The Bath

There once was a small toddler, just two or three years old,
And though he loved to sing and dance and laugh,
His very fav’rite pastime, his hobby number one
Was dropping random things into the bath.

He’d splash in tubs of butter. He’d splosh in tubes of paint.
He’d dunk his toys, his books and several rocks.
And when, at last, his Mom or Dad came ambling up the stairs,
They’d see the bath three-quarters full of socks.

“Oh Christopher,” they’d mumble, grabbing cans of peas and beans,
“Why do love to make such dreadful mess?”
But all young Chris would do was point and open up his mouth.
“I made,” was all he’d say, no more, no less.

But then one day, he hit that age when words weren’t such a chore.
His Mom took in his mess, her eyes adroop.
“Oh Christopher, why are you such a nuisance,”  Mom just moaned.
“But Mom!” said Chris, eyes sparkling. “I made soup!”

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Very Hot Days

When it’s very very hot, not simply warm or fine,
When leaves are dry and roads could fry an egg,
When everyone gets pink or red, even in the shade,
And drips of sweat all trickle down your leg,

When it’s so very very hot that everyone is quiet,
And it’s too hot to put it into words,
Have you ever stopped to wonder, when looking at the sky,
Have you ever asked, “My gosh! Where are the birds?”

You’ll notice when it’s sweltering, the air is lacking songs
As much as it lacks breeze or drops of rain.
It’s cos the birds are smart – they make a plan for days like this
So they don’t have to whinge and sweat in pain.

The birds, you see, they organize. They make a cunning scheme.
They all fly out to sea and sit on boats.
They dip and dive to cool their beaks, they splash among the waves,
They gently land on water and they float.

So next time it is stifling, the next time it is fierce,
The next time that you’re baking to the core,
Just think of all the seagulls, the sparrows and the doves,
Sitting, sipping sodas, on the shore.

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The Worst Bag Ever

I had a nasty habit, my teacher always said,
Of losing notes and books and hats and snacks.
She’d pass us out permission forms when it was half past three,
And tell us, “Put them straight into your packs”.

But by the time my Mum and Dad were asking ‘bout my day,
My notes and books were nearly always gone,
The next day, I’d ask sheepishly to have the note again,
My teacher would just stare at me in scorn.

“Why Billy Jones, you’ll lose your very head, one day,” she’d say.
I simply nodded, staring at my shoes.
I felt so bad. I tried so hard, but things just disappeared!
The missing things brought on a case of blues.

Then one day, Thomas Mitchell handed me an envelope.
“An invite to my party!” he said, glad.
I placed it, oh so carefully, inside my backpack then,
Cos if I lost it, that would make me sad.

Lo and behold, just thirty minutes later, at my house,
I could not find the invite. Not at all!
I rummaged, looked and fossicked, I leaned into my bag,
And soon I felt myself begin to fall.

The world went dark. It all went quiet. I landed with a Plonk!
I opened up my eyes. And all around,
Were notes and books and crackers, old bananas and a shoe,
In piles and piles and piles upon the ground.

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“My goodness!” I exclaimed. “Where am I? What are all these things?”
“Oh Billy,” said a voice, “I’m glad you’re here.
You see, your backpack’s magic, that’s why your notes and snacks
And toys and old bananas disappear.”

“What do I do?” I asked the voice. “I hate when all my stuff
Goes missing. And my parents hate it too!”
“That’s easy,” said the voice. “Your backpack’s magic—that is clear.
So all you need’s another one. Brand new.”

So shortly after, I got all my pocket money out.
I bought a brand new bag for school and sports.
My magic backpack never held another note or book.
From now on? It was just for bad reports.

Super Eraser

One boring Christmas morning, I opened up my gift.
With just one present left under the tree,
I once again grew solemn, and sad that we were poor.
Why were there never lovely gifts for me?

My gift was just a ruler, two pencils and two pens,
A small eraser and a pencil case.
My mom, who worked long hours, wrapped me in her arms,
When she saw disappointment on my face.

“I’m sorry, Spud, I know it’s hard, I wish we could have more,
But things have been a little tight this year.”
She held my arms and leant right back, a twinkle in her eye,
Then leaned back in and whispered in my ear:

“I think that the eraser, while looking simply plain,
Is quite a bit more special than you think.
I won it in a raffle. It’s cutting-edge and smart.
It rubs out more than pencil lines and ink.”

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I tested what Mum said then. I went in to my room.
It rubbed out pencil, pen, and even more.
You see, I tried it out in a corner of the room…
It rubbed the very carpet off the floor!

I moved up to the window. Outside there was some trash.
Some broken chairs and boxes – a whole load.
I rubbed it on the glass and opened up my eyes in shock.
Now no more junk was piled up on the road!

