Friday, 19 September 2014

New poem called 'Cows'…for you to try out soon?

We went for a walk

and we went past a farm

and on towards some woods

and past the woods

out to an empty sort of a place

and no one lived there

but there was a tower

and we walked up to the tower

and it was full of cows,

I figured that the cows

had run away from the farm

and were living in the tower.

It was a cow tower.

I was trying to work out

how the cows got to the top

of the tower when I saw

some doors open

and a cow walked out.

It was a lift,

the cows were using the lift,

and my dad said,

‘Phew, there’s a bit of a pong,

isn’t there?’

And I said, ‘That cow’s pressing

the wrong button.

It’s pressing the button

that keeps the doors open.

It’ll never go.’

My Dad said,
‘Good point, Mick.’

Thursday, 18 September 2014

A new poem. Feel free to share it with young or old...

The Whooshing Sound

The doctor asked me to sit still

and then he handed me

a thing that looked a bit like a plug

and asked me to put it over my bellybutton.

I did that.

Then he attached a tube to the plug

and switched on a machine.

There was a whooshing sound.

For a while nothing happened

but then I started to feel my belly

swelling up.

‘You’ll feel your belly swelling up,’

the doctor said.

‘Yes,’ I said.

It felt a bit like having a tight belt on

or maybe having a bit too much to eat.

‘It may feel a bit like having a tight belt on,

or having a bit too much to eat,’ he said.

‘Yes,’ I said.

I went on swelling up

and I started to feel light,

as if I wasn’t sitting so heavily in the chair.

The machine went on making the whooshing sound.

Then, very slowly, very gently,

I found myself lifting off the chair.

‘Were you expecting this to happen?’

I said.

‘Yes and no,’ the doctor said.

‘What happens when it’s a no?’

I said.

‘Oh...sometimes, it leaks,’

he said,

‘I’m in the air,’ I said.

‘Yes,’ he said.

I was floating round the room.

‘Oh,’ he said,‘did I weigh you?’

‘No,’ I said.

‘It’s a bit late now,’ he said.

‘Yes,’ I said, ‘I wouldn’t know how to come down

from up here and stand on the scales.’

‘What’s your date of birth?’ he said.

‘Is my date of birth the same as my birthday?’

I said.

The window was open.

I looked out.

I don’t know if it was because I looked

or if it was because of the way the wind

was blowing

but I found myself drifting towards the window.

‘I think I’m floating out of the window,’

I said.

‘What did you say was your date of birth?’

he said.

‘I am floating out of the window,’

I said.

‘Is it, the 4th of June 19..?

I didn’t catch the rest

I was out the window and

too far off.

Too far away.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Another new poem...

Paper Plane

(for Simon Armitage and his book ‘Paper Aeroplane’)

When I was a kid

I once made a paper plane

that was so big

I went for a ride on it.

What happened was that

I was at the park

and I threw it

and as I let go of it

I jumped on it.

I flew over the bit

where we played football

and then over the pond

with the island in the middle.

What was great was the way

people looked up at me

and waved.

I loved the way they waved.

It made me feel really good

the way they waved.

The day hadn’t been good

up till then.

I had had an arithmetic test.

It didn’t go very well.

The landing wasn’t too good though.

The plane came down hard

and crumpled.

You know how paper crumples up.

That’s what happened.

I wasn’t what you might say was ‘hurt’.

Just a bit shaken up.

Some people came over and

asked me if I was alright.

I said, ‘Yeah, I’m fine.’

Someone said, ‘You’re not going

to leave all that paper there, are you,


I shrugged.

A woman helped me crumple it up

really small

and we put it in

a bin.

Then I went home.

My dad said,

‘How did the arithmetic test go?’

‘Not too good,’ I said.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Another poem to try out…today? Tomorrow?

A Whale Got On My Bus

I was on a bus

and a whale got on.

The recorded announcement said:

‘Please move down the bus

so that there is room for passengers

getting on the bus.

Please move down the bus

so that there is room for passengers

getting on the bus.’

We moved down the bus

and the whale squeezed in

and the doors closed.

I was next to the whale,

it said,

‘Sorry, I’m dripping.’

‘No worries,’ I said,

‘same thing happens to me

when I’m wearing my waterproof coat.’

‘What this much?’ said the whale.

I didn’t want to make the whale feel bad

so I said,

‘Well, yes actually.’

