Steel Don’t Float!
So here I am
On this great big boat,
But it’s made of steel …!
And steel don’t float!
Call the captain!
Tell the mate!
Before it’s too late!
No doubt about it,
This boat’s going down,
‘Cause steel don’t float.
We’re all gonna drown!
They just don’t think.
A boat of steel
Is bound to sink.
Does a cannonball float?
Or a 50 pence?
Metals always sink,
It’s only sense.
So here I am
On this great big boat,
And it’s made of steel …
… So how does it float?
An object will float if it is lighter than water or, more correctly, if its density is less than that of water. Although steel is much heavier than water a steel boat, because of its shape, also contains air so that the ‘density’ of the boat, as it pushes down on the water, is less than that of water, and the boat will float.
The Sub-Atomic Particle Zoo
Please don’t give buns to the Boson,
When you visit the particle zoo.
And avoid feeding figs
To the one known as Higgs,
For the keepers hate sweeping up poo.
Avoid having lunch with the Lepton,
You might be leapt on if you do.
But the Tau, for some hay,
Will point out the way,
While the Muon will just stand and chew.
The Quarks in the duck pond are dabbling,
Bottoms up and tops down, two by two.
And the grumpy-faced Gluon
Is giving his view on
What’s right, and what’s wrong, and what’s new.
When you pass by the hadrons and mesons,
If you’ve time and there isn’t a queue.
Can you ask them, with tact,
How they all interact,
‘Cause I honestly haven’t a clue.
Sub-atomic particles are particles which are smaller than atoms. The elementary sub-atomic particles currently known include six types of Quark (called Up, Down, Bottom, Top, Strange and Charm), six types of Lepton (including the Electron, Muon and Tau), twelve types of Boson, including eight Gluons, plus the famous Higgs Boson. The elementary particles can combine to form composite sub-atomic particles such as protons, neutrons, hadrons, baryons and mesons.
Dripping Tap Rap
In the kitchen there’s a tap that’s always drip, drip, dripping,
Ever glooping, ever blooping, ever blip-blop-blipping.
Gives a syncopating rhythm as you come in through the door
And you find your slippers skipping ‘cross that kitchen floor.
While your feet are pitter-pattering your hands begin to clap,
You’ve been bitten, you’ve been smitten by that dripping tap rap.
Brother Billy grabs a spoon and beats the bottom of a pan,
Making like a crazy drummer from a rock and roll band.
Then you’re tapping on the worktop with a knife-and-fork,
Soft and swinging, you can almost make that cutlery talk.
Cousin Katie shakes the Raisin Bran just like a tambourine,
The most regular of rhythms anyone has ever seen.
Uncle Boris take a bottle, blows it gently ‘cross the top,
That’s the bass, truly ace, for your dripping tap bop.
Add the beeping of the timer on the mi-cro-wave
And we’re twitchin’ in the kitchen in a dripping tap rave.
Everybody starts to boogie, someone’s singing out a song,
Could be starting up a party lasting all night long,
In comes Mumma with a plumber, puts a washer in the tap,
And my friend,
That is the end,
Of our dripping
Am I staying?
Not a chance!
First published in ‘Shorts’, edited by Paul Cookson, published by Macmillan, 2000.
You’re Not Going Out Like That!
You’re not going out?
Not looking like that?
You look just like something
Brought in by the cat.
People will laugh at you,
Neighbours will stare.
That outfit. Those colours.
And as for that hair …
You’re not going out
When you look such a mess?
After all that I’ve said
About sensible dress.
I’ll disown you; I promise.
I’m telling you flat:
You’re not going out, Dad,
Not looking like that!
First published in ‘Parents Keep Out!’, edited by Brian Moses, published by Macmillan, 2001
Eat Your Greens, Miranda
Eat your greens, Miranda,
Like a sensible young girl.
They’ll put colour in your cheeks
And make your hair begin to curl.
They’re good for your complexion,
They help you see at night.
Whatever’s wrong, I tell you
Eating greens will put it right.
