Drip, drip, drip from the twigs and the leaves,
Drop, drop, drop from the drain-pipe and the eaves,
Plip, plip, plip making dimples in the sand,
Plap, plap, plap in the palm of my hand.
Driplets on the petal tips,
Droplets on the grass,
A-glistening in the sunlight
When the rain cloud has passed.   

   Paul King


Buzzing bees, buzzing bees,
Buzzing and bumbling from flower to flower,
Sucking sweet nectar out of the bloom,
To fill with gold your honeycomb bower.

 Paul King




One tired tortoise
Plodding in the Karoo,
He bumped into another one
And that made two.

Two tired tortoises
Resting by a tree,
Along came another one
And that made three.

Three tired tortoises
With feet feeling sore
Along came another one
And that made four.

Four tired tortoises
Just trying to survive,
Along came another one
And that made five.

Five tired tortoises
In a thirsty fix,
Along came another one
And that made six.

Six tired tortoises
Wished they were in Devon,
Along came another one
And that made seven.

Seven tired tortoises
Getting quite irate,
Along came another one
And that made eight.

Eight tired tortoises
Starting to decline,
Along came another one
And that made nine.

Nine tired tortoises
Prayed and said ‘Amen’,
Along came another one
And that made ten.

Ten tired tortoises drinking at a well,
Then each one yawned and said Goodnight
And slipped into his shell.

Paul King


2 tiny tadpoles swimming near the shore,
up swam another two and that made 4.
4 tiny tadpoles playing naughty tricks,
up swam another two and that made 6.
6 tiny tadpoles in a giddy state,
up swam another two and that made 8.
8 tiny tadpoles found a little den,
up swam another two and that made 10.
10 tiny tadpoles in the mud did delve,
up swam another two and that made 12.
12 tiny tadpoles wriggling just for fun,
One called out, “There’s the stork!”,
.  .  . And then there were none. 

[because they'd all hidden, not because they were all eaten!]

Paul King



[Hold beanbag in right hand, throw in a rainbow-shaped arc over the head and catch in left hand.   4 throws for each line.]


Red, and orange, and yellow, and green:
The rainbow’s seven colours have a bright shiny sheen.
Light blue, indigo, and violet all told.
At the end of the rainbow is a pot of gold.

                                                      Paul King



Peck, peck, peck,
Peck, peck, peck,
The hens in the yard go
Peck, peck, peck.
First one, second one,
Third one, fourth one,
Pecking round the dish
Till the grain’s all gone.

 Paul King

[For the exercise of circling the beanbag around the waist.   One complete circuit per line]


Round the coppice
Round the trees,
Round the woods
With the rustling leaves;
Round the tree trunk,
Round the stem:
Round about
And home again.

                                                          Paul King


Left and Right were going to fight,
They crossed their swords in the middle of the night.
Left and Right were equally strong.
Left and Right were equally wrong!
Left and Right grew tired of the fight,
So they all shook hands and said Good-night.

Paul King


The Lion and the Mouse
       (after Aesop)
Lion lies sleeping, silent and still,
Along comes a mouse and thinks he’s a hill.
Up the great body the little mouse goes,
Through mane, across ear, and down Lion’s nose.
But Lion wakes up and gives a great roar,
Catches poor Mouse in his long cruel claw.
“How dare you walk over your king and your lord!
For this only death shall be your reward.”
The little mouse shivers and shudders with fright,
Tries hard to think how to put things a-right.
“Forgive my mistake, mighty Lion, I pray,
And I promise to help you too some day.”
At this Lion laughs and shakes to and fro,
But he’s now in good humour and lets the mouse go.
Days come and days go, and some hunters pass by
Who set a great lion-trap cunning and sly.
Lion walks in, unaware of the threat,
And suddenly finds himself caught in a net.
Frustrated he roars with wrath and despair;
Little Mouse hears how he’s caught in a snare.
She remembers her promise and runs without pause
To the spot where the Lion so rages and roars.
Her sharp little teeth set to gnawing the rope,
Thread after thread, now the Lion feels hope.
Soon there’s a hole and the Lion is freed.
The Mouse has kept her promise indeed!

