Poem of the Day




by Allan Cropper


I was sad.

I shed a single tear.

It lay before me but for a moment.

A warming sun and a drying wind beckoned it skyward

to join a million other teardrops in a cloud.

A million teardrops fell to earth,

and like a million teardrop broom

they swept away the fear and gloom,

and I was happy.


Poem of the Day


Drum Dreams

by Sharon Hammad

Don’t tell me I should tinkle on the piano’s ivory keys

And I don’t want to learn to make the tartan bagpipes wheeze.

I do not crave to pluck the harp with fingertips and thumbs,

But how I hope and dream that one day I can play the drums!

If only I could find the words to sway my mum and dad

From their idea that getting drums is bound to turn out bad.

They tell me they would cost too much. We wouldn’t have the space

Unless we relocated to a chockablock-less place.

My parents think I’d wake them up when they would rather snooze.

They’re confident the neighbours would completely blow their fuse.

No matter what I say to them, they will not change their tune:

It looks like I’m not getting drums at any moment soon.

The neighbours wouldn’t have to know; they wouldn’t hear a peep

And if we looked up Gumtree I bet we could get some cheap.

Concerning space, of course my room might end up in a squeeze

But I can sleep out in the hall. Oh, let me have them please.

Perhaps I need to close my eyes and strongly concentrate

So one day mum and dad decide to re-evaluate.

I try and try this strategy although it doesn’t work

For when I open up my eyes, my parents only smirk.

They ask me if I’m feeling sick ─ my face is rather pink─

And as I slowly turn away, I think I see them wink.

The night before my birthday I release a mournful sigh.

It might be better if I kiss the drums idea goodbye.

My birthday dawns and light seeps through the curtains in my room

While over in the corner something strange lurks in the gloom.

And as I stare, and stare some more, the ghostly shape becomes…

My own electric-foldaway-with-headphones set of drums!

Countdown to deadline


Are you planning to enter the 12th Kathleen Julia Bates Memorial Writing Competition (Children’s Poetry)?

If you’re an Australian writer who writes poems suitable for children up to the age of 12 years, you have until Saturday to get your entry in for a chance to win a cash prize. Prizes are $150 first prize, $100 for second prize and $50 for third prize plus certificates for winners and short-listed entries.

The theme is open and the maximum length is 30 lines. All entries are to have a separate title page with full contact details including email address for results. Entrants will also receive a score sheet and other feedback.

Entry fee is $10 per poem. Payment is by direct deposit to BSB 633-000 Account Number 140152760. Please use the format (your surname)_poetry when making your deposit so payment can be easily matched with submissions.

Results will be announced on the Australian Children’s Poetry blog site and in Buzz Words (All the Buzz about Children’s Books).

Email entries to Teena Raffa-Mulligan at traffa-m(at)bigpond.net.au

Poem of the Day

1 Comment


The seagull squawks speaks

by Jane Williams


Hey you!

You’re looking at me like

you’ve got something to say –

Well OK then

I’m up for a chat,

a chitter, a chatter,

a yabber, a yak,

a tittle-tattle


a yammering yap.

I’m open to suggestion

on topics for discussion

Let’s communicate, confabulate,

wag the chin and chew the fat.

Let’s prattle and babble,

let’s talk, talk, talk!

But first you’ve got to learn

how to screech, how to squawk –

so stretch out your neck,

now open your beak …

wait … what’s that?

You don’t have a beak?

Beg pardon, my mistake

for presuming you could speak!

Poem of the Day


The Darling of the Darling Downs

by Allan Cropper

Lady Flo, the wife of Joh

The darling of the Darling Downs

Her recipe for pumpkin scones

Was shared across Australian towns

The farmers in the pumpkin patch

And those who baked and kneaded dough

Were all prepared to cook a batch

And give the pumpkin scones a go

Australia loved the pumpkin scone

and Flo became a household name.

It wasn’t due to husband Joh,

That Lady Flo had found her fame.

In meeting halls and country fairs

The pumpkin scones still do the rounds

So take a bow, dear Lady Flo

The darling of the Darling Downs.

Poem of the Day


Kitchen help

by Jenny Erlanger


There’s beetroot on the ceiling,

down the walls and on the floor.

The dressing’s leaving patterns

that I’ve never seen before.

The nuts and pomegranate

fly like bullets through the air.

I’m stepping over mushrooms

and there’s lettuce in my hair.

My mother’s looking angry,

I’m in trouble, I can tell.

She said to toss the salad

and I’ve tossed it pretty well.




News update

Leave a comment


Is your entry in yet? The clock is ticking to the deadline for entries in 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 August 15. Full details 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.

