Literature Resource

Poetry I might use in Primary classrooms

My Mind Is Full of Horrid Things; by Craig Christie
The Tale of Agnus Meep
My Pussy cat’s in Trouble

I Like These Poems; edited by Kay Webb
Upside Down
At the Sign of the Prancing Pony
Out Door Song
The End
At The Ning Nang Nong

Childs Dreaming; Kevin Gilbert and Eleanor Williams
Desert Pea
Little Butterfly

Poems and Prayers for the Very Young;
Marther Alexander
13) Peace to this house
14) Singing time
15) I’m Glad

Tree poems
1) Tree
2) Trees can not name the seasons.

My Mind Is Full of Horrid Things

Author: Craig Cheeriest
(Dellasta Pty Ltd,
164 Union Rd, Surry Hills
Victoria 3127.

The tale of Agnus Meep

Agnes Meep was sweet and mild,
She was thought a lovely child,
With leaping legs and golden curls,
Rosy cheeks and teeth like pearls.

It’s quite a shock to see her now,
So listen while I tell you how
She ended up a shattered wreck
While others copped it in the neck

It all began one fine weekend,
While staying over with a friend.
When Agnes first became exposed
To horror movie videos,
It was with Nell, a hardened case,
Who had habits rude and base.

Left alone by bad Nell’s folks,
Armed with chocolate chips and cokes,
The girls had both settled for the night
By the telly’s eerie light.

Poor Agnes was quite unprepared
To stay up so late, being scared.
The only shows she’d seen before
Were Disney films and nothing more.

At first she thought she’d die of fright
At that first film on that dark night
But slowly as the night progressed,
It seemed that she’d become possessed
By all the ghosts and ghouls and gore,
She wanted more and more and more.

Of walking dead and killer cars,
As well as chainsaw massacres.
They found their way into her brain
And Agnes now was not the same.

The next day when back in her home
she could not bear to be alone.
When asked “What’s wrong?”she simply spat,
Then ran outside to kick the cat.

Her face soon paled, her hair went limp,
She blew up like a walking blimp,
No more that sweet young lass was seen,
She’d stuff her face and watch the screen.
Sweet Agnes now no longer smiled,
She was a girl to be reviled,
A walking zombie she’d become,
The sorrow of her dad and mum.

So listen well to one who knows-
Beware of watching videos.

It has rhyme and rhythm and introduces modern language ie: ‘horror movie videos’, ‘watch the screen’, ‘armed with chocolate chips and coke’,although the children might find reading the long words rather difficult at k-2 level.The value of this poem is its humour and it also explores a relevant part of children's lives and invites further discussion about a number of issues such as: friendship, television and violence, diet, health and mental attitude.It could lead to a lesson on television, what children enjoy watching, what they don’t like and the value of t.v in general.

My Pussy Cat’s in Trouble.

My pussy cat’s in trouble
It really is a shame
The next door neighbours hate it
‘Cos it just killed their Great Dane
My pussy cat’s in trouble,
No more I’ll brush her coat,
The greedy Great Dane choked to death
When Puss stuck in its throat.

This is a funny poem I would use it in a situation where I feel the children can cope with this type of humour. It has good rhyme and rhythm as well and is short enough to be understood quickly and could be used when introducing a lesson on poetry.


I like to wear my dinner,
I think it’s really great.
It looks so nice adorning me
Instead of on a plate.

My nose is blocked with custard,
My face is smeared with eggs,
Behind my knees are corn and peas
I’ve mashed spuds on my legs.

I’ve neatly placed behind my ears
Spaghetti bolognese,
Down my fronts the finest soup
That I have had in days.

When I’m served some nice roast beef,
Which I prefer done rare’
I blend it with the Yorkshire pud
and rub it in my hair.
Mum says there’s more food on me
Than on the pantry shelf,
But then she should be patient
While I learn to feed myself.

Another humorous poem. I think it’s important to include humour in the daily lessons, it motivates the children and keeps them interested.This poem relates to food and hopefully also to children's sense of having grown out of that stage. After hearing this poem they may feel that making such a mess is a thing of the past and now they are ready for bigger and greater things.Other children may revert but most children will enjoy this poem.The writing still is difficult for k-2 level but it is useful to explore words and letters, Poetry can be used not only for learning to read and write but also to capture the children's imagination and make them interested in the power of words and how they can be used and this would be a useful poem to inspire children in the many uses of language.

I Like These Poems
Edited by Kay Webb
Penguin Books Australia Ltd
Rindwood Victoria Australia


Zing! goes the cymbal. Bang! goes the drum
See how they tipple-topple-tumbling come,
Dazing the country, dazzling the towns,
Here’s the procession of the circus clowns.

Hop on the heel and twist on the toe,
See how they wibble-wabble-waddling go.
Bim-bam-ballons in the clear blue air!
Clowns on the march to they-don’t know where

Painted-on smiles that are long and loud
Beam at the giggling-goggling crowd,
Under the paint do they grin so gay?
Nobody sees so I just can’t say.

