Poem of the Week 95


Warsan Shire


I think I brought the war with me

on my skin, a shroud

circling my skull, matter under my nails.

It sits at my feet while I watch TV.

I hear its damp breath in the background

of every phone call. I feel it sleeping

between us in the bed. It lathers

my back in the shower. It presses

itself against me at the bathroom sink.

At night, it passes me the pills, it holds

my hand, I never meet its gaze.


Poem of the Week 94


Edip Cansever

Translated from the Turkish by Julia Clare Tillinghast & Richard Tillinghast



A man filled with the gladness of living

Put his keys on the table,

Put flowers in a copper bowl there.

He put his eggs and milk on the table.

He put there the light that came in through the window,

Sound of a bicycle, sound of a spinning wheel.

The softness of bread and weather he put there.

On the table the man put

Things that happened in his mind.

What he wanted to do in life,

He put that there.

Those he loved, those he didn’t love,

The man put them on the table too.

Three times three make nine:

The man put nine on the table.

He was next to the window next to the sky;

He reached out and placed on the table endlessness.

So many days he had wanted to drink a beer!

He put on the table the pouring of that beer.

He placed there his sleep and his wakefulness;

His hunger and his fullness he put there.


Now that’s what I call a table!

It didn’t complain at all about the load.

It wobbled once or twice, then stood firm.

The man kept piling things on.

Poem of the Week 93

I Love the Look of Words

Maya Angelou


Popcorn leaps, popping from the floor

of a hot black skillet

and into my mouth.

Black words leap,

snapping from the white

page. Rushing into my eyes. Sliding

into my brain which gobbles them

the way my tongue and teeth

chomp the buttered popcorn.


When I have stopped reading,

ideas from the words stay stuck

in my mind, like the sweet

smell of butter perfuming my

fingers long after the popcorn

is finished.

I love the book and the look of words

the weight of ideas that popped into my mind

I love the tracks

of new thinking in my mind.

Poem of the Week 92

We Refugees

Benjamin Zephaniah


I come from a musical place

Where they shoot me for my song

And my brother has been tortured

By my brother in my land.


I come from a beautiful place

Where they hate my shade of skin

They don’t like the way I pray

And they ban free poetry.


I come from a beautiful place

Where girls cannot go to school

There you are told what to believe

And even young boys must grow beards.


I come from a great old forest

I think it is now a field

And the people I once knew

Are not there now.


We can all be refugees

Nobody is safe,

All it takes is a mad leader

Or no rain to bring forth food,

We can all be refugees

We can all be told to go,

We can be hated by someone

For being someone.


I come from a beautiful place

Where the valley floods each year

And each year the hurricane tells us

That we must keep moving on.


I come from an ancient place

All my family were born there

And I would like to go there

But I really want to live.


I come from a sunny, sandy place

Where tourists go to darken skin

And dealers like to sell guns there

I just can’t tell you what’s the price.



I am told I have no country now

I am told I am a lie

I am told that modern history books

May forget my name.


We can all be refugees

Sometimes it only takes a day,

Sometimes it only takes a handshake

Or a paper that is signed.

We all came from refugees

Nobody simply just appeared,

Nobody’s here without a struggle,

And why should we live in fear

Of the weather or the troubles?

We all came here from somewhere.

Poem of the Week 91

Poet’s Tree

Shel Silverstein



Underneath the poet tree

Come and rest awhile with me,

And watch the way the word-web weaves

Between the shady story leaves.

The branches of the poet tree

Reach from the mountains to the sea.

So come and dream, or come and climb –

Just don’t get hit by falling rhymes.


Poem of the Week 90

A Good Poem

Roger McGough


I like a good poem,

one with lots of fighting

in it. Blood, and the

clanging of armour. Poems


against Scotland are good,

and poems that defeat

the French with crossbows.

I don’t like poems that


aren’t about anything.

Sonnets are wet and

a waste of time.

Also poems that don’t


know how to rhyme.

If I was a poem

I’d play football and

get picked for England.

Poem of the Week 89

The Homework Machine

Shel Silverstein



The Homework Machine,

Oh, the Homework Machine,

Most perfect

contraption that’s ever been seen.

Just put in your homework,

then drop in a dime,

Snap on the switch, and in ten seconds’ time,

Your homework comes out, quick and clean as can be.

Here it is— ‘nine plus four?’ and the answer is ‘three.’


Oh me . . .

I guess it’s not as perfect

As I thought it would be.

Poem of the Week 88

I Met a Dragon Face to Face

Jack Prelutsky


I met a dragon face to face

the year when I was ten,

I took a trip to outer space,

I braved a pirate’s den,

I wrestled with a wicked troll,

and fought a great white shark,

I trailed a rabbit down a hole,

I hunted for a snark.


I stowed aboard a submarine,

I opened magic doors,

I travelled in a time machine,

and searched for dinosaurs,

I climbed atop a giant’s head,

I found a pot of gold,

I did all this in books I read

when I was ten years old.

Poem of the Week 87

All the World’s a Stage

(As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII)

William Shakespeare



All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players:

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.

And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel,

And shining morning face, creeping like snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,

In fair round belly with good capon lin’d,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slipper’d pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,

His youthful hose, well sav’d, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion,

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.

Poem of the Week 86

Garden Rhyme

Phil Rampton


One pot.

Two seeds.

Three flowers.

Four bees.

Five hives.

Six trees.

Seven branches.

Eight leaves.

Nine birds.

Ten nests.

Eleven worms.

Twelve pests.

Thirteen gardens.

Fourteen sheds.

Fifteen weeds in flower beds.

Sixteen rows of peas and beans.

Seventeen plots of spinach and greens.

Eighteen mowers.

Nineteen hoses.

Twenty greenfly on twenty roses.