Classes 4 to 5

Verses    Poems

abstract colours

Classes 1 to 3 (6-9 year olds) Classes 4 to 5 (9 to 11 year olds) Classes 6 to 7 (11 to 13 year olds)
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The flames of the bonfire flicker and flare,
Furling and curling they leap in the air,
Dizzy and dancing they flitter and flee,
Consuming and fuming and quick as can be.
The flame of the candle burns steady and slow,
In a halo of peace it will give you its glow.
It shines with a light unruffled and true -
A still flame a-gleam round a centre of blue.

Paul King

The splash and swirl of the water,
The rush and the roll of the breeze,
The crackle and hiss of the flickering fire,
The sigh and the soughing of trees:

The day is full of the language
Of the elements’ song that I love;
But at night I can hear the deep song of my heart,
And the music of bright stars above.

Paul King

I will be great, the acorn said,
But everyone laughed,
You're quite off your head!

I will be great, the little shoot knew,
But everyone jeered,
What, a pipsqueak like you!

I will be great, said the sapling green,
But everyone scoffed,
You can barely be seen!

I will be great, said the fine young tree,
And everyone mumbled,
We'll see, we'll see.

Now I am great, said the oak stout and tall,
And the trees all agreed,
You're the king of us all!

Paul King

Twixt earth and sky the mountain sits
Magnificent, mighty, massive and true,
With roots sunk deep in the secrets of earth
And summit ascending to heaven's bright blue.

Close to heaven in light-filled skies,
Close to earth and deeper than sea,
The mighty mountain speaks its worth
Silent and certain: This is me!

Paul King

Away sleep, away!
Hail lovely day!
We'll out into the world, me boys,
And brook no delay.
We'll work with a will,
Steadfast in skill:
In the wide, waking, wondrous world
We've deeds to fulfil!

Paul King

Through moonlit woods I wandered once
And came upon a silent lake,
Smooth round rocks beside its shore,
And there I sat to watch and wake.

Upon the water glittering bright
A thousand stars shone long and late.
Who made the stars in the firmament?. . .
He must indeed be great.

Paul King

In autumn the leaves wither and fall,
And summer is dead and done.
But on every twig a tiny bud
Gives promise of life to come.

Paul King
The Crown

Earth brought forth the rugged gold,
Fire and bellows made it fine;
And from the watery depths of sea
A moon-round pearl did softly shine.

And with that gold and moon-glow pearl,
The craft and care of skillful hands
Forged and fashioned a wondrous crown
To give the queen would rule those lands.

The golden circlet on her head,
The queen ruled well and steadfastly,
And never forgot her subjects true
Nor earth, and fire, and wind, and sea.

Paul King

Poems                                                                                      [back to top]

[In the days of the great sailing ships that voyaged to the East, one of the hazards of sea life was scurvy.   It was to address this problem that the Dutch East India Company set up a victualling station on the tip of Africa where fresh fruit and vegetables could be grown and give the sailors - as we would say it now - the vitamins they needed.   This victualling station became the city of Cape Town, and the bay on which it is built, named after the flat-topped Table Mountain behind it, is  Table Bay.]

The Fleet in Table Bay, 1700’s  

The mountain’s clear and stately
Above the town today,
And a fleet of Dutch East Indiamen
Is anchored in the bay.
In search of trade they sail the world,
To Eastern shores they go,
And a deal of bales and barrels
Is stacked and stowed below.
There are spices rare from Java,
And carvings from Japan,
Tea and silks from China
To sell in Amsterdam.

There are cups of finest porcelain,
Plate of blue and white,
Cinnamon and saffron
And nutmeg to delight.

Yes the cargo’s tight and tied, me boys,
Safely in the hold,
And in the captain’s cabin
Are chests of Eastern gold.
To Table Bay they come, me boys,
Sick with scurvy’s blight,
But good Cape fruit and good Cape wine,
Soon sets them all to right.

A week or two they’ll linger,
Then,“Homeward bound!” cry they,
And lift the anchors, set the sails,
And sail nor-west away.
                                     Paul King    




Grim and Gloomy

Oh, grim and gloomy,
So grim and gloomy
Are the caves beneath the sea.
Oh, rare but roomy
And bare and boomy,
Those salt sea caverns be.

Oh, slim and slimy
Or grey and grimy
Are the animals of the sea.
Salt and oozy
And safe and snoozy
The caves where those animals be.

Hark to the shuffling,
Huge and snuffling,
Ravenous, cavernous, great sea-beasts!
But fair and fabulous,
Gay and fabulous are their feasts.
Ah, but the queen of the sea,
The querulous, perilous sea!
How the curls of her tresses
The pearls on her dresses,
Sway and swirl in the waves,
How cosy and dozy,
How sweet ring-a-rosy
Her bower in the deep-sea caves!

Oh, rare but roomy
And bare and boomy
Those caverns under the sea,
And grave and grandiose,
Safe and sandiose
The dens of her denizens be.

James Reeves


[Anyone who has ever had to wash out a porridge pot will be able to identify with this!    J.A.Lindon has created some wonderful onomatapoeic words to describe the recalcitrant gunge, all of them a delight to say.]

Sink Song

Scouring out the porridge pot
Round and round and round!

Out with all the scraith and scoopery,
Life the eely ooly droopery,
Chase the glubbery slubbery gloopery
Round and round and round!

Out with all the doleful dithery,
Ladle out the slimy slithery,
Hunt and catch the hithery thithery,
Round and round and round!

Out with all the obbly gubbly,
On the stove it burns so bubbly,
Use the spoon and use it doubly,
Round and round and round.

J.A. Lindon



A couple of very twisty Tongue-Twisters

[Be warned, this one is a real challenge!]

Sheila Shorter

Sheila Shorter sought a suitor;
Sheila sought a suitor short.
Sheila's suitor's sure to suit her;
Short's the suitor Sheila sought!


A Fly and A Flea

A fly and a flea flew up in a flue.
Said the fly to the flea, "What shall we do?"
"Let's fly," said the flea.
"Let's flee," said the fly.
So they fluttered and flew up a flaw in the flue.


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