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The Bee and Thistle

July 13, 2015

The Bee & Thistle Pub Sign

Down the road there’s a pub called The Pig and Whistle,
But I’d call my pub The Bee and Thistle.

Can you think of a good name for a pub or a cafe?

While you’re out and about during the school holidays, play this writing game:

1. Collect the names of all the pubs and cafes you see or visit.
2. Make a list of your favourites, leaving a line between each name.
3. Under each name make up a rhyming name of your own invention.
4. Put your name at the bottom of your new List Poem!


Have you had a go at creating a list poem? If so, well done! Now see if you can take your list a step further and add lines in between to make your poem more interesting. Here’s my new poem:

Where Shall We Meet?

The Pig and Whistle
The Bee and Thistle

Where shall we meet for a drink?

The Magpie and Stump
The Blackbird and Dump

Where shall we linger and think?

The Queen’s Head
The King’s Bed

Where shall we stop for a pie?

The Five Bells
The Seven Cells

Where shall we visit nearby?

The Hope and Anchor
The Rope and Banker

Where shall we go for a roast?

The Horse and Groom
The Witch and Broom

Where shall we raise a toast?

© Celia Warren 2015

You might try using a series of different question words for your extra lines: Who? When? How? Why don’t we …? and so on. Keep collecting pub names and give it a go.

200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo

June 18, 2015

Yesterday, I went to the dentist for my 6-month check up. I’m lucky to have a good dentist and to live in an era when people can have healthy teeth and repairs on decay. Even people unlucky enough to lose all their teeth have the benefit of strong, plastic dentures – false teeth that are made to fit perfectly. I never think about this without remembering ‘Waterloo teeth’ and how that thought inspired a poem. Here is the background. (STOP READING now if you don’t like gory stories – or scroll down to read the poem first!)

If you were a child 200 years ago, you might well have been afraid of The Bogeyman. So were many adults, as this was a nickname – as well as ‘Boney’ – for the brutal and tyrannical Napoleon Bonaparte. He and his forces had already invaded many countries across Europe, and Britain was in grave danger of being the next. The process of defending our shores over many years became known as the Napoleonic Wars. 200 years ago today, on 18th June 1815, a decisive and bloody battle took place in Belgium to overthrow Napoleon. After waging war on much of Europe for so long, at last he was defeated. At the end of the battle 10,000 soldiers lay dead, and as many horses. The Duke of Wellington, who led the British forces, forbade any looting to take place after battles. The punishment for a British soldier caught stealing was death by hanging.

It is unlikely, then, that it was they who stole teeth from the bodies that lay across the battle field. But that is what happened. Hundreds of teeth were stolen from the bodies, so that the living toothless could benefit from good teeth of the dead. Of course, the thieves made money from their gory robberies; they didn’t steal for the ‘fun’ of it! These teeth filled a few gaps before the days of modern false teeth. I wrote this poem because I couldn’t get the thought of ‘Waterloo teeth’ out of my mind and began to imagine how they might be advertised … Here it is, illustrated by Michael Leigh:


Lost your teeth?
Find it hard to chew?
Ugly gaps left you defaced?
No problem –  Fresh from Waterloo
Have your teeth replaced:
Guaranteed fit for the task;
Will not rattle!
Neat, discreet, no questions asked;
(Fell off the back of a battle).

 poem © Celia Warren  illustration © Michael Leigh Waterloo Teeth illustration © Michael Leigh

from Vikings Don’t Wear Pants (tho’ they did!) – Roger Stevens & Celia Warren, KEP, 2001

Meanwhile … here’s a great poetry writing competition for children.

Pop over to Roger Stevens’ Poetryzone to check out the details:



Summer Break

June 13, 2015

Summer Break © Celia Warren 2015

On with the wellies, up with the brollies.
Never mind ice-creams, ignore the ice-lollies.
Forget about bathing: a total mistake …
Summer is taking its annual break!

© Celia Warren 2015

But there is still time for the weather to improve before schools break up! :-)

Early Memories

May 20, 2015

Events and brief moments from the past can often, unexpectedly, inspire a poem. As here:


A young girl
with a ponytail

delves in her toybox
too deep to see

what her hand

She pulls out
a forgotten toy

screams, flings it
and runs

away from Mrs Potato Head
whose eyes

are sprouting.

© Celia Warren 2015

And sometimes a drawing, too:


Did you know that I have another website dedicated to one specific aspect of childhood memories: toys? It’s my Virtual Toy Museum. If you are interested in toys from the past, do please visit.

Riddles in Rhyme

April 17, 2015

Do you like riddles? See if you can solve this one.

Riddle & Photo ©  Celia Warren

If you enjoy riddles and lots of other kinds of word puzzles, then you’ll love my book of Word Puzzles from Schofield and Sims, in which this rhyme appears.

Click on the link above to look inside the book.


The Joys of Spring

April 2, 2015

© Celia Warren 2015


He doesn’t bring her chocolates,
nor yet a grand bouquet,
but he kind-of wines and dines her,
as that’s the robin’s way
of showing her he loves her;
he’ll feed her when she broods,
he’ll fetch her worms and grubs and seeds,
yes, all her favourite foods.

And when the chicks are hatching,
their helpless beaks held wide,
he’ll help her feed the babies, too;
he’s telling her they’re tied
as one: a pair, together
as long as each survives:
they’re birds of a feather,
sharing busy, caring lives.

poem © Celia Warren 2015

Yes, the male of this pair of robins is feeding the female. This suggests that their nest is built and the eggs will fill it within days. After that, the adults will take turns to feed the young in a hectic 2-3 week schedule. This summer they will have two or three broods, so I guess picking the right partner is quite important.

Meanwhile, let’s hope we all enjoy a visit from the Easter Bunnies, bringing …


If chocolate’s your bag, happy feaster,
Then the bunnies will bring you, at least, a
Few chocolately eggs
On their hoppity legs,
And some savoury hens’ eggs for Easter.

limerick © Celia Warren 2015

If you like poems, drawings and paintings of British birds and other wildlife, then the book for you is The RSPB Anthology of Wildlife Poems. It’s worth its weight in gold.

Happy World Book Day!

March 5, 2015

I hope you are having a lovely day celebrating books and the joy of reading. Perhaps you have dressed up as your favourite character from fiction. I haven’t dressed up as I’m still trying to make up my mind which character I like the most. Maybe Winnie the Pooh? Perhaps Paddington Bear? Or Rupert Bear? Ooh, I think I see a pattern emerging here. What is it about bears that make them so appealing, when in real life, they’d probably squeeze you to death as soon as look at you?

That’s the joy of making up stories and poems. You can make anything happen. You can go anywhere – from the bottom of the sea to a far off planet – an imaginary planet, at that! You can invent impossible characters and situations and see where they take you.

When you’ve finished reading, have a go at writing your own story. When you have written something from your own head that nobody has ever written or read before, then … Wow! You’re an author!

Today I’ve been reading a magazine that is distributed widely in the South Hams, an area of South Devon where I live. It’s called By the Dart and is full of real life stories about local places, events and people. It comes out bimonthly, and in the new issue, Kate Cotton has written up an interview with me. So if you want to find out more about how I became an author and poet, and what I’m currently writing, pick up a copy, and turn to page 55.

Of course, that sounds difficult if you don’t live in the Dartmouth area, but it isn’t as hard as it sounds. You can read the interview – and, indeed, the whole magazine – online. The interview with me is here. Or click on the picture below. When the link appears, click on the bottom right hand corner of the magazine cover to turn the pages. Enjoy!



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