If you're used to the long, boring poems that they teach in schools - Wordsworth, yawn; Keats, yuck - it might come as a surprise that people occasionally write poems for kids to enjoy. At FP4K, there are silly poems and soppy poems. There are cuddly poems and cute poems. Best of all, there are lots and lots of really funny poems and they're all really short. I promise that you won't find any long boring poems here. You may find the odd boring poem, but at least it's guaranteed to be short and therefore relatively painless!
If you are new to the whole poetry game, start by reading some short poems. Terse verse doesn't necessarily make for good poetry, but if the poems turn out to be rubbish you haven't wasted hours of your life reading them. One of the best ways to really get to know a poem is to read it aloud. Better still, try to learn the poem by heart and then recite it. It's a good idea to practice in the peace and quiet of your bedroom, away from prying ears and eyes. Then, when it's perfect, amaze all your friends and family by reciting the poem to them.
Once your family and friends are used to you reciting poetry left, right and centre, expand your repertoire to include some funny poetry. If it's good to be told you're clever for reciting poetry, it's an even bigger thrill to recite a poem that makes people laugh. Don't overdo it. A funny poem is usually only funny the first time people hear it. Keep learning new poems and everyone will love you; keep on reciting the same poem to the same people and you've got a very effective weapon for annoying the pants off dads, mums, brothers, sisters and even teachers.
In my book, short poems are good, funny poems are better and short funny poems offer the best of both worlds. I really enjoy writing poetry and I hope you have a few chuckles reading them. If you find my the website funny, tell all your friends to visit the site - unless of course you've been reciting my poems to them and claiming them as your own, in which case it might rather give the game away. If you don't find the poetry in the least bit funny, pretend you've never been here and don't tell a soul.
Since I'm allergic to epic poetry, none of the poems in the collection are very long, but we'll look at some examples of micropoetry and point you in the right direction so you can find plenty more shortish poems. In FP4K terms, anything over 12 lines is long and a poem of 32+ lines would be epic.
Short, Japanese and slightly impenetrable, the haiku might appear a difficult introduction to short poems. The great thing about it is that the haiku is a very constrained form. Japanese writers and readers will emphasise the natural qualities of the verse form and the requirement for 'cutting words' (kireji) intervening in the juxtaposition of two images or ideas and a seasonal reference. A western interpretation is a 17 syllable poem playing in 5-7-5 formation. Kate's hilarious haiku on an animal theme assumes that you know the rules and then exploits them to comic effect:
fits neatly in a haiku,
but a hippopot...
A limerick is a comic poem (which is a good start) with five lines and an AABBA rhyming scheme. Edward Lear, a prolific writer of nonsense verse, is credited with introducing the limerick, although many of his limericks are rather feeble and he cheats like mad by simply repeating the rhyme from the first line in the fifth line. This is an example of a contemporary limerick by Patrick, which isn't sparkling, but is at least clean:
There was a young man from Weston-super-Mare
With bells on his fingers and ribbons in his hair
The locals looked askance
When he started to dance
'I'm Morris, the dancer. How dare you stare!'
Nursery rhymes aren't ultra short, but because these traditional (and often highly repetitious) rhymes are intended to be learnt and recited by very young children, they are mercifully short. Modern parodies of nursery rhymes update them and inject much needed humour, while retaining some trace of the original verse. Paul is our resident expert in the nursery rhyme parody, as this example will illustrate:
"Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?
Have you been up to London to visit the Queen?"
“No I haven’t, didn’t you hear my meow?
I’ve been locked in the garage you silly cow”
The FP4K collection has examples of Paul's clean nursery rhyme parodies, suitable for pre-school and KS1 children, naughty nursery rhymes, aimed at KS2 children and rude nursery rhyme parodies, which are restricted to children aged 11 and above.