The Stray, Christmas morning with teacher notes

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Teacher Notes:

English writing skills

Write a short description of what you would feel if you woke Christmas morning to not one present. Compare this to finding your Christmas wish granted had been granted.

 

Drawing and emotional intelligence

Draw a four frame comic showing the changes a thoughtful gift can make to a sad person’s facial expression.

 

Team work:

List ways the class could work together to make a difference in the lives of less fortunate folk this Christmas. With your teacher’s guidance, implement one of your class’s projects.

Sequencing:

Make a photo diary of how you all worked to achieve your outcome as a class.

 

Pic and poem and teacher notes by J.R.Poulter

The Visit

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The Visit

Cautiously, creeping down the stairs,

carefully avoiding the creaks,

we stop

and take each other’s hand.

At the bottom we tiptoe,

trembling,

towards the door.

Almost afraid to breath

we slowly, gently, push it open.

Beneath the twinkling lights

sit the gifts.

‘He’s been,’ we whisper

‘He’s been.’

 

Pat Simmons

(Published 2014 by Celapene Press, Short and Twisted and Thynks Publications Bards at Blidworth and Beyond Anthology of Poems)

Compound Interest

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Compound Interest

 

You are the jingle in my bells

The tick in my tock

The flash in my light

The spring in my time

The whirl in my wind

The tell in my tale

You are the ever in my lasting

The ginger in my bread

The life in my boat

It has to be said

Alan j Wright

This Season

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THIS SEASON                    

 

The moon tonight is a marble,

perfect and white.

See it there

above the rows of trees

bare-limbed and angular

lifting hands

as if in prayer

in the valley

that continues forever.

 

Comes dawn and warmth for

the slumbering bed of seeds

laid in rows like soldiers,

mute, and obedient to the seasons.

 

Comes a drizzle of rain

and baby fingers unfold,

reach for the yellow hot goodness

of sun.

 

Comes the gardener

Who tends the struggling army

defends it against the enemy,

the battalions of flying and crawling insects

and the dryness of earth;

She sprays, hoes,

waits for the hostage stems to unfurl,

to stretch, to uncurl.

 

Comes the leaves,

the unfolding flowers, and then…

ah yes,

the plant ripe with fruit,

the scent of Eden in the air!

 

© Dianne Bates

Polliwogs and pobblebonks

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Polliwogs and pobblebonks

I could be quite mistaken

but I’m feeling pretty sure

that polliwog’s a word

you’ve never come across before.

And pobblebonk’s another,

with a funny kind of sound,

a word I’m also certain

you have never seen around.

They’re not a type of candy

or variety of fish.

They’re not exotic items

in some oriental dish.

They don’t have beaks or feathers

and they’re not a breed of dog.

A polliwog’s a tadpole

and a pobblebonk’s a frog.

Jenny Erlanger

Meet the poet – Monty Edwards

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Monty Edwards is a regular contributor to the Australian Children’s Poetry Poem of the Day and rarely misses responding to the Monday Poetry Prompt. Monty is retired pastor and educator, whose main focus in writing has become rhyming verse. This began in early adulthood with light-hearted poems to be shared at family celebrations, then years later, in occasional contributions to the weekly bulletin of the church where he served. These were collected and published as Poems on the Way in 2015.

Since that time he has become a regular contributor to the Australian Children’s Poetry Poem of the Day feature and to date has had nine poems accepted for publication by The School Magazine.

With wife Sheena, Monty lives in beachside Rockingham, south of Perth, WA. They have three adult children and five grandchildren. Monty’s other interests include tennis, chess, playing piano and cryptic crosswords.

Monty has published a collection of his children’s poems called The Mystery Box, which includes a number of his Australian Children’s Poetry Poem of the Day submissions.

Contact him at montye@iinet.net.au

 

When did your interest in poetry begin?

I was exposed to poetry in my school years and mostly enjoyed it for its entertainment value, especially rhyming verse that featured narrative, or humour, or both.

Did you write poetry as a child?

I don’t remember writing any poetry until my late teens and very little in early adulthood.

When was your first poem published?

As a by-product of my work as a pastor, and perhaps as late as 1995, I occasionally began to produce verse with Christian themes for the weekly bulletin of the church where I served, then subsequently for the church I now attend in my retirement. In September 2015, 27 of these poems were self-published in booklet form as Poems on the Way: Christian Verse for the Curious and the Committed.

Who are some poets whose writing you love? 

I am drawn to particular poems rather than to particular poets and because of other lifetime interests, have not read widely in the genre until recently. Of Australian poets, I have spent most time with Banjo Paterson and CJ Dennis and I have particularly admired the poems of Jenny Erlanger and Pat Simmons on the Australian Children’s Poetry website.

Have you had any poetry writing mentors?

None to date.

What inspires you to write poetry?

In general, I write to make a difference, whether that be to the reader’s mood, their attitudes, point of view or belief system. I use poetry to affirm, encourage, entertain, educate and challenge, depending on the occasion and likely reader or hearer.

