Category Archives: Poetry

quidditch limerick – limerick challenge #26

My oldest son has been obsessed with Harry Potter since last Christmas when we gave him the first book in the series. Since then he’s taken every opportunity to give whatever he does a Harry Potter theme. He writes stories about  him, draws pictures, makes potions, he’s built a whole Harry Potter world on Minecraft… he even has an uncanny ability to make all his homework about Harry Potter!

He asked me to write a Harry Potter limerick for him a while back – which I did – but, of course, one wasn’t enough. More recently he set me the challenge of writing one about quidditch – the sport that is played in all the HP books. Don’t ask me why, but somehow it felt like cheating not to have that word at the end of the first line and thus part of the rhyme.

Quidditch match  - by my seven-year-old

Quidditch match – by my seven-year-old

But what rhymes with ‘quidditch’? You might be thinking.

What indeed:

The secret to winning at quidditch

Is eating a lot of fresh spinach

It will give you great speed

And the skills that you need

To administer major ass-kickage.

 

Ok, I didn’t exactly nail it. Try reading it out loud after a few glasses of wine though and the rhymes start to sound almost reasonable. Promise.

My son drew the picture – I think it’s his best yet! He wasn’t so convinced by the limerick – he liked the spinach rhyme but I had to explain what ‘ass-kickage’ was, which took away from the impact. He did award me marks for ‘trying really hard’ though. :)

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Since first publishing this post I ended up writing another quidditch limerick while engaged in a sort of ‘limerick-off’ (like a dance-off only involving emailed limericks rather than dancing!) with my uncle. I thought I’d share it here since it is even sillier than the first:

 

I once played the great sport of quidditch

With sea-creatures hailing from Redditch

The seals were sensational

The lobsters… crustaceanal

But all the fresh air made the squid itch.

 

Mini Creations

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Prose for Thought

limerick challenge #25 – tiger

At the weekend my sons asked me to write a limerick about a tiger. I foolishly thought it would be quite a straight-forward one to write but somehow, despite all the rhymes for ‘tiger’ I thought up, it was tough to make it into a limerick. The one I ended up with had several endings all of which my older son objected to as ‘too grisly’. This one might strike a chord for the modern-day mountaineer though…

 

There once was a plucky young tiger

Who scaled the north face of the Eiger

But her ‘look at me!’ tweet

To show off this feat

Wouldn’t send – drat! No service provider!

 

Tiger on the Eiger holding a smart phone. Helicopters are hovering above (I'd worried him with grizzly ending  you see so he was making sure the tiger got home safely.

Tiger on the Eiger holding a smart phone. Helicopters are hovering above (I’d worried him with grisly ending you see, so he was making sure the tiger got home safely).

And if you’re wondering about my alternative versions, I’ll throw this one in for free:

 

There once was a plucky young tiger

Who scaled the north face of the Eiger

Where she fell from the top

Landed SPLAT on her bot

And splattered her guts far and wide(er).

 

There was another one where she got eaten by vultures too!

The picture was drawn by my seven-year-old using some new pastels he’s got that are water-soluble, hence it looking a bit like a painting. He found it tough to get any detail with them but they were pretty fun to use – I had a go too!

I wonder if you can send a tweet from the top of the Eiger?
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Harry Potter limerick (limerick challenge #24)

Since we gave him the first Harry Potter book for Christmas, my seven-year-old son has been obsessed with all things ‘Harry’. He’s read the first three books repeatedly (he wants to read the fourth but I keep putting him off because lovely characters are murdered in it!) and seen the first two films, his bedroom wall is covered with the pictures he’s drawn of the characters and synopses he’s written of the books, and he also writes his own Harry Potter stories.

His love of the books has even rubbed off on his five-year-old brother who now also draws masses of Harry Potter pictures too and is valiantly wading through ‘The Philosophers Stone’ himself despite it being at the extreme outer limits of his reading ability.

