Sally Odgers has been writing verse since her primary school days. The first poem she remembers came to her during a sewing class in Grade 5. (Obviously, even then she was into multi-tasking.) Most of it has gone the way of old ideas, but she remembers the first two couplets. It was about a horse…
He stands alertly, tests the air,
Then wheeling, gallops to his favourite mare
He’s tall and strong, over sixteen hands
His black mane flies in shining strands
This effort serves to show that scansion and rhyme were important to the ten-year-old Sally, just as they are to the older version now.
More poems followed. And I mean, a lot more. Most of them were about farm and family life, flowers, birds, animals and rivers. After a while, these subjects were joined by fantasy and mythic subjects. These days, Sally likes writing strange forms such as Retro-Victorian Metrical Verse, Pleached Poems, Reversed Rhymed Acrostics and Orboros Verse. She’s even sold a few of these in two collections for adults (Spinning Pearls and Fernseed for Fairysight). She occasionally writes blank verse, sonnets and, even more occasionally, free verse. Rather to her astonishment one of these free verses was placed in a contest. To celebrate, she took its name for her blog as well as one of her collections. The poem (and the blog, and the collection) is called Spinning Pearls. Others appeared in the anthology The Other Side of the World co-written with Sara Quest.
Sally also continues to write poems for children. This led to the strange habit of writing funny poems for sale and serious poems for fun. Lots of the funny poems sold in the 1980s to the Omnibus collections including Vile Verse and Putrid Poems and Petrifying Poems.
Then there are some pieces in Ten Times Funny and other anthologies. Her most recent published poems are in the Charms anthologies (www.printscharmingbooks.com). One of those is an Orboros poem.
Other versifyings have occurred in rhymed picture book texts such as Dreadful David, Bushland Lullaby, Angie the Brave,That’s Enough, Rainforest Lullaby and the upcoming title, Goodnight Truck. Sally has also produced a how-to writing book called Writing Metrical Verse which is available from http://sallyodgers.weebly.com/.
Pardon My Garden, the poetry book Sally edited and compiled, has some of her poems in it as well.
Sally runs poetry workshops for all (literate) ages from primary school to adult. She specialises in ‘Picture Poems’ which are highly effective pieces accessible to just about anyone. To contact her, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
THE SCOTTIES (free verse)
There’s a dog park down in Sydney
Where five black Scotties gravely gambol
Marleyesque in their Highland dreadies
Prancing on their stage.
Noble noses give no quarter
T’ yapping scrapping fluffy tykes
But five black Scotties gambol gravely
© Sally Odgers
“There’s no such thing as unicorns,”
My teacher said in class
(She doesn’t know what’s in the park
Dancing in the grass)
“Fairies? Don’t be foolish,”
My brother gives a hoot
But I don’t care—I know they’re there
(I hear their silvered flute)
“Dragons are for stories,”
Gran told me gently once
I called her when I saw one
(But she was having lunch)
They think I’m being silly
And playing make-believe
I can tell fact from fiction
I know what I have seen
And when they dare to tell me
I haven’t any proof
I whistle and say, ‘atoms!’
And wander off aloof
My brother counters, ‘Microscopes!’
(As if I care for that
Has any scientist used one
To examine pixie hats?)
And have you seen the selkies?
Down on the beach today
Splashing in the wavelets
(They look like seals at play)
Maybe others like to think
There are no fairy rings
I wish they’d open up their minds
And join me seeing things
I’ll lead an expedition
And I’m inviting you
To join me in my journey
(I know you see things too.)
© Sally Odgers
DRAGON FADING (rhymed acrostic)
Dragons’ day is fading
Reclaimed in gleaming dust
Again to lie in slumber
Gone beyond mistrust
Oh! Lost now is their number
No more will be unveiled
For they have ended in a dream
Amber moments unassailed
Dragons, treasures, castles seem
Images by fancy told
Glittered knights to rise so bold.
© Sally Odgers