out of my big green
back garden I pluck
little red tomatoes
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
onto my gardening
knees and shiny shoes
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.
MY TOP TIP: READ YOUR POEM TO SOMEONE BEFORE YOU SEND IT TO ME
Deadline: 26th April
Send to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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!
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)