lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info and Lola the labradoodle!

One Minute till Bedtime Blog Tour

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Today, many of the authors published in this wonderful book, published on December 8th, are posting a poem that they sent for consideration but which didn’t make it into the book – interesting from a number of angles!

Here is the link to Jackie Hosking’s Blog, where you will find the the blog addresses for all the participants – One Minute till Bedtime Blog Tour.

With poems from the world’s best children’s poets, selected by Kenn Nesbitt (ex-US Children’s Poet Laureate) and charming illustrations by Christoph Niemann, the book will make a gorgeous Christmas present.

So – I suppose you’ll want to see my poem that was not selected… (I do have one in there) and here it is!

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The Mother Bird’s Song

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I’ll gather silver cobwebs

with soft mosses for my nest,

and keep my chicks all safe at night

hugged in my feathered breast

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I’ll spend all hours hunting

caterpillars in the leaves

to answer every peep

and open beak all saying please

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I’ll show them how to preen

when they start feathering,

teach them pride in who they are

so they’ll know how to sing

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I’ll help them try their wings,

climb the air and learn to fly,

so one day the wind will take them,

to be free as song and sky.

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© Liz Brownlee

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Do take the the blog tour, there are many fabulous poets showcased on their own blogs and on Jackie’s!

National Poetry Day Competition Winners!

Many thanks to all the people who entered this competition, there were wonderful entries, if you’d like to read most of them, please click here.

First of all I’d like to say a huge thank you to Forward Arts Foundation for the wonderful book prizes for the adult winners:

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And a huge thank you to Macmillan Children’s Books for the children’s prizes:

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The standard was very high in the children’s section, and choosing was very hard – a a big well done to the winners!

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First prize in the Children’s section is awarded to Daisy Proctor, Age 7, for her excellent and moving poem ‘Dear Earth’. Daisy is obviously a keen poet as she sent a total of 3 poems. Congratulations, Daisy!

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Dear Earth

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I will miss

the forest owlet’s big eyes.

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I will miss

The Fire-crown’s long beak.

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I will miss

The cute Malabar Civet.

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I will miss

the Iberian Lynx

My favourite.

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The Hawaiian crow

as black as Halloween

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The South China Tiger’s

stripes

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The beaver’s strong teeth.

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The Seychelle bat’s

deep purple wings.

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The Maui dolphin’s leap.

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The Asiatic cheetah’s speed.

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Suni, the Northern white rhino

died two years ago.

Only one male remains.

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And I’m already missing George

the Pinta Island Tortoise

now extinct.

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© Daisy Proctor, age 7

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Second prize in the children’s section is awarded to Jasmine Gainfort, 8, from a superb selection of poems sent by Coastlands School – well done, Jasmine! Couple-coloured is a wonderful description:

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Dear Autumn,

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Battered leaves blown,

Misty fog flees,

Streams slow-flowing,

Daisy meadows die,

Sloes start to grow,

Leaves couple-coloured,

Hedgehogs curl up closely,

Squirrels tear up trees,

Robins look forward

As the sun starts to sleep.

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Autumn, my friend,

You are the best season.

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© Jasmine Gainfort, age 8

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Third prize in the children’s section is awarded to Sophie Marshall, 9, also of Coastlands School. This is a puzzle poem – it has a wonderful, wistful quality.

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Dear Friend,

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I could never forget playing with you,

Or rolling down hills with you.

Everywhere you’re with me,

Within me.

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I could never forget spinning with you

And you whispering in my ear.

And when we played hide and seek

You could never be found.

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© Sophie Marshall, aged 9

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Daisy, Jasmine and Sophie will receive their prizes, kindly donated by Macmillan Children’s Books, as soon as possible (I have only one useable hand after an operation at the minute!).

Coastlands School, Ardingly Prep., and Norton Hill School, all of whom sent in some excellent poems, will all also receive a book for their school, also donated by Macmillan Children’s Books.

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I judged the children’s prizes, but as I personally knew too many of the contributors to the adult section, the most excellent poets Trevor Millum and Phil Waddell judged this section with the poems being anonymised!

The adult first prize is awarded to Nicola Jackson. Thank you, Nicola, this was chosen by us all – the imagery underlining the starkness of the message perfectly, with, also, a glimmer of light.

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Dear Earth,

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Keep the high combes fluted with flaked grey rock,
the empty places where the Steinadler soars,
where shattered scree chutes tumble into darkness
and turquoise glacier pools feed the torrents’ roar.
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As ice rivers shrink, as veined and layered ice recedes
and moraine-lines peter into slurry on the valley floor,
they lock their doors to human visitation,
protect their isolation, their mythic silence, even more.
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The hanging paths are ever higher; where once they led to glacier ice
the slabs withdraw their open walkways, ladders reaching
into empty space. Now the alpine choughs come wheeling,
spatter warm rocks with blue-black wings, then whirl away
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to fill the voids with buoyant acrobatic flight.
They take their glorious adaptations with them: faithful pairings
to each cliff-face crevice, stick-lined nests cragged in the hungry air,
thriving white-blotched eggs they guard each night.
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So the high bluffs are ever further from us humans,
the steeps are marmot-shrieked while soft winds sing;
stitched with ice-age flowers and sparkling mica.
Earth, take heart from all this new world brings.

