When I was about 13 my rather brilliant English teacher brought Roger McGough into school. For me this was the equivalent of meeting Simon Le Bon or Andrew Ridgeley.
He was cool. McGough, Brian Patten and Adrian Henri – those Mersey boys. They broke rules and they played with words in a wicked way.
Ah the power of author visits – and good teachers – to inspire. Here I am still playing with words today.
And in honour of the Day itself I thought I’d include a few of my own little verses.
There’s a shop at the top of our road called Lil’s,
Which has shelves stacked with sweets, under the tills.
There are twisty red laces
And round candy faces,
Sherbert and fizz bombs
And dark chocolate bon bons.
And sometimes, when I am sitting in class
I imagine I’m there, nose pressed to the glass.
Who Am I Today?
On Monday I pretend to be
A pirate who’s been wrecked at sea.
On Tuesday I am spiderman,
Shooting webs to foil their plan.
On Wednesday I am Doctor Who
Telling Daleks what to do.
On Thursday I go undercover,
Detecting clues about my brother.
On Friday with my Wizard’s wand
I pull a Princess from a pond.
On Saturday I am a knight,
Wounded by a dragon fight.
On Sunday I am very good
All dressed in green as Robin Hood.
And then I can’t think who to be,
And so I think I’ll just be me.
Down in the wood where the trees are thick
And the bracken trips you and bites at your knees
We made a den.
And the branches bend low and the leaves whisper,
And no one can see us beneath its green weave.
It’s a den to hide in, a den to find bugs in,
A den to watch rabbits and squirrels go running.
We can sit very still as a woodpecker knocks,
Or leap out from a bush to startle and shock.
But mostly we listen to the sounds of the wood.
The crack of a twig,
The crunch of a leaf,
The song of a bird,
The creak of the trees.
And when we walk home all covered in burrs,
Singing our stories of good Robin Hood,
There is our den left deep in the wood.
Beneath a tree upon the ground
A rosy apple I once found.
I took a bite and there inside
A tiny wriggly worm I spied.
Stepping back in my surprise
I started to apologise,
For my gigantic teeth and jaw
Had eaten most of his front door.
But this tiny little fellow
Tipped his hat and said “Ah, Hello,
I’m so glad that you are here
It’s such a perfect time of year.
Won’t you come and join with me
In scrumptious, juicy, apple tea?”
So now when I do take a bite
Of any apple juicy ripe,
I always like to stop to knock
In case a worm should get a shock.
Dragon artwork used on this site courtesy of Sara Ogilvie (illustrator) & Nick Stearn (cover design)