Poem of the Day

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The Adventures of Buck the Easter Bilby: Buck Saves Easter

Buck the Bilby, on his way,
Came hopping through the bush one day,
His Easter vest looked oh, so bold,
In dashing green and glistening gold.
On his back, a duffle bag,
Held snacks, supplies and rolled-up swag,
And firm within his tiny clutch,
A basket FULL of eggs and such!
Born and raised in Pilbara’s west,
Buck passed the Easter Bilby test,
He’d trained to work in rain and sun,
To make the yearly Queensland run.
He shivered in the autumn breeze,
That rustled the acacia trees,
Then ate some seeds and burrowed deep,
To have his midday bilby sleep.

Buck awoke, refreshed and ready,
Swag rolled up and basket steady,
“Best be off, the sun is low,
Goodbye Pilbara! Off I go!”
He had an extra stop to plan,
Before his Easter run began,
A birthday bash for his best mate,
“No time to waste, I can’t be late”.

So on he hopped, all through the night,
Past the Great Australian Bight,
He kept his bounty, safe and sound,
As he travelled, Queensland bound,
Buck neared the Great Dividing Range,
To find a landscape, new and strange –
The desert plains he’d known since birth,
Replaced by mounds, of rugged earth.

With breaking dawn, he came to reach,
A small, secluded, private beach,
And just beyond, he saw the house,
Of Marty, the marsupial mouse.
Marty knew Buck’s best friend well,
A nifty numbat, known as Nell,
And this year for her special day,
They’d planned a party, by the bay

Marty stepped onto his porch,
To light Buck’s pathway, with a torch,
“Come on in mate, glad you’re here,
This is your busy time of year”.
Buck hopped to Marty, shook his paw,
And left his basket, at the door,
He stepped into a festive mood,
With icy drinks, and scrumptious food!

All of Nell’s good friends were there,
Icing cake, with extra care,
Hanging streamers, playing tunes,
Blowing up big, round balloons.
“This surprise will be the best!”
Said Marty, to his party guests,
“It’s nearly time Buck – watch outside.
Turn out the lights, it’s time to hide!”

And hide they did, all quiet until,
Nell’s footsteps broke the silence still,
“She’s here!” said Buck, “Get ready guys,
When Nell walks in, we’ll yell ‘surprise!’”
“Hello?” called Nell, peaking inside,
“Surprise!” her hidden friends all cried.
The lights came on, her friends appeared,
“Happy Birthday Nell!” they cheered.

Full of joy, Nell clapped her paws,
And danced around the timber floors,
“Thanks so much”, she said to Marty,
“What a perfect birthday party!”
First Nell opened gifts galore,
Then lit a bonfire by the shore,
They all enjoyed their favourite games,
And toasted marshmallows in the flames.

Later, at the party’s end,
Buck went inside with all his friends.
Marty made up extra beds,
To rest their tired and weary heads.
Buck, of course, was feeling worn,
But had to rise, at crack of dawn,
Tomorrow just as he had planned,
He’d drop off eggs, to all Queensland!

When morning light, replaced moonbeams,
The sun stirred Buck, from his sweet dreams,
“It’s Saturday, I must depart,
Today my egg run’s due to start!”
He yawned and stretched his rested legs,
Then hopped outside to fetch his eggs,
His face so sad, he could not mask it,
Buck had lost his Easter basket!

“Wake up, wake up!” the Bilby cried,
“I left my basket, just outside,
Now it’s gone, without a trace”,
He said, as tears ran down his face.
His furry friends came running out,
Responding to the Bilby’s shout,
Nell smiled at Buck, “It’s not the end –
We’ll help you out, ‘cause you’re our friend!”

“You’ll really help me?” questioned Buck,
Who felt a bit down on his luck.
“Of course” said Marty, “and I bet,
This Easter proves the best one yet!”
Just then a voice called from below,
“I saw the thief – a shrewd dingo!”
Buck queried, “Who was that I heard?”
Nell pointed “Look! A ladybird!”