When you are writing a poem, what comes first – a subject, a line, a word?

For me, the subject would nearly always be the starting point, unless I am responding to a prompt.

Do you workshop your poems with anyone?

No, but if I think something I’ve written may be misunderstood, give offence, or fail to achieve its intended purpose, I value my wife’s assessment of its likely effect.

How do you know when a poem is finished?

When I can no longer find ways to improve it! However, I find that if you let the poem rest for a day or two, you may find you can improve it after all.

How do you know if a poem is good?

Although there is no substitute for honest feedback from readers, I feel one’s personal instinct for a poem’s worth develops with experience and by reading respected poets.

In practice I would ask myself: Does the poem flow? If rhyming, is the rhyme unforced? Is each element of the poem appropriate for the intended reader? (In that regard consider subject matter, vocabulary, imagery, form, and length). Is the content interesting and the conclusion satisfying?  If I can answer those questions positively I gain confidence in my poem’s worth.

What is your top tip for aspiring children’s poets?

Keep asking yourself questions like those in the previous response as you work on your poem, and run through them again when you believe it is finished.

 

Rainbow’s End

A snail once heard the story

Which is very often told:

“If you reach a rainbow’s ending,

You will find a pot of gold!”

This idea was most appealing,

(Since the snail was very poor)

And it left him with a feeling

That he couldn’t quite ignore.

 

Every day when it was raining,

But the clouds began to clear,

He would scan the sky for rainbows

In the hope one would appear.

Then at last he thought he saw one

In the garden hothouse glass!

To the spot he slowly hurried

Streaking silver through the grass.

 

But oh, what disappointment,

When he reached that special place!

For of golden coins or treasure,

He discovered not a trace.

As he turned to leave, discouraged,

Something caught his tearful eye

And a potted gold chrysanthemum

Proved the story was no lie.

Monty Edwards

The Mystery Box

 

My lunch for school’s a mystery box and here’s the reason why:

I cannot guess just what’s inside, however hard I try.

There’s something different every day: Mum treats it as a game.

The only thing I’m sure about: no day will be the same.

 

If Monday’s roll has vegemite, then Tuesday’s might have jam.

A sandwich made for Wednesday’s lunch might well be beef or ham.

On Thursday then, a salad wrap could be the big surprise,

But one school lunch on Friday something shocking met my eyes:

 

My mystery box was oozing with a greenish-yellow trickle!

There must have been a mix-up with Dad’s favourite: cheese and pickle!

While Dad enjoyed my peanut paste spread on his bread with honey,

My sandwich had an awful taste. Don’t laugh. It wasn’t funny!

 Monty Edwards

 

 

 

 

 

Poem of the Day

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Interrogation time

 

How will you travel, on foot or by train?

What if it’s cold, if it threatens to rain?

When are we likely to see you again?

Do you know when you’re going to be back?

 

I think that the tram and the bus would be good.

I’ll pack an umbrella and coat with a hood.

I’d give you a date if I thought that I could

but it might be a year down the track.

 

Won’t you be lonely with nowhere to stay?

When are you leaving, what time of the day?

Why are you planning on moving away?

Is everything really that bad?

 

I’m taking my toys. I’ll have plenty to do.

I’m banking on leaving the house around two.

And now that you ask, I’m escaping from you!

Your questions are driving me mad!

Jenny Erlanger
  • Submitted in response to Poetry Prompt #18

 

 

 

 

 

Meet Pat Simmons

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Pat is a writer of poems, short stories, flash fiction and children’s picture books.

Her work has been published in anthologies and children’s magazines (including NSW School Magazine, Alphabet Soup and Looking Glass Magazine) and she has won writer competitions in Australia and the UK.

Her picture book manuscript, Ziggy’s Zoo has been accepted for publication by Little Pink Dog Books in 2017 and she has independently published a collection of flash fiction stories for adults called 52 Twisted Tales.

She lives at Scarborough on the south coast of NSW with her four cats, three dogs and assorted mini beasts.

Visit Pat’s website: www.patsimmonswriter.com.au

pat-simmons

“Write about what you love, what you know, what makes you happy and what makes you sad. Read lots of children’s poetry to get a feel for what style suits you.”_Pat Simmons

 

When did your interest in poetry begin?

When I was a child, I think. I’ve always loved rhyme and nonsense poetry.

Did you write poetry as a child?

I don’t remember writing poetry until I was about twelve years old when a school friend and I co-wrote a poem about our pet guinea pigs which was published in the school magazine. (Fortunately I don’t still have a copy.)

What was the first poem you had published?

Well, moving on about 50 years, my poem, Mr Pickle’s Pet Shop won a UK poetry competition and was published in 2010.

Who are some poets whose writing you love?

Ah, there are many, from the wonderful nonsense poetry of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll to Thomas Hardy, Philip Larkin, John Betjeman, Bob Dylan and many more.

Have you had any poetry writing mentors?

No mentors as such, but the members of the writers’ group I belong to continue to encourage and inspire me.

What inspires you to write poetry?

