‘The hole in the wall‘ A poem that I wrote, illustrated and made into a film many years ago, has been made into a wonderful little book by The Dry Stone Walling Association – 2018
I am writing more poems about that wonderful hole in the dry stone wall. Meanwhile here is the poem and some more poems with children in mind. Some of them were written for my grandchildren a long time ago.
But what exactly is a poem for children?
Several poems in my collections are written from an older child’s perspective.
The hole in the wall
The Lost Cat
for older children
The Green Tights
The hole in the wall
There is a garden I know,
with an old dry stone wall
I wonder who lives there,
perhaps no one at all.
Maybe a spider with spots brown and gold,
a mouse with a family to keep from the cold.
A slithery snake could climb into the gap,
a hedgehog curl up for a long winter nap.
The hole is quite dark so I can’t really see
but I think there are eyes staring right back at me.
It could be a toad and this is his home
or a safe place for snails until babies have grown.
For bees it is handy because they like flowers,
they could make lots of honey which takes hours and hours.
But why not a dragon who blows fire and smoke
or a home for a gnome and magical folk?
A shifty black beetle runs past my nose,
if I watch him quite carefully I’ll will see where he goes.
The floor is all earthy but I think I can see,
spotty brown toadstools as far as can be.
In the roof there’s a crack with a wee bit of light
where a ladybird likes to crawl up and take flight.
Butterflies might want to hide from the rain,
rest for a while and fly off again.
There is a garden I know with an old dry stone wall
I wonder who lives there, perhaps no one at all.
My dad works in the circus
And when we go to school
He shows me lots of circus tricks,
He likes to play the fool.
Miss Chivers showed him round one day,
He cartwheeled in the gym
And swung on ropes above our heads
So we all laughed at him.
Mr Potts was cleaning windows
When dad was going round,
He put a bucket on his head
Two metres from the ground.
He juggled in the classroom
With books and balls and rings
And balanced boxes on his nose
And other clever things.
Mrs Pie was in the kitchen
Dad loves to help with flour.
He made some lovely custard pies.
Which passed a pleasant hour.
Miss Chivers said “It’s time to go”
But dad was having fun
So he strung us up a tightrope,
We practised one by one.
But now we have to do our work
So dad will have to go,
Will he listen? Not my dad,
He’s swinging to and fro.
We are off to Granny’s beach hut
so we are waiting for the train,
with buckets, balls and sandwiches,
umbrellas for the rain.
Gran says we’ll walk for ages,
so the buggy’s just in case.
My legs are not quite long enough
to walk at Granny’s pace.
Gran talks and talks to all her friends,
so I wait patiently,
But now we empty everything
because she’s lost the key.
At last we open Smiley House,
The name is on the door,
It’s full of lovely things
and I’ve been here before.
There are nets to do the fishing,
a kettle for Gran’s tea,
a chair for her to take a rest while I
throw pebbles in the sea.
If I want a paddle
I have to tell my Gran,
I’m not allowed to go alone,
She has to hold my hand.
We eat up all the sandwiches,
At four we catch the train,
We’ve had a really lovely time
and now here comes the rain!
The Lost Cat
The cat on our wall
is shaggy and brown.
I’ve been trying to reach him
but he won’t come down.
He looks soft and furry,
his eyes sharp and bright
as he watches the birds
from morning to night.
He’s washing his fur
while I’m eating my tea,
I pretend that he’s mine
and his name’s Gregory.
Mum says she is sorry,
but he can’t come indoors
he is somebody else’s
and has muddy paws.
He meowed at my window
and made such a din,
I opened it up
and let him climb in.
Mum made him a label
and put up a sign,
if nobody claims him
perhaps he’ll be mine.
Mum says “Don’t be hopeful,
he’s somebody’s cat,
and when they collect him
that will be that.”
Two plays my mother and I wrote and made into films years and years ago.
When I was young we went away with our parents all summer, they used to perform with out marionettes (puppets on strings) at the seaside.