Harry Potter and Dumbledore

By my five year old – On the left: Harry Potter dancing (above Hogwarts and the Hogwarts Express) and simultaneously kicking Voldemort while dementors fly above. On the right: Dumbledore.

Given all this, it was clear that my ‘Limerick Challenge‘ – where my sons choose a theme, I write a limerick and they illustrate it – was going to venture into Harry Potter territory at some point. This week it has. Here goes:

 

Harry Potter, a famous young wizard

Cast a spell to make light in a blizzard

But distracted by flakes

He made some mistakes

And turned himself into a lizard!

 

Harry Potter Lizard

By my 7-year-old: Harry Potter in a blizzard, accidentally transforming himself into a lizard.

In case you’re not acquainted with Harry Potter, a ‘spell to make light’ would be a ‘lumos’ spell. My seven-year-old decided that a lizard spell would be ‘liliros’ so hopefully you can see how, if caught in a swirling snowstorm, Harry might make this mistake.

As usual it’s silly, although it’s not one of my favourites I have to admit – I prefer writing weird ones about animals that talk and fart and try to get jobs on aeroplanes and, y’know, stuff like that- but there you have it. My boys were very pleased with it anyway!

Prose for Thought

yellow

When I saw that ‘The Prompt’ over at Mum Turned Mom this week was ‘Yellow’, I figured it might be time to give my daffodils poem another airing. I say ‘my’ daffodils poem but in actual fact it owes rather a lot to William Wordsworth  (since it’s a silly version of his poem ‘I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’) and a great deal to my granddad with whom I co-wrote it about twenty-five years ago! When I was a child the two of us would often write silly poetry together and this is one of my favourites. I can still remember sitting together one mealtime, throwing lines across the table and laughing at the ridiculousness of it all.

daffodils

I Wandered Lonely as a Puff of Smoke

I wandered lonely as a puff of smoke
That floats from a chimney and over the hills,
When all at once I saw a bloke,
Carrying a mass of daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Swaying along on rubbery knees.

His face was flushed as red as wine
With drooling mouth and vacant gaze,
He followed an erratic line
Staggering in a drunken daze.
Ten dozen saw I in his arms
Stolen I’m sure from nearby farms.

The waves frothed wildly at his heel
Yet he was far to drunk to see.
A passer-by could not but feel
A portion of anxiety.
I gazed and gazed then watched him take
A tumble deep into the lake.

When later on my couch he lay,
In much apologetic mood
Recalling how I’d had saved the day
He was struck with gratitude.
Yet to this day pure horror fills
Me at the sight of daffodils.

 
And in case that’s left you yearning for the original:
 

I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud

By William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

mumturnedmom

 

Nikki Young Writes

limerick challenge #23

It’s been a while since my last limerick challenge… nearly two months (I just checked)! The boys have been requesting I write another one for weeks but my brain has been far too taken up with editing my picture books. My manuscripts are out of my hands for the moment though, so I’m free for a bit of silly poetry.

This time my boys asked me to write a limerick about a ‘bird’ but I took the liberty of making it a swift because I’d already noticed that this week’s prompt was ‘gift’ and a rhyme leapt to mind! The illustration is courtesy of my seven-year old.

One day I encountered a swift

Who made me decidedly miffed

When from up in the sky

He aimed at my eye

And sent me a splattery gift!

 

Swift Gift

Prose for Thought
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Nikki Young Writes

what I’m writing – week twenty-three

typewriter butterflies badgeWelcome to week twenty-three of ‘What I’m Writing’. We had another great week over at Muddled Manuscript last Tuesday, despite half term making it hard for many people to find time to write! Thanks to everyone who joined in – I love reading your posts every week and all your comments on my posts too.

If you’re new here you might be wondering what #WhatImWriting is all about. You can find all the details here but the short version is my co-host Chrissie and I are both writers who love blogging about our writing processes and reading about those of others. Our linky is for all you fellow writers, poets, bloggers etc. out there to share posts about what you’re writing (and all your hopes and fears, triumphs and tears) with a group of people who understand what you’re going through.