                                                                                Paul King

The Fox and the Crow
    (after Aesop)
A coal-black crow sits in a tree,
A morsel of cheese in his beak has he.
A fox slinks by as sly as you please,
And cunningly plots how to get the cheese.
“Oh how I admire your feathers so spry,
The sheen of your tail and the glint of your eye,
The elegant curve of your beak sharp and long -
But would I could hear your sweet voice raised in song!”
At this the crow’s flattered and quite taken in;
To impress the fox further he will now begin.
He throws back his head, and rasping and raw,
He utters a raucous, cacophonous “Caw!”
With beak all agape, the cheese tumbles out,
The fox snaps it up in his long pointed snout.
“Sing, Crow, your vanity, long as you please.
You keep your song, and I’ll have the cheese!”

  Paul King

For Tessa

The Sun and the North wind

(after Aesop)

Said the boastful Wind to the Sun one day,

“I'm stronger than you in every way.

When I rage and I roar, I roil up the seas,

I rattle the rooftops and topple the trees.

My power is great!” he said with glee,

“And greater than yours as any can see.”

The Sun disagreed. . .

Says the Wind, “Then a contest to prove the case

I will now propose and so save face:

See, below is a traveller in cloak of grey,

Who walks the road as he winds his way.

Let's see which of us can summon the power

To get off his cloak within the hour!”

The Sun agreed. . .

“Me first!” said the Wind and pushed to the fore

And with mighty breath he began to roar.

He blew up a blast, he gusted a gale,

He huffed and he puffed, but to no avail.

He tried yet again with all his might,

But the traveller gripped his cloak so tight,

And wrapping it tighter around him he strode

With head bent low, down the gusty road.

With a huff the Wind conceded defeat,

And now the Sun the challenge must meet.

Out of the broad and deep blue sky

The Sun shone down with kindly eye.

He shone with power and gentle might

Filling the earth with Life and Light.

With warming ray and warming glow

He shone on the traveller there below.

He shone, and the traveller loosened his hold,

He shone, and the traveller opened the fold,

He shone, and the traveller untied the knot,

And at last doffed his cloak for the climb had grown hot.

The North Wind pulled a prodigious pout,

He puffed and spluttered but saw no way out.

The Wind had lost and had been outdone

By the great and glorious golden Sun!

Paul King

The Pine Tree and the Reed

“You are small and weak,” the pine tree said
To the swaying reed by the stream below,
“Whereas I am stately, high above you,
And have far more to show!”
The reed was silent.   But soon after this
A gale began to bluster and blurt.
The rigid pine tree snapped in the wind,
But the pliant reed bent unhurt.

Paul King

Not a fable

Chatterford Market


Cabbage and carrots,
Beetroot and beans,
Spinach and sprouts,
Marrows and greens:
All of the freshest
Crispy and spry,
At Chatterford market,
Buy!  Come buy!
Lettuce and leeks,
Pumpkin and peas,
Cherries and berries
And lemons to squeeze.

There’s big yellow cheese
And honey from bees
And all sorts of teas
From bushes and trees,
And cakes and pies
To feast the eyes,
Pies and pasties of every size.
There are things we all know
And things that surprise
At Chatterford Market
Under the skies.

Paul King

Acorn and Oak

“Oh I’ll never be big,” the acorn said
As it gazed on high to the oak tree tall,
“I’m little and round as a miller’s thumb,
I’ll never be big, I’ll always be small.”
The oak tree smiled a knowing smile,
“My trunk is thick, and my roots are deep,
My branches and twigs spread high and wide,
For birds to nest in, and bugs to sleep.
But I was an acorn too on a time,
- ‘Oh I’ll never be big, I’ll never be strong,’-
That’s what I thought many years ago...
 And, dear little acorn, you see I was wrong!”

Paul King

The little bird sighed, “Oh me, oh my!
How they will laugh if I try to fly.
If I flutter and flop, or tumble and fall,
Will the creatures all laugh at me, clumsy and small?”
But the sun shone down with a kindly face
“Just try and soon you will fly with grace.”
The bird practised hard never minding to fall,
And now the great eagle flies highest of all.

Paul King





Building and Measruement

Speech exercises


The potter sits at his potter’s stool
And the wheel turns round on its stand,
Upon it he throws a lump of clay
Which wobbles and bumps in his hand.
Slowly and surely he centres the clay
Till it’s steady and ready to form:
Only by finding a centre still
Can a pot of clay be born.