For an end to global warming
Eat your greens – it just can’t fail.
You can mend the ozone layer,
You can help to save the whale.
There’ll be global peace and harmony
Before you reach your teens.
You can save the world, Miranda,
If you’ll only eat your greens!
First published in ‘Parents Keep Out!’, edited by Brian Moses, Published by Macmillan, 2001.
And that’s not all.
It fizzes, flashes, bubbles, bangs,
Grows, glows, pulls, pushes,
Moves, murmurs, hums, growls,
Crawls, creeps, bleeds, breeds,
Tries, tests, bends, breaks,
Makes, mends, clones, cures,
Probes, peers, seeks, finds,
Clears, steers, leads, links.
Don’t you love it?
First published in ‘Read Me at School’, edited by Gaby Morgan, published by Macmillan, 2009
I spied a pie through the baker’s door,
And then I spied a whole lot more.
Apple pie with crusty topping,
Rabbit pie that won’t stop hopping,
Mince pie hot on Christmas Day,
Pigeon pie that flies away,
Cottage pie with bricks and mortar,
Octopi found underwater,
Butcher’s pie with steak and kidney,
Witches pie with Kate and Sidney,
Shepherd’s pie with spuds and carrots,
Pirate’s pie with squawking parrots,
Blackbird pie begins to sing,
Eel pie keeps on wriggling,
Custard pie that someone throws,
Mud pie oozing through your toes,
Fish pie swimming in the sea,
Cherry pie – the one for me!
I spied a pie through the baker’s door.
A spider pie? Are you really sure?
First published in ‘Poems About Food’, edited by Brian Moses, published by Hodder Wayland 1999
Miss Morris is mild, Miss Morris is meek,
She loves teaching history – Roman and Greek,
She knows all the wars with the French and the Spanish,
But when danger threatens, Miss Morris will vanish!
She’ll dash, in a flash, to the ladies staff loo,
Then emerge, in an instant, as somebody new!
Helmeted, caped, in an aura of light,
And with gold coloured pants that are far, far too tight.
With a leap she will launch herself into the air,
And bullies and baddies had better beware!
Supermiss! Supermiss! Classroom crusader!
There’s nowhere to hide, villains just can’t evade her.
She’ll teach them a lesson they’d rather not know.
Now get on with your work, she’ll be back in a mo.
There’s a sound far away, like a faint thunder-clap
And the sky’s punctuated with ‘Pow!’ and ‘Kerzap!’
The occasional ‘Whammo!’, an ‘Unghhh!’ or a ‘Wheee!’
And then it goes quiet, as quiet can be.
She lands like a lark, hardly bending the grass,
And in less than a minute is back with her class,
Where Miss Morris says ‘Settle down now! Pay attention!
Who knows Galileo’s most famous invention?’
Supermiss! Supermiss! Hear the class roar!
But if there’s one Supermiss, could there be more?
So watch when your teacher pops into the loo.
She just might emerge as a Supermiss too!
First published in ‘Top Secret Lives of Teachers’, edited by Brian Moses, published by Macmillan 2002
I claim with confidence, I’ve met
Most creatures in the alphabet.
I’ve hunted them with noose or net,
From aardvark, ape and avocet,
Through musk-ox, moose and marmoset,
To xiphias and zebra, yet
It is to my intense regret
I haven’t seen a Yeti … yet.
I’ve trekked by mule with my machete,
Getting chilly, mucky, sweaty,
And, though you may call it petty,
Still I’ve never found a Yeti.
I’ve searched regions dry and wet.
I’ve scoured the plateau of Tibet.
I’ve studied Yeti etiquette,
Seen things I think a Yeti’s ate,
And though I’m not the sort to fret,
I’m really getting quite upset
That I’ve not seen or smelt or met
Or found or caught a Yeti … yet!
First published in ‘A Poetry Teacher’s Toolkit – Book 2’, by Collette Drifte and Mike Jubb, published by David Fulton, 2002.