A New Friend/The Enchanted Garden – Children’s Poetry

Hi Everyone,

I’ve left it a long time again haven’t I? That wasn’t my intention and I hope to post more regularly now.  I have a few new poems to share with you, I just need to get around to posting them.   The poems I’m sharing today continue on my fantasy theme.

Here is the first:

 

A New Friend

A dragon appeared in my bedroom, one day.
He came to the window and said “Can I stay?”
He was no bigger than a box of toys,
And he said he was friendly to girls and boys.
So I let him stay. how could I not,
When he promised he’d magic me a great big yacht?
I made him a den in a box with some straw,
And told him to promise not to roar.
He told me he couldn’t roar or breathe fire,
But he said that he was a really good flier.
“In that case,” I said “take me for a ride,”
So he shrank me down and we flew outside.
So there I was on a magic dragons back,
When suddenly I found myself under attack.
Some funny creatures were firing balls at me.
I lost my balance as one hit my knee.
But just as I thought would fall to the ground,
I heard a kind of rumbling sound.
My dragon was trying to roar it seemed.
The funny creatures looked and screamed.
I thought they were goblins but I couldn’t quite see.
Before I knew it I was being pulled to safety
The dragon tugged at me with all the strength he could muster.
And that was when I decided to name him Buster.
Now he is my hero, so little but so strong.
With Buster by my side, I can’t go wrong.

                                                                  

                                                                     Jen Elvy

The poem was inspired by a picture I found on Pinterest.  Annoyingly, I can’t find this picture anywhere so it must have been removed.   It was an illustration depicting a small girl with a smaller dragon.  Although, I see a boy more as the narrator of my poem with a dragon bigger than the one in the picture but that’s what often happens.  My mind deviates from what is originally shown.   The dragon is named Buster as a tribute to a dragon created by my husband in the popular game, Final Fantasy.

My second poem was also inspired by a picture.  Here is the poem:

The Enchanted Garden

When you enter the enchanted garden,
You’ll hear the tinkling of a bell.

There’s a glistening lake full of waterfalls
And a magical wishing well

Flowers of all different colours
Lie amongst the lush green grass.

Be sure to pick a few
As you wander past.

For they are enchanted,
They grow back straight away.

So you can pick a whole bunch
And make the perfect bouquet

If you come at night time,
Everything is beautifully lit

There’s even a shiny red toadstool,
Where they say the fairy folk sit

When you enter the enchanted garden,
You’ll be in for a sensory treat.

And if you come at a certain time of day
Who knows who you might meet!

Jen Elvy

 

Here is the poem set against the picture that inspired it:e44a360eb212ad1cdf8fef5441fa8813

I hope you like my poems today.  I will be back with more later.

 

Jen xx

 

 

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Unicorns and Boasting – A Lesson/Workshop Idea

Hello everyone,

Lots on lately so I’m way behind with my posting.  Have a few more poems to share with you over the coming weeks but today I want to tell you about an experience I had last week.

I had the opportunity to share one of my poems with a class of children.  This was in an interview lesson, for a teaching post where I was required to teach a 30 minute lesson on a subject of my choice.

Here is the poem I shared with them (on this occasion I didn’t tell the children that it was a poem I had written):

My Unicorn

“My unicorn is silver.”
“My unicorn is gold.”
“My unicorn is kind.”
“My one does as he’s told.”
“My unicorn can do magic.”
“My unicorn can swim.”
“My unicorn does clever tricks.”
“Mine can sing a hymn.”
“My Unicorn can make a rainbow.”
“Mine can bring the sun.”
“My unicorn was in the grand national.”
“So was mine and he won.”
“I don’t care about your unicorn,
Mine is better than yours”
“I haven’t really got a unicorn, silly!
I’ve got dinosaurs!”

Jen Elvy

The children made some lovely comments on why they enjoyed the poem.  One child commented on the way that the two children in the poem were arguing and one child liked the way it rhymed.

The children’s task was to make up their own boasting poem in pairs about their pretend pet.   I had a little bag of mini cuddly toys to choose from, which the children loved and I gave them one per table, (each chosen by putting their hand in the bag).  If they really wanted to write about another animal, I gave them the option to do so.   Before the children set to work, I got them to come up with ideas orally, boasting to each other, and writing lines/key words on their whiteboards so they could remember them when they started to write.   Then after a while I encouraged them to begin writing their poem.  The children had some great ideas and used some lovely language too.  They didn’t get to finish their poems while I was there as time was limited but they wanted to come back to them later.

