lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info and Lola the labradoodle!

NPD Poem of the Day – Flow, by Alison Williams

Kodyak Tisch

A poem from Alison Williams:




my world is fluid

in a constant

state of flux


I am an ocean

who once spoke

to the dry land


I told him how much

I admired his



he answered me

with rockfalls, landslides

lava fields


he showed me

all the pain there is

in rigidness


when change comes

then the hardness somehow

has to break


rending himself apart

and shedding

tears of fire


he gave me

just a glimpse

into his molten core



© Alison Williams


Image by Kodyak Tisch on Flikr by Creative Commons License.


If you would like a chance to see your message poem on this blog, please look at the instructions here.

National Poetry Day Message Poem of the Day – Each Day the Sea Writes


A fabulous poem of the day from Bruce Black, from Sarasota, Florida:


Each Day the Sea Writes


Each day the sea writes lines

On the edge of the sand, and clouds

Draw messages in the sky, and laughing


Gulls swoop and swirl and plead while

Sandhill cranes raise their beaks high

To cry, and ospreys circle, screeching,


And hawks, wings spread wide, shriek, and

Mockingbirds, robins, and cardinals sing

Their appeal to get your attention—


(and you can hear, too, the rusty-hinged

protest of the Great blue heron), and dolphins,

leaping, dance in unison to make their point,


And manatees—those graceful sea cows—frolic

Near the surface, trying to send the same message

To all of us gazing in awe at the beauty of the world:


Keep our water clean and our air

clear for as long as waves wash the sand

and clouds touch the sky.


© Bruce Black


Poem © Bruce Black

Image © Jack Flanagan on Flikr by Creative Commons License

National Poetry Day Poem of the Day – Thank You World

A Message Poem of the Day from Sandi Leibowitz:


Thank You, World


Thank you, Sky, for wind and cloud,

breezes quiet, thunder loud.

Thank you for the moon at night,

for rain and for the sun so bright.


Thank you, Sea, for foam and sand,

waves that rush to meet the land,

starfish, seaweed, seals at play,

coral reef and palm-fringed bay.  


Thank you Earth, for mountains high,

for rivers long and deserts dry,

for redwoods, violets, apples, too,

for grass so green and morning dew.


Thank you for the iceberg’s chill,

cherry’s sweetness, skylark’s trill.

Thank you for each glittering star.

Thank you, World, for all you are.  


© Sandi Leibowitz

NPD Poem of the Day – To the Unborn, by Helen Laycock

What looks like a barren and inhospitable alien landscape in this 360-degree panorama is in fact the site for ESO’s European Extremely Large Telescope, or E-ELT for short. When construction begins the uninhabited mountaintop left of the centre will become a hive of activity as engineers, technicians and scientists work on building the world’s biggest eye on the sky. In many ways Chile’s Cerro Armazones may seem like an alien world. The environment is harsh, with low humidity and air pressure, a blazing Sun during the day, but breathtaking skies at night. Cerro Armazones is in the Atacama Desert — one of the driest places on Earth. These conditions, combined with its remoteness, are what make the region such an excellent location for telescopes. Armazones is an isolated peak, 3060 metres above sea level. It is about 20 km away from Cerro Paranal, home of ESO's famous Very Large Telescope. Both summits enjoy crisp skies far away from sources of light pollution. Among the ELT’s many science goals is a particularly hot topic in contemporary astronomy: the quest for exoplanets. The E-ELT will search for Earth-like planets orbiting other stars and could even directly image larger planets or probe their atmospheres. The E-ELT’s high-tech instruments will also study the formation of planets in protoplanetary discs around young stars. Detecting water and organic molecules will shed light on how planetary systems are produced, and could bring us one step closer to answering the question of whether we are alone in the Universe. This panorama was taken by ESO Photo Ambassador Serge Brunier. Links  See more stunning panoramas of ESO sites in our virtual tours. ESO Photo Ambassadors webpage.

Image by Stuart Rankin on Flikr by CC license.


A new message poem in the run-up to National Poetry Day, by Helen Laycock:


To the unborn


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



© Helen Laycock




NPD Poem of the Day




This message poem comes from Daisy Proctor, age 7, from Bristol:




I love you sky


The way you shimmer on bright blue days

Your lovely blue light


I love you sky



Daisy Proctor

Age 7



What a lovely poem, Daisy!




Poem © Daisy Proctor

Image by Aikawa Ke on Flikr, shown by Creative Commons license.