The little bug, said whilst Buck slept,
A stealthy dingo quietly crept,
Up Marty’s stairs on nimble paws,
To snatch the basket in his jaws.
Buck shook his head in disbelief,
Determined now, to catch the thief,
“Let’s go!” he shouted, feeling brave,
“We have to find that dingo’s cave.”

They asked a nearby cockatoo,
To aid them with a birds-eye view,
The helpful bird, flew far and wide,
To find where dingo liked to hide.
They shortly heard his squawking song,
“Go south towards the billabong”,
“Alright” said Buck, “Let’s rock and roll!
We’ll find him at the waterhole.”

The group set off, without a sound,
Hunching low, towards the ground,
They had a clever plan in mind,
That needed all their skills combined.
Buck let his friends each nominate,
A mission to co-ordinate,
They gathered items, for the ploy
With Marty as the team’s decoy.

Prepped and ready, to proceed,
Marty bravely took the lead,
He lined up dingo, dead ahead,
And pelted gumnuts at his head!
The startled dingo soon gave chase,
With stinging welts upon his face,
Marty led him, ‘round a ledge,
Upon a log, and to its edge…

The timber teetered, with their weight,
As dingo moved to take the bait.
“I’ve got you now” he snickered slyly,
“I’m the fastest and most wily”.
Hidden on the ledge above,
Nell gave a pile of rocks a shove,
They landed on their target square,
And flung that dingo out of there!

Free to make the final save,
From deep in the unguarded cave,
Buck scurried through the darkness blind,
To claim what he had come to find.
“Yippee! Yahoo!” soon came the shout,
“I’ve found it, now I’m coming out.”
Buck hopped out proudly, smiling bright,
His paws gripped on his basket tight.

Buck thanked his friends for all their help,
Glanced at the sun, and gave a yelp,
“We’ve been so busy, fighting crime,
I’ve gone and lost track of the time!
How can I make it, all the way,
‘round Queensland after this delay?”
“I know” said Marty, with a laugh,
“Let’s use the old bush telegraph!”

Every creature, great and small,
Rallied to the bilby’s call,
Koalas, magpies, kangaroos,
(A sad and sorry dingo too!)
The sky transformed from blue to red,
“It’s nearly dark” the bilby said,
“Twelve hours ‘til new day is dawning –
Quick! These eggs are due by morning!”

Furry friends and birds of feather,
Buckled down and worked together,
Eggs were hid with total ease,
Under rocks and up in trees.
Just in time the deed was done,
And children woke prepared for fun,
They laughed out loud with smiling faces,
Finding eggs in fun, new places.

Every house for hours after,
Rang with sounds of children’s laughter.
Boys and girls unwrapped their treats,
And gobbled up the chocolate sweets.
Buck had cleaned up dingo’s mess,
Easter was a big success!
But silence filled the bush around,
The animals were sleeping sound.
© R.J. Coco

Poem of the Day

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Pearl was a girl
A pearly girl
But not a girly girl
Not a softly softly
Sssssshhhhhh girl
Not a tiptoe
Through the tulips girl

Pearl was a girl
A pearly girl
But not a girly girl
Not a frills and frippery
Flowery girl
Not a powder puff
Perfume pom pom girl

Pearl was a girl
A pearly girl
But not a girly girl
Not a dainty delicate
Dew drop girl
Not a lavender lacy
Look at me me me girl

But a pearl. A pearl of a girl.

© Jane Williams

Poem of the Day


Days are longer. Getting warmer.
Sun is higher overhead.
Restless toes begin their twitching.
Barefoot days not far ahead.

At last December comes around.
Summer holidays are here.
That’s when toes come out to play.
That’s the time when feet go bare.

Let’s all run across the grass.
But do look out for bindi eyes.
Ow! Ow! Ouch! They’re everywhere.
Hear our barefoot bindi cries.

