“Tower Power” with a link to live science by Celia Berrell

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A group of giraffes 

is called a tower.


Each day, they sleep 

for less than an hour.

They’ll munch on leaves 

from acacia trees,

while ear-flicking flies 

in savannah’s breeze,

reaching up high 

with grace and ease …


giraffes shouldn’t need 

to climb those trees!


Teacher Notes

Link to live science



“Mustard Gas Legacy”  by Celia Berrell with Teacher Notes

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Soldiers smelled garlic;

horseradish; sulphur.

A kind of fusty

mustardy odour.

Then twelve hours later

they’d start to go blind,

get pus-filled blisters

and possibly died.


Chemist Fritz Haber

in World War One,

made mustard gas poison

worse than a gun.

This silently sneaky

chemical tool

spread crippling pain

that was very cruel.


Survivors were checked.

When blood tests were done,

most of their body’s

immune cells had gone.

They’d lost the white cells that

could turn into cancer.

Was mustard gas poison

a possible answer?


From a weapon of war

to helping the sick

this chemical cocktail

became our first pick

to fight against cancer.

A new remedy!




What I regards as an appropriate link and 4min video for this topic 



The Right Chemistry: Mustard gas and the beginnings of chemotherapy


The Bari bombing was not the key to the development of chemotherapy. That dubious “credit” goes to the 1917 mustard gas attack at Ypres.


Updated: September 13, 2019

Dr. Joe Schwarcz: Mustard gas and chemotherapy4:03


It makes for a compelling story. The Second World War is being furiously fought across Europe. The Allies finally gain a foothold in Italy and the port city of Bari becomes a critical point of entry for troops and supplies to the Mediterranean theatre. The harbour is filled with ships on Dec. 2, 1943 when Nazi airplanes drop from the clouds, their bombs raining destruction.

The SS John Harvey, an American ship carrying a cargo of 2,000 mustard gas bombs in spite of the Geneva Protocol of 1925 that banned the use of chemical weapons, explodes, killing all of its crew and spreading the gas across the harbour and town. But the clouds from which the Nazi planes emerged have a silver lining. Researchers note that the victims of mustard gas exposure have a very low rate of white blood cell multiplication, suggesting that mustard gas could also interfere with the characteristically rapid multiplication of cancer cells. And so it is that the Bari attack serendipitously leads to the development of mustard gas as an anti-cancer drug and launches the concept of “chemotherapy.” At least that is the way the story is told in numerous text books and articles.

A nice romanticized account, but the fact is that the first use of a modified version of mustard gas to treat cancer in a human was in the United States in 1942, more than a year before the Bari attack! The seminal event that gave rise to the treatment was indeed a mustard gas attack, but one that the Germans unleashed on Allied troops at Ypres in Belgium in 1917.


“A Recipe For Dew” by Celia Berrell

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A recent rain

to quench and share.

A cloudless night

to cool the air.


The slightest breeze

to chill on cue

the grass and leaves.

Here comes the dew.


The stage is set

for dawn’s sensation.





on grassy stems

are rainbow-sparkling

water gems.


first published in CSIRO’s Scientriffic magazine No 85, July 2013

“Recycled Water” by Celia Berrell

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We’re 10cc’s of water and

although the Earth’s our base

we recently went travelling

up there – in outer space.


An astronaut had drunk us

just before his rocket ride.

And so we were the stowaways

that hid in his insides.


Meeting different molecules

we made a lot of friends.

With some we only mingled

while with others we held hands.


While staying in the astronaut

we all kept nice and warm

and floated round inside him and

explored his body’s form.


Eventually he moved us out.

So off we raced in glee.

With other friends I think we were

all classified as pee.


We found ourselves inside a box

with membrane walls all new.

Its holes were just the perfect size

for water to get through.


We said goodbye to all our friends

as they were far too fat

to wriggle through those membrane walls

and join us for a chat.


Now squeaky clean we hung around

inside some holding pen.

Until we found ourselves inside

the astronaut again!


“The Garden Within” by Celia Berrell


The Garden Within


There is a garden in my heart

where beauty grows in fits and starts.

Where smiles are petals from the flowers

bestowed by others from their bowers.


Nutritious hope reaps seeds to feed

my spirit for its every need.

With gratitude I’ll reach my goal

and touch the island of my soul.

”The Cat-Sock Dilemma” by Celia Berrell

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The Cat-Sock Dilemma


Hey diddle-diddle

a sock round the middle

when gently tied on my Cat,

will make her wiggle,

wobble and squiggle.

She can’t walk straight with that.


A slick little trick

that’s painless and quick.

There’s surely no harm in that?

We giggle, she wriggles,

goes higgledy-piggle

until she gets to lie flat!