”Kookaburra” by Stephanie Boase

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Kookaburra sits

On a clothes line tall,

Carefully surveying

The urban sprawl.


Spying a movement

In the grass,

He swoops down swiftly.

Dinner at last!


Won’t you laugh kookaburra,

Laugh for me?

Your life is so much harder

Than it used to be.





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down the


tree sliding

far t o o fast




down the


tree watch me

s a i l i n g past




down the


tree through the

lights I’ll z o o m




down the






what a



   James Aitchison

“Giving” by JR Poulter with Teacher Notes

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Christmas sees the shops decked decorous decorations and advertising urging everyone to spend, spend spend! It has become for many a self-centred and money driven season where oneupmanship is all too evident!
However, in its origin, it is a Christian celebration of God’s gift to mankind, a Saviour who put aside his divinity to become a human like us and ‘save us’ from our worst selves.
The poem draws attention to the plight of those for whom it might not be a happy, let alone a joyous season. For  homeless folk, the Christmas season is made even harder because it  highlights all they DO NOT have.
Activity: [1.] Make a list of the things you have at Christmas that a homeless person might not have.
[2.] Make a list of things that could be done in a practical way to make things better for a homeless person at Christmas.
Christmas is also a bad time for many animals, such as the stray in the poem.
More pets find themselves homeless at this time of year than any other.
Discussion: Why do you think this might be so? What could be done to try and prevent this situation?
Articles by the RSPCA identify summer holidays, our biggest holiday period, as also recording an increase in the number of pets ‘dumped’. 
The old stray in the poem, probably had a home once. 
Activity: Write a short story or poem about  how you think the ‘old stray’ might have become homeless.
OR, draw a comic strip illustrating the story of how the ‘old stray’ became homeless.
Research and Discussion: There are organisations that rescue  cats and dogs and other animals that become strays. Make a list of such organisations in your area. Find out  more about each of them. What do they have in common? How do they go about finding homes for  the animals they rescue? Find at least one story from each organisation that has a ‘happy ending’ for an animal they rescued. Share at least one of those stories with the class.
The poet adopted a rescue cat earlier this year. He is a black cat, aged between one year and 18 months, that was dumped in the bush at Millmeran. Fortunately, a local woman rescued him and he found his way to the animal rescue run by Yeronga Veterinary Clinic. That is where the poet found him and it was love at first site! He is the most companionable kitty and she can’t imagine being without her little furry friend!

”My Mother’s Horse Shoe Ring” by Katherine Gallagher

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My Mother’s Horse-shoe Ring

  (after Grace Nichols)

Sometimes when I see it

on my index finger 

I am reassured,


rub its ruby stone, her gift.

I need this small reminder

of her, its lucky charm


that catches me

like an itinerant fire

chipped from the sun.


©Katherine Gallagher

Published in Acres of Light  Arc Publications, 2016)

“Four Legs” by Penny Szentkuti

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Four Legs


Four legs and a tail 

it could be a dog.

Four legs and a croak?

That’s a frog!

Four legs and a hump –

it must be a camel.

Four legs and fur?

It’s some kind of mammal.


But four legs and a mane –

long legs for trotting,

strong galloping legs,

and a tail for fly swatting?

That’s easy now,

I know it of course!

That four legged friend

is a horse.

Penny Szentkuti


“Six Geese A Laying” By Kylie Covark


Six Geese A Laying


Have you ever come across a goose who’s laid a nest of eggs?

I’ll tell you now you’d better hope you brought your running legs.

That goose will make a honking sound as loud as she can blast,

Then chase you far away from them; so furious and fast.

So it was hard to work out what my new true love was saying,

When he handed me a box containing six grey geese a laying.

It’s not a bit romantic, or thoughtful, sweet or fun,

To give someone a Christmas gift and then to scream out,


“Happy New Year MU69” by Celia Berrell with notes

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On the eighth day of Christmas (1st January), New Horizons (the space probe that took photos of dwarf planet Pluto back in July 2015) will be 6.6 billion kilometres from Earth, travelling at 14 kilometres per second, flying past a rock about 37 kilometres wide called 2014 MU69 (nick-named Ultima Thule) in the solar system’s Kuiper Belt.  If it doesn’t bump into anything on the way, we will receive images from its cameras just over six hours after they are taken.  This is an incredible technological adventure with cosmologically amazing consequences.  What an exciting way to start the New Year!