All poems © 1998, Tony Mitton
From: Plum
Publisher: Scholastic, London, 1998
ISBN: 0439364094

Instructions for growing poetry

(written on the back of a packet)

Shut your eyes.
Open your mind.
Look inside.
What do you find?
Something funny?
Something sad?
Something beautiful,
mysterious, mad?

Open your ears.
Listen well.
A word or phrase
begins to swell?
Catch its rhythm.
Hold its sound
Gently, slowly
roll it round.
Does it please you?
Does it tease you?
Does it ask
to grow and spread?
Now those little
words are sprouting
inside your head.


you may be small.
But one day
you'll be tall,
like me,
maybe taller.
You won't
fit into your bed.
Your hat
won't fit on your head.
Your feet
will fill up the floor.
You'll have to bend down
to come through the door.
You'll be able to reach
to the highest shelf,
(and I can't do that now,
Out in the country
the tallest trees
will scratch your ankles
and tickle your knees.
Up in the clouds,
yes, way up there,
the eagles will nest
in your craggy hair.
But they'd better soon find
a safer place
because soon your head
will be up in space.

So I hope you won't be too proud
to bend down
and say hello
to your old home-town.
And I hope it won't drive you
utterly mad
to visit your tiny
Mum and Dad.

Forbidden Poem

This poem is not for children.
Keep out!
There is a big oak door
in front of this poem.
It's locked.
And on the door is a notice
in big red letters.
It says: Any child who enters here
will never be the same again.

But what's this?
A key in the keyhole.
And what's more,
nobody's about.

"Go on. Look,"
says a little voice
inside your head.
"Surely a poem
cannot strike you dead?"

You turn the key.
The door swings wide.
And then you witness what's inside.

And from that day
You'll try in vain.
You'll never be the same again.

Secret passage

Inside this poem
is a secret door
You cannot see it
but it's there for sure.

Behind this word
is a little lever.
Take firm hold
and give a little heave,a

panel will open
to reveal a stair
leading down to...
I wonder where??

Down these steps
it's dark as night,
so take this torch
'cause we'll need some light.

Here at the bottom
is a dusty door.
This is getting interesting,
more and more...

Fumble at the wall,
find a little catch,
give a little tug,
release the latch,

give it a push,
the door creaks wide,
tread in carefully,
and you're inside.

Inside what?
Well, it's a sort of
vault full of all the things
you've ever thought of.

Now this is the kind
of adventure I love -
but what's that noise
on the page above?

Ulp, oh no...
come and have a look.
We've gone and got trapped here.
Someone's shut the book!

I wanna be a star

I wanna be a star.
I wanna go far.
I wanna drive around
in a big red car.
I said yeah yeah yeah
I wanna be a star.

I wannt be a hit.
I wanna be it.
I wanna see my name
all brightly lit.
I said yeah yeah yeah
I wanna be a hit.

I wanna be the scene.
I wanna be on the screen.
I wanna make the cover
of a magazine.
I wanna be the scene.

I wanna be a star
I wanna be a star.
But I've only got a job
in a burger bar -
so far...

The Alphabattle

The poet sat with writer's rage
and spilled his thought upon the page,
but as his pen flew swiftly writing
the wriggling letters fell to fighting.

A got axed and B got bent.
C got coshed. D took a dent.
E was erased while F took flight.
G got gored and H lost height.
I got inkstained. j was jerked.
K was kicked and L just lurked.
M got mangled. N got nailed.
O turned over. P just paled.
Q went queasy. R got rapped.
S got straightened. T got tapped.
U went under. V went vapid.
W wailed,
and X made an exit (rapid!)
Y just yelped and left the fray.
Z zipped off to run away.

No more letter. No more text.
the poet cried "Whatever next...?"
He shook his head and looked aghast,
but his readers murmured, "Peace at last!"