reflected with gloom,
that she couldn’t play music, draw pictures or sew hems,
so she took revenge on fate by writing poems.
Around the world you’ve read your poems,
And they can now be found,
In books, newspapers, exam rooms,
And on the underground.
A Smarties bronze for your book, Fruits,
A cup from ‘The Voice’ newspaper,
An honorary degree from the university of Kent
Made you yodel, laugh and caper.
What if those deadlines leave you stressed?
You still give thanks you’ve been so blessed.
In school you liked to learn your lessons off by heart,
Committing things to memory you developed to an art,
You enjoy performing poems, word for word, in front of classes,
But now, you struggle to remember where you left your glasses.
My verse I try to fill with fun and frolic uncontrolled,
Time enough for sad reflection later, when I’m old.
A Twist in the Tale (ed), a collection of poems with surprise endings (Macmillan, 0 330 39899 7, £4.99 pbk)
at a very young age had been bitten
by the bug whose infection instils in the veins a delight
to read and write
You shook your head and praised the skies –
you’d won a Smarties Silver Prize
for a poetry book (beyond belief!):
The Red & White Spotted Handkerchief!
In Sheffield, Portsmouth and Dundee
your Spookyrumpus brought you glee.
In Nottingham your Royal Raps
came first and earned you lots of claps.
Aren’t you the luckiest of chaps?
If you should merely write your poetry,
though happy and fulfilled, you’d soon be skint.
Give thanks for picture books and comic verse!
For poetry goes so swiftly out of print.
When I begin to write blank verse, each time
I get the urge to rhythm and to rhyme…
All Afloat on Noah’s Boat , ill. Guy Parker-Rees (Orchard, 1 84616 206 8, £10.99 hbk)
Spent the 1970s frozen
People think when he says this that it’s him being paranoid.
Truth is: he was hypothyroid.
Something we should all remember
Happened one day in grey November
When with panache and pace
the Metropolitan Walking Race
Michael won in grey November.
Is it really this we should all remember?
Can it be true that a street or road
Could cause a body unwanted pain?
Well, yes, it could if it were the street
That goes by the name of Dalston Lane.
Why should Dalston Lane be picked
As it stands sadly derelict?
Because it was the Council who
Refused the likes of me and you
To live or work in the shops or flats
And handed the buildings to sewer rats.
I’ll say no more, my lips are sealed
It’s a tragic and complex story
Where councillors who we thought were Labour
Turned themselves into something Tory.
Oh once children’s verse was ever so pretty
But now it’s horrid and set in the city.
Mustard, Custard, Grumble Belly and Gravy , ill. Quentin Blake and including a CD of Michael Rosen reading the poems (Bloomsbury, 0 7475 8739 6, £12.99 hbk)