The Poetry of Childhood (mostly).

The Poetry of Childhood (mostly).


Even if it keeps you up all night,
wash down the walls and scrub the floor
of your study before composing a syllable.
Clean the place as if the Pope were on his way.
Spotlessness is the niece of inspiration.
The more you clean, the more brilliant
your writing will be, so do not hesitate to take
to the open fields to scour the undersides
of rocks or swab in the dark forest
upper branches, nests full of eggs.
When you find your way back home
and stow the sponges and brushes under the sink,
you will behold in the light of dawn
the immaculate altar of your desk,”
a clean surface in the middle of a clean world.
From a small vase, sparkling blue, lift
a yellow pencil, the sharpest of the bouquet,
and cover pages with tiny sentences
like long rows of devoted ants
that followed you in from the woods.

A Visit from St. Nicholas 

By: Clement Clarke Moore 

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle,
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night.”


The Man In The Jar
Irwin Mercer

I once knew a man who lived in a jar.
For a stranger sight you’d have to go far.
I asked him once why he lived in a jar.
He grimaced and said, how bizarre you are.
My jar’s so cozy, warm and bright,
Even in the full moonlight.
The only drawback is, you see,
Getting out quickly when I have to pee.

Little Bo-Peep from Mother Goose 

Little Bo-Peep has lost her sheep,

And can’t tell where to find them;

Leave them alone, and they’ll come home,

Bringing their tails behind them.

Little Bo-Peep fell fast asleep,

And dreamt she heard them bleating;

But when she awoke, she found it a joke,

For they were still all fleeting.

Then up she took her little crook,

Determined for to find them;

She found them indeed, but it made her heart bleed,

For they’d left their tails behind them.

It happened one day, as Bo-Peep did stray

Into a meadow hard by,

There she espied their tails, side by side,

All hung on a tree to dry.

She heaved a sigh and wiped her eye,

And over the hillocks she raced;

And tried what she could, as a shepherdess should,

That each tail be properly placed.


Hope by Emily Dickinson:

“Hope” is the thing with feathers––
That perches in the soul––
And sings the tune without the words––
And never stops––at all––

There is no Frigate like a Book (1286) BY EMILY DICKINSON
There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry –
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll –
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul –

Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes


I guess you think you know this story.

You don’t. The real one’s much more gory. The phoney one, the one you know,

Was cooked up years and years ago,

And made to sound all soft and sappy

Just to keep the children happy.

Mind you, they got the first bit right,

The bit where, in the dead of night,

The Ugly Sisters, jewels and all,

Departed for the Palace Ball,

While darling little Cinderella

Was locked up in a slimy cellar,

Where rats who wanted things to eat, Began to nibble at her feet.

She bellowed ‘Help!’ and ‘Let me out!’

 The Magic Fairy heard her shout. Appearing in a blaze of light,

She said, ‘My dear, are you all right?’ ‘All right?’cried Cindy. ‘Can’t you see ‘I feel as rotten as can be!’

She beat her fist against the wall, And shouted, ‘Get me to the Ball! ‘There is a Disco at the Palace!

‘The rest have gone and I am jalous! ‘I want a dress! I want a coach! ‘And earrings and a diamond brooch! ‘And silver slippers, two of those! ‘And lovely nylon panty-hose!

‘Done up like that I’ll guarantee

‘The handsome Prince will fall for me!’ The Fairy said, ‘Hang on a tick.’

She gave her wand a mighty flick

And quickly, in no time at all,

Cindy was at the Palace Ball!

It made the Ugly Sisters wince

To see her dancing with the Prince.

She held him very tight and pressed

herself against his manly chest.

The Prince himself was turned to pulp, Allhe could do was gasp and gulp.

Then midnight struck. She shouted, ‘Heck!

‘I’ve got to run to save my neck!’

The Prince cried, ‘No! Alas! Alack!’

He grabbed her dress to hold her back.

As Cindy shouted, ‘Let me go!’

The dress was ripped from head to toe.

She ran out in her underwear,

And lost one slipper on the stair.

The Prince was on it like a dart,

He pressed it to his pounding heart,

‘The girl this slipper fits,’ he cried,

‘Tomorrow morn shall be my bride!

‘I’ll visit every house in town

‘Until I’ve tracked the maiden down!’

Then rather carelessly, I fear,

He placed it on a crate of beer.

At once, one of the Ugly Sisters,

(The one whose face was blotched with blisters) Sneaked up and grabbed the dainty shoe,

And quickly flushed it down the loo.