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© Nicola Jackson

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Second prize, on all our lists, goes to John Rice. A lovely poem and lovely form:

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The Witness

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© John Rice

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And third prize, after much discussion on the very worthy shortlist, goes to Jill Townsend for this clever triolet about a beautiful golden frog that is now thought to be extinct in the wild.

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To the Panamanian Gold Frog

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You gesture with a little wave

to see off any new arrival –

other male frogs as brave

as you, who gesture with a wave.

But now the situation’s grave:

a fungus threatens your survival.

Your gesture with a little wave

may not see off this new arrival.

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© Jill Townsend

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Three further poems get an Honourable Mention:

For those who don’t know, I own an assistance dog and this is a problem for many of us. This well-written and engaging poem gets the point across perfectly:

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Request from a Guide Dog

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If we should meet,
please don’t tempt me with treats
or excite me
or jiggle my ears.

Don’t invite me to play
or put things in my way,
I’ve been training for this day
for years.

Don’t stand firm in my route
and shout ‘ISN’T HE CUTE!’
Don’t encourage your dog to say hi.

Though it’s tempting to pat me
you’ll only distract me
so, please, carry on, pass me by.

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© Heather F Reid

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We all chose this poem from Helen Laycock for the short, shortlist for its excellent structure, idea and content:

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To the unborn

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Sorry is not enough of an apology

for what you are about to receive

upon your birth –

a broken Earth

whose bones we have picked

and whose flesh we have stripped.

We bequeath you: the carcass.

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Please forgive our hatred

of our brothers and sisters,

how our minds

wrongly defined

the miracles that we are –

that singular bond amongst the stars.

You inherit: our dysfunction.

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Our tears were not enough to wash

away the blood of creatures savaged

for egos and trinkets

as they stopped to drink

from water holes and, shy,

lay beneath the punctured sky.

We leave you: their memory.

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Frozen in the now, too late we saw the melt;

ice caps will be your legends

like polar bears

and unsullied air.

From space, no green, just scars…

We clawed our world sparse.

We endow you with: ruin.

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You are the wardens, the short-changed, the healers.

Please clear up the debris

of greed and decay.

We were led astray.

We looked away and heard

messages we preferred.

We pass on: our regret.

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© Helen Laycock

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And lastly, this poem affected us all with its look at both sides of the current equation:

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The Ballad of Refuge

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I come in fear. The wheels, the stuttering engine,

By road or wave; the endless killing payments.

Bit by bit, my mind returns to rubble.

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You come in fear. The hunched back, failed bravado,

They make me squirm. You have no place here, brother;

Get back, for you remind me of my weakness.

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I starve, I thirst. I’m out there in my millions,

Teeming, weeping. Just allow me, brother,

One foot on land. I’ll work hard for my pittance.

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You starve, you thirst. What of me, of my neighbours,

Struggling in an austere land? The steel-plant’s silent,

My skills no longer fit, my hands are idle.

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My hopes are gone. My suffering gods won’t travel,

My women cannot see, their eyes are blinded

By the long dust, the silent days of torture.

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My hopes are gone. You come and you displace me,

The silent mills and fields, they scorn and mock me,

The Union Jack’s a shroud; all’s ripe for burning.

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I call to you. Across the long dark waters,

Carrying a load of trinkets not worth selling,

Umbrellas, handbags, at the gang-master’s calling.

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You call to me. I stop my ears with plaster,

My sons and daughters can’t afford their schooling,

My hospitals are full, the asylum’s broken.

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My last cry sinks. Protect me from this hardness,

This cold that shrinks my soul. Pity me, brother,

Or think on me adrift on the long night’s calling.

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My last cry sinks. Protect me from this falling.

The bailiffs come, the sheets won’t disentangle.

My homeland’s gone. God help us all this winter.

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© David Punter

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Thank you to everyone who entered, the standard was very high.

And thank you so much to Trevor Millum and Phil Waddell for their excellent judging!

 

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.Best poems for children on the internet, poems for children, message poems, National Poetry Day, Best children’s poet, Children’s poet.

Forward Arts Foundation, National Poetry Ambassador, Best Poets, Poems for Children, Poems for National Poetry Day, Children’s Poems, Animal Poems, Bee Poems, Facts about Bees, Poetry Ambassadors, Liz Brownlee, Liz Brownlee Poet, Best Poet in Schools.

100 Brilliant Poems for Children

Another fabulous poetry collection, this time chosen by Paul Cookson:

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What can I say? We were asked to send in brilliant poems and it seems everyone did!

