Poem of the Day


Mr Pickle’s Pet Shop

At Mr Pickle’s pet shop the choice is quite extensive.

It’s mystical and magical and not at all expensive.

Meet hairy dogs and scary dogs and one that yawns and yawns.

And playing in a nearby cage meet baby unicorns.

Meet fluffy cats and scruffy cats and one that’s always smiling.

Descended from a Cheshire cat, she really is beguiling.


At Mr Pickle’s pet shop the choice is quite extensive.

It’s wacky, weird and wonderful and not at all expensive.

Sitting in a large top hat, magicians’ rabbits wait.

One elegant white rabbit keeps insisting that he’s late.

Meet brown rats, black rats and some you can’t approach.

One claims a distant relative pulled Cinderella’s coach.


At Mr Pickle’s pet shop the choice is quite extensive.

It’s awesome and amazing and it’s not at all expensive.

Meet scowling owls and sleeping owls perched in a plastic tree.

There’s one that winks at pussy cats. He’d like to go to sea.

Meet blind mice, Miami mice and mice who have no tails.

They run and squeak, play hide and seek and terrify the quails.


At Mr Pickle’s pet shop the choice is quite extensive.

It’s curious, chaotic and it’s not at all expensive.

Meet rare, red romping dragons. No one’s quite sure of their ages.

But Mr Pickle says they MUST be kept in fireproof cages.

Meet fruit bats, cute bats, a vampire bat called Guzzle.

And just in case he misbehaves, he has to wear a muzzle.


At Mr Pickle’s pet shop the choice is quite extensive.

It’s bold, bizarre and beautiful and not at all expensive.

Meet frogs who change to princes if they receive a kiss.

Meet friendly bugs who give you hugs and snakes who simply hiss.

If you deserve a special pet to tell your troubles to,

Please visit Mr Pickle’s shop and tell him I sent you.


At Mr Pickle’s pet shop the choice is quite extensive.

It’s fabulous and fanciful and not at all expensive.

Pat Simmons
First published by Thynks Publications in their anthology 50 Funny Poems for Children.
  • Submitted in response to Poetry Prompt #32

poetry prompt #32

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Giving Voice 

Jacqueline Woodson, the new young people’s UK poet laureate, gives an interview here on why poetry is a party everyone is invited to. Jacqueline Woodson article

 A chance to submit

It would be great to have some Australian poems included in these anthologies. http://theemmapress.com/2015/06/new-childrens-poetry-anthologies/


The clock is ticking to the deadline for entries in the 12th Kathleen Julia Bates Memorial Writing Competition (Children’s Poetry). For Australian writers only, this competition is for a poem suitable for a child up to the age of 12 years. Maximum length 30 lines. Open theme. First prize: $150. Closing date June 30. Full details here.

Dorothea Mackellar Poetry Awards
Closing date 30 June

This annual poetry competition for school-aged children will also close at the end of the month. Optional theme is ‘the open door’. Individual fee of $15 or $25 for schools (up to 30 entries) or $50 (over 30 entries). For more information, click here.

2015 Toolangi CJ Dennis Poetry Competition

Closing date 7 September

The aim of the competition is to encourage the activity of writing which celebrates the work of CJ Dennis and relates to Australia’s history, activities, environment and personalities. There are various categories, including one for a poem written by an adult for children. For full details and an entry form, click here.

Poems wanted

Please keep submissions of poetry coming in for the Poem of the Day. Your submissions are much appreciated and I’m enjoying them immensely. If you’re a poet who is still thinking about whether to submit, please do! Poems are always needed and get posted so long as they are suitable for children (including teenagers). Previously published poems can be submitted provided you still retain copyright. Email traffa-m@bigpond.net.au

Articles, events, information and interviews

ACP is also happy to accept information about children’s poetry activities and events in Australia and overseas, poetry links, competitions, interviews with poets or publishers, and relevant articles.

Interview with Neridah McMullin


NM Bio Pic 1

 “I truly love the freedom of free verse and the way some writers put their words together. It’s beautiful, they’re vibrant and visceral. Close your eyes and you’re there.”

– Neridah McMullin

When did your interest in poetry begin and what were the circumstances?

I’ve always enjoyed poetry. As I child I would recite Australian Bush Poetry at family gatherings, in particular Banjo Patterson and Henry Lawson. My grandmother loved A Bush Christening which I still know by heart.

What was your experience with poetry as a child at school? 

Not much really. A bit of bush poetry, I remember doing The Lady of Shallot by Tennyson (it was rather long…I still don’t know what it was about?)

Did you write poetry as a child?

I did dabble in it. I wrote more in secondary school. I had two inspiring English teachers at Hamilton & Alexandra College. You never forget a good teacher (thank you, John Mazur and Neil McLean). And I wrote more poetry again in my twenties. Everyone laughed at me and I lost my confidence. I squirreled them away in a deep, dark place in my desk. My mother tells me now that she was laughing at what I’d written about; not at my writing. Mum’s my greatest supporter. She proof reads all my work.

When was your first poem published?

My first poem was published by the NSW School Magazine in 2009. It was called In the Woolshed.

Who are some poets whose writing you love?

I enjoy all poetry but I truly love the freedom of free verse and the way some writers put their words together. It’s beautiful, they’re vibrant and visceral. Close your eyes and you’re there.

I still love Australian Bush Poetry. I really enjoy Stephen Whiteside. Les Murray. Eva Johnson. I love Elizabeth Honey, Lorraine Marwood, Kathryn Apel and Steven Herrick’s work. I also love the work of Sheryl Clark, Corinne Fenton, Claire Saxby, Janeen Brian and Meredith Costain. The list could go on and on, we have wonderful Australian poets.

Have you had any poetry writing mentors?

Well, I have poetry buddies. January this year I participated in a ‘Month of Poetry’ with Kat Apel and we wrote a poem every day of January. We had poetry challenges on Saturdays and critiqued each other. It was a wonderful experience. I’ve made lots of friends through MoP and we are regularly in touch.

What inspires you to write poetry?

Everything around me. Moments. Moments that people think are just every day, boring stuff. I only have to stop and look around me to see something that inspires me. But I do have favourite subjects: sport, the farm, the outback, animals, the sea, my garden, funny little kids.

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

A visual image (of a ‘moment’). Then I collect a bank of words (thanks, Lorraine Marwood, for teaching me this) and when I’m happy with my collection of lovely, delicious words, I’ll write a poem, with that image in my mind the entire time.

Do you workshop your poems with anyone?

Yes, my MoP group.

How do you know a poem you write is finished?

When I can make no more changes to it. If I’m unhappy with it, I’ll stop and ask myself ‘What am I really trying to say?’

How do you know a poem is ‘good’?

Good poetry is effortless, it will speak to you and make you laugh or cry.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I love your website, keep up the great work promoting Australian Children’s Poetry.


My Nest

by Neridah McMullin

I live in my nest,

Made from twigs,


And wool.

I stole the wool,

From a loose thread,

Of a red jumper,

Dancing on the breeze,

Of a creaky hills hoist.

It unravelled,

At the first pluck.

And the now the human,

That lives here,

Wears it still…

As a midriff top.