O is for Ostrich

My grandmother says that when she was a small girl in Africa,

She rode on an ostrich once.

She said they are very silly birds;

with nothing in their heads except feathers.


An ostrich is the only bird which can run very fast in several directions at once,

For no reason whatsoever.

Which is very confusing when you are sitting on their back

With your feet stuck under their armpits, hanging onto their wings for dear life.


I have absolutely no idea why she wanted to ride one in the first place.

But that’s grandmothers for you.




N is for No

No is not a nice word.

I don’t like it at all.

I much prefer yes.


As in, Yes, you can watch a bit more Netflix

or , Yes, you can have some sweets

or , Yes, you can go and explore the Amazon this afternoon –

but it does have its good points.


As in, No, there isn’t anything under the bed,

or, No, you don’t have to stay at the table

or, No, you don’t have school this morning.


I guess it’s what you make it, really.

M is for Money Spider


I found a tiny little spider the other day,

when I was making my usual tour of the skirting board.

It was really, really tiny; and it got very excited

running all over my hand.


My nana said it is called a money-spider,

because to see it brings you good luck.

I think she’s wrong.


I think that it is called a money spider because

somewhere in the dusty hidden spaces under the house

where we don’t go,

it has spun a huge web stretching from wall to wall,

and hanging from the web are hundreds of bright gold coins

shining in the dark like dewdrops.


One of these days,

if I can find the time,

I might go and have a look.

Just in case.

L is for Love

People talk about love all the time.

Love you!

says my mum when she kisses me.

Love you!

says my sister when she tucks me into bed.

Love you!

says my Dad when he picks me up after I’ve crashed my bike.

They say it to each other, too.

Lots of people do.

I don’t know what it is, though.

I can’t see it, or bite it, or smell it.

Perhaps it’s just there.

Like air.


J is for Jiraffe.

J is for Jiraffe.
Everyone says Jiraffe should be spelt with a G.
Not me.
Think about it.

A short, stubby, bad tempered, low letter,
For short, stubby, bad tempered, low things like
Guns and groans and gripe and grumble and grim
And gribble.
All hunched up in a grump on the ground.


long legged
long necked
long eyelashed
Someone as…as …
As a Jiraffe,

Needs a J.

Nothing else to say.

I is for me.

I don’t know who me is yet.

Sometimes I seem to do things which aren’t me at all.

Things I don’t like

But which seemed good to me at the time.


Sometimes I get so angry about things

even though they aren’t really what is upsetting me at all.


Sometimes I am really naughty

even when I know it would be much better for me to be good.


Other people don’t seem to know who I am either.

One day my friends are really nice to me and happy to see me and I feel really cheerful and funny and proud.

And then the next day, I’m still me but they don’t want to know.

And I feel sad.


It will be a great relief to be grown-up and have everything sorted.









H is for Hammock

It’s interesting being in a hammock.

Because most of the time you’re not.

In it, I mean.


There’s the bit where you are trying to get into it;

And you pull the side down

and nearly  get your leg over it

but can’t quite bring yourself to lift the other leg and

roll in

in case it turns right over and lands you on the grass again.


Then there’s the bit when you are trying to get out of it:

And you push the side down

And nearly get your leg over it

But can’t quite bring yourself to lift the other leg and

roll off

in case it turns right over and lands you on the grass again.


But the bit in the middle when you are in it

And rocking

And eating an ice cream

And the leaves in the tree above you are all shifty and shining

And the sun glints through them

And your toes are warm..

That’s cool.


G is for Groundhog

What a lovely, lovely day!

My whiskers are twitching

My foot has stopped itching

And everything’s going my way!


I might take a turn round the pasture

I might tip my hat to the cows

Have a leisurely lunch –

Find a corn-stalk to crunch

And then wander home through the hay!


I don’t have to fear a disaster –

I don’t have to store stuff away –

Just breathe in the air

And live without care

For today and today and today!


F is for Fury

There’s nothing like a good tantrum.

When you are really, really furious

and you don’t want to stop, so you don’t.

You go on yelling and you go on drumming your feet

on the floor

and you roar

and you shriek

and you throw things

and then you throw some more things

and then you hit that really high note


that sends all the dogs whimpering

It’s great.

Especially if you can manage to do it somewhere really embarrassing.

Like a supermarket

or a church.

Where there are lots of people to stare at your parents and mutter to each other.

It’s really satisfying.

I don’t know why they keep trying to find ways to stop you doing it.