Then in its place she calmly put

The slipper from her own left foot.

Ah-ha, you see, the plot grows thicker,

And Cindy’s luck starts looking sicker.

Next day, the Prince went charging down

To knock on all the doors in town.

In every house, the tension grew.

Who was the owner of the shoe?

The shoe was long and very wide.

(A normal foot got lost inside.)

Also it smelled a wee bit icky.

(The owner’s feet were hot and sticky.) Thousands of eager people came

To try it on, but all in vain.

Now came the Ugly Sisters’ go.

One tried it on. The Prince screamed, ‘No!’ But she screamed, ‘Yes! It fits! Whoopee! ‘So now you’ve got to marry me!’

The Prince went white from ear to ear.

He muttered, ‘Let me out of here.’

‘Oh no you don’t! You made a vow! ‘There’s no way you can back out now!’ ‘Off with her head!’ The Prince roared back. They chopped it off with one big whack. This pleased the Prince. He smiled and said, ‘She’s prettier without her head.’

Then up came Sister Number Two,

Who yelled, ‘Now I will try the shoe!’

‘Try this instead!’ the Prince yelled back.

He swung his trusty sword andsmack-

Her head went crashing to the ground.

It bounced a bit and rolled around.

In the kitchen, peeling spuds,

Cinderella heard the thuds

Of bouncing heads upon the floor,

And poked her own head round the door. ‘What’s all the racket?’ Cindy cried.

‘Mind your own bizz,’ the Prince replied. Poor Cindy’s heart was torn to shreds.

My Prince! she thought. He chops offheads! How could I marry anyone

Who does that sort of thing for fun?

The Prince cried, ‘Who’s this dirty slut? ‘Off with her nut! Off with her nut!’

Just then, all in a blaze of light,

The Magic Fairy hove in sight,

Her Magic Wand wentswoosh andswish! ‘Cindy!’ she cried, ‘come make a wish! ‘Wish anything and have no doubt

‘That I will make it come about!’

Cindy answered, ‘Oh kind Fairy,

‘This time I shall be more wary.

‘No more Princes, no more money.

‘I have had my taste of honey.

‘I’m wishing for a decent man.

‘They’re hard to find. D’you think you can?’ Within a minute, Cinderella

Was married to a lovely feller,

A simple jam-maker by trade,

Who sold good home-made marmalade. Their house was filled with smiles and laughter And they were happy ever after.


Jack’s mother said, ‘We’re stony broke! ‘Go out and find some wealthy bloke ‘Who’ll buy our cow. Just say she’s sound ‘And worth at least a hundred pound. ‘But don’t you dare to let him know

‘That she’s as old as billy-o.’

Jack led the old brown cow away,

And came back later in the day,

And said, ‘Oh mumsie dear, guess what ‘Your clever little boy has got.

‘I got, I really don’t know how,

‘A super trade-in for our cow.‘

The mother said, ‘You little creep,

‘I’ll bet you sold her much too cheap.’ When Jack produced one lousy bean, His startled mother, turning green,

Leaped high up in the air and cried, ‘I’mabsolutely stupefied!

‘You crazy boy! D’you really mean

‘You sold our Daisy for a bean?’

She snatched the bean. She yelled, ‘You chump. And flung it on the rubbish-dump.

Then summoning up all her power, She beat the boy for half an hour, Using (and nothing could be meaner) The handle of a vacuum-cleaner.

At ten p.m. or thereabout,

The little bean began to sprout.

By morning it had grown so tall

You couldn’t see the top at all.

Young Jack cried, ‘Mum, admit it now! ‘It’s better than a rotten cow!’

The mother said, ‘You lunatic!

‘Where are the beans that I can pick? ‘There’s notone bean! It’s bare as bare!’ ‘No no!’ cried Jack. ‘You look up there! ‘Look very high and you’ll behold

‘Each single leaf is solid gold!’

By gollikins, the boy was right!

Now, glistening in the morning light,

The mother actually perceives

A mass of lovely golden leaves!

She yells out loud, ‘My sainted souls!

‘I’ll sell the Mini, buy a Rolls!

‘Don’t stand and gape, you little clot!

‘Get up there quick and grab the lot!’

Jack was nimble, Jack was keen.

He scrambled up the mighty bean.

Up up he went without a stop,

But just as he was near the top,

A ghastly frightening thing occurred-

Not far above his head he heard

A big deep voice, a rumbling thing

That made the very heavens ring.

