lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

A is for Children’s Poets Adisa the Verbaliser, Deborah Alma, Moira Andrew and Philip Ardagh, #AtoZChallenge #ZtoA

Philip Ardagh

© Dotty Hendrix


Philip Ardagh

Best known as an author of children’s prose (and for his beard), Philip Ardagh also writes poetry for all ages; his poems appearing in a variety of anthologies. These include Green Glass Beads, collected by Jacqueline Wilson, Read Me and Laugh, collected by Gaby Morgan, A Million Brilliant Poems (part one), collected by Roger Stevens, and Puppy Poems  collected by Gaby Morgan. This is Philip on Tumblr and on Twitter. I know Philip as a very, very funny man – this poem doesn’t reflect that, but it is one of my favourites of his:


Goodbye, Good Boy


Old, old friend.

Stiff-boned now,

Like Grandma’s fingers.

My first true love.

I bury my face in your fur,

Black, now streaked with white.

You smell of sunshine

And golden days of play.

You manage to lift your head

And look at me with trusting

Amber eyes.


I recall your puppy days

And all we’ve shared together since.

The secrets that I’ve told you,

Best dog. Best friend.

A part of me forever.

Kind hands lift you from me.

It is time.

I will be with you until the end, boy.

I’m right here at your side.

And afterwards? You will live

In my thoughts,

the happiest wet-nosed memory of all.


But first the pain.

Who knew unhappiness

Could feel like this?

You thump your tail on the

stainless-steel table.

My heart-bursting wish,

Trough burning eyes,

To turn back time.

Goodbye, Good boy.

Good dog.


© Philip Ardagh

Moira Andrew


Moira Andrew

Moira Andrew was born and educated in Scotland, became a primary teacher, worked her way up to Assistant Head, then lectured in education at Craigie College of Education, Ayr before moving to Bristol where she was Head Teacher of a primary school. During the 80s, 90s and into the 2000s she wrote stories and poetry for children. Here most recent poetry collection is Wish a Wish, illustrated by Anna PopescuPoetry Space, 2016available here. Moira’s website is here.


This is one of Moira’s gorgeous poems:


Portrait of a Dragon


If I were an artist

I’d paint the portrait

of a dragon.


To do a proper job

I’d borrow colours

from the world.


For his back I’d

need a mountain range,

all misty blue.


For spikes I’d use

dark fir trees pointing

to the sky


For overlapping scales

I’d squeeze dye from

bright anemones.


I’d gild his claws

like shining swords

with starlight.


His tail would be

a river, silver

in the sun.


For his head, the

secret green of forests

and deep seas.


And his eyes would

glow like embers in

a tinker’s fire.


But I’d keep the best

till last.  For his

hot breath


I’d use all reds and

yellows – crocus, saffron,

peony, poppy,


geranium, cyclamen, rose –

and fierce orange flames

from a marigold.


© Moira Andrew (First published in Dragon Poems, by John Foster & Korky Paul, (OUP 1991)

Deborah Alma


Deborah Alma

Deborah Alma is the Emergency Poet in her vintage ambulance which she takes to schools and libraries and festivals. She has edited three adult poetry books and written her own collection of poems too. She lives with her partner the poet James Sheard on a hillside in Powys, Wales with a cat called Little My and a sheepdog called Daisy. Her website is here.


Here is one of Deborah’s poems, written in response to the picture shown:



The Spirit of the House

from the painting by August Macke 1910


A smug cat, a cosy cat, a passing cat,

a blue striped jug, with the light catching


the glaze, its dazzle closes the eyes

of the cat -it is a jug of cream.


A scented geranium, red and jaunty

in a terracotta pot.


Three small oranges and a blue dish

to hold the finger rubs of friends around its rim


always, always when they come, they reach out

to stroke the leaves, to rub the dish,


to add to the stroked smug of the cat,

to peel an orange.


There they are my friends, their backs

to the wall as they bend and bow


to half heard music, from the times we danced

to the times we laughed.


A smug cat, a cosy cat, a passing cat.


© Deborah Alma


Adisa the Verbaliser


Adisa the Verbaliser


Adisa was born with a silver tongue and a head full of rhymes. He exploded onto the spoken word scene in 1993. His mango flavoured metaphors and his larva-fuelled performances soon became legendary on the London performance poetry circuit. One year after taking his showon the road, Adisa landed first place in a National competition titled New Performance Poet of the Year. Benjamin Zephaniah, who was one of the judges said: Adisa is the future. It’s so good to have something to look forward to. Adisa’s really amazing website with contact info is here.


Here is one of his fabulous poems:



I am carnival


London is no longer naked

Picasso’s brush has kissed human skin

The world unites on one doorstep

Now the masquerade can begin


A million voices crescendo

All speaking the same tongue

The sound system speaker pays respect

To the godfarther the African drum


A sea of hands holds the heavens aloft

As if offering the creator a prayer

Baselines embrace slippery waistlines

The rhythm is so moving, even the statues shed a tear


Sound bites have no place in this parliament

The government has come to the streets

In this global democracy

The people vote with their feet


Some bring red, some bring yellow

Then fly their flags to salute the day

The young find wisdom in an elders face

The old remember the joys of play


And above the music

We hang our dreams on the shoulders of hope

Riding this runaway train

And harmonizing on the same note


Which sounds like


I am London

I am the world

I am Carnival


© Adisa the Verbaliser


  1. Thanks through this romp from Z to A, Liz. I enjoyed it, but it was weird going backwards! Of course, now it’ll be listed from A to Z in your menu, so kudos to you!


    • Thank you, that was my aim, Jemima! I could have gone through them all after the event and changed the dates of their publication which is the only way to change where something appears on WordPress, but decided it would be quite fun to start with Z for once!

      Liked by 1 person

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