slow as slurred speech
to allow a diluted light to fall on this town.
Commas of raindrops cling to branches
or drip from TV aerials.
Roofs gleam the way a flat lake would
on a summer evening.
The townsfolk creep along Main Street
wearing shabby clothes
and damaged expressions.
So much is unfamiliar in this town;
the irregular buildings, the cylindrical fells,
the baggy accent. A northern desolation
acting colourfully in some farcical charade.
A life as thin, as weak, as insubstantial
as the streaks of skeletal light.
got a drowsy chest and my toes are sneezing.
I can’t go to school ‘cause my tongue is itchy,
my elbow’s crooked and my funny bone’s twitchy.
I can’t go to school, my toenails are aching,
my kneecaps are tender and my kidneys are shaking.
I can’t go to school ‘cause I tend to forget,
my skull falls asleep then my teeth get upset.
I can’t go to school; my breakfast is filling me,
my belly’s all bubbly and this headache is killing me.
I can’t go to school – I’ve got nothing to talk about;
my tongue’s all twisted and my legs have gone walkabout.
I can’t go to school ‘cause my nose is too roomy,
my shins are in sorrow and my eyes are so gloomy.
I can’t go to school ‘cause my lips are kind-hearted,
my left leg is lumpy and my bones have departed.
I can’t go to school ‘cause my eyesight’s patchy,
my ears are disturbed and my big toe’s scratchy.
I can’t go to school ‘cause my blood’s become chewy
my feet are fine but my fingers bamboo-ey.
I can’t go to school ‘cause my chin is elsewhere,
my backside’s swollen and I’ve got sore hair.
I can’t go to school ‘cause my eyes are all puffy,
my throat’s got thinner and my bellybutton’s fluffy.
I just can’t go to school; I can’t take any more,
my brain has drained and my heart is sore.
I have a hand of metal,
I have a hand of clay,
I have two arms of granite
and a song for every day.
I have a foot of damson,
I have a foot of corn,
I have two legs of leaf-stalk
and a dance for every morn.
I have a dream of water,
I have a dream of snow,
I have a thought of wildfire
and a harp-string long and low.
I have an eye of silver,
I have an eye of gold,
I have a tongue of reed-grass
and a story to be told.
Copyright John Rice, 2014
This is one of my favourite poems. It has appeared in lots of anthologies and has been set to music and recorded by the wonderful Irish singer Padraigin Ni Uallachain on her CD called 'When I was Young: Children’s Songs from Ireland'. It’s a poem that tries to capture the essence of the Celtic cultural spirit as it mentions song, dance, storytelling and music.
Poetry Is Important: Very young babies adore nursery rhymes because they are rhythmic and repetitive.
As children get older, they begin to become fascinated by words and how they look and how they sound different from each other...words become quite attractive and interesting little machines!
Poetry allows us to experiment with rhythm and sound and also allows us to investigate language and meaning. Poetry is good for children just as porridge was good for Robert Burns!
What Makes Poetry So Cool?