Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The poems that follow this post were collected together by my colleague Gemma McGirr and myself when we worked with the Primary Curriculum Support Programme. They were collected for teachers to use as stimulus for children's process artwork during Halloween time - as a move away from work dominated by stencils and templates of pumpkins  and witches. Gemma unfortunately passed away last year and I have just published as article, as a tribute to her,  in InTouch , the journal of the Irish Nation Teachers' Organisation, suggesting how this collection might inspire children to produce individual, unique and personal art.

THE PLANET OF MARS by Shel Silverstein


On the planet of Mars

They have clothes just like ours

And they have the same shoes and same laces,

And they have the same charms and same graces,

And they have the same heads and same faces....

But not in the

Very same


When bedtime comes, I’ve heard it said,

Some children check beneath the bed.

They lose their sleep, they lose their hair,

In fear of monsters lying there.

But monsters I have always found

Are lots of fun to have around.

In fact there’s one under my bed

He’s very friendly, his name is Ted.

And Daniel, the dragon, has made his lair

In my toy box, over there.

In my top drawer, among the socks

Lives an eight-eyed squengie, whose name is Jock.

In the wardrobe, where it’s very dim

Lives Colin, but he’s never in.

Outside in our garden shed

Lives a monster I call Spongy Fred.

This monster’s name is Norma Hubbard

She hides inside the airing cupboard.

Jim, with a face like an alligator

Snuggles beside the radiator.

This in Nicola, covered in hair

She lurks in the shadows beneath the stair.

Lastly there’s Roger, I like him a lot

He lives inside our old tea pot.

So monsters, whether big or small

Needn’t frighten us at all.

Just remember to be polite

And don’t forget to say goodnight.

THE BOGEYMAN by Jack Prelutsky


In the desolate depths of a perilous place

The bogeyman lurks with a snarl on his face.

Never dare, never dare, to approach his dark lair

For he’s waiting ..... just get you.


He skulks in the shadows, relentless and wild

In his search for a tender, delectable child.

With his steely sharp claws and his slavering jaws

Oh, he’s waiting....just get you.


Many have entered his dreary domain

But not even one has been heard from again

They no doubt made a feast for the butchering beast

And he’s waiting....just get you.


In that sulphurous, sunless and sinister place

He’ll crumple your bones in his bogey embrace

Never, never go near, if you hold your life dear

For oh...what he’ll do....when he gets you!

CHECK by James Stephens


The night was creeping on the ground;

She crept, and did not make a sound.

Until she reached the tree, and then

She covered it, and stole again

Along the grass beside the wall,

I heard the rustle of her shawl

As she threw blackness everywhere

Upon the sky and ground and air,

And in the room where I was hid.

But no matter what she did

To everything that was without

She could not put my candle out

So I stared at the night, and she

Stared back, solemnly, at me.



If the water in your fishpond fizzes and foams,

And there’s giant teeth marks in the plastic gnomes,

You’ve found huge claw prints in the flower beds

And just caught sight of a two horned head.

Put a stick in your front lawn, with a piece of card on

Look out everybody – there’s a monster in the garden.


You haven’t seen the dustman for several weeks,

Haven’t seen the gasman who was looking for leaks.

Haven’t seen the paper girl, postman or plumber,

Haven’t seen the window cleaner since last Summer.

Don’t mean to be nasty. I do beg your pardon.

Look out everybody – there’s a monster in the garden.


One dark night it will move in downstairs,

Start living in the kitchen, take you unawares.

Frighten you, bite on you, with howls and roars,

It will crash about, smash about, push you out of doors.


Now listen to me neighbour, all of this is true.

It happened next door, now it’s happening to you.

There’s something nasty on the compost heap

Spends all day there, curled up asleep.

You don’t want your bones crunched or jarred on



JABBERWOCKY (an extract) by Lewis Carroll


‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves

Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;

All mimsy were the borogoves

And the mome raths outgrabe.


Beware the jabberwock my son

The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!

Beware the jubjub bird, and shun

The frumious bandersnatch!

BUILDING A DRAGON by Charles Thompson


Once I built a dragon, three times the size of you,

I made him out of cardboard and chicken wire and glue.

It took me weeks and weeks and weeks until I got him right.

I hid him in the loft by day and worked on him at night.

The cardboard came from boxes I asked the grocer for.

I borrowed tins of paint from Mr Brown next door.

It took me weeks and weeks and weeks (well, four at least – no five!)

And then I got a nasty shock, the dragon came alive.

It burst out through the roof – so I could see the stars,

Went crashing down the road and damaged several cars.

I’ve looked for him for weeks and weeks. Where did my dragon go?

If anyone has seen him, will they kindly let me know?