I loved the children’s enthusiasm and got a real buzz from how they responded to the poem and how they were keen to start writing their own.  I was limited to 30 minutes because of time constraints but this session could go on for an hour or so.

I would love to share more of my work with children and intend to do so very soon.   In the  meantime, feel free to use this idea in your own classroom with your own students.   If you do, let me know how you get on.

Thank you for reading,

Jen xx

If Heaven had a Phone – Connecting Through Shared Experiences

I have been very humbled with the response I have received on social media with my two recent poems about grief and loss.   Today I will share these poems and talk about the power of poetry to express feelings and ideas and to connect people through similar experiences.

The first of the two is one I wrote a few days ago while thinking of my dearly departed Dad and the songs he used to sing:

You miss the little things
The songs they sang
The jokes they told
The memories are always there
You never let them go
Onto them you hold
You remember precious moments
They make you happy
They make you sad
They may have left your life
But that they were in it
You are glad

                              Jen Elvy

Here, I experimented with a new rhyming structure,  making every 3rd line rhyme.   It came relatively easy,  poems from the heart often do, but the one bit I needed to polish was the last part.  I knew what I wanted to say and I knew I wanted to use the sad/glad rhyme.  It was just fitting the lines together so that they made sense and followed the structure of the poem.  I am pleased with the end result and it touched several others on my instagram and facebook pages.

I am thankful that I’ve had such a lovely response from writing about this very delicate topic.  My feelings about my Dad often make the words flow and others who have suffered similar losses have been able to relate to what I have written.   Many of us now have suffered loss and if we can connect through poetry then that is a blessing.   If my poem can comfort just one person then I’ve done ok.   If it can reach several, then even better. There was a line in a poem that touched me recently.  The poem is called “I Was With You” and it was written by Michael L Shutters.  The line is

I know every word you would say to me if we had another day”  

It honestly hadn’t occured to me that those who have left us know what we would say given one more moment.   We constantly wish for that extra day or even hour with them to tell them everything that we would have liked to when they were still with us.   Never had I thought that they might know what we would say already.   So that was a great comfort to me and I’m sure to others too.

Encouraged by my ability to reach out,  I also wrote this one. I will first share it with you in my normal format and then I will share the image I created:

If Heaven Had a Phone

If heaven had a phone
I would call you right away
And tell you that I miss you
Every single day

If heaven had a phone
There would be no end
I’d call you up and talk to you
Like I would an old friend

Each day you’re not here
And we cannot speak
It makes that one day
Feel like a whole week

It feels as though no one
Can calm my fears
If I could just call you
There’d be no more tears

If heaven had a phone
I wouldn’t know where to start
But I’d know for certain
We’d never really part

   Jen Elvy 

It’s not exactly a new concept as thousands have written it on social media and I imagine that there are other poems on this too but I wanted to write a poem about it myself.  While the first poem I shared I wrote straight off, I did a bit more ground work for this one.  I did some free writing on the subject to get my ideas, thoughts and feelings flowing.   During my free writing session I wrote the first verse of the poem.   It may be an obvious rhyme but I feel the line worked.   As I worked through the verses I found that each time, the first two lines were good but I didn’t like the second two lines so I started again using the better lines to build a rhyming poem.   Feeling that it was quite a good poem but maybe not my best work I posted it online.  I actually used an image I found on PINterest as a background and used a new app I’ve acquired , Over, to paste the poem onto the image. Here is the result:

heaven

I hope you like the image.  It is not entirely related to heaven having a phone as such but depicts steps to heaven beautifully.   Again, I am humbled by the reaction to this poem and everyone’s kind words.   Be assured I will continue to use poetry to share my feelings and emotions on this very delicate but important topic and I hope my words can be of some comfort.

Thank you for your continued support,

Jen x

Happy Place – A Series and a Workshop Idea

Today I want to share with you a series of poems that I recently wrote.   The first introduces the topic and is designed to get the reader thinking. The next two are responses to the poem.

Without further ado I will share the first of 3 poems on the topic “Happy Place”

Do you have a happy place
Where you like to go?
Somewhere you can seek out
In sun, rain or snow?

Do you have a happy place
Where you can hide out,
When life just gets too sticky
And you want to scream and shout?

Do you have a happy place?
Is it near or far?
Can you walk right to it?
Or do you need a car?

Or is your little happy place
Somewhere deep within,
Where you can reach your happy thoughts
And hear them dance and sing?

Jen Elvy

The poem is largely aimed at children and I would love to use it in a workshop at some point when working with children of primary school age.  If you work with children, maybe you want to use as an introduction and a stimulus for their poems about their happy place? If you do, let me know how you get on.   I decided to do a couple more poems on the topic.

