Poem of the Day


Uncle Jack


Uncle Jack belongs Outback

so when he comes to visit,

he brings along his kangaroo

and Bert, his blue-tongue lizard.


He decorates the Christmas tree

with lots of slimy critters,

and when he turns the lights up high

he makes snakeburger fritters.


He also brings his cattle dog –

it bites off postie’s limbs.

On Christmas Eve it stays awake

howling sacred hymns.


Uncle carves the turkey up,

(half for him and half for pup)

and when it’s time to have dessert

he swipes my share to give to Bert!


His kangaroo sits at the table,

on the lap of Auntie Mabel.

It chews away on Christmas cake

and Auntie’s finger(by mistake).


After lunch Jack tells us that

He’ll show us how to shear the cat.

His presents bring us added gloom,

a gift-wrapped spider’s in my room.


His boomerang display is free

it’s always a catastrophe.

He throws it with a cocky leer,

it wedges in old Grannie’s ear.


The police are called to have a chat.

They ask about the crewcut cat.

And so it’s time to say goodbye,

a tear wells up inside his eye,

he gushes like a broken drain,

we have to push him on the train.


And Uncle Jack returns Outback,

with dog and roo and lizard,

and it only takes us til July

to recover from his visit.


© Bill Condon


Note: The chest of poems for Poem of the Day has been empty for many days. Where are the poems? If you’d like to see your children’s poem published, please send it along to dibates@outlook.com


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We like poems of any length. Send up to four poems at a time. We’re looking for poems that move us, that might make us laugh or cry, or teach us something new. We like both free verse and traditional forms—we try to publish a representative mix of what we receive. We read a lot of poems, and only those that are unique, insightful, and musical stand out—regardless of style. Submission guidelines at http://www.rattle.com/poetry/submissions/guidelines/

Well Done Stephen!

Poet Stephen Whiteside was thrilled to learn this week that his collection of poetry for children, The Billy That Died with Its Boots on and Other Australian Verse, has been selected as a finalist in the Australian Bush Laureate Awards in the category of “Book of the Year”.

The Billy That Died with Its Boots on and Other Australian Verse is a collection of 65 poems spanning 150 pages, primarily directed at children aged 9+. It contains a number of elegant ‘paper cut-out’ illustrations by first-time illustrator Lauren Merrick, and was published by Walker Books Australia in May this year.

The “Book of the Year” award is not specifically an award for books for children, but they are eligible to enter.

The winner will be announced at an Awards’ ceremony commencing at 7pm on Tuesday, 20th January, 2015, at the Tamworth Town Hall.

Further information about The Billy That Died with Its Boots On and Other Australian Verse can be found here:


Our Home is Dirt by Sea


The following is an interview conducted by Rebecca Newman of Alphabet Soup with Dianne (Di) Bates, the founder of Australian Children’s Poetry blog about an Australian children’s poetry anthology Di has compiled.

RN: You are the commissioning editor for a poetry anthology for children coming out with Walker Books. What was your role in the book?                                                                                                                                                                                                   DB:I spent many hours finding poems which were written by Australians and which would suit the themes I’d decided on for the anthology (such as sport, families, being a kid). I had to record the source of each poem (if it was in a single poet collection, an anthology, a magazine or if it was unpublished). I also tracked down contact addresses of the poets, gave the anthology a title (Our Home is Dirt by Sea) and then had to find a publisher for the whole anthology. This all sounds easy, but it took me several years.

RN: There are a lot of poems in an anthology. Do all the poets get paid if they have a poem published in an anthology?

DB: Yes, poets are paid. As the editor, I get paid, as well. Unfortunately the publisher couldn’t include all the poems I wanted, because of financial limitations.

RN: Does an editor ever change the words in a poem once it’s accepted for an anthology? Does the poet have a say in any changes?

DB: I would never change the words — or the punctuation — in a poem without approval from the poet. I didn’t change any of the poems in my anthology.

RN: Can you tell us a bit about the upcoming anthology? DB: Titled Our Home is Dirt by Sea, the anthology consists of 60 poems in the following categories: Australia, Mostly Me, Families, People, Animals, Sport, School, and Special Times. A few of the poems are lyrical, some make children think and some are humorous, but all are child-friendly and relatively short. The style of poems ranges from rhyming verse to free verse. I aimed for poems which make the reader feel some emotion when reading them, and for children to ‘see’ themselves or the world around them. Some of the poets are well-known such as Steven Herrick, Elizabeth Honey, Doug McLeod and Max Fatchen, but others are lesser known (to children) such as Robert Adamson, Kyle Seeburg, Andrew Leggett and Rodney Hall. I have also compiled two other children’s poetry anthologies, but they are so far unpublished. And I’ve published a book of mad verse for children titled Erky Perky Silly Stuff (Five Senses Education).

