Dianne (Di) Bates

As a fifth grader, I was fortunate to have a teacher whose amazing poetry lessons still linger in my mind, and as a teenager I found a battered poetry book which I loved and re-read many times; these two experiences influenced my great love of poetry, both as something to read aloud and to write. As a primary school teacher, I read poetry to hundreds of students and, too, I taught them verse-speaking and how to write in many poetry forms. In my work as a schools’ performer, I have presented dozens of humorous verses to many audiences, and, too I presented many poetry writing workshops in primary and high schools. As editor of a national children’s magazine, Little Ears, I selected and published poems for small children.

Meanwhile, I have written adult poetry, published in literary magazines; as well as poetry for children, published in the NSW Department of Education, School Magazine, Pardon My Garden, Sally Odgers (Angus & Robertsons, 1992), and in several poetry anthologies published by Omnibus Books in the 1980s.Nobody's Boy by Di Bates

In 2013, my junior verse novel, (Celapene Press) was named a CBCA Notable Book.

More recently I have compiled three anthologies of Australian children’s poetry. The first, Our Home is Dirt by Sea (for 8+ years), will be published by Walker Books in 2015. The other anthologies, Every Day is a Birthday, (for 5 to 8 year olds) and All Sing with Hilda (poems for verse speaking), are yet to be contracted. I have also published Erky Perky Silly Stuff and other ridiculous verse for children (Five Senses Education).

erky-perky-silly-stuff-9781741307801-14110 Di BatesMy website, which I share with my (children’s poet) husband, Bill Condon, is www.enterprisingwords.com.au

We live in a suburb of Wollongong, NSW. My email address is dibates@outlook.com



The big black cat crept across the road,

and finished up under a semi’s load.

It was feeling stiff and sore,

but that’s what cat’s nine lives are for.

So even though it took a whack,

the cat bounced back.

The big black cat crept across the street

and finished up under a giant’s feet.

There were guts and there was gore,

but that’s what cat’s nine lives are for.

So even though it took a smack,

the cat bounced back.

The big black cat should have never played

With an Army tank parade.

© Dianne Bates



‘Are you ready yet?’

‘Yes, Mum. I’m waiting for Annie.’

My sister Annie is eating Coco Pops,

Shovelling handfuls into her greedy gob –


Chocolate dribbles down the sides of her mouth.



Mum is reading the paper

sipping tea

and ignoring that revolting Annie.


Annie’s cheeks are bulging

She laughs.

Coco Pops spray everywhere


Mum looks up.

She doesn’t see Annie

Her chocolate mouth

and Coco Pops piled on the table, floor, kitchen chairs

and in my glass of milk.

‘You don’t look ready to me,’ she says.

© Dianne Bates



Wake late

Can’t find clean anything

Wear my crushed uniform

Borrow my sister’s socks

‘Give them back!’


My sister screams at me

Mum screams at me

I scream at them

We all scream at one another.

We’re running late

Jammed in bumper-to-bumper traffic

‘Can’t you drive any faster?’

‘That’s enough from you, missy!’

Kiss Mum goodbye?

No way.

Across the playground

Running, I drop

The paper mache dinosaur

That took four hours

Last night

Of hard, hard work

My project

Now extinct.

Late for assembly

Everyone stares

Teachers’ eyebrows are raised

And classes haven’t even begun.

© Dianne Bates

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