Here is the first:

My happy place is a bench by a lake
Where time out for myself I can take
I sit peacefully and watch all the trees
Waving gently in the summer breeze
As I sit here my breathing slows
Left far behind are my troubles and woes
As the birds sing their song, I know they’re happy too
Maybe this could also be a happy place for you

                                                                Jen Elvy

And the next one:

My happy place is by the sea
Where the waves on the ocean talk to me
I sit with legs outstretched, sand gathers at my toes
And little by little my breathing slows
I’m as relaxed as can be as the waves draw near
Could it be that you have followed me here?

Jen Elvy

Personally, I don’t have just one happy place.  The second and third poems reflect possible happy places people could have and are not necessarily my choice. Or are they? They are certainly both idyllic scenes.  However, the narrator of the response poems is not necessarily me.   When my husband read the third poem he thought the last line sounded a bit like the narrator has a stalker.  This is not quite how I intended it.  The narrator is addressing the reader, wondering if they have followed them there and also want that happy place.  The fact that my husband read it a different way just shows how open to interpretation poems can be.  Who is the narrator talking to? does she think someone is following her? or is she simply inviting the reader to join her?  The latter is true for this poem.   I found it interesting that it was interpreted differently.  All different interpretations are welcome as far as my poetry is concerned.

If I used these poems in a workshop, I would start with the first one and maybe then invite the children to free-write about their happy place.  Then I would use the second and third poems as examples and then guide them to write their own versions.    I would love to do poetry workshops with children one day.   If you are reading this and you already do this,  I would love to hear from you about how you got started and your format.

I hope you all enjoyed the poems.   I will try not to leave it so late in between posts next time!

And I invite you to write your own happy place poem if you feel inclined to do so.

Thanks for reading,

Jen xx

One Day I’ll Be Bigger and Getting in the Zone

Hello everyone,

First I would like to share with you a poem I wrote last week when I had a bit of a creative buzz after a few days not having written any poetry.  I wrote 3 poems in one day.   One was in my previous blog post and one was on the Beefeater facebook page for a competition, and the last one is this one that I composed whilst I was settling my youngest son at bedtime:

One Day I’ll Be Bigger

I won’t always walk with a cute little toddle
I won’t always hold my arms out for a cuddle
I won’t always require a high chair to feed
One day I’ll be able to tell you what I need.

I won’t always moan when you have to shop
I won’t always run when you stay stop
I won’t always wriggle when you say “stay still”
One day I’ll be bigger, its true I will

You won’t always need to change my nappy
One day I’ll sleep all night and you’ll be happy
I won’t always stamp my feet and say “no”
One day I’ll be bigger and older I will grow

Until then I’ll need you to hold my hand
Talk to me and help me to understand
There will soon be more I’ll be able to do
And you’ll always be there to help me through

 

Jen Elvy

When you are a parent it often occurs to you how fast time is going and how quickly your children grow up. My youngest son is two and a half now but quite a young two and a half and hasn’t been as quick to reach his milestones than his older brother. (but who’s comparing!).  I sometimes think he’ll be a toddler forever but with the passing of time and seeing how much he’s growing and learning, I’m reminded that, of course one day he will be bigger and the toddler phase will be over.   As a parent I spend half the time wanting to speed up time and half the time wanting it to slow down or stand still for a moment.

It has been a while since I composed a poem whilst settling my son.  These days I often find that I have to be focused and relaxed before I start to write poetry.   It might be that my mind is wandering too much.  I know there are still poems in there, it’s just lately I have had to really be in the right frame of mind before I get them out.

What is the right frame of mind?

Well it’s hard to explain, but I have to be relaxed.  If my mind is buzzing too much with other things or I’m worried about something, I can’t focus on poetry but if I’m relaxed and happy and my mind is in a zone where it is open to new ideas then I find it easier to write.  I might read some poetry first or collect some rhyming strings.   Often I look at my ever growing Pinterest collection but I do find I get sidetracked with that these days.   After I’ve written a poem I feel an immense amount of satisfaction.  That in itself gets my mind buzzing, wanting to read or write more.  That is why, I think, that often I will produce several within a small space of time after having not produced any poems for a while.  This creative business is a funny thing.

What do you do to get into that zone?

Do you read some poems? Do you do a writing exercise? I’d love to hear your ideas!

I wanted also to mention a book I’ve been reading.    It is called What is Poetry? The Essential Guide to Reading and Writing Poems.  And it’s by Michael Rosen, a well loved Children’s Poet and a true inspiration.   The book is aimed at children and adults and talks about ways in which to appreciate poetry and also gives you ideas for writing poetry of your own.  A very worthwhile read in my opinion.