It shouted loud, ‘FEE Fl FO FUM

‘I SMELL THE BLOOD OF AN ENGLISHMAN!’ Jack was frightened, Jack was quick,

And down he climbed in half a tick.

‘Oh mum!’ he gasped. ‘Believe you me

‘There’s something nasty up our tree!

‘I saw him, mum! My gizzard froze!

‘A Giant with a clever nose!’

‘A clever nose!’ his mother hissed.

‘You must be going round the twist!’

‘He smelled me out, I swear it, mum!

‘He said he smelled an Englishman!’

The mother said, ‘And well he might!

‘I’ve told you every single night

‘To take a bath because you smell,

‘But would you do it? Would you hell!

‘You even make your mother shrink

‘Because of your unholy stink!’

Jack answered, ‘Well, if you’re so clean ‘Why don’t you climb the crazy bean.’

The mother cried, ‘By gad, I will!

‘There’s life within the old dog still!’

She hitched her skirts above her knee

And disappeared right up the tree.

Now would the Giant smell his mum?

Jack listened forthe fee-fo-fum.

He gazed aloft. He wondered when

The dreaded words would come… And then… From somewhere high above the ground There came a frightful crunching sound.

He heard the Giant mutter twice,

‘By gosh, that tasted very nice.

‘Although’ (and this in grumpy tones)

‘I wish there weren’t so many bones.’

‘By Christopher!’ Jack cried. ‘By gum!

‘The Giant’s eaten up my mum!

‘He smelled her out! She’s in his belly!

‘I had a hunch that she was smelly.’

Jack stood there gazing longingly

Upon the huge and golden tree.

He murmured softly, ‘Golly-gosh,

‘I guess I’ll have to take a wash

‘If I am going to climb this tree

‘Without the Giant smelling me.

‘In fact, a bath’s my only hope…

He rushed indoors and grabbed the soap He scrubbed his body everywhere.

He even washed and rinsed his hair.

He did his teeth, he blew his nose

And went out smelling like a rose.

Once more he climbed the mighty bean.

The Giant sat there, gross, obscene,

Muttering through his vicious teeth

(While Jack sat tensely just beneath), Muttering loud, ‘FEE FI FO FUM,

‘RIGHT NOW I CAN’T SMELL ANYONE.’ Jack waited till the Giant slept,

Then out along the boughs he crept And gathered so much gold, I swear He was an instant millionaire.

‘A bath,’ he said, ‘does seem to pay. ‘I’m going to have one every day.’


When little Snow-White’s mother died, The king, her father, up and cried, ‘Oh, what a nuisance! What a life! ‘Now I must find another wife!’

(It’s never easy for a king

To find himself that sort of thing.)

He wrote to every magazine

And said, ‘I’m looking for a Queen.’

At least ten thousand girls replied

And begged to be the royal bride.

The king said with a shifty smile,

‘I’d like to give each one a trial.’

However, in the end he chose

A lady called Miss Maclahose,

Who brought along a curious toy

That seemed to give her endless joy-

This was a mirror framed in brass,

A MAGIC TALKING LOOKING-GLASS. Ask it something day or night,

It always got the answer right.

For instance, if you were to say,

‘Oh Mirror, what’s for lunch today?’

The thing would answer in a trice,

‘Today it’s scrambled eggs and rice.’

Now every day, week in week out,

The spoiled and stupid Queen would shout, ‘Oh Mirror Mirror on the wall,

‘Who is the fairest of them all?’

The Mirror answered every time,

‘Oh Madam, you’re the Queen sublime. ‘You are the only one to charm us,

‘Queen, you are the cat’s pyjamas.‘

For ten whole years the silly Queen Repeated this absurd routine.

Then suddenly, one awful day,

She heard the Magic Mirror say,

‘From now on, Queen, you’reNumber Two. ‘Snow-Whiteis prettier than you!’

The Queen went absolutely wild.

She yelled, ‘I’m going to scrag that child! ‘I’ll cook her flaming goose! I’ll skin ‘er! ‘I’ll have her rotten guts for dinner!’

She called the Huntsman to her study.

She shouted at him, ‘Listen buddy!

‘You drag that filthy girl outside,

‘And see you take her for a ride! ‘Thereafter slit her ribs apart

‘And bring me back her bleeding heart!’

The Huntsman dragged the lovely child Deep deep into the forest wild.

Fearing the worst, poor Snow-White spake. She cried, ‘Oh please give me a break!’ The knife was poised, the arm was strong, She cried again, ‘I’ve done nowrong!’