RN: Do you write poetry yourself? (Does that help when you are selecting poems for an anthology?)

DB: Yes, I do write poems, but I don’t consider myself a very good poet. There are none of my poems in Our Home is Dirt by Sea, though there are a few by my husband, Bill Condon (who has published three collections). I know a lot about poetry from having a life-long love of poetry, teaching verse speaking, performing poetry and reading extensively. I’ve also run children’s poetry competitions and have a blog, Australian Children’s Poetry which showcases Australian children’s poets.

Poem of the Day

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Cats in the Toilet Paper


What’s that scurrying about?

It’s the sound of tiny paws

The cats are along the hallway

What’s that between their claws?


Oh no!  It’s the toilet paper

That they’re dragging behind

Along the wooden hallway

And over the kitchen blind


There’s toilet paper everywhere

They’ve left nothing bare

The cats have left a trail

While travelling without a care


Now someone is shouting.

Oh no! It’s my Dad

He’s covered in toilet paper

And does look rather mad


Something’s moving toward me

Skidding on the floor

It’s Hans, our cute puppy

With paper around a paw


The cats have been everywhere

Around light shades and plants

Toilet paper’s hanging in cupboards

Around our clothes and underpants


The cats have gone outside

Paper is wrapped around a pole

There seems a lot of paper

Oh no!  They’ve got another roll.


© Helen Ross

First published in Helen’s poetry collection, Bubble Gum Trouble and Other Giggle Poems published by Little Steps Publishing (Division of New Frontier) 2009.

Poem of the Day


Easter thief


Tell me, Buster, tell me who

would want to rob a kid?

How could someone ever do

what this offender did?


Help me, Buster, use your snout,

your super sense of smell.

Sniff the thoughtless scoundrel out

and I’ll reward you well.


Sit up, Buster, take those paws

away from round your ears

Why the sudden droopy jaws,

the hint of doggy tears?


Why the worried-looking brow,

the tail between the legs…?

Naughty Buster, fess up now.

It’s you who stole my eggs!


©  Jenny Erlanger

Poem of the Day


The Magic Word


“May I go and play?”

Do you know the magic word?

“Is it Sesame?”

No, don’t be so absurd


“Mum, can I go?

I won’t be very late.”

Only if you know the password

can you go beyond that gate


“But all my friends are waiting

I haven’t time for games”

Do you know the magic word?

“No, I don’t know of any names.”


Well then you stay at home

“Oh Mum, I promised I’d be on my way”

Then say the magic word

or inside you’ll have to stay


“Mum, I have to go

I promised I’d first meet Kate”

“P-L-E-A-S-E Mum”

Yes, now go before you’re late.


© Helen Ross

First published in Helen’s poetry collection, Bubble Gum Trouble and Other Giggle Poems published by Little Steps Publishing (Division of New Frontier) 2009.

Poem of the Day


Sally’s Secret


Sally McPhee’s a collector of keys

She keeps them concealed in a drawer.

Some she has found just lying around

But several she stole from next door.


She has keys that lock windows

And keys for the shed.

She’s got keys for some diaries

She hasn’t yet read.


She has keys for a money box

Owned by her brother

And keys for the Volvo

Misplaced by her mother.


She has keys for a tool box

Her father’s great treasure.

To see him in search mode

Gives Sally such pleasure.


She has keys that are ancient

And keys that are new

Well, people are careless

That’s Miss Sally’s view.


Sally McPhee’s a collector of keys

She keeps them concealed in a drawer.

Her intention is clear

That year after year

She’s  going to collect hundreds more.


Pat Simmons © 2014

Poem of the Day


Diving In


Diving in on a dark and fog-drowned morning

my heart snaps shut and still —

frozen like the scream in my throat.

Sea monsters rise from deep below to brush against my legs.

I’m too terrified to look down in case they’re looking up.

Straight into my eyes.

I strike out hard, splashing and kicking,

to stop from being drowned

by my imagination.


© Bill Condon