Thursday, 29 November 2012

A to Z of children's work: B is for best

This is the introduction and index for the series of poems about children's work in a church setting.  They might be funny, they might be eye opening but above all they should capture the reality of children's work and the passion I have for it.  I hope you enjoy what you find here; and perhaps feel tempted to get involved with your local kids work programme.

Every adult I know
Expects the best
Complaints will be lodged
If the service provides less

Are the same standards
Expected for kids?
Or is entertainment
And fun ok on their list?

I strive for best
Whatever my audience
Adults or kids
They deserve excellence

One hour a week
We show them God's love
For some of them
It might be all they'll have

No one cuts corners
Hard work is involved
Our best takes work
And that's our goal

A to Z of mental health: B is for bi-polar

Definitely up
Happy and glad
Everything's great
No feeling sad
Decisively high
Soaring above
Can conquer the world
Forever in love

Then suddenly
Over night

Absolutely low
No point any more
Can't face anything
Everything sore
Can't go out
Don't come here
It's all a mess
Let me disappear

Picking up
Getting up
See the point
Accepting help
........ repeat


As an engineer
Bridges were part of my day
Now as a people carer
Bridges still come into play

There are bridges through grief
Through periods of change
Bridges of learning
Again and again

Bridges of relief
From stress and worry
Bridges of doubt
When faith has gone away

My job is still here
In the bridges department
Providing crossings and supports
As there's a requirement


This poem is written for the wonder Wednesday challenge at Poets United.  Other poems about bridges can be found at

The photo of Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol; isn't it fantastic.

Building castles around the heart

An Englishman`s home is his castle
With walls that keep him safe
A moat will stop any invasion
The post cullis is a perfectly locked gate

Inside there's safety and protection
From the world and all that lies out there
But if he's not very careful
He'll build castle walls everywhere

Those walls will get ever closer
Giving protection from pain and hurt
One day he'll come to realise
He's built walls around his heart

Everything and everyone will be closed out
Even God will need an invite to come in
Sure he'll be protected and safe
But it'll be mighty lonesome within

So think before you build your barricade
Plan a door you can open wide
Allow God and others that love you
To come and visit you inside

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Run away

My fantasy, for all of time
Is to run away from this life of mine
To take those I love around the world
For a month, for a year, until we're old

Of course I know it couldn't come true
There's money and many other constraints too
But the dream lives on and its nice to believe
That one day that's how we could live

To New Zealand and Bali we would go
Via Thailand and Hong Kong high and low
Then onto the states to stay with friends
Before eventually heading home again

Money has no part in this
It is a dream, to reminisce
But every holiday that we plan
Takes on a bit, wherever we can


This poem is written for the prompt "let's play make believe" at poetry jam.

Me, myself and I

I'm not that keen on me
Never ever really have been
It's ingrained, deep inside
Something about me I've tried to hide

But sometimes I need to share
What I am and how I care
About what it's like feeling this
And how it brings me to my knees

God has done much caring
Showing me that I'm worth loving
Slowly it's seeping through
But it's hard to remember when I'm blue

I never expect to be
Completely happy being me
But I hope that with God's love
I'll learn that I'm good enough


This poem was written for the Wednesday challenge at real toads: For today's challenge, I ask you to draw on a personal relationship as the basis of your poem. This could be your relationship with a family member, lover or your relationship with yourself or fellow countrymen. You may use past experience, memory or reminiscence to express your ideas.

How to get your kids to eat fruit

I don't eat that
It's green, it's black
It looks too funny
Its insides are runny

It's good for you
Give it a chew
Just three more bites
Why are meal times fights?

