“Red Admiral” by Katherine Gallagher

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Red Admiral


In mid-January a Red Admiral butterfly

flew in front of the Lygon Street bus,

past crowds of summer shoppers

and the searing sun.


Dust was rising, mixed with smoke.

I wondered what would happen to the butterfly

as it flapped and flapped around curves of air.


Butterflies are not confident

in the way a bus is confident,

and Lygon Street was no place for a Red Admiral –

all that summer traffic and not a stinging nettle in sight.


“At the Dinosaur Picnic” by Katherine Gallagher

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At the Dinosaur Picnic


Dandy dinosaurs dancing

Dreamy dinosaurs drinking

Dexterous dinosaurs dinking

Dainty dinosaurs dazzling

Devilish dinosaurs diving

Dozy dinosaurs dallying

Delicate dinosaurs dawdling


“Book Spell” by Katherine Gallagher

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Book spell or how books keep me happy during the holidays


My room is always lined with books

full of adventures, animals and strange characters.

Books, they’re my friends, hiding in nooks,

giving me surprises

Before I know it, I’m caught just fine,

in the mysteries of a book.

“Wheels Song” by Katherine Gallagher with Teacher Notes

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I don’t know why I’ve got feet

when I could have had wheels,

for wheels go so much faster.


Imagine me flying down our street

not in my trainers or boots

but on wheels, with my ghetto-blaster.


Imagine people turning to stare

and all telling me to slow down

before I caused a disaster.


Imagine me gliding off into space

with a quick little nod to the Moon,

then simply going straight past her. . .


©Katherine Gallagher


Published in Through a Window, Longman, 1995)

Teacher Notes

Students might like to write a poem about something that belongs to them (for example, a bicycle,  an old car,  a scooter, a broom)  which suddenly takes off into space.  Describe the journey. Did they have any accidents? What did they see? smell? touch? hear? taste?

List everything that happened, using rhyme or free verse. Make it surprising and exciting.



“Count up to spring” by Katherine Gallagher

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Count up to spring,

it’s time to sing

with wattles golden, bright

and magpies – what a sight

as you’re walking through the bush –

such a perfect hush

and you want a lyrebird to surprise you

along with maybe, a kangaroo.


© Katherine Gallagher