Competitions and sites like ACP motivate me to write. I love writing but I don’t like writing lots of words! Poetry challenges me to write ‘tight’.

When you are writing a poem, what comes first – a subject, a line, a word?

Prompt words work really well for me as they give me a starting point. I’m also inspired by various subject matter. With my children’s poetry I love writing about animals and particularly animals who existed in history.

Do you workshop your poems with anyone?

Only with my writers’ group buddies.

How do you know when a poem is finished?

Oh, good question and I’m not sure how to answer it. I think I just know when I’ve said enough!

How do you know if a poem is good?

I don’t really ever know but, just sometimes, I’ll finish a poem and say to myself, ‘that’s good!’ I try not to overthink them.

What is your top tip for aspiring children’s poets?

Write about what you love, what you know, what makes you happy and what makes you sad. Read lots of children’s poetry to get a feel for what style suits you.

 

Trim

I’m a black cat

A special cat

A ship’s cat.

I was born on the Reliance in 1799.

Of all my mother’s kittens

I was the one most fine.

I’m a black cat

A special cat

A ship’s cat.

I have four snow-white paws

And a white star on my chest.

Of all the cats on board this ship

The sailors like me best.

I’m a black cat

A special cat

A ship’s cat.

When it’s time for dinner

I don’t eat with other cats.

I sit at table with the men.

I don’t care for rats.

I’m a black cat

A special cat

A ship’s cat.

I have a trusty friend

And Matthew Flinders is his name.

He has called me Trim.

I think together we’ll find fame.

I’m a black cat

A special cat

A ship’s cat.

Matthew is a clever man

He’s sailed all round this land.

He’s given it a name

And that’s Australia – how grand.

Perhaps you have a cat at home

Is it as fine as me?

Would it like to come aboard

And sail upon the sea?

With a black cat

A special cat

A ship’s cat.

Pat Simmons

 

Spreading the word

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ABC Local radio – a greatly under-utilised resource?

by Stephen Whiteside

I was very excited when my collection of rhyming verse/bush poetry for children, The Billy That Died With Its Boots On and Other Australian Verse was published by Walker Books in May last year. Walker did a beautiful job of putting the book together, and I felt confident that it would do well.

However, I was a little disappointed with what I felt was a lack of publicity. I made my own efforts, and did manage to secure an interview on ABC Local radio in Melbourne (774) on a Monday afternoon during the school holidays, but that was about it.

Then, when the book won a Golden Gumleaf for Book of the Year at the Australian Bush Laureate Awards during the Tamworth Country Music Festival in January this year, I realised I had the ‘hook’ I needed. It was particularly gratifying – and of interest to the media – that a book for children had won an award that is ostensibly an award for books for adults.

I decided to target ABC Local radio once again and, again, my home town, Melbourne came through. I secured an interview with Libby Gorr on a Sunday morning. However, I had no success with the other capital cities.

It then occurred to me that my natural constituency, given that the book was ‘bush verse’, was probably rural and regional Australia. With this in mind, I began to approach some of the smaller ABC Local radio stations. I quickly struck gold.

As a general rule, responses fell into one of three categories.

  1. The presenter loved bush poetry, and pounced on the opportunity to interview. (This happened a couple of times.)
  1. The station had no interest in the book unless I was visiting their town, which I wasn’t. (This also happened quite a few times.)
  1. The station was interested in the book, but needed some local connection with the book to justify an interview. This also happened on quite a number of occasions, and was where the challenge began.

I secured a state-wide interview in Ballarat by explaining the history of my various ancestors in rural Victoria. I secured an interview in south west Queensland by discussing the influence of Banjo Paterson on my work. (Paterson wrote Waltzing Matilda in this part of Australia.) I secured a couple of interviews in South Australia by discussing the influence of CJ Dennis on my work. (Dennis was born in South Australia, and lived there as a child and young adult.) I have secured an interview in Albany, Western Australia, by explaining that there are poems about whales in the book. (We will do the interview as soon as the whales arrive!) I have also secured an interview in Tamworth, because that is where I won the award.

I should add that all of these interviews (13 now in total) have been conducted without my leaving Melbourne. A few have been live, but most were pre-recorded. Most have been conducted on my mobile phone. I attended the ABC Soutbank Studios for the interview with Libby Gorr.

Of particular interest was the Ballarat interview, where I was placed in a ‘Tardis’ in Southbank. These are highly sophisticated studios that allow the interviewee to sound as though they are in the same studio as the interviewer, even though they may be many miles away.

My favourite interviews have been with the smallest stations in far off corners of this huge continent. The interviewers tend to be more passionate, the interviews longer, and the questions more interesting.

Do any of these interviews sell books? I don’t know, and I probably never will. I cannot see how they could do any harm, however, and they are great fun. Of course, the number of people listening to these programmes is likely to be less than with the large metropolitan stations, but there is nothing to be done about that.

My own feeling is that these smaller rural and regional ABC Local radio stations are a highly valuable and probably greatly under-utilised resource for authors trying to sell their books.