‘Do people complain?’ the whale said.

And I lied,

I said,

‘Yes,’ when in actual fact no one

had ever complained.

‘I can’t see all the way round the back of me,’

the whale said, ‘could you look to see

if I’m dripping over everyone back there?’

‘Sure,’ I said and I looked.

People were getting showered.

‘There’s a bit of dripping going on,’ I said.

‘I knew it,’ said the whale.

‘Do you have a towel on you?’

‘No,’ I said, ‘I don’t usually carry a towel around.’

‘Well,’ said the whale, ‘isn’t that typical!’

‘Is it?’ I said.

‘You get on a bus, you’re dripping wet

you ask for a bit of help, a bit of sympathy

and all you get is nastiness.

What is it with people, these days?’

‘I’m sorry,’ I said, ‘I just don’t have a towel.’

And then it all went quiet.

It was all a bit tense.


All you could hear was a

dripping sound.

Drip, drip, drip,drip...

Monday, 15 September 2014

Poem to try out in school tomorrow? (or today even)

Card trick without cards

He said:

I can do card tricks without cards.

I said:


He said:

Pick a card.

I said:


He said:

Have you done it?

I said:


He said:

Put it back in the pack.

I said:


He said:

I’m shuffling the pack.

I said:


He said:

Is it this one?

I said:

Which one?

He said:

This one.

I said:

But you haven’t said which one it is.

He said:

I told you, I haven’t got a pack.

I said:

Right, I get you. Yes, it is that one. You picked the right one.

He said,

I know.

I said:

I can do writing without words.

He said:


I said:

Here’s what I wrote.

He said:


I said:

Glad you like it.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Roland Rance on the two-state solution of Israel

" Those who continue to advocate a "two-state solution" in Palestine, and who still maintain, despite all evidence to the contrary, that Israel might at some time relinquish control over the territories it occupied in 1967, must be wilfully closing their eyes to reality. They are ignoring the way in which the 1967-occupied territories are thoroughly integrated into Israel, and in which today the Occupation IS Israel.
Israel existed for just nineteen years within the Green Line, the pre-1967 border to which these fantasists believe Israel should withdraw. It has existed for 47 years with its expanded borders; it has been forced to disgorge the Sinai peninsula to Egypt, and part of the Golan Heights to Syria, but neither of these areas forms part of Palestine.
It was a salutary moment when, one day in 1984, I saw posters going up in Jerusalem regarding the conscription to Israel's army of kids born in June 1967. I realised that a whole generation had grown up, which had spent its entire life in "Greater Israel", and for whom tales of the state's pre-67 life were as remote as tales of the Attlee government are to me. By now, we are reaching the time when the first grandchildren of this 1967 generation will reach conscription age. Three generations living in the bizarre dichotomy of a state that purports to be democratic for its citizens, while maintaining military rule over millions of its subjects; but which is, in reality, one apartheid regime in the whole of Palestine.
No repartition of Palestine, no "two-state" stitch-up, no continuation of the unequal status of more than a million Palestinian citizens of Israel and the exile of millions of Palestinians, can possibly lead to a just and sustainable resolution of this conflict. Those concerned for the future welfare of Israelis, no less than those concerned for a just future for Palestinians, must join in the struggle for the abolition of political Zionism, and for a common future, in one democratic entity, for all of Palestine's current residents and exiles."
by Roland Rance

Teacher (on Facebook) comments on exam regime

"I'm a primary school teacher, a parent and a child of the 80s Thatcher education.
I've seen with my own eyes how schools have changed for the worst. I've been battered by a system, I refuse to bow down to. I've watched children drilled for exams, in tears with their confidence in tatters as early as 7; children that are unable to develop the stamina to read whole texts as they're force fed 'extracts' which meet some assessment focus somewhere; children that are merely dots on a graph expected to move in a linear fashion towards a meaningless one dimensional exam that teaches them no self worth or life skills.
I've watched my own children suffer the same, and eagerly wait for the day that they leave and have hopefully survived the 'education' system that is imposed upon them, rather geared towards them as whole human beings.
It's a sad, sad tragedy. I remain in my job to fight it. To give richness, creativity, opportunity, thinking skills, resilience and self confidence that will provide that love of learning that our system sadly now overlooks.
There are some schools and teachers that still do it but we are fighting a battle and a tide that is becoming harder and harder and to be quite frank, it frightens me."