Look how the clowns all a cantering come
Riding the donkeys with a hee-haw-hum.
Where have they come from? where do they go?
They kin-can’t say for they din-don’t know.

Margaret Mahy.

This poem has an excellent rhythm and good imagery. The words are interesting and have lots of different sounds. Some of them could be read by advanced level 2
classes.Children can become immersed in the feel of the poem and could easily sing along with this poem aswell as explore words and rhymes.

Upside down

It’s funny how beetles
and creatures like that
can walk upside down
as well as flat:

They crawl on a ceiling
and climb on a wall
with out any practice
or trouble at all,
While I have been trying
for a year(maybe more)
and I still can’t stand
with my head on the floor.

Aileen Fisher

Some one is talking about themself in this poem and comparing themself to other creatures which is what young children love to do.The words are fairly simple and an exercise in word recognition could be held using this poem. It also relates to the physical side of a child what they can or can’t do. It is short and sweet could be used to introduce a lesson on beetles or any nature lesson, or even a P.E lesson.

At the Sign of the Prancing Pony

There is an inn, a Merry old inn
beneath an old grey hill,
And there they brew a beer so brown
That the Man in the Moon himself came down
one night to drink his fill.

The ostler has a tipsy cat
that plays a five-stringed fiddle;
And up and down he runs his bow,
Now squeaking high, now purring low,
now sawing in the middle.

The land lord keeps a little dog
that is mighty fond of jokes;
When there’s good cheer among the guests,
He cocks an ear at all the jests
and laughs until he chokes.

They also keep a horned cow
as proud as any queen;
But music turns her head like ale,
And makes her wave her tufted tail
and dance upon the green.

And O! the rows of silver dishes
and the store of silver spoons!
For Sunday there's a special pair,
and these they polish up with care
on Saturday afternoons.

The Man in the Moon was drinking deep,
and the cat began to wail;
A dish and a spoon on the table danced,
The cow in the garden madly pranced,
and the little dog chased his tail.

The Man in the Moon took another mug,
and then rolled beneath his chair;
And there he dozed and dreamed of ale,
Till in the sky the stars were pale,
and dawn was in the air.

Then the ostler said to his tipsy cat;
‘”The white horses of the moon,
They neigh and champ their silver bits;
But the master’s been and drowned his wits,
and the Sun’ll be rising soon!’’

So the cat on his fiddle played hey-diddle-diddle,
a jig that would wake the dead.
He squeaked and sawed and quickened the tune,
While the landlord shook the Man in the Moon;
‘It’s after three!’ he said.

They rolled the Man slowly up the hill
and bundled him into the Moon,
While his horses galloped up in the rear,
And the cow came capering like a deer,
and a dish ran up with the spoon.

Now quicker the fiddle went deedle-dum-diddle;
the dog began to roar,
The cow and the horses stood on their heads;
The guests all bounded from their beds
and danced upon the floor.

With a ping and a pong the fiddle strings broke!
the cow jumped over the Moon,
And the little dog laughed to see such fun,
And the Saturday dish went off at a run
with the silver Sunday spoon.

The round Moon rolled behind the hill,
as the Sun raised up her head.
She hardly believed her fiery eyes;
For though it was day, to her surprise
they all went back to bed!


This poem may be very appealing to children with concentration and a good imagination. The words are beautiful and descriptive and the narrative has alot of depth. This poem may be the original version of the simple nursery rhyme taught to so many children (Hey Diddle diddle) And this may give the poem special meaning, ie it’s similarity. This poem could be taught over a number of weeks art projects and drama could also be an extension of this poem. The fact that it is written by Tolkien gives it special appeal as it is a good opportunity to introduce a quality author to children at a young age. This is a mellow and yet lively poem which would be a pleasure to use in the classroom.

Outdoor song

The more it
SNOWS - tiddely -pom
The more it
GOES - tiddely-pom
The more it
GOES - tiddely-pom

And nobody
KNOWS- tiddely-pom
How cold my
TOES - tiddely-pom
How cold my
TOES - tiddely-pom

A.A. Milne

This poem has good rhythm and highlighted rhyming words so it would be perfect for teaching children the structure of poetry. The repetitious use of words would make this poem possible for young readers to attempt to read. It would be useful in teaching the ‘ow’ and ‘oe’ sounds and the use of ‘o’ in general, there are alot of ‘o’s’ in this poem aswell as simple words and predictable and repetitive sounds that early readers could follow.

The End

When I was One,
I had just begun

When I was Two
I was nearly new.

When I was three
I was hardly Me.

When I was four
I was not much more.

When I was five
I was just alive.

But now I am Six, I’m as clever as clever.
So I think I’ll be six now for ever and ever.


This is a positive poem, good in that it is about a growing child , being clever, and has no gender bias. It is possible for an early reader to read, again there is a repetitious use of words with predictable rhyming words sounds are used well with different ways of writing the sounds and subtle differences between them to be explored. The numbers are in written form so this poem may be used for introducing written numbers in prose. Young children would be able to relate to it, they are often curious about their age and growing up.