We take turns to write a monthly roundup of posts. My December Round-up should give you a flavour of what we’ve all been up to recently if you want to catch up!

We’ve also just set up a private group on Facebook that all linkers are welcome to join. It’s somewhere we can share work and have a chat about all things writerly (and whatever else we fancy really). As it’s a ‘secret group’ it’s hidden until I send an invititation but I have sent them to all linkers – or at least I’ve meant to! We’ve had a few issues with people’s invitations going AWOL though (think they’re being eaten by the big mail cruncher in the sky) so if you’d like to join and haven’t received one just leave me a comment – thanks!

We welcome linkers old and new and if you’d like to join in there are just a few suggestions (‘rules’ feels too strong a word) for taking part:

  • Link up any post (old or new) that is to do with writing/blogging etc. 
  • Please either use our badge on the post (copy and paste the HTML code below) or link to whichever one of our blogs is hosting that week. We will share your post on Twitter in return.
  • Read and comment on as many other posts in the linky as you can. What I’m Writing has developed a lovely, supportive community and we’d love you to join in :)
  • If you’d like to tweet your post feel free to use the hashtag #WhatImWriting. If you tweet us a link to your post @writingbubble or @rantybeast then we will RT.

Over to you – please link up below! I look forward to reading your posts (I’ll be linking up too of course)!

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poetic challenge

All my writing projects have come to a bit of a halt recently (there’s been too much else going on and I’ve been struggling to focus) but I’ve been keeping my finger in the creative pie by trying a few writing challenges.

floating books sepia

I’ve already done a ‘ten to one‘ micro fiction and and A to Z story and my latest burst of creativity is an attempt at a 7x7x7x7 poem. The idea with this is to go to a book shelf, take the seventh book, turn to page seven and find the seventh sentence – this then becomes the first line of a seven line poem. Here’s mine:

 

Small neat ears and thick silky hair.

Huge limpid eyes that enrapture and stare.

My profile is noble; a cause of delight.

My cheeks are… all furry?! That doesn’t seem right!

And whiskers? And claws? What on earth can this mean?

Argh, No! A long tail! I think I might scream!

Oh thank f**k – it was only a dream.

 

The book was The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. As you might guess, that first line is a description of Rat. I ended up using that fact as inspiration for the whole poem (it could have gone anywhere really as it was a usefully vague description). I also managed to fit the poem in with this week’s prompt which was ‘Dream’ – thanks for the extra inspiration Sara!

mumturnedmom

 

Nikki Young Writes
Prose for Thought

writing picture books

I’m currently in the process of writing some picture books. I started writing them at different times and they’re at different stages of completion but this last week I’ve been working on all three of them at once. It’s been making me reflect on my creative process because although all three books are in rhyme and are a roughly similar length, writing each of them has been a very different experience.

frosted tree

The first book came at me out of nowhere. I wanted to write something for #ThePrompt over at MumTurnedMom and the theme that week was ‘Books’. When I sat down to write, the whole story appeared in a couple of hours. It just flowed and without any real effort I had a story about a girl who wouldn’t read. Of course, I’ve spent masses of time since editing it, re-editing it and editing it again but the entire story and structure basically happened in that first couple of hours of inspiration.

Book two actually came off the back of book one. There were a few lines (now edited out) where the girl read “Her latest book about a magic biscuit cook, whose fresh, enchanted custard creams were sure to give her sweetest dreams.” The lines didn’t make the cut but I rather liked the idea of a magic biscuit cook and decided to write a story about one.

This time round I had a reasonable idea of what the story would be before I started writing it. I also made a deliberate decision about the meter of the rhyme as I wanted it to be different from my first book. The story and the characters came into focus as I wrote it, but getting the first draft down was a lot harder work. I had to think about it and work it out and once I’d finished it I had several versions which were quite different in terms of length and story complexity. I’m currently trying to work out which version I prefer.