The Huntsman’s heart began to flutter. It melted like a pound of butter.

He murmured, ‘Okay, beat it, kid,’ And you can bet your life she did. Later, the Huntsman made a stop Within the local butcher’s shop,

And there he bought, for safety’s sake, A bullock’s heart and one nice steak. ‘Oh Majesty! Oh Queen!’ he cried, ‘That rotten little girl has died!

‘And just to prove I didn’t cheat,

‘I’ve brought along these bits of meat.’ ‘The Queen cried out, ‘Bravissimo!

‘I trust you killed her nice and slow.’ Then (this is the disgusting part)

The Queen sat down and ate the heart! (I only hope she cooked it well. Boiled heart can be as tough as hell.) While all of this was going on,

Oh where, oh where had Snow-White gone? She’d found it easy, being pretty,

To hitch a ride in to the city,

And there she’d got a job, unpaid,

As general cook and parlour-maid

With seven funny little men,

Each one not more than three foot ten, Ex horse-race jockeys, all of them. These Seven Dwarfs,though awfully nice, Were guilty of one shocking vice-

They squandered all of their resources At the race-track backing horses. (When they hadn’t backed a winner, None of them got any dinner.)

One evening, Snow-White said,

‘Look here, ‘I think I’ve got a great idea. ‘Just leave it all to me, okay?

‘And no more gambling till I say.’

That very night, at eventide,

Young Snow-White hitched another ride, And then, when it was very late,

She slipped in through the Palace gate. The King was in his counting house Counting out his money,

The Queen was in the parlour

Eating bread and honey,

The footmen and the servants slept

So no one saw her as she crept

On tip-toe through the mighty hall

And grabbed THE MIRROR off the wall. As soon as she had got it home,

She told the Senior Dwarf (or Gnome) To ask it what he wished to know.

‘Go on!’ she shouted. ‘Have a go!’

He said, ‘Oh Mirror, please don’t joke! ‘Each one of us is stony broke!

‘Which horse will win tomorrow’s race, ‘The Ascot Gold Cup Steeplechase?’ The Mirror whispered sweet and low, ‘The horse’s name is Mistletoe.’

The Dwarfs went absolutely daft,

They kissed young Snow-White fore and aft, Then rushed away to raise some dough With which to back old Mistletoe.

They pawned their watches, sold the car, They borrowed money near and far,

(For much of it they had to thank

The manager of Barclays Bank.)

They went to Ascot and of course

For once they backed the winning horse. Thereafter, every single day,

The Mirror made the bookies pay.

Each Dwarf and Snow-White got a share, And each was soon a millionaire,

Which shows that gambling’s not a sin Provided that you always win.


This famous wicked little tale Should never have been put on sale. It is a mystery to me

Why loving parents cannot see

That this is actually a book

About a brazen little crook.

Had I the chance I wouldn’t fail

To clap young Goldilocks in jail. Now just imaginehow you’d feel

If you had cooked a lovely meal, Delicious porridge, steaming hot, Fresh coffee in the coffee-pot, With maybe toast and marmalade, The table beautifully laid,

One place for you and one for dad, Another for your little lad.

Then dad cries, ‘Golly-gosh! Gee-whizz! ‘Oh cripes! How hot this porridge is! ‘Let’s take a walk along the street

‘Until it’s cool enough to eat.’

He adds, ‘An early morning stroll

‘Is good for people on the whole.

‘It makes your appetite improve

‘It also helps your bowels to move.’ No proper wife would dare to question Such a sensible suggestion,

Above all not at breakfast-time When men are seldom at their prime. No sooner are you down the road Than Goldilocks, that little toad

That nosey thieving little louse, Comes sneaking in your empty house. She looks around. She quickly notes Three bowls brimful of porridge oats. And while still standing on her feet, She grabs a spoon and starts to eat.

I say again, howwould you feel

If you had made this lovely meal

And some delinquent little tot

Broke in and gobbled up the lot?

But wait! That’s not the worst of it!

Generated by ABC Amber LIT Converter,

 Now comes the most distressing bit.

You are of course a houseproudwife, And all your happy married life

You have collected lovely things

Like gilded cherubs wearing wings,

And furniture by Chippendale

Bought at some famous auction sale.

But your most special valued treasure, The piece that gives you endless pleasure, Is one small children’s dining-chair, Elizabethan, very rare.

