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Message in a Bottle

October 4, 2016




A bottle-nose dolphin in a bottle-green sea
Found a message in a bottle that he didn’t set free.
He wasn’t very nosy despite his bottle-snout;
He bottled out of reading it and threw the bottle out.
I couldn’t keep it bottled up; I couldn’t let it sink;
I read the message written in bottle-green ink:

A bottle-nose dolphin in a bottle-green sea
Found a message in a bottle that he didn’t set free.
He wasn’t very nosy despite his bottle-snout;
He bottled out of reading it and threw the bottle out.
I couldn’t keep it bottled up; I couldn’t let it sink;
I read the message written in bottle-green ink . . .

© Celia Warren 2016

Messages is the theme of this year’s National Poetry Day on Thursday 6th October.

If you wrote a message in a bottle, what would it say? Who do you think might find it – and where? Maybe washed up on the shore or fished out of the sea? Or possibly inside a fish?

If you put your favourite poem inside a bottle for someone to find, which one would it be?

Knitted, writted and fitted!

September 28, 2016

Copyright Celia Warren 2016

Creativity finds many outlets. As well as writing poetry and stories, I enjoy handicrafts – especially knitting and crocheting. I love making up new patterns, too. This month I designed and knitted these glove puppets for my great-nephew and great-niece. Each has its own poem, too.


Mario, Luigi and Dan

Luigi and Dan race as fast as they can
as they drive round the trickiest track.
Soon Mario, too, zooms – whoosh! – into view;
he’ll never stay long at the back.

They whizz down the straight of a figure of eight
and then swing round its difficult bends.
Whoever may win as their wheels whirr and spin
they will still be the firmest of friends.




This little dog’s called Knitonepurlone;
this little dog is Lucy’s.
He lifts his leg at lamposts
and trees – especially spruces.

This little dog will fit on a hand,
especially little Lucy’s.
He’ll warm her hand in winter
and has lots of other uses.

This little dog won’t bark at night
(for which there are no excuses!)
and he’ll (mostly) be quite well-behaved,
cos this little dog is Lucy’s.

Lucy’s dog is lots of fun
and always comes in handy,
but Knitonepurlone‘s rather long,
so now she calls him Sandy.

© Celia Warren 2016

A Message for 3-18 year-olds (& parents and teachers)

August 24, 2016

Time flies and, before we know it, Britain’s National Poetry Day will be here on Thursday 6th October. This year it’s all about MESSAGES – from or to anyone or anything. What a fabulous wide range of ideas this theme offers!

If you like writing poems, you might want to enter this competition on Roger Stevens’s Poetry Zone. You must be aged between 3 and 18 years old to enter. Poems MUST be your own work. All the poems entered will be shown in The Poetry Zone as they come in. The winners will be announced early in November. The competition closes on October 22nd, 2016.  Good luck!

Over the years poets have often written poems that are messages, or poems in the form of a letter, or in a poem that is called an ‘ode’ – a kind of message, where the poet addresses (talks to) someone or something.

Celia Warren's Anthologies
There are some wonderful poems with messages among the 100 poems in the Schofield and Sims anthology, A Time to Speak and A Time to Listen (isbn 978 07217 1206 2). Look them up and read them to find the answers to these questions:

What happened when a note was passed round a class during a lesson?
The Note – Jill Townsend (poem #74)

Some messages are carved in stone to speak to future generations. But how long do they last?
The Children and Sir Nameless – Thomas Hardy (poem #46)

Here’s a trickier question that has many possible answers: what was written on this note and why was it crumpled and thrown in the fire?
What Has Happened to Lulu? – Charles Causley (poem #27)

Sometimes ‘actions speak louder than words’. What message do these actions convey?
Necklace – Chrissie Gittins (poem #20)

This poet believed in life after death. Who is he talking to?
Death Be Not Proud – John Donne (poem #5)

Was it the same person who carried this message?
A Final Appointment – Eric Finney (poem #4)

Here are more poems from The RSPB Anthology of Wildlife Poetry (isbn 978 1 4081 3118 3) that answer the following questions – they’re beautifully illustrated, too, mostly by members of the Royal Society of Wildlife Artists:

Who is Fly writing to?
Bee I’m Expecting You – by Emily Dickson (page 111)

What message do migrating birds receive that tells them to fly south for the winter?
Something Told the Wild Geese – Rachel Field (page 145)

What is the message for young children in this poem?
Bedtime – Thomas Hood (page 137)

Is it pretty clear what the message is here?
Don’t Tread on Worms – Eric Finney (page 106)

What do these two odes have in common?
To the Cuckoo – William Wordsworth (page 93) & To a Skylark (page 87)

If your school is buying the Schofield and Sims Anthology, A Time to Speak and A Time to Listen, click here to see how you can buy it at a special price for the Hardback edition. You can also read reviews of the book here.

Gull Alert!

July 14, 2016

Gull © Celia Warren 2016

This gull looks very innocent,
standing on the quayside,
but many of his family
cause big problems at the seaside.

They’re growing pretty vicious
and at times completely nasty
if they spot a kid with sandwiches,
an ice-cream or a pastie.

If you’re outdoors with a picnic
on a beach or up on deck,
gulls may dive-bomb and they’ll steal it
and they don’t mind who they peck.

So please do not encourage them,
don’t throw them little crumbs,
then fewer frightened children
will go crying to their mums.