On the Ning Nang Nong

On the Ning Nang Nong
Where the Cows go Bong!
And the Monkeys all say Boo!
There’s a Nong Nang Ning
Where the Trees go Ping!
And the tea pots Jibber Jabber Joo.
On the Nong Ning Nang
All the Mice go Clang!
And you just can’t catch ‘em when they do!
So it’s the Ning Nang Nong!
Cows go Bong!
Nong Nang Ning!
Trees go Ping!
Nong Ning Nang!
The mice go Clang!
What a noisy place to belong,
Is the Ning Nang Ning Nang Nong!!

Spike Milligan

So many children know and love this poem already through television and it does have an excellent plasticine animation to go with it. This poem would be alot of fun to use in the classroom. All the different ‘ing’ , ‘ang’, ‘ong’ sounds are perfect for teaching reading and the rest of the language is simple aswell and suitable for early readers. This poem has great rhythm as well as potential for art work. The students could write out their favourite line and draw a picture to it to make a class book, a good opportunity for expanding the imagination and being a bit silly as well. I could imagine a class of children singing it and having a wonderful time.



Childs Dreaming

Kevin Gilbert and Elenor Williams.
Hyland House Publishing Pty Ltd
10 Hyland Street
South Yarra
Victoria 3141

Desert Pea

I stared hard at the Desert Pea
it had two eyes it was plain to see
I blinked and winked then stared again
But it didn’t blink back at me.

I’m a little spider
merrily I spin
my silver threads
to make a web
for the house that I live in
My pretty circle pattern
sometimes agleam with dew
so please don’t break my nice house down
and I will spin for you.

Little Butterfly
Sleep little Butterfly
sleep in your cocoon
When you emerge tomorrow
you’ll fly away so soon.

Shake you wings and spread them
hold them proud and high
let your colours sparkle
with sunbeams as you fly.

These poems are by Kevin Gillbert an Aboriginal activist. I always like to include some work by Aboriginal people because I feel they have a lot to contribute to our interpretation of the Australian environment also to support Aboriginal students. These poems are sweet and involve us with nature. They are written from the perspective of the butterfly or spider or Stuart desert pea. Gillbert has written a number of these sorts of poems, I would use them in a science lesson, for inspiration for writing animal poems or drawing and for reading out aloud and having children talk about the poem and perhaps find key words and talk about some difficult words.

Songs and Poems for the Very Young
Marther Alexander
Random House Canada Ltd.

Peace be to this house.

Peace be to this house
And to all who dwell in it.
Peace be to them that enter
And to them that depart.

This is a good motto to have in the class room and could be shown at the beginning of the school year when talking about class rules and behaviour, It could also be referred to throughout the year. I could imagine doing a class project where all the students in the class contribute to writing this motto and having it displayed some where in the room as a reminder to be good.

Singing Time.
I wake in the morning early
And always, the very first thing,
I poke out my head and I sit up in bed
And I sing and I sing and I sing.

Rose Fyleman

I’m Glad
I’m glad the sky is painted blue,
And the earth is painted Green,
With such a lot of nice fresh air
All sandwiched in between.

These are both old fashioned, happy and simple childrens poems. They could be used in talking about feeling happy ie; what makes us feel happy and maybe what makes us feel sad. They are also very short and good be used in a unit on writing poetry. These are so short and manageable a child will see that they can write something short and sweet with a little rhyme to make a poem. These poems could be used as inspiration in a class poem writing activity. They can also be copied down for times when children need to simply practice writing.


bird home
leaf home
ant home
lizard home
seed shade
sheep shade
cow shade
horse shade
wallaby shade
people shade
ground shade
sun shade

a tree is a green umbrella
with brown bits

Jenny Boult

Some One is Flying Ballons
Australian Poems for Children
Jill Heylen, Celia Jellett
1983 Omnibus Bokks

Trees Cannot Name the seasons.

Trees cannot name the seasons
Nor flowers tell the time.
But when the sun shines
And they are charged with light,
They take a day-long breath..
What we call ‘night’
Is their soft exhalation.

And when joints creak yet again
and the dead skin of leaves falls,
Trees don’t complain
Nor mourn the passing of the hours.
What we call ‘winter’
Is simply hibernation.

And as continuation
Comes to them as no suprise
They feel no need to itemize
Nature has never needed reasons
For flowers to tell the time
Or trees put a name to seasons.

Roger Mc Gough

You at the back
Selected poems 1967-87
Penguin books Ltd

This is real
the creaking trees,
the sand blasted granite standing solid in the wind,
Man is but an instant
in the dunes.



Nude smooth and giant-huge,
the torso of the gums
hold up the vast dark cave
as the great moon comes.

Shock-headed black-boy stands,
with rigid, thrusting spear,
defiant and grotesque
against that glistening sphere.

In clenched, contorted birth
black banksias agonise;
out of the ferns and earth,
half-formed, beast-boulders rise;

because the Bush goes back
back to a time unknown;
chaos had not word,
nor image carved on stone.

Roland Robinson.