It is in fact your joy and pride,

Passed down to you on grandma’s side. But Goldilocks, like many freaks,

Does not appreciate antiques.

She doesn’t care, she doesn’t mind, And now she plonks her fat behind Upon this dainty precious chair,

And crunch! It busts beyond repair.

A nice girl would at once exclaim,

‘Oh dear! Oh heavens! What a shame!’ Not Goldie. She begins to swear.

She bellows, ‘What a lousy chair!’

And usesone disgusting word

That luckily you’ve never heard.

(I dare not write it, even hint it.
Nobody would ever print it.)

You’d think by now this little skunk Would have the sense to do a bunk. But no. I very much regret

She hasn’t nearly finished yet.

Deciding she would like a rest,

She says, ‘Let’s see which bed is best.’ Upstairs she goes and tries all three. (Here comes the next catastrophe.) Most educated people choose

To rid themselves of socks and shoes Before they clamber into bed.

But Goldie didn’t give a shred.

Her filthy shoes were thick with grime, And mud and mush and slush and slime. Worse still, upon the heel of one

Was something that a dog had done.

I say once more, whatwould you think If all this horrid dirt and stink

Was smeared upon your eiderdown

By this revolting little clown?

(The famous story has no clues

To show the girl removed her shoes.) Oh, what a tale of crime on crime! Let’s check it for a second time.
Crime One,the prosecution’s case:

She breaks and enters someone’s place. Crime Two,the prosecutor notes:

She steals a bowl of porridge oats.

Crime Three:She breaks a precious chair Belonging to the Baby Bear.

Crime Four:She smears each spotless sheet With filthy messes from her feet.

A judge would say without a blink,

‘Ten years hard labour in the clink!’

But in the book, as you will see,

The little beast gets off scot-free,

While tiny children near and far

Shout, ‘Goody-good! Hooray! Hurrah!’ ‘Poor darling Goldilocks!’ they say, ‘Thank goodness that she got away!’ Myself, I think I’d rather send

Young Goldie to a sticky end.

‘Oh daddy!’ cried the Baby Bear,

‘My porridge gone! It isn’t fair!’

‘Then go upstairs,’ the Big Bear said, ‘Your porridge is upon the bed.

‘But as it’s inside mademoiselle,

‘You’ll have to eather up as well.’


As soon as Wolf began to feel

That he would like a decent meal,

He went and knocked on Grandma’s door. When Grandma opened it, she saw

The sharp white teeth, the horrid grin,

And Wolfie said, ‘May I come in?’

Poor Grandmamma was terrified,

‘He’s going to eat me up!’ she cried.

And she was absolutely right.

He ate her up in one big bite.

But Grandmamma was small and tough, And Wolfie wailed, ‘That’s not enough!

‘I haven’t yet begun to feel

‘That I have had a decent meal!’

He ran around the kitchen yelping,

‘I’vegot to have another helping!’

Then added with a frightful leer,

‘I’m therefore going to wait right here

‘Till Little Miss Red Riding Hood

‘Comes home from walking in the wood.’ He quickly put on Grandma’s clothes,
(Of course he hadn’t eaten those.) He dressed himself in coat and hat. He put on shoes and after that

He even brushed and curled his hair, Then sat himself in Grandma’s chair. In came the little girl in red.

She stopped. She stared. And then she said, ‘What great big ears you have, Grandma.’

‘All the better to hear you with, ‘’the Wolf replied. ‘What great big eyes you have, Grandma,’ said Little Red Riding Hood.

‘All the better to see you with, ’the Wolf replied. He sat there watching her and smiled.

He thought, I’m going to eat this child.

Compared with her old Grandmamma

She’s going to taste like caviare.

Then Little Red Riding Hood said, ‘But Grandma, what a lovely great big furry coat you have on.’ ‘That’s wrong!’ cried Wolf. ‘Have you forgot

‘To tell me what BIG TEETH I’ve got?

‘Ah well, no matter what you say,

‘I’m going to eat you anyway.’

The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers.

She whips a pistol from her knickers.

She aims it at the creature’s head And bang bang bang, she shoots him dead.

A few weeks later, in the wood,

I came across Miss Riding Hood.

But what a change! No cloak of red, No silly hood upon her head.

She said, ‘Hello, and do please note ‘My lovely furry WOLFSKIN COAT.’


The animal I really dig

Above all others is the pig.

Pigs are noble. Pigs are clever,

Pigs are courteous. However,

Now and then, to break this rule,

One meets a pig who is a fool.

