All Poems

Draw Me an Alien

Draw me an alien,
One you’d like to meet,
Or one to send you yelling,
Shrieking, howling down the street.

Draw me an alien,
A blob, a beast, a thing,
With talons, toes, or tentacles,
To grasp or clasp or cling.

Draw me an alien
From light-years far away,
From Earth, or Mars, or Venus,
Then slither off and play.

Granny Meets an Alien

An alien from Andromeda,
With seven pairs of flippers,
Grabbed Gran, by the gasometer,
We only found her slippers.

But then we got a letter,
Redirected via Saturn.
She’s knitting him a sweater –
Fourteen-sleeved! Please send a pattern.

Mr Fledermaus

Our teacher, Mr Fledermaus, seems frightened of the light.
He comes to school before the dawn, and goes home late at night.
His face is almost deathly pale; he wears a long black cloak.
And with those little pointy teeth he really looks a joke.

He ought to eat much more, he should put on a bit of weight,
But he left the garlic mushrooms in a pile upon his plate.
He often nips into the loo, to comb his sleek, black hair,
But they say that, in the mirror, no reflection greets him there!

The weirdest things upset him, like that time, the other day,
I was sharpening my pencil, and he winced, and looked away.
I think Miss Cartwright fancies him, and though she’s quite a wreck,
He does seem strangely taken with her long and shapely neck!

First published in ‘Top Secret Lives of Teachers’, edited by Brian Moses, published by Macmillan, 2002.

Don’t Put Out the Light!

Don’t put out the light!
For a crocodile might
Wander by in the night
And be tempted, despite
Knowing it’s impolite,
To partake of a bite.
Yes, you’re probably right
That the danger is slight,
But don’t put out the light!

Check under the bed!
For some beasts, I have read,
When they haven’t been fed,
Get it into their head
To try hunting instead.
And though it’s been said
That they may prefer bread
Thick with chocolate spread,
Please check under the bed!

Don’t put out the light!
No, I’m not in a fright,
I’m not getting uptight,
I am quite, quite all right.
But I half thought you might,
To be mean, out of spite,
So, just for tonight,
As you wish me goodnight
Please don’t put out the light!!!

5-a-Side Mythical Beast Football

Centaur? You go up front. Striker.
Centaur-forward, you could say!
Just my joke.

Pegasus? Right wing.
No, you can use the left one too.
That’s your position. Right wing.
All that speed. Hefty kick. Brilliant!

Unicorn? Left wing.
And this time, don’t try to head it!
You’ve burst six balls already this season.

Minotaur? Man’s body, bull’s head.
You stay at the back.
But no rough stuff. Not like last week.
Should have told them not to wear red.

Dragon. In goal.
No, it’s not because you’re useless.
Just spread those wings. Can’t go wrong.
And if the ball’s going past you,
Burn it.

Now. Are you fit? Ready?
It’s a tough one this week.
Back Street Primary, Year 3.
Now they’re real beasts!

First published in ‘My Mum’s Put Me on the Transfer List’, edited by John Foster, published by Oxford University Press, 2002.

Want to be an Angel

Want to be an angel.
Don’t want to be a King.
Angels dress up all in white,
Angels get to sing.

Want to be an angel,
Kneeling on the straw.
Wings so big, I have to shuffle
Sideways through the door.

Melanie’s an angel,
Miss? That isn’t fair!
I’ve got angel sort of eyes
And angel sort of hair.

I should be an angel,
Miss. Instead of her.
… Oh, if I must, I’ll be a King!
Just don’t give me the myrrh!

Show and Tell

A week last Thursday Mrs Bell
Said, perhaps for Show and Tell,
We could bring along some pets,
An idea that she now regrets.

There were cats and rats and dogs,
Miriam had brought some frogs,
Then shy and quiet Ursula
Took out her pet tarantula.

Children shouted, children shrieked,
Some stood on their desks and squeaked.
All of which just served to wake
Brian’s favourite rattlesnake.

It shook its tail, as if to say
One shouldn’t treat a snake that way,
Terrifying mice and rats
And Cathy’s dozing vampire bats.

They rose as one into the air.
Amy leapt onto her chair,
Knocking over neighbour Grant’s
Box of giant soldier ants.

Pets were crawling, croaking, creeping.
Mrs Bell just sat there, weeping,
When we heard a fearsome roar
And a head popped round the door.

In the room came Susie Bland
With a leash grasped in her hand.
“Quiet boy! Now stay! Just wait!
It’s my T-Rex. Are we too late?”

First published in ‘Why Do We Have to Go to School?’, edited by John Foster, published by Oxford University Press, 2002.





Gorgon’s Bad Hair Day

Have you got wild, unmanageable coils?
Don’t dare look in the mirror?
Petrified someone will see you?

Try ‘Medusa’s Mixture’
And put the hiss back in your hair!

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!

Those engineers,
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.