The next hour was a whirlwind of laughs and smiles and fun
As I found all the things I could erase.
The rubbish – gone! The dishes – clean! The weeds all disappeared!
I cleared them all in an eraser craze!

Then suddenly, I stopped, breathed in, and found a secret place
To keep my new eraser safe and sound.
I didn’t want to run it out. I’d use it wisely now.
I’d save it for Mum’s stressed-out worried frown.

I’d keep it for my sister’s tears, for when she scraped her knees,
Or when she felt upset or sick or sad.
I sidled up to Mum and hugged her tight and long and warm.
“Thanks Mum. It’s the best gift I’ve ever had.”

Earphones

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Have you ever sat out in the sun or walked along a road,
Seen adult after adult walking by,
And wondered why these people all had earphones in their ears,
What music were they list’ning to, and why?

Left and right they walk like drones along the city streets,
They’re all plugged in on buses and on planes.
You see them fixing cords at crossings, loosening their knots,
You see them all plugged in, in seats, on trains.

It turns out it’s not music that they’re listening to at all.
It turns out it’s not jazz, or rock, or rave.
You see, these plugged-in adults that are blending in quite well
Are robots that need training to behave.

If you take out their earphones, they’ll forget to go to work.
Forget to tie their shoes. Forget their pants.
If you take out their earphones, they’ll try to munch on dirt,
They’ll water all their friends and talk to plants!

So if you don’t want robot people licking your front door
You don’t want your great-grandma rudely hugged,
You don’t want robot people racing carts through every mall,
Don’t ever let those earphones be unplugged!

Shadow Jack

I have an Uncle Jimmy. He is a hairy man.
He has a very long and bushy beard.
And just last week at dinner, I gazed into its depths
And – oh my gosh – a pair of eyes appeared.

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“Oh! Look!” I shouted loudly. “There’s something in your beard!”
Uncle Jimmy winked and smiled back.
“I know,” he whispered softly. “A creature lives in there.”
“He likes the dark. I’ve named him Shadow Jack.”

“Is Shadow Jack a monster? Does he bite? Should I be scared?”
My mind was racing. Was he telling fibs?
“No, he is quite harmless. But when it’s dark and late,
He crawls right out and tickles all my ribs.”

This whole time, Mum and Dad had been out plating up our food.
They bought in trays of sausages and pie.
My Uncle Jim said nothing, so then I said nothing too.
Besides, they’d think that it was all a lie.

I sat while we ate slowly. I watched as Uncle Jim
Dropped several peas right down into his beard,
I had to clamp my mouth shut then as merely seconds passed,
And one by one the peas all disappeared.

When Mum and Dad got up to take the empty plates away,
All Uncle Jack said was, “You’ll understand.
This sort of thing is normal. It happens to us all.
You’ll get a creature too when you’re a man.”

And from then on I never saw his Shadow Jack again.
I grew up and, despite what Jim had said,
I never had a creature come and live inside MY beard.
Because I shaved my chin each day instead!

Mess Fairies

Mess Fairies

Now something kids like you and I are told when we are young
Is that after we have lost one of our teeth,
We put it in our bed, we put our pillow down on top,
And a Fairy takes it out from underneath.

Because we know the Tooth Fairy is nice (she leaves us cash),
We come to think that all Fairies are kind,
But Mums and Dads don’t let us know that some of them are bad:
They leave a mess—not shiny coins—behind.

We’ve all collapsed in bed and left our bedrooms spick and span
But woken up with toys all strewn about.
We’ve put our clothes away and tucked our socks and shirts in drawers,
But when we wake up, all of them are out!

At first, I thought perhaps I had just dreamed I’d tidied up.
I sighed but once more cleaned and swept and packed.
But then, I got suspicious! I got a camera,
And set it up to catch them in the act!

The cheeky little Sprites had had a party in my shelves,
They’d thrown my toys and teddies from their box.
They’d tipped my jars of pencils, they’d opened every drawer,
Unrolled and mismatched all my pairs of socks.

So late that night I waited, in the dark, a torch in reach
I held the proof—a photo—in my hand.
And when once more the naughty Fairies came in through the door,
My torch came on. Their jaws dropped. It was grand.

“Now listen!” I said forcefully. “This mess has got to stop.
I’m sick of cleaning up. I’ve had enough.
From now on,” I said, holding up the photo, “You’ll come back,
And every night you will clean up my stuff!”

And that, my friends, is how I went from tidying non-stop
To never cleaning up a drawer or shelf.
So if you think your Mess Fairies are messing up your room,
Perhaps it’s time to catch them out yourself.