Poems for older children or grown up that are young at heart.
When the velvet curtain rises,
music sets the scene,
characters from wonderland
unfold their curious theme.
Promised paths and gardens,
a walk with talking flowers,
a busy running rabbit,
a mushroom’s magic powers.
A strange Mad Hatter, in a rant
makes all the tea things shake,
a dormouse in a teapot
cannot stay awake.
A droopy jawed old Duchess,
a Queen who loves to shout,
knaves who paint the roses
when no-one is about.
The puppets strut about the stage,
then hang back in their rows,
a never ending circle
of summer season shows.
For three years we were in Blackpool in a flat overlooking the illuminations. It was a long long road on the seafront with magical scenes made out of coloured lights
How can we sleep, sleep with this din
when all that is out there wants to come in?
The windows ajar so the curtains are free,
ripples of moonlight dance on the sea.
A huge paddle steamer trundles along
with thousands of lights it moves through the throng.
It comes creeping along on the tracks of the tram
cars all start hooting because there’s a jam.
Songs from the old days are blaring out loud
every so often they’re sung by the crowd.
The brightest of colours, red, blue and green
flick on and off to highlight each scene.
An enormous Mad Hatter is pouring some tea
and pirates trap lost boys under a tree.
Witches and wizards are busy with spells,
goblins and fairies are living in wells.
The boat is upon us and dazzles our eyes,
we find ourselves falling like kites in the skies.
On a giant helter-skelter we find ourselves slide,
we’re twisting and turning enjoying the ride.
On candyfloss mountains we’ll bounce and we’ll jump,
on lollypop twisters we’ll land with a thump.
We’ll spin round and round on pink and white twirls
and sail the dark seas on liquorice swirls.
We’ll stop and have tea that the Mad Hatter makes,
run after the knave who steals all the cakes.
We’ll follow the piper who gets rid of the rats,
stroke the soft fur of the fairyland cats.
The boat trundles on to the end of the track,
it’s lucky for us that it makes its way back.
So we leave magic dragons and fish that can talk,
three little pigs who are out for a walk.
We pass by our window and take a great leap,
tired with excitement we soon fall asleep.
Our sheets made of cotton have mud here and there,
to remind us at day break we really were there.
The Green Tights – a nonsense poem
The king was feeling tetchy;
he did not like the cold.
He had to wear his socks in bed
which made him feel so old.
The Queen said, “Get up darling
you’ve got to rule the land,”
and swept out to cut some roses
with secateurs in hand.
The Princess Pearl was dreaming
of a Prince down by the lake.
With bug eyed frogs, without a spell,
this was a big mistake.
The jester was in love with her;
he saw his chance at last.
He slipped into some fetching tights,
put on a froggy mask.
From a draughty castle window
the King saw a sorry sight,
a jumping green court jester
with very manly thighs.
The princess said “For goodness sake
I know you are a fake”,
and pushed the hapless jester
into the froggy lake.
The King called “Stop this nonsense,
but where did you get those tights?
They look so warm and cosy
they would keep me warm at night.”
The Queen called out “I’ll knit you some
but you’ve got a land to rule.
So please my dear get on with it
while I rescue the poor fool.”
Ego likes to get about
to jump, to hop, to run,
he’s bright and sharp and sparky,
intent on having fun.
When he’s at a party
he’s rude, he’s crass, a bore,
if there is a silence
he’ll always take the floor.
Favourite colours red or gold,
he feeds on chocolate cake,
he doesn’t like to take a nap,
he needs to stay awake.
He likes to keep abreast of things,
he must be in the know,
he’s always in the fast lane,
forever on the go.
Ego’s never lonely,
he’s busy with his schemes,
he doesn’t waste his time on guilt,
he’s always full of beans.
A play we made with our marionettes about Alice in Wonderland, a film about a workshop I ran in Saltdean Library and just for fun our Frosty the Snowman.