Watch us dance the bindi ballet
Quick steps, big steps on our toes.
Hidden prickles keep us leaping
if we step where bindi grows.

Best of all are barefoot beach-days
racing on the summer sand.
Ow! It’s hot! Run to the water.
Run to the edge. Whew! See us stand

doing the barefoot wet-sand wiggle.
See us sink on toes that squirm
down through clouds of sand and shells,
ankles wrapped in swirling foam.

Barefoot days pass far too quickly.
Back-to-school time soon comes round.
But think how much our feet are learning
walking barefoot on the ground.
© Kate O’Neil

Feds Axe Poetry


‘Poetica’ among programs axed in ABC cuts

Poetica, the ABC Radio National program ‘dedicated to the performance of poetry,’ has been axed as part of the cuts announced by ABC managing director Mark Scott on 24 November. The program, produced by Mike Ladd, aims ‘not simply to reflect on radio the rich world of poetry, but to re-create that world in radio terms, with generous use of music and sound to “place” the poems’.
Poetica is among several Radio National programs that will be discontinued due to the cuts, including Bush Telegraph, Hindsight, Encounter, Into the Music and 360 Documentaries. Scott also announced cuts to the broadcaster’s news services.


Bad news, eh? Sorry that poems have not been appearing regularly — this is due to computer problems (now fixed). Thank you to the wonderful Helen Ross who helped out again when needed. Di

Poem of the Day


Harvey’s Escape

Based on the reported escape of a bouncing, squat, Staffordshire bull-terrier

by trampolining over the back fence of his yard.

(‘Odd Spot’, The Age, Melbourne, 16 June 2008)


Harvey liked to jump and bounce upon the trampoline

With frisky owners, little Bob, and teenage girl, Noreen.

He jumped and bounced, and bounced and jumped, steadily getting weary-er,

‘Come on, boy! Keep it up! Jumping’ll make you merrier!’

Exhausting Harvey, the bouncing, squat, Staffordshire bull-terrier.


Next day their mother called as they merrily bounced on the trampoline,

‘Come on kids! Come and say “Hello” to your Aunt Doreen!’

While Harvey bounced alone, his eyes were staring – getting bleary-er,

The day was hot, the sun so fiercely shining – becoming glary-er,

Blinding Harvey, the bouncing, squat Staffordshire bull-terrier.


Mum came out. ‘Get off, Harvey! Get off the trampoline!

The kids have gone with Aunt Doreen – please don’t make a scene.

Jump down! Rest! Good dog, Harvey! Now you’re looking cheerier.’

She went inside. Then, sitting there, soon the fencing barrier

Inspired Harvey, the bouncing, squat, Staffordshire bull-terrier.


‘Escape, escape!’ The dog jumped back and bounced on the trampoline.

‘I’ve thought of a marvellous way to fly and escape from this prison scene.’

He left the yard, propelled on high by a bounce upon his derriere,

Over the fence he flew, then tumbled, falling through the wisteria –

Freedom for Harvey, the bouncing, squat, Staffordshire bull-terrier.


Across a park and into a forest, goodbye to the trampoline.

Two people appeared, offering choice and both were smiling and keen.

‘Come with me, pick berries for market – I am the local berrier.’

‘Come with me, ride on the ferry – I am the local ferrier.’

‘Alternate days!’ barked Harvey, the bouncing, squat, Staffordshire bull-terrier.



By Edel Wignell


Poem of the Day


Double standards


When I sit down to dinner

There are things I mustn’t do.

There’s a list of rules to follow.

Let me give you just a few.


I’m not to gobble quickly,

every mouthful must be chewed.

I can’t talk over others

’cause to interrupt is rude.

My mouth needs to be empty

when I get a chance to talk

My dinner must be tackled

with a proper knife and fork.

And even when I’ve finished

I am forced to sit and wait

till everybody’s eaten

what was put onto their plate.

And that’s just the beginning.

I could rattle off some more…

But for little baby brother

all these rules go out the door!