What, for example, would you say

If strolling through the woods one day,

Right there in front of you you saw

A pig who’d built his house of STRAW?

The Wolf who saw it licked his lips,

And said, ‘That pig has had his chips.’

‘Little pig, little pig, let me come in!’

‘No, no, by the hairs on my chinny-chin-chin!’ ‘

Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in!’ The little pig began to pray,

But Wolfie blew his house away.

He shouted, ‘Bacon, pork and ham!

‘Oh, what a lucky Wolf I am!’

And though he ate the pig quite fast,

He carefully kept the tail till last.

Wolf wandered on, a trifle bloated.

Surprise, surprise, for soon he noted

Another little house for pigs,

And this one had been built of TWIGS!

‘Little pig, little pig, let me come in!’

‘No, no, by the hairs of my chinny-chin-chin!’ ‘

Then I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house in!’ The Wolf said, ‘Okay, here we go!’

He then began to blow and blow.

The little pig began to squeal.

He cried, ‘Oh Wolf, you’ve had one meal!

‘Why can’t we talk and make a deal?’

The Wolf replied, ‘Not on your nelly!’

And soon the pig was in his belly.

‘Two juicy little pigs!’ Wolf cried,

‘But still I am not satisfied!

‘I know full well my Tummy’s bulging,

‘But oh, how I adore indulging.’

So creeping quietly as a mouse,

The Wolf approached another house,

A house which also had inside

A little piggy trying to hide.

But this one, Piggy Number Three,

Was bright and brainy as could be.

No straw for him, no twigs or sticks. This pig had built his house of BRICKS. ‘You’ll not get me!’ the Piggy cried.

‘I’ll blow you down!’ the Wolf replied. ‘You’ll need,’ Pig said, ‘a lot of puff,

‘And I don’t think you’ve got enough. ’Wolf huffed and puffed and blew and blew. The house stayed up as good as new.

‘If I can’t blow itdown,’ Wolf said,

‘I’ll have to blow it up instead.

‘I’ll come back in the dead of night

‘And blow it up with dynamite!’

Pig cried, ‘You brute! I might have known!’ Then, picking up the the telephone,

He dialled as quickly as he could

The number of Red Riding Hood.

‘Hello,’ she said. ‘Who’s speaking? Who? ‘Oh, hello Piggy, how d’you do?’

Pig cried, ‘I need your help, Miss Hood!

‘Oh help me, please! D’you think you could?’

‘I’ll try, of course,’ Miss Hood replied. ‘What’s on your mind?’. . .‘A Wolf! ’Pig cried. ‘I know you’ve dealt with wolves before, ‘And now I’ve got one at my door!’

‘My darling Pig,’ she said, ‘my sweet,

‘That’s something really up my street.

‘I’ve just begun to wash my hair.

‘But when it’s dry, I’ll be right there.’

A short while later, through the wood,

Came striding brave Miss Riding Hood.

The Wolf stood there, his eyes ablaze

And yellowish, like mayonnaise.

His teeth were sharp, his gums were raw,

And spit was dripping from his jaw.

Once more the maiden’s eyelid flickers.

She draws the pistol from her knickers.

Once more, she hits the vital spot,

And kills him with a single shot.

Pig, peeping through the window, stood

And yelled, ‘Well done, Miss Riding Hood!’ Ah, Piglet, you must never trust

Young ladies from the upper crust.

For now, Miss Riding Hood, one notes,

Not only has two wolfskin coats,

But when she goes from place to place,


A Blank White Page


A blank white page
is a meadow
after a snowfall
that a poem
hopes to cross

Gathering Leaves

Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.
I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.
But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.

I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?

Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.

Next to nothing for use,
But a crop is a crop,
And who’s to say where
The harvest shall stop?

The Letter A


The letter A is awesome!

It simply is the best.

Without an A, you could not get

an A+ on a test.

You’d never see an acrobat

or eat an apple pie.

You couldn’t be an astronaut

or kiss your aunt goodbye.

An antelope would not exist.

An ape would be unknown.

You’d never hear a person

say “Afraid” or “All Alone”.

The A’s in avocado

would completely disappear

and certain words would be forgot

like “ankle”, “arm”, and “ear”.


Without the A, you couldn’t aim

an arrow in the air.

You wouldn’t ask for apricots

or almonds at a fair.

Aruba and Australia

would be missing from a map.

You’d never use an ATM,

an apron, or an app.

The arctic fox and aardvark

would be absent from the zoo,

and vowels, as you know them,

would be E, I, O, and U.

