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Lunar Lines

July 20, 2019

full moon July 2019 copyright Celia Warren

Fifty years ago today two American astronauts on the Apollo 11 space mission – Neil Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin – landed on the moon and became the first humans to walk on its dusty surface. At the same time, astronaut Michael Collins orbited the moon in the command module. What a lonely adventure that must have been as he flew solo round the ‘dark side’ of the moon (the side we never see from Earth)!

I was still at school in 1969 and well remember the excitement of watching the “small step for man … giant leap for mankind” happening live. I also remember looking up at the moon, in awe to think that, even as I gazed at it, people were standing on its surface.

This anniversary is a wonderful opportunity for poets to celebrate the beauty of our moon, and many such poems – including a couple of mine – are highlighted in Roger Stevens’ fabulous anthology featuring poets from around the world. MOONSTRUCK is published by Otter-Barry, ISBN 9781910959657.

Meanwhile, here are some moon poems and photos of my own for you to enjoy. Please remember that these are copyright and may not be reproduced for commercial purposes without permission. Thank you.

 

Poor Old Phoebe* © Celia Warren 2019

Some thought her a god
and worshipped her on their knees.
Others, not so kind,
said she was made of cheese
until, in 1969,
without so much as a pretty please,
they walked all over her, even cut
pieces from her lunar gut.
Yet still she shines
in poets’ lines,
none of her romance gone
despite being trodden upon.

*Phoebe was the Ancient Roman name of the Goddess of the moon; also called Artemis in Ancient Greek legend. Often, the name Phoebe is used poetically to mean The Moon.

 

When Nobody Switched Off the Moon © Celia Warren 2019
                           1939-1945
      in fond memory of my parents

No telltale beams allowed after dark:
in wartime that was the law,
but no-one told the peaceful moon –
she knew not a whisper of war.

In the blackout, a young mother worried at home –
her husband was who-knew-where,
but they knew both looked at the self-same sky
and the moon was theirs to share.

For moonbeams shine on all the earth
at home and far abroad.
No blackout can steal the light of the moon,
of Phoebe the ancients’ god.

 
The Moon and her Mother © Celia Warren 2019
              after Aesop

“Make me a gown,” begged the moon of her mother.
“Please make me a gown,” cried she.
“It cannot be done,” the moon’s mother replied,
“for what size and shape would it be?”

“At times you’re as full and as round as the sun;
at other times, thin as a blade,
and in between you wax and wane,
so no fit gown can be made.”

 

COPYRIGHT CELIA WARREN 2019 i

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Queen of the Quatrain

July 13, 2019

ThosRussellSchool_Y4_L's class

I was recently described as ‘queen of the quatrain’ in appreciation of my little four-line poems. When I visit schools I like to make sure every child can take home a poem or two – not in their hands, but in their heads – and quatrains are quick and easy to learn. This poem proved so popular that it was picked, in the year 2000, to be cast in metal and appear (on a fire station wall) as part of a poetry trail. If ever you visit the Hampshire town of Stockbridge, you might spot it. It’s called Ten:Nil.

ThosRussellSchool_Ten Nil part 1

ThosRussellSchool_Ten Nil part 2

 

These Year 4 children from the Thomas Russell Junior School in Staffordshire had no trouble learning this poem and were soon joining in with gusto.

Ten:Nil and another of my favourite quatrains, Mr Snail, both appear in my Collins Big Cat collection Star-gazing. Recently some young fans sent me a recording of their performance of this little snail poem. You may need to log on to Facebook to see it, but I am sure you will enjoy it.

Why not have a go at writing your own quatrain? You can rhyme each pair of lines, or alternate lines. Or you might, as I have done with these two verses, make just the second and fourth lines rhyme. Have fun!

 

Long journeys

June 3, 2019

copyright Celia Warren 2019.JPG

After six weeks in Australia I’m now back home in the UK and slowly getting used to walking right way up again! The trip to Australia was the longest journey I’ve ever made. The journeys each way took about 36 hours ‘door to door’ — about 9000 miles to reach Perth — and about 10,500 miles to return from Hobart, Tasmania, via Melbourne. In between, I visited Adelaide, Sydney and Brisbane, too. What a fabulous trip it was! It’s inspired a lot of writing — here’s just one poem for starters:

Not out of Bounds

Australia-bound I’d hoped to find a bounding kangaroo.
I was jumping to conclusions as my mind is prone to do.