Paul King


See the weaver sit at her loom,
Quietly humming the weaving tune.
The shuttle flies from left to right,
Swift as a swallow darting in flight.
Through the warp and the weft her busy hands go,
Under and over, now to and now fro,
Weaving a pattern of dark and of light,
Till a weavework is finished of joy and delight.

Paul King


Tubal Cain was a man of might,
He hammered tools from iron bright,
With fire ablaze from his bellows strong,
He worked with a will the whole day long.
With a clash and a clang on the anvil he rang,
With each hammer-struck blow falling true,
Till he’d forged from the fire, for all folk to admire,
A bright sword-blade and ploughshares new.

Paul King


Before her wooden spinning wheel
The maiden spins her woolen thread,
Busily turns the spindle spool,
Quick her fingers, light her tread.
Wheel is whirring, humming, stirring,
Turn the fleece and gently pull,
Spindle spinning, spool o’er-brimming
Thus the fleece is spun to wool.

Paul King

The Village Blacksmith

Under a spreading chestnut-tree
The village smithy stands;
The smith, a mighty man is he,
With large and sinewy hands;
And the muscles of his brawny arms
Are strong as iron bands.
His hair is crisp, and black and long,
His face is like the tan;
His brow is wet with honest sweat,
He earns whate’er he can.
And looks the whole world in the face,
For he owes not any man.
Week in, week out, from morn till night,
You can hear his bellows blow;
You can hear him swing his heavy sledge,
With measured beat and slow.
Like a sexton ringing the village bell,
When the evening sun is low.

And children coming home from school
Look in at the open door;
They love to see the flaming forge,
And hear the bellows roar,
And catch the burning sparks that fly
Like chaff from a threshing floor.
Toiling - rejoicing - sorrowing,
Onward through life he goes;
Each morning sees some task begun,
Each evening sees it close.
Something attempted, something done,
Has earned a night’s repose.
Thanks to thee, my worthy friend,
For the lesson thou has taught!
Thus at the flaming forge of life
Our fortunes must be wrought;
Thus on its sounding anvil shaped
Each burning deed and thought!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


  Jabal Tames the Stallion

 The stallion runs wild and tramples the plain
 With mad staring eyes, and wild tossing mane,
 No-one could tame him with rope or with thong,
 Till Jabal came by, determined and strong.
With a wish and a whoop brave Jabal leapt high
And onto the horse with a jubilant cry.
The stallion kicked and bucked all around
And Jabal soon tumbled and crashed to the ground.
But Jabal’s undaunted and soon has a plan
To catch the wild galloping horse if he can.
He drops from a branch to the white back below
And clings for dear life as he’s tossed to and fro.
The stallion whinnies and snorts out with rage,
He bucks and he tosses and runs the rampage,
He shakes his wild mane and his hooves beat the air,
But Jabal holds tight and will never forbear.
At last the horse plunges and rolls with a will,
But Jabal can wrestle and holds the beast still.
At last he is calm, and tamed in the end,
To plough and to carry and be a true friend.

Paul King

I Will Go with my Father A-ploughing

I will go with my father a-ploughing
To the green field by the sea,
And the rooks and the crows and the seagulls
Will come flocking after me.
I will sing to the patient horses
With the lark in the white of the air,
And my father will sing the plough song
That blesses the cleaving share.

I will go with my father a-reaping
To the brown field by the sea,
And the geese and the crows and the children
Will come flocking after me.
I will sing to the weary reapers
With the wren in the heat of the sun,
And my father will sing the scythe song
That joys for the harvest done.

Seosamh Maccathmhaoil

I will go with my father a-sowing
To the red field by the sea,
And the rooks and the gulls and the starlings
Will come flocking after me.
I will sing to the striding sowers
With the finch on the flowering sloe,
And my father will sing the seed song
That only the wise men know.