He’s put into his high chair

with his plastic spoon and plate

and you’d not believe the chaos

that he’s able to create.

No sooner is he seated

than his spoon is knocked away,

the plate has been inverted

and his food has hit the tray.

He grabs the mush with fingers,

that he runs straight through his hair

and he saves a bit for missiles

that he launches from his chair.

He wriggles in his harness

as he giggles, burps and squeals.

He loves to get attention

when we’re sitting down to meals.

He downs his final mouthful

then, in keeping with the trend,

prepares the grand finale…

he explodes from either end.


My brother’s skills are many

and deserve to be admired

but his manners at the table

leave a lot to be desired!


© Jenny Erlanger


Poem of the Day


My Nan speaks Nanish


My Nan speaks Nanish, not Hippo or Hag.

It’s a slippery language I’d love to snag,

a scrumptious secret wild horses can’t drag

but Nan won’t let the cat out of the bag!


My Nan speaks Nanish, not Thai or Turkey.

Spying on the neighbours what does she see?

Pishposh! Codswollop! Fiddle-de-dee!

Wagging tongues are barking up the wrong tree.


My Nan speaks Nanish, not Belgium or Bear.

She’d teach me if she had the time to spare

but it’s half past a freckle, quarter past a hair,

the proof’s in the pudding and hen’s teeth are rare.


My Nan speaks Nanish, not Dog or Derry

wetting her whistle watching the telly,

chewing the fat with great aunty Nelly,

bulging eyes growing bigger than bellies


My Nan speaks Nanish, not Mooney or Manx.

When old photos lull her into a trance

she’s caught and lead in a merry old dance

by teasing bees knees and fancy ants pants.


My Nan speaks Nanish, not Cree or Kipper.

Hob-knobbing in her best bib and tucker.

When she married Pop it was a ripper,

he was the monkey, she the dog’s dinner.


My Nan speaks Nanish not Gothic or Goop

sucking on eggs or jumping through hoops.

She calls me little chicken noodle soup.

Possum. Pumpkin. I’m her favourite fruit loop.


My Nan speaks Nanish, not Persian or Pie.

It’s tricky talk that leaves me tongue-tied

But if wishes are fishes, pigs can fly,

my Nan can speak Nanish and so can I!


© Jane Williams


The Possums of Pittwater


The possums are holding a ball on the roof

the noise they are making is positive proof.

They are dancing the samba (ole and caramba!)

the one-step, the two-step,

the waltz and the you-step,

the quick step, the trick -step,

tarantella and tango,

and just for a lark, the gum-tree fandango

(But never the fox-trot. No. Certainly not.)


Line-dancing or ballet, it’s nothing to them

– a possum’s jete is really a gem.

But sometimes I wish, in the midst of their romp

(boogie, mazurka, rock-and-roll, saltbush stomp)

they’d put their boots back in a neat cardboard box

and dance for a while in their sneakers and socks,


©Anne Bell

First published the NSW Department of Education School Magazine

Poem of the Day


Before you read today’s poem, here’s a change of website address if you want to purchase your copy of Let in the Stars (reviewed in yesterday’s post): it’s www.mcbf.org.uk/books



Pearl was a girl

A pearly girl

But not a girly girl

Not a softly softly

Sssssshhhhhh girl

Not a tiptoe

Through the tulips girl


Pearl was a girl

A pearly girl

But not a girly girl

Not a frills and frippery

Flowery girl

Not a powder puff

Perfume pom pom girl


Pearl was a girl

A pearly girl

But not a girly girl

Not a dainty delicate

Dew drop girl

Not a lavender lacy

Look at me me me girl


But a pearl. A pearl of a girl.


