Poems for National Poetry Day

27 September 2017

By Macmillan Children's Books

The theme for National Poetry Day 2017 is 'freedom'. Here are a few poems that celebrate one of the most powerful words in the English language.

Free as the Wind

By Liz Brownlee

It’s slight and likes
to infiltrate
makes supple grasses
susurrate

it’s heavy and ready
to hurricane
power the storm clouds
splatter the rain

it swirls in the sand
bends barleycorn
dances the flowers’ heads
round the lawn

it flattens the trees
clack-clatters the bins
rat-tatters in dreams
sets leaves into spins

it slivers in houses
to whistle and haunt
makes the bare branches
jazz–hand and jaunt
 
it batters and scatters
the litter around
grapples the shadows
for space on the ground
 
it smooths unsmooth stones
whips away words
scattering syllables
dishevelling birds
 
it cannot be summoned
or seen or confined
as restless as waiting
as careless as time
 
it gusts from a suddenness
cannot be pinned
for nothing is free as
as free as the wind

"I love that the wind’s essence is freedom of movement – it really is only movement, and the sounds that movement makes – and this was the inspiration for the poem." - Liz Brownlee

Download a free ebook full of poems, including Liz Brownlee's poem, inspired by this year's theme of 'freedom' here.
 

Something Told the Wild Geese 

By Rachel Field, from A Poem for Every Day of the Year
 
Something told the wild geese
   It was time to go.
Though the fields lay golden
   Something whispered, – ‘Snow.’
 
Leaves were green and stirring,
   Berries, lustre-glossed,
But beneath warm feathers
   Something cautioned, – ‘Frost.’

All the sagging orchards
   Steamed with amber spice,
But each wild breast stiffened
   At remembered Ice.

Something told the wild geese
   It was time to fly, –
Summer sun was on their wings,
   Winter in their cry.

A Poem for Every Day of the Year

A Poem for Every Day of the Year

A Poem For Every Day of the Year is a magnificent collection of 366 poems compiled by Allie Esiri, one to share on every day of the year. These poems are funny, thoughtful, inspiring, humbling, informative, quiet, loud, small, epic, peaceful, energetic, upbeat, motivating, and empowering!

Read extract  

Advice to Rapunzel

By Jan Dean, from Reaching the Stars.

Sort yourself out.
           Don’t hang around
           for someone else to rescue you.
 
Give yourself a trim.
           Pick up the scissors,
           it’s not rocket science.
 
Make a rope ladder.
           Twist one. Plait one. Improvise.
           Use your head for more than growing hair.
 
Escape.
           Secure the ladder
           Shimmy down and leg it.
 
Don’t look back.
           Get clean away
           Vamoose. Stay loose.
 
And learn your lesson.
           Staying put beneath a tyrant’s thumb
           is dumb.

Reaching the Stars: Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls

Reaching the Stars: Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls

This feisty collection of brand-new poems is a celebration of the achievements of women and girls throughout history. It includes poems about Malala Yousafzai, Rosa Parks, Margaret Hamilton, Ada Lovelace, Helen Keller, Mary Shelley, Edith Cavell and many more.

Read extract  

The Dream of Cabbage Caterpillars

By Libby Houston, from 101 Poems for Children Chosen by Carol Ann Duffy
 
There was no magic spell:
all of us, sleeping,
dreamed the same dream – a dream
that’s ours for the keeping.
 
In sunbeam or dripping rain,
sister by brother
we once roamed with glee
the leaves that our mother
 
laid us and left us on,
browsing our fill
of green cabbage, fresh cabbage,
thick cabbage, until
 
in the hammocks we hung
from the garden wall
came sleep, and the dream
that changed us all –

we had left our soft bodies,
the munching, the crawling,
to skim through the clear air
like white petals falling!

Just so, so we woke –
so to skip high as towers,
and dip now to sweet fuel
from trembling bright flowers.

101 Poems for Children Chosen by Carol Ann Duffy: A Laureate's Choice

101 Poems for Children Chosen by Carol Ann Duffy: A Laureate's Choice

Featuring such classic poems as 'The Owl and the Pussycat' by Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll's 'Jabberwocky' alongside Edwin Morgan's 'The Loch Ness Monster's Song' and 'Balloons' by Sylvia Plath, Carol Ann Duffy has chosen her favourite poems for children of all ages. With beautiful illustrations by Emily Gravett.

Read extract