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Authors: Chrissie Gittins

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BOOK: Stars in Jars
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These flats. I'm getting out of here.

I'm not going to be one of those they come round

collecting for wreaths for.

I want a room of my own.

Sean even gets hold of my underpants

if I don't watch him. And I'm sick of his City posters.

Telly's rubbish in the day. The adverts are alright.

I want to spear a dummy with a bayonet.

I bet my dad was in the army,

I bet he had boots and a gun.

I would stand to attention, I would

salute with my hand like this.

I wish I wasn't the eldest.

Sometimes I go to the fridge and drink

the baby's milk from her bottle.

My Dad's More Embarrassing Than Your Dad

My dad's more embarrassing than your dad.

Does yours get all your friends' names wrong?

My dad has to be more embarrassing than your dad

Does yours try to sing your favourite song?

My dad is way more embarrassing than your dad.

Does yours wear sandals with socks on the sands?

My dad is so more embarrassing than your dad

Does yours dance with just his feet and his hands?

My dad is definitely more embarrassing than your dad.

Does yours always ask how to use the computer?

My dad is a trillion times more embarrassing than your dad

Does yours try to wiggle his hooter?

I Can't Fix Everything

I can fix the picnic basket,

the sticky window in your room,

I can fix your seventh puncture,

I can fix that very soon,

but I can't fix the weather

when we're sitting on the sand

and the rain beats down

leaving holes behind.

I can fix the squeaky door

and the stain on your rug,

I can fix your seagull mobile

and the handle on your mug,

but I can't fix the fall out

with the friend you've had for years,

I can only nurse the hurt

and wipe away the tears.

I can fix a fallen shelf

and a wonky wooden bed,

I can fix a crashed computer

and that wall you painted red,

but I can't fix it when you fall in love

with someone who doesn't feel the same.

I can only say, ‘Pick another',

fall in love again.

The Best Hiding Place in the World

I'm crouching in my hiding place,

my mum is going wild,

she's traipsing up and down the aisles,

“Where are you, naughty child?”

I'm counting up the soap powders –

the liquid and the blocks,

they line the shelves opposite,

they clean my jeans and socks.

Mum's voice is getting louder,

the manager gets called,

he sends a message to the store,

(he's tall and very bald).

“If you see a little girl,

dressed in a purple top,

please inform the manager,

then our search can stop.”

Game's up, I'm caught –

been seen through the holes,

I'm hiding on the bottom shelf –

behind the toilet rolls!

The Way He Used To Be

I miss the way my brother used to be,

he'd flop back on the sofa,

somersault on the lawn,

he punched the air,

gave me a high five

when he won the football game.

All of a sudden

he'd clear the living room,

push back the table,

put on rock music

and wiggle his bottom from side to side.

I laughed till I cried.

He painted wicked pictures

with robots and kangaroos,

he held my hand

when we crossed the road,

he never let me lose

at snap or dominoes.

I miss the way my brother used to be,

the way he stuck out his tongue,

the way he cuddled me.


I had a row with my mum,

stormed off up the stairs,

I really was sorry

to make her worry,

staying out late

without a word.

I tidied my room

and cleaned the shoes,

and made my own packed lunch.

I picked her flowers

and swept the floor

and then I had a hunch.

I could mend her broken necklace,

the one her grandma gave.

I threaded the beads one by one

and counted off the days.

The day we rode on donkeys,

rattling down the beach,

the day she made me chocolate cake

and hid it out of reach,

the day she smoothed my forehead,

when a fever raged inside,

the day I held an egg and spoon

and she cheered me on with pride.

I gave my mum the necklace,

she wrapped her arms around.

In that delectable moment,

you could not hear a sound.

The Handkerchief Tree

This one's for the sniffles,

when your nose runs down to your mouth,

this one's for the blues,

when the sides of your mouth run south.

This one's for strawberry cheesecake icecream,

it's so good you just have to dribble,

this one's for your left-over-sandwich –

there was only time for a nibble.

This one goes round your knee

when you've fallen off your bike,

this one's for when you slip on the pitch –

but it was worth it for that strike.

This one's to give your mum

when you start your first day at school,

and this one's for when you fall in love

and you feel an absolute fool.

To My Daughter, As She Learns to Play the Qin

from ‘Feeling from Mountain and Water', an animated Chinese film by Te Wei

I will teach you as I was taught.

An old man came down the mountain,

leaning in the wind.

I caught him when he stumbled.

His music met mine, he laid his qin before me.

Orange leaves feathered the air,

by snowfall I could play.

When the frog swelled his chest and

fishes gathered at a worm

we left to sail the slanting gorge.

Monkeys jumped in trees,

stones split falling water.

I didn't want to say goodbye.

I clutched him close,

then knelt and took the qin

bequeathed to me.

He left as he had come.

From up on high I plucked the strings,

filled the valley with his gift.

I will teach you well, as I was taught.

Qin (pronounced ‘chin'): a plucked seven-string Chinese musical instrument of the zither family

BOOK: Stars in Jars
4.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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