Poem of the Day

Leave a comment

I Want to go to School

by Ron Barton


A big girl of four and a young boy of two

were walking with their mum and dad through the zoo.

To see all the animals made both children smile

but it also made them tired so they stopped for a while.


They snacked on some treats that mum made before

when dad pointed out something that he saw:

a group of fish swimming around in a pool.

“Did you know,” the dad said, “that they call that a school.”


“I’ll go to school soon,” said little Miss Four.

“Me too,” said the boy – it was hard to ignore.

It was clear to the parents that their little boy

would miss his big sister. It gave them no joy.


And so they decided, that they must set things straight

before it got out of hand, before it was too late.

“Not yet,” said the dad. “It’s just not your turn,

you’re not old enough to go to school and learn.”


“The boy started crying, he just didn’t get

that he wasn’t quite ready to go to school yet.

He was a ‘big boy’, a baby no more –

why couldn’t he go to school with Miss Four?


“It’s ok, son,” said the mum. “Dry your tears,

you won’t go to school for a couple more years.

There’s a number of things you must learn before

you can go to school with little Miss Four.”


“That’s right,” said the dad. “I can think of some.

Like, you must no longer wear a nappy on your bum.

And while you know your whole alphabet

There are other things that you need to learn yet.”


“Just think,” added mum, “about how well you count

but you only know up to a certain amount.

You can do up to ten but little Miss Four

can count to 100 and sometimes even more.”


The tears had dried up, a change had occurred.

The young boy was now hanging on every word.

“And plus,” said the mum, “it isn’t all bad,

you’ll get to stay with me without Miss Four and Dad.”


“Just think of all of the games that we’ll play

and the fun things we’ll do when it’s just us all day.

We’ll get to bake cookies and sing songs and draw,

then we’ll walk up to the school to pick up Miss Four.”


“Ok,” said the boy and he started to grin

but Miss Four had been listening and she wanted in.

“That’s not fair,” she said. “I want to stay home.”

Then Mum and Dad let out a collective groan.

It didn’t seem like they could win either way

and so they left this fight for another day.

Poem of the Day



by Allan Cropper


‘I’ve examined you quite thoroughly,’

Is what my doctor said.

‘It seems there’s too much empty space

existing in your head.’

‘The vast expanse between your ears

Is that which makes you ill.

It’s far too great a cavity

for your small brain to fill.

You need to go expand your mind,

to fill the empty void,

if rattling noise inside your head

you’re wishing to avoid.’


So I went to the library

and took out lots of books.

Reading lots of stories is

much harder than it looks.

I read and read and read and read

each day, right after school.


I read and read and read and read

until my brain was full.

I read stories about pirates,

I read stories about sport.

I read stories about heroes

and the battles that they fought.

I read stories of adventurers

in the jungles dark and green,

stories of explorers finding

lands no one had seen.


I read fiction books, non-fiction books,

and reference books as well.

And very soon I noticed

that my brain began to swell.

I fear I overfilled my brain

‘Cause it just grows and grows,

and now my poor expanding brain

Leaks out my ears and nose.

So doctor can you tell me how

to keep my brain in check?

My brain keeps oozing out my head

and down my face and neck.


If my brain keeps on expanding

I’m afraid my skull will crack

Quite frankly, Doc, I’d rather have

That awful rattle back.


Poem of the Day


Bird bomb

by Jenny Erlanger


From morning to evening its scream can be heard,

a warning to all from this dive-bombing bird.

My brother’s too frightened to venture outdoors.

He’s already suffered a scratch from its claws

and Dad has to run from the house to the shed

his arms waving stupidly over his head.

It happens the moment we step out of place,

that flurry of feathers, that beak in the face.

So, hurry up babies and fly from your nest.

Your mother’s becoming a serial pest.



News update

Leave a comment


I hope you’re all thinking about your entries for the 12th Kathleen Julia Bates Memorial Writing Competition (Children’s Poetry). For Australian writers only, this competition is for a poem suitable for a child up to the age of 12 years. Maximum length 30 lines. Open theme. First prize: $150. Closing date June 30. Full details here.

Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards
Closing date 30 June

The annual poetry competition for school-aged children is now open. Optional theme is ‘the open door’. Individual fee of $15 or $25 for schools (up to 30 entries) or $50 (over 30 entries). For more information, click here.