And if you have a bite to eat
and gulls are hanging round,
keep well undercover
if a shelter can be found.

© Celia Warren 2016

Some years ago, I was eating a pastie near where I live in Dartmouth, Devon, when a gull, in one swift swoop, stole half my pastie, and flew off. It seemed quite funny at the time, but I’ve never eaten in the street since. Now gulls are causing injuries, especially to children, as they grow ever more aggressive in seaside resorts, so much so that the problem was featured on our local TV news last night. Apparently, and incredibly, they are a protected species, so even if people and pets are at risk there is nothing you can do, except stay indoors, especially if you’re eating. One poor family had their Yorkshire terrier carried off from their garden by a gull. Many children have received cuts and bruises from direct attacks from the birds. Much as I love birds, it does sound quite scary. If you’re at the seaside, try and eat safely under cover.

One World

June 29, 2016

SideBySide © Celia Warren 2016

Side by Side
Greenfinch and Bluetit – not birds of a feather,
But look at them peacefully feeding together.

© Celia Warren 2016


Holiday Inspiration

June 21, 2016

Back home after a month touring the south of France! Holidays offer new experiences, tastes
and sights. Here are some raw poems-in-the-making inspired by my fabulous trip.

© Celia Warren 2016 mistletoe France
If mistletoe grows
where nobody goes,
will it be missing
lovers’ kissing?

© Celia Warren 2016


© Celia Warren 2016 Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer

Sand, fine as pepper, blown in our eyes,
our hair, our sandals, our nails,
Mediterranean sea as blue as the cloudless sky.
We climbed to the top of the church tower,
then higher, up sloping tiles to the apex,
surveyed red roofs, swallows, shoppers,
and sparkling sea from on high.

© Celia Warren 2016

Weights and Measures

© Celia Warren 2016 Reims building © Celia Warren 2016 TheWeightofOneself_Lyon

Some carry the weight of the world
on their shoulders.
Others run wild, leaving care
to their betters or olders.

Some people carry themselves
and they know their own weight.
Others slide carelessly,
sink or skate.

© Celia Warren 2016

Stored Sunshine

© Celia Warren 2016 Stored Sunshine Langlade

By a sliver of moon, we recycle the sun:
in solar-cell storage it brightens the night.
The cat’s gone to bed, the tortoise and dog;
We drink last year’s sunshine in wine, while the light
glints and distorts as it stencils our table.
Then it’s upstairs to bed while our legs are still able
to carry us there. Will we sleep in this heat?
With a nightcap of armagnac – dreams will be sweet.

© Celia Warren 2016

Heading Home

© Celia Warren 2016 trees like toffee apples France

Along the road, approaching Calais,
Heading home from weeks in France,
Rows of trees like toffee-apples
Offer one last happy dance.

© Celia Warren 2016

… and finally, after I’d danced ‘Sur le pont d’Avignon’, so did my chessmen, after I’d arrived home:

The Chessmen’s Flood

© Celia Warren 2016 Chessmen's Flood

The chessmen’s board is flooded
since it’s rained all day and night.
The rooks provide a wooden bridge
in answer to their plight.

It’s like the bridge in Avignon –
the pawns soon take the chance
to step up high upon the bridge
and have a little dance.

The bishops like the bridge, but still
find usefulness in boats,
while both the black queen and the white queen
clear their royal throats:

Sur le pont d’Avignon,
Pion y danse, pion y danse,
Sur le pont d’Avignon,
Pion y danse tout en rond.*

© Celia Warren 2016

*On the bridge at Avigon, pawns are dancing, pawns are dancing … round and round.

This Week’s Special Numbers

April 18, 2016

… 400, 90 and 18!

2016 marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. His plays and sonnets are enjoyed the world over and are still as pertinent today as they were when he wrote them. In William’s honour, I am going to share my parody of the bard’s eighteenth sonnet followed by the original. I hope you enjoy them.

Shakespeares 18th worm

Shakespeare’s 18th Worm* – Celia Warren

Shall I compare thee to a bit of string?
Thou art more bristly and more flexible:
Rough soils do hold the horrid stones that sting
And cruel clay is heavily inedible.
Sometime too wet the mouth of heaven spits,
And often are thy segments clogged with dirt,
And every squirm from squirm sometime desists,
By chance of nature’s sending in a bird.
But thy eternal wriggle shan’t grow weak,
Nor lose possession of that squirm thou hast,
Nor blackbird brag thou danglest from his beak,
When in eternal stringiness thou growest.
     So long as worms can squirm or hedgehogs fast,
     So long as birds are late your life will last.

Shakespeare’s 18th Sonnet – William Shakespeare

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
  So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
  So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Meanwhile, in the same week, Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 90th birthday. So here’s a lighthearted limerick for our queen:

For Queen Elizabeth II

Our queen will turn ninety this week,
Which means she is almost antique.
She is also the queen
Whose reign has now been
Quite the longest – which makes her unique.

Celia Warren 2016

If you enjoy reading limericks, I have written 1265 others. Each one defines a word from the English language. I wrote them as part of an international project to write a dictionary that defines every word by way of a limerick. It’s called the Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form.

*This worm sonnet is the only worm poem I’ve written that doesn’t appear in Don’t Poke a Worm till it Wriggles — but if you like worms, you know where to find more!