There wouldn’t be an A chord

on the instruments you play.

Let’s appreciate, admire,

and applaud the letter A!


My Doggy Ate My Essay


My doggy ate my essay.

He picked up all my mail.

He cleaned my dirty closet

and dusted with his tail.


He straightened out my posters

and swept my wooden floor.

My parents almost fainted

when he fixed my bedroom door.


I did not try to stop him.

He made my windows shine.

My room looked like a palace,

and my dresser smelled like pine.


He fluffed up every pillow.

He folded all my clothes.

He even cleaned my fish tank

with a toothbrush and a hose.


I thought it was amazing

to see him use a broom.

I’m glad he ate my essay

on “How to Clean My Room.”


Poems by Roger McGough.

First Day of School

A millionbillionwillion miles from home

Waiting for the bell to go. (To go where?)

Why are they all so big, other children?

So noisy? So much at home they

Must have been born in uniform

Lived all their lives in playgrounds

Spent the years inventing games

That don’t let me in. Games

That are rough, that swallow you up.

And the railings.

All around, the railings.

Are they to keep out wolves and monsters?

Things that carry off and eat children?

Things you don’t take sweets from?

Perhaps they’re to stop us getting out

Running away from the lessins. Lessin.

What does a lessin look like?

Sounds small and slimy.

They keep them in the glassrooms.

Whole rooms made out of glass. Imagine.

I wish I could remember my name

Mummy said it would come in useful.

Like wellies. When there’s puddles.

Yellowwellies. I wish she was here.

I think my name is sewn on somewhere

Perhaps the teacher will read it for me.

Tea-cher. The one who makes the tea.

Goodbat Nightman.

God bless all policemen

and fighters of crime,

May thieves go to jail

for a very long time.

They’ve had a hard day

helping clean up the town,

Now they hang from the mantelpiece

both upside down.

A glass of warm blood

and then straight up the stairs,

Batman and Robin

are saying their prayers.

* * *

They’ve locked all the doors

and they’ve put out the bat,

Put on their batjamas

(They like doing that)

They’ve filled their batwater-bottles

made their batbeds,

With two springy battresses

for sleepy batheads.

They’re closing red eyes

and they’re counting black sheep,

Batman and Robin

are falling asleep.  

Mrs Moon

sitting up in the sky

little old lady


with a ball of fading light

and silvery needles

knitting the night.

The Lesson.

Chaos ruled OK in the classroom

as bravely the teacher walked in

the nooligans ignored him

his voice was lost in the din

‘The theme for today is violence

and homework will be set

I’m going to teach you a lesson

one that you’ll never forget’

He picked on a boy who was shouting

and throttled him then and there

then garrotted the girl behind him

(the one with grotty hair) 

Then sword in hand he hacked his way

between the chattering rows

‘First come, first severed’ he declared

‘fingers, feet or toes’

He threw the sword at a latecomer

it struck with deadly aim

then pulling out a shotgun

he continued with his game

The first blast cleared the backrow

(where those who skive hang out) 

they collapsed like rubber dinghies

when the plug’s pulled out

‘Please may I leave the room sir? ‘

a trembling vandal enquired

‘Of course you may’ said teacher

put the gun to his temple and fired

The Head popped a head round the doorway

to see why a din was being made

nodded understandingly

then tossed in a grenade

And when the ammo was well spent

with blood on every chair

Silence shuffled forward

with its hands up in the air

The teacher surveyed the carnage

the dying and the dead

He waggled a finger severely

‘Now let that be a lesson’ he said.

The Sound Collector. 

A stranger called this morning

Dressed all in black and grey

Put every sound into a bag

And carried them away

The whistling of the kettle

The turning of the lock

The purring of the kitten

The ticking of the clock

The popping of the toaster

The crunching of the flakes

When you spread the marmalade

The scraping noise it makes

The hissing of the frying pan

The ticking of the grill

The bubbling of the bathtub

As it starts to fill

The drumming of the raindrops

On the windowpane

When you do the washing-up

The gurgle of the drain

The crying of the baby

The squeaking of the chair

The swishing of the curtain

The creaking of the stair

A stranger called this morning

He didn’t leave his name

Left us only silence

Life will never be the same  

The Dentist and the Crocodile


The crocodile, with cunning smile, sat in the dentist’s chair.

He said, “Right here and everywhere my teeth require repair.”

The dentist’s face was turning white. He quivered, quaked and shook.

He muttered, “I suppose I’m going to have to take a look.”