I know your plight
I know that right
I've a secret for you
I've got a trick you can do

Take something fruity
Say a plump strawberry
Get some yoghurt or cream
Turn the pain into a dream

Lets make fruit snowmen
Really mum? Go on then!
Cut the strawberry like this
Sandwich with filling and squish

Wow, it's cute, look at that
The strawberry's like a hat
Can I have another one
Strawberries are yum

So next time don't fight
Make food appeal to sight
You'll never look back
But you'll need another strawberry pack

#365photoproject day 341

Title: high plait
Date: 28th November 2012
Location: home

#365photoproject day 340

Title: what a difference 12 hours makes
Date: 27th November 2012
Location: home

#365photoproject day 339

Title: Rachel's dream world
Date: 26th November 2012
Location: homework

Falling down

Falling down
Peeling at the edges
Pretty empty
Not looking great

Dark corners
Secrets well hidden
Some light
Brightens with hope

Rubbish around
Wires still live
One chair
Comfortable still

My room
Like my life
Wearing out
But not giving up

This poem was inspired by the picture provided by The Mag at

Monday, 26 November 2012

A to Z of children's work: accessible

This is the first of a series of poems about children's work in a church setting.  They might be funny, they might be eye opening but above all they should capture the reality of children's work and the passion I have for it.  This first poem is about the importance of making kids work truly accessible to children of all abilities, backgrounds and interests.

Quiet, reserved
Wanting craft
Boisterous,  energised
Preferring a laugh

Black, white
Yellow, green
Wheelchair, armchair
Unheard, unseen

Dad only
Comes with gran
Walks for miles
Comes in a van

Wants space
Needs an adult
All that matters is
It's not the child's fault

Knowing God
Doubting all
Asking questions
Know it all

Kids come
In all sorts
Our job is giving
Love and support

God loves
One and all
With God's help
They'll walk tall

Sunday, 25 November 2012

#365photoproject day 338

Title: Meeting Tommy aged 3weeks5days
Date: 25th November 2012
Location: Southampton

#365photoproject day 336

Title: the baby is growing up fast
Date: 23rd November 2012
Location: lyndhurst

#365photoproject day 337

Title: funky glow in the dark play
Date: 24th November 2012
Location: at the flat

A to Z of children's work

This is the introduction and index for the series of poems about children's work in a church setting. They might be funny, they might be eye opening but above all they should capture the reality of children's work and the passion I have for it. I hope you enjoy what you find here; and perhaps feel tempted to get involved with your local kids work programme.

A is for accessible
B is for best
C is for creativity
D is for demonstrate
E is for everyone
F is for friendships
G is for growing
H is for hysteria
I is for inclusive
J is for joke
K is for kicking
L is for language
M is for meaning
N is for near
O is for optimistic
P is for play
Q is for questions
R is for risks
S is for share
T is for truth
U is for understand
V is for volunteers
W is for waste
X is for xylophone
Y is for yell
Z is for zigzag

Blind panic

I saw them there, I avoided their stare
Didn't know what to do, paralysed in fright
I finally understood the phrase
A deer in the headlights

Each day is worse than the one before
I'm losing any idea of what to do
I can't face it, so I try to ignore
Thanks to my friends I'm getting through

This is the impact of rumours and accusations
I pray that others read this and stop bullying actions
There's no need for hating and recriminations
If only everyone could envisage other's reactions


This poem was inspired by Saturday Centus at Jenny Matlocks blog for the prompt "I finally understood the phrase 'a deer in the headlights' "

Dear life

Dear life.
Where do I start?

There've been days I wish there weren't
And weeks I'd love to live again
Months of turmoil and hurt
Years of joy, even in rain

Times of friendship and fun
With those I'd like to see once more
And periods of painful heartbreak
When my soul felt weary and sore

Dear life I've learned to take
Each day just as it comes
To pray I'll come through unscathed
With the help of Jesus the son

My advice to anyone in pain
Is to hang in there until there's change
To ask for help and admit your need
Things will change, take my lead

This poem was written for the poetry jam challenge entitled "best sellers"

We were asked to pick a book from the New York Times bestseller list and write a poem with the same title. 

My choice was:
DEAR LIFE, by Alice Munro. (Knopf.) A new collection of stories, some “autobiographical in feeling.” number 15 in the New York Times bestseller list for hardback fiction.