Johnny's Farm

 Johnny had a little dove,  coo, coo, coo.
Johnny had a little mill,  clack, clack, clack.
Johnny had a little cow, moo, moo, moo.
Johnny had a little duck, quack, quack, quack.
Coo, coo;  clack, clack;  moo, moo;  quack, quack;
Down on Johnny’s little farm.
Johnny had a little hen, cluck, cluck, cluck.
Johnny had a little crow, caw, caw, caw.
Johnny had a little pig, chook, chook, chook.
Johnny had a little donkey, haw, haw, haw.
Coo, coo;  clack, clack;  moo, moo;  quack, quack;
Cluck, cluck;  caw, caw;  chook, chook;  haw, haw;
Down on Johnny’s little farm.
Johnny had a little dog, bow, wow, wow.
Johnny had a little lamb, baa, baa, baa.
Johnny had a little son, now, now, now!
Johnny had a little wife, ha!  ha!! ha!!!
Coo, coo;  clack, clack;  moo, moo;  quack, quack;
Cluck, cluck;  caw, caw;  chook, chook;  haw, haw;
Bow-wow;  baa, baa;  now, now;  ha! ha!!
Down on Johnny’s little farm.


The Wind

The wind is a fellow to sport and to play,
He’ll billow and bellow and bluster all day,
He’s up from the hillside and over the lea,
He’s airy, contrary, and quick as can be.
“No-one can catch me!” he boasts with a shout,
But in the millsails his mistake he’ll find out!
Just harness him there and he’ll give you his power
To grind all your harvested wheatgrain to flour.

Paul King

Building and Measurement

Farmer, Miller and Baker

The farmer ploughs and furrows the field,
And sows the seed for the harvest’s yield.
Earth, sun, wind and rain,
Swell the seed and ripen the grain.
The reapers reap and gather the wheat,
The miller grinds it to flour sweet,
The baker bakes it to golden bread
By which our body is nourished and fed.
Farmer, miller and baker true,
Bring forth the bread for me and you.
In every loaf their labour lies
Blessed by earth and sun-filled skies.

Paul King

Lovely Things 

Bread is a lovely thing to eat -
God bless the barley and the wheat!
A lovely thing to breathe is air -
God bless the sunshine everywhere!
The earth’s a lovely place to know -
God bless the folks that come and go!
Alive’s a lovely thing to be -
Giver of life - we say - bless Thee!




“Oh build for me builder
A house of my own,
With plank and with timber,
With tiling and stone;
A solid foundation,
Four walls stout and thick,
A roof of good oak beam,
And chimney of brick.”
“Yes, I’ll build you a house,
The best that I can,
But the measurements true
I’ll need for the plan.

How deep the foundation?
What height for the wall?
What length for the rooms,
And the passage and hall?
How high is the chimney?
How wide are the floors?
How broad is the staircase?
How narrow the doors?
Give me the measure
To build your house right:
The width and the length,
The depth and the height.”

 Paul King

(Nouns and Verbs For Class 2 or 3 Grammar)

Of all the things I can know and love,
Like the earth below and the sky above,
The wind in the trees
And the waves of the sea:
All these the noun will name for me.

    The dolphin, the whale and fishes bright,
    The lark at dawn, and the owl of the night,
    The fox in his den,
    And the buck that springs:
    The naming noun will name these things.


        Of all the things that as deeds are done,
        I can leap or linger, romp and run,
        I can weep salt tears,
        And chuckle with glee:
        And these the doing verbs decree.


            I live, I learn, I wish for, I work,
            But if a good deed I would lazily shirk,
            Then a charm I can say
            The good to fulfill:

                        I can,
                        I should,
                        I want to,
                        I will!

 Paul King 

Speech Exercises

Oh build me a bower where I may abide
And rest me in stillness and peace.

Mile after mile through the meadow,
The millsteam meanders along,

Meeting and merging and mingling,
The mallows and shallows among.

Deep in the earth, when days are darkest
Dwells the summer's dawn.

Now the night is nigh its noon,
Gnomes go nimbly 'neath the moon.

Goodly Gabriel guards the gate.

Gleeful goblins gather the gold.

I found a fish in a fountain pool
With fins a fine as a filigree fan.

Homeward we hie with a happy heart.

Two diggers digging a ditch
Down in the dales of Dorset.

Poems for Classes 1 to 3


Deep in the kingdom there spreads a great forest,
Deep in the forest a mountain soars high;
Deep in the mountain a high vaulted cavern,
Secret and solemn, where fools may not pry.
Deep in the cavern there stands a great granite,
Solid and silent and strong as the earth;
Deep in the granite there glistens and gleams
A radiant jewel of wondrous worth.  