2015 Toolangi CJ Dennis Poetry Competition

Closing date 7 September

The aim of the competition is to encourage the activity of writing which celebrates the work of CJ Dennis and relates to Australia’s history, activities, environment and personalities. There are various categories, including one for a poem written by an adult for children. For full details and an entry form, click here.

Poems wanted

Please keep submissions of poetry coming in for the Poem of the Day. Your submissions are much appreciated and I’m enjoying them immensely. If you’re a poet who is still thinking about whether to submit, please do! Poems are always needed and get posted so long as they are suitable for children (including teenagers). Previously published poems can be submitted provided you still retain copyright. Email traffa-m@bigpond.net.au

Articles, events, information and interviews

ACP is also happy to accept information about children’s poetry activities and events in Australia and overseas, poetry links, competitions, interviews with poets or publishers, and relevant articles.

Looking for poetry markets?

The Poetry Library is the website for The Saison Poetry Library, the most comprehensive and accessible collection of poetry from 1912 in Britain. Along with a wealth of interesting information for poets, there is also a list of UK publishers who publish poetry for children. Click here.

Poem of the Day

Leave a comment

Old Fred and Kazinsky

by Mike Lucas


Old Fred never knew where Kazinsky went to every night when he opened the door.

That cat would run free and he’d sprint up the tree to the roof, then away to explore.

He’d hear a faint howl and then sometimes a growl and then nothing until the next day

When Kazinsky returned, but Old Fred never learned where he went till he looked far away.


Now Old Fred had no job (he was old), but a hobby he had was to gaze at the stars

And the planets and moon (with its seas and its dunes). He would spend all night gazing afar.

One night as he gazed out his window and raised his old telescope up to a crater

He had to look twice when he saw several mice running round with a mouse sized cheese grater.


‘Mice on the moon!’ shouted Fred in a swoon. ‘Mice on the moon! It can’t be!’

It can’t be moon mice! It can’t be, I say twice. But I see moon mice! That’s what I see!’

He rubbed at his eyes, looked again at the skies, at the moon, at the…what on Earth’s that?

Then out from a dune on the moon mice’s moon sprang a moon…m…m…moon c…c…cat!


‘Kazinsky!’ yelled Fred, as the moon mice all fled, leaving clouds of cheese dust in their wake.

‘Kazinsky!’ yelled Fred. ‘It’s Kazinky!’ yelled Fred. ‘It’s Kazinsky and make no mistake!’

In and out the moon’s holes, up and down the moon’s knolls, the wee moon mice ran eeking and squeaking.

They poked out their tongues and they wobbled their bums while Kazinsky chased after them, shrieking.


At times the moon wobbled while moon mice were gobbled and moon cheese flew this way and that.

Some leapt for the stars, but they didn’t get far for Kazinsky the cat chased them back.

At one point there landed a spaceship commanded by aliens from far away,

And Kazinsky sold mice to them for twice the price of what Earthlings would normally pay.


This madness went on more than half the night long as the moon swam away from the east.

And let it be said that the cat of Old Fred had a handsome and heavenly feast.

As the sun started rising on the eastern horizon the moon met the Earth in the west,

And Kazinsky stepped down to the new morning’s ground to prowl home for a well deserved rest.


Kazinsky arrived at just gone half past five as Old Fred nodded off where he sat.

Through the window he crept as Old Fred soundly slept, dreaming  dreams of an astronaut cat.

He strolled to the chair and at Fred sleeping there and he settled down onto his lap,

And Kazinsky the cat and Old Fred, just like that, spent the whole day enjoying a nap.


Poem of the Day

Leave a comment

Brown Honeyeaters

By Helen Hagemann


A brilliant blue rising from a bronze morning

and Brown Honeyeaters are circling the garden.


Today, they are in the olive tree in my neighbour’s

yard, performing aerial songs (although it’s more a short


sharp, tweep!). Before spring, I counted two regular

visitors to our horticulture of Canna lilies, Yellow


Bird-of-Paradise, Grevillea, Frangipani, now there are

four! As if in concert, they dance, plunging to and fro.


It’s balletic, reminding you of Rudolf Nureyev and Dame

Margot Fontein in Romeo and Juliet. One of the


fledgelings is as graceful as Maria Kochetkova, a

Giselle fluttering her wings, thin as the veil of a tutu.


There’s fussing from parents, followed by a preen on

brick wall and hedge, a bird commotion of tutelage.


The best is their closeness, high in the branches, and now

that the young are fed and sleepy, the show has stopped.