I can't wait to see what everyone else writes.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Words inspired by Mallory Doran

This poem is written is response to the photo attached to the post and as a gift for the young woman who made the stunning piece of material based art.  We had the choice of six dolls to choose from at real toads for the Sunday mini challenge, this was the one which spoke to me.

Mallory Doran, I hope I've done your amazing work justice.  Thanks for allowing me to use your art as my muse.  Emma, UK.

Born to be a swimmer
Grown into a diver
Fulfilling all I can be
Stop, look and see

Falling, falling, falling
Diving involves falling
Soaring, almost flying!
Flying, could I be flying?

Worrying whilst I prepare
Watching and feeling air
Panicking yet rejoicing
The water's closer coming

Ready for the entry
Hoping shapes are beauty
What amazing freedom
How I love my swimming

Please visit real toads and see the amazing creations and read the words which they inspire, this is art in action.

What am I talking about?

The topic for "a word" at real toads this week is one I hadn't heard before.  This poem is my take on interpreting the word,  can you figure out what it is?

Many fibres inter-weaved
Creating something often heaved
Held together in strength combined
Rarely rips or undermined

Holding many sorts of goods
Potatoes, coffee, chocolate
Travels widely round the globe
Recycled into fancy robes

Can you name this common item
Have a guess,  go on, write them
I reckon you won't find the right term
Don't worry though, at least you'll learn

Come on then, share your guesses with me and I'll tell you if you're right or not.   Whilst guessing please don't cheat, but once you've answered you might like to see where other poets have taken their works.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

A to Z of mental health: A is for anxiety

Concern erupts
Worry builds
Heartbeat races
Fingers chill

Head pounds
Legs go weak
Tummy turns
I cannot speak

Feel sick
Might faint
Help please
All constrained

It's my heart
Got to get out
Want to move
I can't shout

Hand held
Words whispered
Eyes close
Voice whimpers

Help at hand
Calming slowly
Breathing better
Praying thanks to Holy

The horror is over
My voice is back
The body is working
Goodbye anxiety attack


This is the first in a series of poems about mental health: A to Z of mental health.   I hope you enjoy the journey with me and perhaps learn something about the reality of what it's like to live with a mental health disorder along the way.   God Bless.

#365photoproject day 335

Title: autumn floor
Date: 22nd November 2012
Location: our garden

A to Z of mental health

Following the success of the 26 poems which made up the A to Z of babyloss (soon to be published with some additional poems and prose) I've decided to write a series of poems about mental health.   I hope you enjoy the journey with me and perhaps learn something along the way.   God Bless.

A to Z of mental health
A is for anxiety
B is for bi polar
C is for coping mechanisms
D is for depression
E is for eating disorders
F is for fear
G is for guilt
H is for happiness
I is for insomnia
J is for jumpy
K is for kip
L is for lonely
M is for Munchausen's syndrome
N is for nervous
O is for ocd
P is for phobia
Q is for questions
R is for relaxation
S is for schizophrenia
T is for tests
U is for understanding
V is for vacuum
W is for worry
X is for eXperts
Y is for yellow - colour therapy
Z is for zzzzzzz

The Santa debate

Do you let your kids write to Santa?
Do you think that we definitely shouldn't?
Do you think that 'Santa' creates greed?
I don't see it that way at all.

It's not the asking that's a problem
It's the providing it all and more
It's not the kids or Santa to blame
Santa lists can be a learning tool

Kids can learn about writing letters
Kids can think about what they might like
Kids then realise not everything's possible
They can decide if they really want that bike

You can talk about Santa's budget
Talk about waiting for things
Talk about kids who have nothing
Do they really want everything?

Santa is not the problem
Santa doesn't create greed
Santa allows conversations about money
Ask Santa and see what you receive

This year for the second year running
Rachel has not asked for much
She writes and asks Santa to help others
See how Santa helps kids learn about stuff

Rachel's letter 2012:
Dear Santa
I can't think of anything I want.
Please give presents to Gloria
And other poor children.

(Gloria is the child we sponsor in Zambia).

