lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info and Lola the labradoodle!

Message to a Murrelet

Here is one of my own poems – the Scripp’s Murrelet chick dives in to the sea less than 24 hours after it has hatched, and having had no food at all. It is hatched fully-feathered and a third of the size of its parents – the murrelet has the largest egg to bird ratio in the world. The parents leave the cliff crevice nest and fly out to the sea, and call the chick, which plunges from the cliff into the surf and swims to meet its parents. It is the only seabird raised entirely at sea.




Message To a Baby Murrelet


Baby murrelet

how will you fare

in the wind and sun

on the ocean there,


leaving your nest

to jump in the surf

just two days after

your egg-hatched birth?


I follow my parents,

they cry out to me

as they ride the swell

on the rising, green sea.


How do your parents

guide you and guard,

when your world becomes

just water and dark?


What do you do

in wind rush and storm,

tossing and plunging

when waves grow strong?


The ocean is where

I am at home,

wind in feather, air in bone,

part ocean, part foam.



© Liz Brownlee

Image © Stonebird shown by Creative Commons License.



45 Days until National Poetry Day!

Are you a poet? There are only 45 days until National Poetry Day, and this year the theme is ‘Messages’.

Do you have a message for the planet, or an animal? Could you write a message poem from an animal, or habitat, or the world, to humanity?

I am collecting message poems of this type on my NPD website, Message Poems to the Planet.

There are PRIZES to be won – Forward Arts Foundation and Macmillan Children’s Books are donating books for the best poems. 


The rules are:

The poem must be a message from one being to another, or maybe a habitat like the sea to a human. I particularly like sustainability poems – from a hunter to an elephant, from the elephant to a hunter, perhaps.

The poem must be on a Word document and include on the same document your name, contact details and age if under 18.

The poem must be suitable for posting on the family-friendly website and contain no libel or defamation.

The poem’s suitability for posting will be judged by me and no correspondence will be entered into about why a poem has not been posted or won a prize.

Suitable poems will be tweeted from now until National Poetry Day, October 6th.

Some ways to start a message poem:

This is just to say…


I am sorry…

I have to tell you…

I love you because…

Tweet your own poem with one of the hashtags:



Don’t forget to include me – @lizpoet, so I can retweet you!


One of my own children’s poems is called ‘Dear Bee’ and can be found here.

You can find lots more information about National Poetry Day and all the National Poetry Day Ambassadors on the Forward Arts Foundation Ambassadors website, here.

You can find message poems posted there on all subjects and in all styles – go and find some inspiration!

There are also some badges, logos, stamps and posters to download.



If you have video capabilities and your poem has been posted on the message poems website, send me a link a video of you reading it, on Youtube – if it is of good enough quality and suitable I may post it in the video section of the message poems website, and on here.

Have fun!

NPD Poem of the Day, The Ballad of Refuge by David Punter

Poem of the Day comes from David Punter of Bristol:


The Ballad of Refuge


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.



© David Punter




NPD Poem of the Day – Dear Earth, by Daisy Proctor, age 7



Another lovely poem sent in by poet Daisy Proctor:


Dear Earth


I will miss

the forest owlet’s big eyes.


I will miss

The Fire-crown’s long beak.


I will miss

The cute Malabar Civet.


I will miss

the Iberian Lynx

My favourite.


The Hawaiian crow

as black as Halloween


The South China Tiger’s



The beaver’s strong teeth.


The Seychelle bat’s

deep purple wings.


The Maui dolphin’s leap.


The Asiatic cheetah’s speed.


Suni, the Northern white rhino

died two years ago.

Only one male remains.


And I’m already missing George

the Pinta Island Tortoise

now extinct.


© Daisy Proctor, age 7




Poem © Daisy Proctor

Image © Ars Electronica, shown by Creative Commons License.

NPD Poem of the Day by Brenda Harsham





Poem of the day comes from Brenda Davis Harsham from Massachusetts:


This is just to say…


Thank you, Earth

that held tight trees

bent to their knees

in hurricane winds and


that imprints time itself
on gorges, stone and shelf,

in the language of fossil hieroglyphics.


Thank you, Stones


that, in stillness, filter clean

water in openings between

tiny stones and soil


yet still cup oceans and rivers,
reflect clouds in shining slivers,

and remember dinosaurs and glaciers.


Thank you, Soil


that warms bulbs and seeds

of flowers, trees and weeds

through the long, white winter


and mothers green shoots
gently soothes new roots

with tender hands, black, moist and fragrant.



© Brenda Davis Harsham




Image © Charlón on Flikr, by Creative Commons License.

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.





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