“I want you”, Crocodile declared, “to do the back ones first.

The molars at the very back are easily the worst.”

He opened wide his massive jaws. It was a fearsome sight—

At least three hundred pointed teeth, all sharp and shining white.

The dentist kept himself well clear. He stood two yards away.

He chose the longest probe he had to search out the decay.

“I said to do the back ones first!” the Crocodile called out.

“You’re much too far away, dear sir, to see what you’re about.

To do the back ones properly you’ve got to put your head

Deep down inside my great big mouth,” the grinning Crocky said.

The poor old dentist wrung his hands and, weeping in despair,

He cried, “No no! I see them all extremely well from here!”

Just then, in burst a lady, in her hands a golden chain.

She cried, “Oh Croc, you naughty boy, you’re playing tricks again!”

“Watch out!” the dentist shrieked and started climbing up the wall.

“He’s after me! He’s after you! He’s going to eat us all!”

“Don’t be a twit,” the lady said, and flashed a gorgeous smile.

“He’s harmless. He’s my little pet, my lovely crocodile.”

The Pig


In England once there lived a big

And wonderfully clever pig.

To everybody it was plain

That Piggy had a massive brain.

He worked out sums inside his head,

There was no book he hadn’t read,

He knew what made an airplane fly,

He knew how engines worked and why.

He knew all this, but in the end

One question drove him round the bend:

He simply couldn’t puzzle out

What LIFE was really all about.

What was the reason for his birth?

Why was he placed upon this earth?

His giant brain went round and round.

Alas, no answer could be found,

Till suddenly one wondrous night,

All in a flash, he saw the light.

He jumped up like a ballet dancer

And yelled, “By gum, I’ve got the answer!”

“They want my bacon slice by slice

“To sell at a tremendous price!

“They want my tender juicy chops

“To put in all the butchers’ shops!

“They want my pork to make a roast

“And that’s the part’ll cost the most!

“They want my sausages in strings!

“They even want my chitterlings!

“The butcher’s shop! The carving knife!

“That is the reason for my life!”

Such thoughts as these are not designed

To give a pig great peace of mind.

Next morning, in comes Farmer Bland,

A pail of pigswill in his hand,

And Piggy with a mighty roar,

Bashes the farmer to the floor . . .

Now comes the rather grizzly bit

So let’s not make too much of it,

Except that you must understand

That Piggy did eat Farmer Bland,

He ate him up from head to toe,

Chewing the pieces nice and slow.

It took an hour to reach the feet,

Because there was so much to eat,

And when he’d finished, Pig, of course,

Felt absolutely no remorse.

Slowly he scratched his brainy head

And with a little smile, he said,

“I had a fairly powerful hunch

“That he might have me for his lunch.

“And so, because I feared the worst,

“I thought I’d better eat him first.”


The Tummy Beast


One afternoon I said to mummy,

“Who is this person in my tummy?

“Who must be small and very thin

“Or how could he have gotten in?”

My mother said from where she sat,

“It isn’t nice to talk like that.”

“It’s true!” I cried. “I swear it, mummy!

“There is a person in my tummy!

“He talks to me at night in bed,

“He’s always asking to be fed,

“Throughout the day, he screams at me,

“Demanding sugar buns for tea.

“He tells me it is not a sin

“To go and raid the biscuit tin.

“I know quite well it’s awfully wrong

“To guzzle food the whole day long,

“But really I can’t help it, mummy,

“Not with this person in my tummy.”

“You horrid child!” my mother cried.

“Admit it right away, you’ve lied!”

“You’re simply trying to produce

“A silly asinine excuse!

“You are the greedy guzzling brat!

“And that is why you’re always fat!”

I tried once more, “Believe me, mummy,

“There is a person in my tummy.”

“I’ve had enough!” my mother said,

“You’d better go at once to bed!”

Just then, a nicely timed event

Delivered me from punishment.

Deep in my tummy something stirred,

And then an awful noise was heard,

A snorting grumbling grunting sound

That made my tummy jump around.

My darling mother nearly died,

“My goodness, what was that?” she cried.

At once the tummy voice came through,

It shouted, “Hey there! Listen you!

“I’m getting hungry! I want eats!

“I want lots of chocs and sweets!

“Get me half a pound of nuts!

“Look snappy or I’ll twist your guts!”

“That’s him!” I cried. “He’s in my tummy!

“So now do you believe me, mummy?”

But mummy answered nothing more,

For she had fainted on the floor.