Paul King  

Winter and Spring

Cruel winter froze the stream,
Made all things hard with ice and snow.
The creatures shivered, the flowers died,
Nothing could live, and nothing could grow.
Then came summer’s kindly warmth,
The sun shone down with love and light.
The hard ice cracked and melted away
And life bloomed again in colours bright.

Paul King  

The Lighthouse

Out in the bay there’s a lighthouse,
On an island of rock on its own.
The mighty waves buffet its boulders
And the winds howl around it and moan.
But so firmly it stands on the granite,
Undaunted by wind or by sea,
And its bright beam sweeps through the stormy night
To bring the ships safe to the quay.

Paul King  

How Beautiful the World Is

How beautiful the world is,
How blue the sky above,
How green the grass in the morning dew,
How musical the dove.
Eyes to see the colours bright,
Ears for music of delight,
Nose to smell the fragrant rose,
Skin to feel the breeze that blows.
How beautiful the world is,
How blue the sky above,
God is there in all creation
Flowing forth in light and love.

Paul King  

The Hunter’s Aim  

The hunter walks out in the bush alone,
His wife and children are hungry at home.
With arrow and bow he must try his luck,
And at last he spies a still grazing  buck.
O hunter, aim your arrow with care!
Keep your eye on the target there!
Pay no heed to the birds as they pass,
Pay no heed to the wind in the grass,
Pay no heed to the buzz of the flies,
Nor to the jackal’s far-off cries.
Concentrate on the arrow and aim....
That’s how the good hunter comes home with the game.

Paul King  

A head I have for thinking deeply,
Listening, and learning, and looking with care.
Hands I have for work and creating
With fingers skillful to make and repair.
In my heart I can carry the sun
Shining with love for everyone.

Paul King  

Traditional fun Rhymes with Sounds

The Little Brown Bulb 

The little brown bulb lies quiet and warm,
Sheltered from wind and sheltered from storm.
“Awake, Little Bulb,” call the rain and the sun,
            “Wake and unfold
            Your green and your gold,
            For winter is done. 

Paul King

The song of the stars resounds in the heavens,
The song of the sun awakens the day,
The song of my heart is the sun in my soul,
And I’ll listen, and listen, to what it can say. 

Paul King

From Wibbleton to Wobbleton is fifteen miles,
From Wobbleton to Wibbleton is fifteen miles,
From Wibbleton to Wobbleton,
From Wobbleton to Wibbleton,
From Wibbleton to Wobbleton is fifteen miles.


There was an old woman
Tossed up in a basket,
Seventeen times as high as the moon,
And where she was going,
I could not but ask it,
For in her hand she carried a broom.
“Old woman, old woman, old woman,” quoth I,
“Oh whither, oh whither, oh whither so high?”
“To sweep the cobwebs off the sky!”
“May I go with you?”   “Aye, by and by.”



Hickory, dickory, dare,
The pig flew up in the air.
A man in brown
Brought him down
Hickory, dickory, dare.           

The Robin’s Song

 God bless the field and bless the furrow,
Stream and branch and rabbit burrow,
Hill and stone and flower and tree,
From Bristol town to Wetherby -
Bless the sun and bless the sleet,
Bless the land and bless the street,
Bless the night and bless the day,
From Somerset and all the way
To the meadows of Cathay;
Bless the minnow, bless the whale,
Bless the rainbow and the hail,
Bless the nest and bless the leaf,
Bless the righteous and the thief,
Bless the wing and bless the fin,
Bless the air I travel in,
Bless the mill and bless the mouse,
Bless the miller’s bricken house,
Bless the earth and bless the sea,
God bless you and God bless me!

             Old English Rhyme

Higglety, pigglety, pop!
The dog has eaten the mop;
The pig’s in a hurry,
The cat’s in a flurry,
Higglety, pigglety, pop!

Hoddley, poddley, puddle and fogs,
Cats are to marry the poodle dogs;
Cats in blue jackets and dogs in red hats,
What will become of the mice and the rats?

Tumbling Jack goes clickety-clack,
Down the ladder and then comes back,
Clickety-clack, rattle and hop,
Over and down again, flipperty-flop!

Tod the Dwarf (or the Thinker)

Tod the dwarf sat all alone

On his favourite thinking-stone,

He thought of this and thought of that

Undernearth his thinking-hat.

And when he'd long thought in this wise

He grunted once and nodded twice.

Then knit his brow and sunk his chin

And thought it all through once agin.

Paul King