I didn’t find one jumping, nor one about to bound,
but several sleeping soundly on the cooler, shady ground

and one who had a joey peeping keenly from her pouch.
But then I saw a kangaroo approaching, so I crouched

beside him in the midday sun, and silently we spoke,
through looking in each other’s eyes. This one I gave a stroke.

I did – I really did it: I stroked a kangaroo!
I’m bound to say that, all along, that’s what I’d hoped to do.

© Celia Warren 2019

I have returned to a number of new books waiting in my postbox. One of them has reminded me that flying from Britain to Australia is as nothing compared to a trip to the moon. Its distance from Earth varies according to the stage of its orbit but, on average, is about 239,000 miles away.

This summer sees the 50th anniversary of man walking on the surface of the moon. I still remember watching that amazing event live on television when I was 16 years old. In celebration of this exciting anniversary, a fabulous little anthology of moon poems has been edited by Roger Stevens and illustrated by Ed Boxall. I’m proud to say that I have contributed two poems to “Moonstruck”, published by Otter-Barry and in the shops from 6th June 2019.

Moonstruck anthology cover pic

Wubbleyoo for Warren

April 26, 2019

town mouse

Delighted to appear under W for Warren in the lovely Liz Brownlee’s April A-to-Z blog challenge. Liz is not only a fine poet herself, but is also a dedicated Children’s Poetry Ambassador. Check out the whole alphabet and read some fab poems.

The poem on Liz’s site was first published in Star-gazing, Collins Big Cat Poetry.Star-gazing

Hurry over and by the end of the month you will have had the opportunity to meet at least 26 poets and taste their poems.

 

Nearly summer time

March 29, 2019

Well, not really! It’s spring, of course, but as far as the clocks go, it’s nearly summer time.

dandelion clock Celia Warren

“Well, I’m blowed,” said the late March dandelion clock.
“Time springs forward an hour this weekend.”
“Well, I’m blowed,” she repeated. “It’s come as a shock.”
And her flowerhead rapidly weakened.

© Celia Warren 2019

Don’t forget to put your clocks forward one hour at bedtime on Saturday night. As you’ll know if you’re familiar with my poems, I do enjoy a bit of wordplay and puzzles, too. So I was delighted to have a poem included in this new book of puzzle poems collected by Roger Stevens for Bloomsbury: I am a Jigsaw ISBN 978 1 4729 5819 8

I AM A JIGSAW anthology

 

From Christmas to Valentine’s Day

February 13, 2019

© Celia Warren 2019 mistletoe acrostic

It’s only a matter of weeks since people were hanging up mistletoe for Christmas – to satisfy a long-held tradition for lovers to snatch kisses beneath it – and now new mistletoe is appearing in trees around the countryside. These eye-catching balls of greenery bear berries, usually a whitish colour, on which birds love to feed. The berries are poisonous to people and other mammals, although not a killer. And while mistletoe might be classed as parasitic, it doesn’t destroy its host-tree. To me its presence is a beautiful green enhancement when the trees are otherwise bare.

After taking these photos (in Somerset), I decided to write the acrostic poem (above) to accompany the picture. It’s not often that I write acrostics, but they offer a fun challenge.

mistletoe © Celia Warren 2019

Happy Valentine’s Day for 14th February!

A robin is for life

January 8, 2019

… not just for Christmas cards. So I share with you this little robin enjoying a new year drink in our garden. The birds often brighten grey January days and, lately, they have been singing as if they knew that spring is just round the corner.

copyright 2019 celia warren

All my life the school term that begins in January has been called the Spring Term (in between the Autumn and Summer Terms). Yet this year, for the first time, I’ve seen it named the Winter Term. It seems a great shame to me. It was always the term when the most work and progress was achieved. It was a time for turning over a new leaf, a time for a fresh start – more akin to springtime than cold, fallow winter. For me it will always be the Spring Term, so here’s to 2019:

Blow away the cobwebs,
breathe clear air
for a new lease of life —
away with care:
A clean slate,
new beginnings,
no looking back —
a fresh innings!
A new year
to toot your flute:
make it yours
and bear fruit.

© Celia Warren 2019

Happy New Year to all my readers!