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

To all my friends

To all my friends
For all you do
I'm writing this
As a gift for you

If you're reading this
Then it's for you
If you're not ...
Well it's for you too

Thank you guys
For being great
For holding me up
When I'm in a state

For sending flowers
For giving time
For holding my hand
When I stand in line

For smiling often
For laughing lots
For allowing tears
For tea in pots

For words and hugs
For messages many
Dear friends thanks
With you I'm so lucky


This poem is written to all my friends who are supporting me in these dark days right now;  words aren't enough but I hope you like them.   Its also linked up at Poetry United for the prompt "gifts".

My guilty pleasure

My guilty pleasure
Is hidden deep within
Below the cake and chocolate
The vodka, wine and gin

It's never ever mentioned
It's a secret of my own
Today I will declare it
Let all shame be thrown

My guilty pleasure
For when I'm all alone
Is Wall's vienetta
With strawberries freshly grown


This poem was inspired by the challenge start by isadora at real toads:
-  Admit to your deeply dark guilty pleasure.
- Write a poem gluttonously inspired by it.  NOTICE: I said gluttonously inspired, which means no light hinting or a slight name drop.  

#365photoproject day 334

Title: sunset of pink
Date: 21st November 2012
Location: sky over Earley

#365photoproject day 333

Title: flowers to cheer me up
Date: 20th November 2012
Location: kitchen

#365photoproject day 332

Title: happy to be discharged from the eye hospital
Date: 19th November 2012
Location: RBH

#365photoproject day 331

Title: fingerprint animals
Date: 18th November 2012
Location: St Nicolas Earley

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

I really tried not to laugh

She answered back
I told her off
She blew a raspberry
Disguised in a cough

I asked her to sit
Down on the stair
She crossed her eyes
Gave a silly stare

I really tried
Not to laugh
As I went to finish
Cleaning the bath

But then she started
Singing a silly song
With a snort I knew
It had all gone wrong

My grin did spread
From ear to ear
Any chance of seriousness
Did disappear

Don't do it again
I said through a smile
"I won't mum
Sorry for being vile"

This poem was written as part of the #100wcgu for the Prompt: I really tried not to laugh ….. to see where other people were led in their writing please visit Julias Place.

Monday, 19 November 2012

When I look in the mirror

When I look in the mirror I see
The world that was going to be
Then a sadness comes all over me
What was to be, will not now be

I wish we could have been what we planned
But life never seems to hear or understand
And so in life we live in the unplanned
And we go forward and we learn to understand


This poem is written for the Sunday mini challenge at real toads; it was inspired by the photo provided by Kerry (taken by Susie Clevenger) and is written in the style of Yeats` poem cloths of heaven found at

Make me a cake

This crazy ditty of a poem was written for Saturday centus at Jenny Matlocks blog with the Prompt: "So this is a cook off for the inheritance?  Is that what you're saying?"  I can't tell you where the inspiration came from, but it was enjoyable to write.  I hope you enjoy it.

I'd like you each to make me a cake
Nothing extravagant but a tasty bake
Decorated with your own unique style
And filled with love to make me smile

What do you mean you're not in the mood?
It's a challenge to do with food
When have you ever not been liking
A competition involving icing?

"So this is a cook off for the inheritance?
Is that what you're saying?"
My word No, I just thought you'd enjoy
Being in the kitchen as you were when boys

Come on, don't look at me that way
You're only together for one day
It might be fun, you never know
Now, shoo into the kitchen you go.

Anti bullying week

It's anti bullying week
Raising awareness and breaking the clique
No one needs suffer
Pain from another
If it happens to you
Then please speak

You might be a child in distress
Bullied about how you dress
It's not about you
Or anything you do
Tell someone
Teacher or mum

It might be happening at work
Driving you completely berserk
Don't hide away
Or think it's ok
Tell a friend
Bring it to an end

No one should ever be bullied
No one should ever be victimised
Don't put up
Don't shut up
Tell someone
Get help from someone

There's BullyingUK and Stop Bullying
There's Kidscape and Beat Bullying
There's the National Bullying Helpline
And there are friends and family
Many options
Just pick one

Sunday, 18 November 2012

#365 photoproject day 330

Title: sleepy heads after a very late no-sleep sleepover
Date: 17th November 2012
Location: sleeping bags

#365 photoproject day 329

Title: friends chatting and walking
Date: 16th November 2012
Location: on the way home from school

What makes a church?

