Poetry is John Rice's gift to children everywhere. If they like poems. If they like stories, he does that too - he's a great storyteller. But if they want a Nintendo, they need to look elsewhere.

Bearing A Grudge



Now I don’t bear a grudge against old Bobby Budge

      but he didn’t play fair and he cheated.

And although I’m a sport from the King’s own court,

      my revenge will be overheated.


By the hem of his coat may he fall from his boat

     and get eaten by forty fishes.

May he take a new job to make a few bob

     and end up washing the dishes.


May he fall downstairs and be eaten by bears

      when he wakes on Friday morning.

Let him slip on an eel, become a crocodile’s meal

      without a word of warning.


When on the coach to Crail may the handbrake fail

      and the bus car spill over the cliff.

May an angry old goat eat his brand new coat

      and his toes turn terribly stiff.


May his bed become boggy and his carpets all soggy

      when a flood pours over his floor.

May he never be warm and a hurricane storm

      blow a tree right through his door.


By the sole of his shoe may a huge kangaroo

      chase him miles across the outback.

May a bat bite his toes and a rat steal his nose

      and never ever give his snout back.


May every bad goblin from here to old Dublin

      plague him in sleep or awake.

May he work in all weathers, be tickled by feathers

      and have his eyeballs baked in a cake.


May a ghost from a grave give his head a close shave

      and throw all his hair in the ocean.

And may an old banshee from the town of Dundee

      feed him a poisonous potion.


May a troop of red ants creep into his pants

      and cause him to scream and scratch.

May a firework rocket go off in his pocket

      next time he lights a match.


May he shake and shiver when he falls in the river,

      and let a crab swim into his mouth.

May he plunge in a pool on his way home from school

      and the current carry him south.



John Rice


The author encourages parents, teachers and librarians to read the poems to children and young people. However, the poems are copyright John Rice 2014 and cannot be reproduced without the express permission of the author.

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