Somerset National Poetry Prize

Open to Australian secondary students under 19 years of age

Closing Date 11 December

Do you know a young person with a flair for writing poetry? This competition is being held in conjunction with the Somerset Celebration of Literature 2016. Its purpose is to encourage a love of writing poetry amongst secondary school students, to affirm it as a worthwhile literary pursuit and to stimulate excellence in writing. It also has the aim of inspiring and enriching youth literature. Category prizes of $300 plus flights to attend the festival. Full details 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, poetry book reviews and relevant articles.

Poem of the Day


Class Rules

 By Kate O’Neil


In my Australian school

in the days of Empire,

we dipped our nibbed pens

in ink that was royal blue,

and, by decree,

in ink of

no other colour.

Not the blue of the sea

which girt us

nor of the arching sky

in our land of the free.

Australians were loyal

and True Blue

was royal.


Britannia ruled the waves

and Britannia ruled

the ink.


Margins however,

were to be ruled

(exactly one inch,

giving no quarter)

in erasable pencil.

Poetry Book Review

1 Comment

Shoctopus-cover-imageShoctopus: Poems to Grip You

by Harry Laing, illustrated by Clinton De Vere (Bunda Books, 2015)

PB RRP $20  ISBN 9780980435023

Reviewed by Dianne Bates


Some time ago I was privileged to be entertained in my own home by Canberra poet, comic performer and creative writing teacher, Harry Laing, who recited a number of his quirky and humorous verse. The man is a natural performer! So it’s wonderful that he has now produced his first collection of children’s verse to accompany him as he tours schools and other venues with his show.

The cover of Shoctopus is bright and appealing and as one flicks through the 95-page book, it’s apparent that much thought has gone into making the book as child-friendly as possible. It’s attractively designed with frequent black and white illustrations. It’s also apparent that the collection has many different topics and poetic styles; dipping into it is a pleasure.

The first poem in the collection is ‘Dangerous Words’ made up of rhyming couplets with lines such as

‘Words can be MEAN,

words run FERAL                                                                                            

you play with words at your peril’

Laing has obviously played with words in all of his child-accessible poems. He tells poems from the point of view of a ‘Supertap’, a leech, a worm, and even a wheelie bin. There are raps such as ‘Billy Rap’, limericks, shape poems, a poem that looks like the forest it is about, even life stories (such as ‘Potato Story’), a prose poem and more. Quite a few of the poems are about animals – skink, Pobblebonk frog, a blowie (called Chloe) and an emu; and there are poems from the point of view of objects such as toothbrushes, tyres and trees. A few poems reflect children’s lives; one such poem is ‘It Doesn’t Make Sense’ about a kid falling out of bed.  My only quibble about the collections is that it would have been good to have read more child-narrated poems like this one.

The main message of Laing’s collection is that the poems in this collection are great for reciting aloud, and they ought to be read. There’s no doubt that they will be popular with most readers, even adult ones.

Shoctopus costs $20 plus $3 postage & packing and is available for purchase on Harry Laing’s website www.harrylaing.com.au. The poet is available for writing workshops and performances in schools and can be contacted at harrylaing@bigpond.com

Poem of the Day


Zoe’s Zoo

By Pat Simmons


Small jars, tall jars, boxes too,

Zoe needs them for her zoo.


In the garden, in the sun

is where she finds Exhibit One.

A caterpillar munching leaves,

Zoe stoops, rolls up her sleeves

and carefully with finger tips

(just in case this critter nips)

places it inside a jar.

Pops on the lid.

He won’t get far.


Crouching in a damp dark spot,

armed with just a yogurt pot

she spots a tell-tale silver trail.

Exhibit Two, a friendly snail.


With trusty trowel she fills a jar

then doesn’t have to dig too far

before she spots a sudden squirm.

Exhibit Three, a wriggling worm.


Exhibit Four sits in a box,

wearing gloves and scarf and socks.

His cage says, ‘Dangerous Beware.

Please Don’t Feed This Teddy Bear.’


A tiny cubby made from sticks

houses numbers Five and Six.

A beetle and a millipede

curled up like a shiny bead.


Exhibit Seven’s tied to a tree.

He’s rather dangerous you see.

A dinosaur might stomp around

and squish those caged upon the ground.


She needs to find Exhibit Eight

who’s sitting calmly on the gate.

Zoe has to pull and tug

to capture this majestic slug.


Now who will be the final two

to join the gang at Zoe’s Zoo?

She has to build a great big pen

to house Exhibits Nine and Ten.


Her work is done.

She gives a shout.

‘Mum and Daddy, please come out.’