NPD Message Poem of the Day

This poem, sent in by poet Sue-Hardy-Dawson to lizpoet @ for the start of the run-up to National Poetry Day, rules given here, is a ‘Poem of the Day’ posted on:


Dear Tiger,


though you are long gone to your Tiger god

I remember your eyes melting forest

your hot ghost of branch and flame walking soft

leaving no trace, no echoes when you left


And Elephant


how could we forget your grey gentleness

and you, the last, could not bury your dead

so many tears how were you not blessed

with no hearts? Better for you we’d not met


To all lost things big and small


that we walk on without knowing and those

we take as our right; each night I lay still

hoping I will never need to write this

just as a small child prays

– don’t let it be true

………. — don’t let it be true

……….— don’t let it be true


© Sue-Hardy-Dawson


National Poetry Day 2016


Say it with a Poem!

National Poetry Day this year is on October 6th. The theme is messages.

In my role as National Poetry Day Ambassador, but also wildlife poet, I am asking people to send me message poems to an animal, or to the world. I am imagining poems to a declining habitat, pleas from animals going extinct, apologies written from the point of view of a man or maybe an ivory hunter to the elephant, a love letter to a Llama, a note to the world, a lament about desertification, or rainforest clearance.


The only definite criterion is that it must be addressed to an animal or part of the natural world. As long as it is a message in content it can take any poetic form.

Send your poems to lizpoet @ on a WORD document, clearly marked with your name, age (if under 18) and contact details including email address, and if they are suitable they will be posted on my National Poetry Day website:

They may even appear here. There is a prize for the best poem.

Last year there were 500 MILLION tweets for National Poetry Day – tweet your poem with one of the hashtags:



If you include my Twitter name, @lizpoet, I’ll retweet as many poems as possible.

If you would like to know more about who runs and supports National Poetry Day, please go and have a look at the Forward Arts Foundation website:

Forward Arts Foundation

Here you will find posters, stamps for your message poems and other resources to download. You can also see the films I made last year for the theme of ‘light’.

poetry postmarkcol-blue-red postmark col2 red postmark col2green

This year we will be filming people reading their message poems – you never know, you may be chosen!


This is a short video animation of me reading my poem, Skylark. The poem is in ‘Inking Bitterns’, an anthology edited and fully and beautifully illustrated by Dru Marland, only available from Gert Macky.


As yet untitled

This is a departure from my usual subject, but it’s a poem I’ve been wanting to write for a while.


A young syrian boy in The Jungle.

A young Syrian boy in The Jungle, photo by Sean Hawkey.



After the bombing
all are dead
all is gone

and I walk

I can carry only
my father’s pride
my mother’s longing
my brother’s blood
my sister’s hope

but my father’s pride
cannot be carried
as a refugee
so I lay it down

and I walk

when I sleep
my mother’s longing
is too painful to hold
so I lay it down

and I walk

until my shoes
fall off my feet
and I leave
my brother’s blood
and my own
on the road
as if it is worthless

and I walk

carry only
my sister’s hope
which is light

but this, too,
at the end,
cannot be carried

so I lay it down.



© Liz Brownlee 2016




Photo by Sean Hawkey/WCC, shown by creative commons licence.

A-Z Reflections 2016

Thank you very much to my readers!

A-z complile

Some of the photos from the animals featured this year. And me, with Lola.

I thoroughly enjoyed my April A-Z 2016 challenge, which was number 5 for me.

I really hope everyone enjoyed the fun (but real!) animal facts and poems – plus the fabulous images.

The photos above are a xantu murrelet from Wiki, a yellow tit taken by John and Fish, a kea parrot, taken by Sid Mosdell, a marine iguana taken by Vince Smith, a pom pom crab taken by Hechtonicus, and a numbat taken by S J Bennet! Thank you to all animal photographers who so generously give their work on creative commons and those scientists that allowed me to show private pictures.

I found lots of interesting blogs and commented on more this year than I have in any year – mainly due to having written all my posts in the first week of the challenge and scheduling them. I did at least three a day, which was a challenge, when I had to research, write the facts about each animal, find an excellent photo of it and ask permission for its use, and write a poem! Just a couple..actually maybe just one poem was prewritten this year.

So with all that visiting, my A-Z Blog linky page was a sea of blue!

I found so many broken links – I presume these were because people had dropped out or not kept up, or were businesses. It was quite a waste of time clicking and finding just a broken link message – I wonder if the links could just be removed entirely next year?

Maybe a rule that any website or blog for a business can’t join the challenge at all?

You learn a lot from different blogging styles. it’s wonderful seeing how very different they all are.

One thing I would really love – the badges are wonderful (thank you Jeremy @Hollywood Nuts) but I would like an A-Z Challenge survivor badge the same dimensions as the first years I did it – the new ones are too long. If you did it for 10 years your whole sidebar would be taken up with A-Z badges. I like to keep mine neat, and I like them all to be the same. So last year and this year I have made my own.

Apart from that, great fun – I can’t imagine how much work it must be if you have more than one blog, or are helping run the whole shebang!

Goodbye A-Z until next year!

I’m off on a poetry retreat for a few days now, so will reply to replies when I get back!







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