Book three is a whole different beast all together. The inspiration for this was my son responding to a question with “I’ve absolutely no idea”. For some reason this triggered in my head  the line “He’d absolutely no idea if aliens can even hear.” which in turn made me think ‘I know, I’ll write a book about a boy who meets some aliens!’ Of course the idea is hardly earth-shattering in originality so I then had a big think about what sort of book it would be (humorous but thoughtful) and what precisely would happen during the story in terms of key events and character development. At this point a few rhyming couplets popped into my head which gave the story its rhythm.

That was about two months ago and I’ve been writing it on and off ever since. It’s still nowhere near complete. It’s a very slow process (given the length that the finished piece will be) and I’m finding it really tricky. I’ve found myself wondering if it would be better in prose rather than verse… but then I’ve got little stretches of it that I love because of the rhythm and the pace the rhyme gives them. I have a funny feeling that if I can get this one right it will be the best of the three but I have no idea if I can pull it off at all.

So there you have it: three little stories with three very different creative processes.

Do you find your process differs between projects? What brings about the changes? Do you have a preferred way of working?

I’m sharing this with Friday Fiction as it’s the closest I’ll get to sharing extracts from any of these books! Also linking to the Wonderful World of Writing at Virtually All sorts.

Nikki Young Writes

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limerick challenge #22

“Have you stopped writing limericks Mummy? It’s been AGES since you did one!”

My seven-year-old was sort of right. I hadn’t written one for him or his brother since November. I did post a couple of limericks just before Christmas but I didn’t show them to my boys for fear it would ruin their image of Father Christmas!

Anyway, the answer to his question was “Of COURSE I still write limericks! What would you like me to write one about?”

His answer? “A pheasant.”. Here goes:

 

One Christmas, an unlucky pheasant

Was ill with a cold quite unpleasant

He coughed and he wheezed

Then explosively SNEEZED

Spraying globules of snot on his present.

 

pheasant kids drawing

Pheasant sneezing on a present (illustration by my seven-year-old).

My sons’ verdicts?

Five-year-old: “That’s disgustuling.” (Bonus points for new word.)

Seven-year-old: “D’you know that’s actually quite gross?”

They’re right of course, but then I never aim for high-brow when writing for kids. Perhaps I should next time?

Prose for Thought

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what I’m writing – week seventeen

typewriter butterflies badgeWelcome to week seventeen of ‘What I’m Writing’. We had a great start to the new year over at Chrissie’s blog last week with more linkers than ever before! It was great to catch up with our regular linkers on what their plans for the new year were and we were also pleased to see new faces too. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this year takes you all – the only way is up, yes?

So, If you’re new here you might be wondering what #WhatImWriting is all about. You can find all the details here but the short version is Chrissie and I are both writers who love blogging about our writing processes and reading about those of others. Our linky is for all you fellow writers, poets, bloggers etc. out there to share posts about what you’re writing (and all your hopes and fears, triumphs and tears) with a group of people who understand what you’re going through. September’s and October’s round-up posts (we take turns to write them every month) give you a flavour of the sorts of things we chat about. I posted December’s Round-up last week.

We’d love you to join in and there are just a few suggestions (‘rules’ feels too strong a word) for taking part:

  • Link up any post (old or new) that is to do with writing/blogging etc. 
  • Please either use our badge on the post (copy and paste the HTML code below) or link to whichever one of our blogs is hosting that week. We will share your post on Twitter in return.
  • Read and comment on as many other posts in the linky as you can. What I’m Writing has developed a lovely, supportive community and we’d love you to join in :)
  • If you’d like to tweet your post feel free to use the hashtag #WhatImWriting. If you tweet us a link to your post @writingbubble or @rantybeast then we will RT.

Over to you – please link up below! I look forward to reading your posts (I’ll be linking up too of course)!

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