Mine is a shape poem. But there is every type of poetry represented in this great book.

A good choice for schools with its range of poets and styles.

Published by Macmillan! Can be bought here.

Wonderland – Alice in Poetry

Looking through my archives I realise I haven’t mentioned the publication of this exquisite book yet, collected by the wonderful Michaela Morgan:

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This was a fun book to write for – in Alice in Poetry there are all the original poems in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, with the original illustrations by the incomparable Sir John Tenniel, alongside ‘answer’ poems written by modern poets.

Filled with excellent poems with a unique feel, this book will go down well with Alice fans of old, and introduce another generation of children to Lewis Carroll’s sublime and surreal wordplay.

Published by Macmillan and out already, you can get it here.

Is This a Poem?

Another new anthology! The children’s poetry world is coming alive!

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This excellent book, edited by Roger Stevens and illustrated with great fun by Spike Gerrel, takes a trip through a journey of different types of poetry – there are advertising jingles, football chants, haiku, free verse, rap, shape poems, riddles, poems that rhyme and many more that don’t and more – the question asked is, are these really poems?

Roger Stevens, excellent poet and excellent friend looks at them all and explains what’s what, and what’s more gives you brilliant tips on how to write your own poems as well.

Published by Macmillan and Out now!

Oh, did I mention I have two poems in it? I have two poems in it!

 

One Minute Till Bedtime

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This gorgeous book is due to be published in two weeks in the UK – out a few weeks in the States, it has already garnered prestigious starred reviews from Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and School Library Journal.

Along with many wonderful other poets – I have a poem inside.

It’s an utterly engaging book, the poems collected by Kenn Nesbitt, (US Children’s Poet Laureate 2013) are fabulous, the illustrations by Christoph Niemann are charming.

Available from here, an exquisite present for Christmas young children’s bedtime reading perhaps?

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National Poetry Day Message Poem by Bernard Young

To The Great Provider

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Dear Great Provider,

This is to thank you

for the delicious cheese

you so thoughtfully provide.

Thank you.

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However,

(and I do hope this doesn’t seem ungrateful)

would it be possible to place it

by the side of our hole

and not on the spikes

of the thing that snaps

when we take a bite?

That would be most helpful.

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It’s just that,

as you may or may not know,

a member of my family

(my precious daughter to be precise)

has not returned from dining out

and we fear her disappearance

may have something to do

with the fierce snappy thing.

It doesn’t like mice!

(This is not a criticism.

We would sooner pull out our own whiskers

than question your unquestionable wisdom.

We know you move in mysterious ways.)

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Once again, Great Provider,

thank you for the wonderful cheese.

It’s irresistible.

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Yours humbly and appreciatively,

Montague Mouse

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© Bernard Young

National Poetry Day Message Poem by Pie Corbett

Message for the Mosquito who shares my bedroom.

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I’m fed up

with the way

you keep me awake.

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You wait

till I’ve just turned out the light

and settled down

for a good night’s zizz

before starting up

your irritating whine,

announcing,

‘Mister Mosquito

is out for a bite.’

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At any second

I expect to feel you

puncture my skin

and suck my blood.

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Tiny vampire,

I am not your personal

Ketchup bottle.

If I find you’ve settled nearby,

I’ll swat you flat.

Be warned –

go pester

some other

sauce of blood.

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© Pie Corbett

National Poetry Day Message Poem by Heather F Reid

Another great poem from Heather!

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Letters of Apology

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Dear black and white cat who I chased up a tree,
why did you hiss at me so viciously?

I didn’t intend to upset you that way,
I hoped we’d be friends and you’d hang out and play.

Well, when I say play, I mean I chase, you run,
because, isn’t that how dogs and cats should have fun?

You’re furry and purry, so, please cat, descend
Sincerely,

Your trustworthy Labrador friend

Billy

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Dear Billy

Your letter was gladly received
as it’s been half a day since I fled up this tree.

Forgive my poor manners, I misunderstood,
I assumed your intention was harm and not good

when you bounded towards me, all bark and sharp teeth;
you were just being friendly? Well that’s a relief!

I’m afraid being chased isn’t really my scene
but if you would like to call round for some cream

and a doze in the sunshine I’m sure I’d like that.
Sincerely

Your neighbourly black and white cat

Fluff

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© Heather F Reid

National Poetry Day Message Poem by Heather F Reid

Request from a Guide Dog

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If we should meet,
please don’t tempt me with treats
or excite me
or jiggle my ears.

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Don’t invite me to play
or put things in my way,
I’ve been training for this day
for years.

 

Don’t stand firm in my route
and shout ‘ISN’T HE CUTE!’
Don’t encourage your dog to say hi.

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Though it’s tempting to pat me
you’ll only distract me
so, please, carry on, pass me by.

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© Heather F Reid

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Obviously this is a message VERY close to my heart!