© Jane Williams

New Poetry Anthology

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Let in the Stars: New Poetry for Children (Manchester Writing School, 2014), selected by Imtiaz Dharker and Philip Gross and edited by Mandy Coe                                                                                           PB   RRP: 8.99 English pounds                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       ISBN 9781910029008

Reviewed by Dianne Bates

Troubled by a severe decline in the number of publishers launching new poetry for children, and the lack of opportunities for writers of children’s poems to reach an audience in print, UK children’s poetry laureate, Carol Ann Duffy took action. She and her team at the Manchester Metropolitan Writing School launched an international search for the best new poetry written for children. Thousands of poems were submitted and the work of 30 poets – based in the UK, Australia, Canada, Ireland, Uganda, and the USA – was selected by and collected into this illustrated anthology.

First, let’s be parochial and acclaim the only Australian children’s poet — Kate O’Neil — who has three poems in this collection of 50 newly written children’s poems. In fact, Kate’s poem features first in the book: ‘High Achievers’ is a strong free verse poem about children climbing a mountain despite adults telling them it’s impossible. She has also paid tribute, using wonderful imagery, to a well-known tourist attraction in her poem, ‘Paragliders Bald Hill Lookout’. Kate’s is the only poet whose name I recognise in this anthology. Among those who’ve had multiple poems published are Jennifer Watson, Louise Greig, and Christine Poreba. For some reason, there are only a few men poets whose work is represented.

Some of the poems were, I thought, too adult in concept and language to be of interest or comprehension to the average child, poems such as ‘Cup’s True Love’, ‘The Shape of Anne Frank’s Soul’, ‘Sondry Folk….the condicioun of ech of hem (Chaucer, Prologue to the Canterbury Tales)’, ‘May’ and ‘The Old Sailor’s Song’. Mind you, these poems are still all excellent and worthy of publication!

There’s a wide range of poetry styles here, including a poem that uses cyberslang (Leone Anabella Bett’s ‘tech-toch’) and another which plays with dialect to show ‘langwidge changin’ (Rowland Molony’s ‘Hamid’). Ros Palmer has a three-page narrative poem titled ‘The Puzzler and the Stolen Jewels’ and many poems use imagery in ways that are soul-touching and memorable.

The poems I felt most suitable for children were generally short, child-centred and/or snappy, such as Poreba’s ‘An Itch’ and ‘How to Wake Up in Dog’, Ade Hall’s humorous teacher-directed ‘Astrophysics Lesson’, Sarah J Dodd’s ‘Ground to Air Warfare’ (about flying children) and Joanne Probert’s energetic ‘The Chase’. A six-line poem, ‘Mouse Grave’ by Greig, gave me goosebumps (it was, I thought, the best poem in the book), while I particularly loved the quirky and thought-provoking, ‘I am Going off to be a Hill’, another by Greig, and her ‘Invitation’, a quirky quatrain about a hungry crocodile.

There is so much to read and re-read in this book, and some wonderful words to chew and swish around one’s mouth – ‘fuggle,’ ‘mazy,’ ‘whiffles,’ ‘rizzed,’ ‘unchancey’ and ‘brain-net.’ It’s true what Mandy Coe writes on the back cover: ‘…… (you not only) want to read the poems aloud, but pick up a pen and write your own.’

Finally, it ought to be said that the book is beautifully illustrated with both coloured and black-and-white pictures. Some are prints, others collages, sketches or paintings, some are abstract, others are real-life. As with the poems, the illustrations amuse while others make one reflect; all make one stop and look. The most prolific illustrators in the book include Abigail Woodhouse, Anthony Cross, Steph Coathupe, Catherine Player and Bea Shireen. There is an index in the back of the book of both poets and illustrators, as well as a list of first lines. It’s a quibble, I know, but I would have liked a short biography on all of the contributors, too. Finally, it must be mentioned that the book comes with a jacket, the cover illustration being a wood engraving, ‘Flammarion’, artist unknown.

If you’d like to get your own copy of this new collection of poems for children, you can purchase it from Amazon, or direct from www.mcbf.org.uk/books

(I’d have imported the cover illustration if I’d known how… once again defeated by technology. DB)