What makes a church?
Is the question I ask
If you tried to answer
How'd you rise to the task?

Is it the building
Ancient and old?
Is it the bibles
With stories long told?

Is it the cross
The symbol of faith?
Is it the seats
Filling the place?

Is it the prayer
Asking and thanking?
Is it the worship
Singing and praising?

Is it the windows
With pictures contained?
Is it the icons
Ancient and stained?

Is it the hymns
Popular or not?
Is it the choir
A talented lot?

What do you think?
Are there any you'd loose?
For me it's none
Of them that I'd choose

What makes a church
For me I've no doubt
It's the people, the community
The love, inside and out

Friday, 16 November 2012

The littlest things

This week for Share your life it's all about the littlest things.

For Rachel one of the most important littlest things is having me spend a bit of time doing her hair exactly as she wants it. This might sound easy, but she often invents something far too complicated for the time available; and of course the shorter we are on time the more complex her plans become.

The back bunch or plait

The side plait

The bun (usually a crazy bun)

The grips in the hair

And then there's the top half plait which is a current favourite

There is sometimes an attempt at a french plait but I can't get that to work in any way which lasts more than an hour so I try to avoid that option. What matters to Rachel is that I make time to do her hair exactly the way she wants and take a photo to show her how it looks. Some days it's not easy to put aside the other things I need to do on the way out the door, but I know it means the world to her, so I do.

What are your littlest things?


Every day

My life's not perfect
I make mistakes
But what gives you the right
To tell me how to do it?
I'm trying my very best
Looking at myself
It isn't pleasant but
I'm trying, trust me
Every day is a challenge
Every day takes its toll
Every day I do the best I can
Every day I try not to fall
You think you have the answers
Can walk in my shoes
But you've no idea
What it's like being me, you don't
I'm changing every day
It might be slowly but it's there
One day you'll see me transform
I only need your care
Every day is a challenge
Every day takes its toll
Every day I do the best I can
Every day I try not to fall


This poem is written in the style of a song as we were prompted today at Real Toads Poetry.
the imaginary garden with real toads

Be a REAL friend

This week Refuge launched a video at that aims to help you to know what to do if a friend ever disloses they are being abused so you can support them well.

It's one of the hardest things to support a friend who is suffering at the hands of someone they love; and we all know what affect it might have on our friendship if we get it wrong.   Which is why Refuge has provided this amazing resource.

So please, if you think a friend is in need, help them.

Fifteen Shades of Grey

When I was young
Life was straightforward
Either black or white
Rarely ever awkward

Then I grew up
Life became complicated
What was the truth
Who was liked?  Who was hated?

Through the years of confusion
I tripped back and forth
Sometimes knowing clearly
Often changing course

Part of maturing
Is learning about grey
About the middle ground
And how to find your way

It's not always easy
It'd be easier with clear rules
But life's never like that
So we need help and tools

Living with the grey
Means accepting what is
Not judging or expecting
Just letting it fizz

In that fizz is real life
With it's beauty and shades
Learning to enjoy it
Helps you appreciate ALL days

This poem is linked up and inspired by a prompt at Poetry United

Don't complain; Do something #childreninneed

I was searching Twitter this morning to try and find out if there was a hashtag for children in need and was shocked by the number of tweets that were something like:

"Why isn't my school doing something for children in need?"

Perhaps because you didn't ask;
now there's a thought.

Rachel wanted to go pyjamas for children in need and so she asked her head teacher.  She then had to write a proposal for school council which I helped her with and .... bingo!   Today the whole school came in in their pyjamas and they'll raise about £400 for children in need.

Please stop complaining and start doing something yourself.   It's not all someone else's job to sort out.

Rachel wrote a poem about children in need which is on her blog, please go see it and leave a comment for her.