Doug MacLeod

Doug MacLeod is a Melbourne-based writer and TV producer who has worked on many of Australia’s most popular comedy shows and has written a number of books for young people.

On the Cards is a book of ridiculous greeting card rhymes with an introduction by Ben Elton that Doug wrote for the international charity Comic Relief in 2002. A second book of creepy rhymes, Spiky, Spunky, My Pet Monkey, was released in 2004. Both books are illustrated by Craig Smith and published by Penguin. Craig and Doug again collaborated on Leon Stumble’s Book of Stupid Fairytales, published by Working Title in 2005.

Doug is probably best known for a book called Sister Madge’s Book of Nuns, which was published in 1986.

Doug’s poetry for children has been widely anthologised throughout the world.

Poems by Doug MacLeod

Doug says of his poetry: ‘I’m always nervous about holding my stuff up as ‘poetry’ because it quite simply isn’t and it’s deceptively hard to do, meaning that kids lose interest quite quickly when they try it themselves. It’s doggerel or funny verse, or call it what you will.’

  The Cheap Book of Verse

 As you wander through these pages

Full of things composed by me

Though they’re full of rhyme and rhythm –

Never call them poetry.

Poetry is wise and witty,

Sometimes long and sometimes short,

Full of feeling and emotion

Words of beauty, words of thought.

In these pages you’ll discover

Writing of a different kind:

Several stupid situations

Told in words that aren’t refined.

Read them slowly, read them quickly,

Shout them loudly as can be,

Read them any way you like, but –

Never call them poetry

© Doug MacLeod

Greedy Doris pic for Doug MacLeod's bio

  Greedy Doris

 Doris was a greedy girl

Who ate more than she needed

No matter what, she’d scoff the lot

Although the children pleaded,

‘Oh, won’t you leave some food for us?’

But Doris didn’t share

So, when she burst to kingdom come,

The children didn’t care.

The Night after Christmas,

(With no apologies whatever to the American poet Clement Clark Moore since he wrote such an awful bloody rhyme in the first place. Thanks as ever to Graeme Base for writing the more rhythmical bits).

‘Twas the night after Christmas

And sleepiness fell.

They’d finished the turkey,

The pudding as well

They’d opened their crackers,

The riddles they’d told

(And none of them less

Than a century old).

They’d worn paper hats

For a moment or two

Till even Gran found it

A lame thing to do.

The presents were opened,

The mess cleared away,

Now everyone slumbered,

Recalling the day.

Paul got a video game

He thought neat,

(The one where you murder

Each person you meet.)

But Mum said, ‘It’s awful!

‘I won’t let you play.

‘I don’t care if Dad

Has been playing all day.’

And David got DVD movies,


He’d downloaded all of them

Ages ago.

Old Gran gave out books

And a chemistry set.

(All going on eBay

Next week, you can bet.)

And then there was Courtney

Who cried, the poor soul

For Santa had brought her

The wrong kind of doll.

‘I wanted a dolly

That wets when it’s pressed

But this one won’t wee

And I’m deeply distressed.’

‘But this doll is lovely,’

Said Mummy to daughter.

‘I think they’ve stopped making

Those dolls that pass water.’

And Courtney kept squeezing

But nothing came out.

The doll wouldn’t pee.

It was airtight. No doubt.

She squeezed and squeezed harder,

With all of her might

Till dolly exploded –

A terrible sight!

The head popped right off

Looking spooky and scary.

And bounced off the Christmas tree,

Killing a fairy.

It rocketed round

And finally fell

Right into the fireplace

(It burned rather well).

The plastic was melted,

The room filled with smoke

Mum said, ‘Let’s sing carols!’

And tried not to choke

But Courtney kept crying

And cursing the elf

That brought the wrong dolly,

She soon wet herself.

Her two darling brothers,

Young David and Paul,

Were laughing like mad

At the thrill of it all.

But Courtney was livid

And growled at the pair,

‘I hope that next Christmas

You’re killed by a bear!’

Her mother suggested

She might want to go

And put on new undies.

But Courtney said, ‘No!’

She glared at her dolly’s head,

Melted to goo,

And into the fireplace

Her panties she threw!

And what happened next

Made the family flee –

A cloud of burnt plastic

And panties and pee.

And two hours later

The household returned

To witness where dolly

And undies were burned.

The boys looked at Mother.

‘We don’t understand.

‘Is this part of Christmas?

Is this what God planned?’

‘I’m sure that it isn’t,’

Their mother intoned.

‘Now let’s tidy up!’

She looked round and groaned.

The soot and the cinders,

The stains and the wet –

The night after Christmas

Was not over yet.

‘Next Christmas,’ she said,

‘We’ll avoid all this stuff-

The presents … the pudding …

The turkey… Enough!

‘From now on, each dollar

Goes straight to the poor,

We’ll give it to charity –

They need it more.’

‘Hooray!’ they all cried.

Not a soul disagreed.

A household united

In good over greed.

And so the day finished,

With goodwill and cheer…

And who knows? They might even

Do it next year.

But just for the moment,

The presents seemed nice

And thoughts of the poor

Disappeared in a trice.

And Courtney was just as

Amazed as can be

To find in her bed

A doll that could pee.


7 thoughts on “Doug MacLeod

  1. Great poems, Doug. Love the rhythm and rhyme – as a poet I get such satisfaction out of hitting it just right. I know what you mean about simple sounding ‘poetry’ being deceptively hard to do. But it’s exactly this that captures kids’ imagination and gives them the impetus to give it a go themselves. PS – just reviewed your novel, Tigers on the Beach for Fleurieu Living Magazine in SA.

  2. Pingback: Ten Things About Poetry and Me: Virginia Lowe – Ripple Poetry

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