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Authors: Chrissie Gittins

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BOOK: Stars in Jars
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Government Health Warning

Don't squash peas on your knees,

Don't grate carrot on a parrot,

Don't tangle pears in your nostril hairs

Never risk a quid on a squid.

Don't pour bottled beer in your ear.

Never slice apple pies on your thighs.

Never wash your pullovers with yesterday's leftovers.

Don't entice a bowl of egg fried rice.

Don't assume that tarragon's a paragon,

Or try to run faster than a bag of spinach pasta,

Don't try a lunge at Victoria sponge,

A cake with a steak is a mistake.

Bravado never works with avocado,

A flickin's not the thing to give to chicken,

Don't go and stutter on the b-b-b-b-butter

Never feed mice on ice.

Careful not to ravage a coy Savoy cabbage,

Never have a tussle with a mussel,

Don't ever hurry with a spicy prawn curry,

Don't boast about your buttered toast.

Don't pour jelly in your welly,

Don't dribble tagliatelle on your older brother's belly.

Never do the tango with a ripe and juicy mango,

If you do then you're sure to pay the price!

Files Not Found on a Computer
The Touch File

a son stroking his father's cheek,

fingers folding a hamster's fur,

a face buried in cherry blossom,

enclosing arms of goodnight.

The Taste File

the saltiness of boiled ham

against soft white bread,

the sharpness of marmalade

melding with butter on wholemeal toast,

the twang of rhubarb and ginger

hiding beneath crunchy crumble,

the cut of iced sparkling water

swilling down my throat.

The Aroma File

a wet dog in the rain,

garlic squashed beneath a knife,

lavender steaming from my bath,

croissant warming Sunday morning.

The Listening Station

It hears the wind that rushes through the trees

saying something of the sea,

it hears a moth leaving the ceiling,

it hears the thin pages of a book close,

it hears a late key turn in the door.

It hears an egg flop into a mixing bowl,

it hears the crack of a bended knee,

it hears a wash leather squeak down a window pane,

it hears an apple eaten to its rotten core.

It hears a pencil dragged across tissue paper,

it hears a pea-stick snapped in half,

it hears a mouth leave another mouth,

it hears a lion (or is it a child?) roar.

A Slew of Clerihew
Tutankhamun

Tutankhamun

Died too soon,

He lay in the Valley of Kings

Surrounded by golden things.

Queen Victoria

Queen Victoria

Was bursting with euphoria

When Prince Albert's ambition

Produced the Great Exhibition.

Henry VIII

Henry the Eight

Had very bad breath,

That's why every wife

Had a very short life.

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare

Showed no fear,

He killed off his leading men

So they couldn't come back again.

The Hysterical Tulip

(
to be read at the top of your voice in an open space whilst shaking your head
)

I have red and white stripes AND I'm a tulip!

I have red and white stripes AND I'm a tulip!

I have red and white stripes AND I'm a tulip!

I have red and white stripes AND I'm a tulip!

Death in the Poetry Library

He stood between the stacks,

fishing out his reference.

Two flippant boys appeared,

paid little heed to the sign

‘Please check aisle before ….',

they wheeled the shelves together.

The poet, squashed between

authors L to M, wheezed.

Released, he lumbered

to the floor.

There was no blood.

His lines of verse

lapped along the corridor.

Messages from the Heart Scarab to the Heart

Don't tell I stole from my mum's purse to buy the latest Jacqueline Wilson,

don't tell I ran in front of a car to avoid Barry Smith,

don't tell I stitched an aeroplane to the sky.

Don't tell I ate a whole bag of Thornton's

Continental Chocolates from my auntie's cupboard,

don't tell I took a razor to lift the soles of the shoes

I was supposed to shine.

Don't tell I cut the string on my daddy's garden chimes,

don't tell I put a dustbin through the science lab window,

don't tell I touched the curlew's egg.

‘The Heart Scarab was an essential Egyptian funerary amulet placed over the heart. On the underside a spell is inscribed telling the heart to say nothing during the Weighing of the Heart ceremony for fear that it might make a guilty confession.' Horniman Museum
.

The British Museum Print Room

Van Gogh thought to be a preacher.

At twenty-one he came here and saw

the Rembrandt brown ink drawing over there,

then he did his own.

It lies in this glass case –

a splutter of rocks in the foreground,

a scruff of grass.

He drew every tree one behind the other

pulling right back to the horizon.

Dots become finer,

fields become thinner,

a track ripples to the right

while a train drags smoke to the left.

Stooks measure fields,

cypresses billow,

nothing is still.

Figure

When I arrived Suilven

wore a scarf of cloud

across her shoulder.

Next day, pouting at Canisp,

a chestnut beret at half cock.

Her skirts were low

with mist on Thursday.

Today, her shape,

with sun, is kissed.

Suilven and Canisp are mountains in the Highlands of Scotland
.

When I Travelled from the Country to the City

for Carol

When I travelled from the country to the city

the wind remained in my veins,

the heather spread through my fingers,

the moor sprawled over my back.

The quilted hillside was heavy

when I lay beneath it to rest,

my dreams were of rivers and valleys,

of a sky streaming east to west.

Benches, Tresco

They're placed at considerate intervals –

curved hurricane pine,

some weathered and scored,

some lichened and worn,

some with holes

where the trunk swallowed a branch.

From a bench I saw a blackbird with an orange beak,

the promise of protea in fat downy buds,

the chequerboard bark of an endless palm.

From a bench I saw wagtails surrounding a horse,

the stripes of shelduck tipped up in a lake,

the oblique flight of pheasants.

From a bench I saw Atlantic waves

drawing breath, raising their shoulders

and spewing their seething froth right back to the shore.

From a bench I saw an insect in flight,

the blades of its wings whirred away from the island,

it carried me back to rumbling ground.

Limerick 1

There was a young boy from Peru,

who never knew quite what to do.

He rubbed his nose

and wriggled his toes,

then painted his village bright blue.

Limerick 2

There was a young man from Capri,

who had a very sore knee,

he slathered it in balm

and ruptured his arm,

and ran home to drink cups of tea

(with sugar)

BOOK: Stars in Jars
2.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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