you use words that stand out?

How will your poem catch my eye or ear?

Think about about all the things you have explored on Poetry Box.



DEADLINE for your 1000th-Poem Challenge: Friday 27th November

Send to Include your name, year, age and name of school. You can include your teacher’s name and email.     This is a different email address to my usual one that is going wonky

PLEASE say it’s for the 1000th-Poem challenge. Put in the subject line of the email please.

I will post my favourites and have a bundle of books for at least one poet (Year 0 to Year 8).