Leopard (WWF My True Nature Under 18s - Winner, 2011)
First, I took amber and fire
And I had his eyes.
Then I took sunset and dawn
And I had his coat.
I added charcoal and ink
And I had his spots.
Next I took needles and pins
And I had his claws.
Then I took strength and the stars
And I had his teeth.
I added leather and roses
And I had his tongue.
Next I took wire and sensitivity
And I had his whiskers.
Then I took rain and peaches
And I had his nose.
I added rope and balance
And I had his tail.
Next I took hardiness and a brain
And I had his head.
I took pride from the Lion,
Speed from the Cheetah,
Strength from the Ox...
And then I had him
I had the Leopard.
Vulnerable to extinction (Prickles & Paws Poetry Competition, 'Vulnerable to Extinction' - Winner 2021)
The buttery moon spills a creamy pool of light
On the blades of grass in the garden at night;
Illuminating the shadows, carapaces of beetles,
Slick, silver trails of slugs and snails.
It comes alive at night-fall – invertebrates
Crawling from underneath logs and stones,
Feasting on the unsuspecting gardener’s prize
Cabbage, lettuce, pansy, rose.
Inside, she watches from the porch,
Red cellophane covering her torch
Grasped tightly in small chubby hands:
“Where’s the hedgehog mummy?”
Stroking mousey brown hair, her mother
Gazes out into the garden –
the one she has known since she was young, and
lived here with her mother, father, brother.
She remembers when she was small:
The hedgehogs visiting the garden every day,
Keeping the hungry molluscs at bay
With snuffling, crunching, eating.
And now, she twiddles her thumbs,
Absent-mindedly – fearfully.
Shaking her head sadly – an admission,
We must save our hedgehogs: they are vulnerable to extinction.
Paddling (RGS Hullah Poetry Competition - Highly Commended, 2020)
Yellow boots, and a mackintosh;
With a hood slightly too big,
and sleeves slightly too short –
Her prized possession.
And then it rains.
The delight on her face,
As she peeps out from under her hood
and sees the building puddles.
It is her time.
And like a duck to water,
she runs from the house – and jumps…
Paddling has never been a toddler's thing.