I hope you’re having a lovely summer. There’s lots to see as you walk out and about. I’ve been taking my camera with me. It makes me look harder* and see more. It also inspires poems. These are both limericks. They’re quick and fun to write and make nice postcard poems to go with my pictures.
*Though if I took a Rottweiler with me I might look harder still! ;-)
Hope you enjoy these two from my home county of Devon.
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.
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:
ONE PREVIOUS OWNER
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).
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:
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
away from Mrs Potato Head
© 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.
Do you like riddles? See if you can solve this one.
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.