Thank you for reading and I’ll post again soon.

Jen xx

 

 

 

Meopham Infant School, Part 2: Playtime

I can see the school grounds like I was there only yesterday.  Its all so vivid in my mind.  I can see the little bank near the top of the playing field, by the classrooms.  The tree on the bank and the ramp beneath, that I used to pretend was a pool or a swamp.     Meopham Infant School was such a nuturing place to be and playtimes at that school will be clear in my memory.   It was where my imagination would really come to life.   I just had to dedicate a poem to my playtime memories:

The grounds were a haven of imagination and joy
For every little girl and boy
A tyre to bounce on or play a little game

(Mum gave me my own but it wasn’t the same)
Oh the excitement and the thrills

When we were told we could play on the hills
We used to make nests out of cuttings of grass

And pick loads of daisies to take back to class
You couldn’t use the field in winter time
But on the playground we played circle games and rhymes
There was so much to do, so many games to play

I’d love to be little again someday 

Jen Elvy

I could have said so much more.  There was a hopscotch in the middle of the playground and markings all around.  And the tyre? It was a huge tractor tyre that was extra bouncy and you could either bounce on it with one foot each side or play games around the edge. There was a rhyme game we used to play. Here is the rhyme:

Please Mr Crocodile, may we cross the water?
To see your lovely daughter
In a cup and saucer
Upside down! 

We used to walk around the edge whilst chanting this and one child would say “Only if you’re wearing…” and say a colour.  I can’t quite remember the next bit but I think the “crocodile” then chased the children who were wearing that colour.  Memory block there. But I remember the rhyme well.  That tyre deserves a poem of it’s own.

I have happy memories of the Junior school too and maybe I’ll write a poem about those days too one day but the infants school was special in that we were a separate school and a little community, everyone knowing each other and the teachers all knowing our names.   As I said, a nurturing place to be and where my imagination grew and developed.

If you are reading this and we went to the school together, you are part of my memories and I’ll always treasure the time we spent at that school and I hope I’ve revisited some great memories for you.

If you didn’t go to this school, I hope there’s something in my poem that makes you feel nostalgic, eg the mention of nest making and daisy chains will apply to any primary school, as might some other things I mention in the poem.

Thanks for reading,

Jen. xx

Meopham – the Next Installment

Finally I have completed my next Meopham poem.  The next in the series is about my first school.  It was known then as Meopham County Infant School, but now the Infants and Juniors have joined togther and a new building exists on the site. In fact, this happened very shortly after I left and now the former Infant building is the Helen Allison School.

However I have vivid memories of my time at Meopham Infant School.  It had a wonderful family atmosphere and my years there were among my best schooling years.    I only hope my sons will look back with fondness at their early years of school.

This poem was so difficult to start because there were so many memories! Where would I begin? Well in the end I decided to begin with that angle, as you will see.

I think I could almost write more poems about my memories here but I will start by sharing this one as it introduces early memories and my lovely teachers:

Meopham Infant School

Meopham Infant school, so precious to my heart
So many fond memories, I don’t know where to start
My first visit to the school I remember to this day

The Head Teacher greeted me warmly, then I had a play
On my very first day we had PE, we had the apparatus out
Jumping off stools onto mats was what PE was about
Mrs Colston was so kind, when I fell, she gave me a cuddle
She helped me sort things out when my head was in a muddle
Mrs Adshead was also lovely, with a soft northern voice
She’d give us work to do and when we finished we had free choice
Mrs Dunk was also awesome she prepared us for junior school
We had table leaders and show and tell, it was all so cool
Mrs Whitehead would play the piano and sings songs with us
Like round and round the village and the wheels on the bus
I just loved these precious first years, I cried at the end of term
There were so many children to play with, there was so much learn
So Mrs Colston Mrs Adshead, Mrs Whitehead and Mrs Dunk too
You gave me the very best start and for that I say Thank You

Jen Elvy

The last two lines were actually the first two I thought of, which was great as it gave me a close straight away.   I knew where the poem was leading. Then once I finally wrote the first two lines the rest came quite easily.

I hope you enjoy the poem, especially if you went to the school yourself.  It is true now that none of my schools exist now in the form they were back when I attended.  Most have new names or new uses for the buildings and two of those establishments were bulldozed and housing was built on the sights.

Things move on, I guess.

Thank you for reading,

Jen xx

 

A little plea: if anyone has any photographs of the Meopham Infant Building as it was in the Mid eighties, I would love to see them.  I might even cheekily ask if I could use one for this blog post.