by Brian Moses

Young children know what it's like
to play with stars.

First of all it's a wink and a smile
from some distant constellation,
then it's hide and seek as they disappear
in a cover of cloud.
Sometimes children see how far
they can travel to a star
before familiar voices call them
home to bed.

Like all good games, of course,
you need to use a little imagination
when playing with stars.
More experienced players
can jump over stars
or shake down a star.
Some can trap them in butterfly nets,
but you should always let them loose again.
Stars grow pale and die if you cage them.

Sometimes the stars tell stories
of their journeys across the sky
and sometimes they stay silent.
At these times children may travel themselves,
wandering a line that unravels 
through their dreams.
At these times too the stars play their own games,
falling from the sky when there's no one there
to catch them.

Sometimes you find these stars on the ground,
dazed and confused. Be warned though:
even fallen stars may be hot to touch.

Young children know what it's like
to rescue stars, to hold them gently
in gloved hands and then,
with one almighty fling,
sling them back to the sky.

Adults forget what it's like
to play with stars,
and when children offer to teach them
they're far too busy.

"I was in a school once, talking and reading some poems to very young children. I asked the group what games they like playing, and one girl answered, 'I like playing with stars.' That idea was a gift and I knew I'd be writing something." 

Brian Moses on the inspiration behind 'Playing with Stars'


Yesterday marked the twenty-first birthday of National Poetry Day, and to celebrate this occasion, the theme was Light.   

 Macmillan Children’s Books and the Forward Art Foundation nominated twelve poets – extraordinary poets who spend their lives thinking of fresh ways to make their words resonate – as National Poetry Day Ambassadors. The best of their freshly composed poems on the subject of light are available to download as a free ebook: Light: A National Poetry Day Book.

'Playing with Stars' by Brian Moses is featured in the ebook. 

Download Light: A National Poetry Day Book now


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