Category Archives: Children’s Poetry

“Evil Stepmothers and Stepfathers”

3 stereotype-perpetuating poems by Paul Burgess [2 limerick and a “Brats” quatrain]

“An Evil Stepmother [or Stepfather’s] Threat”
“The next time you are sent to your room,
I’ll ensure that you meet with your doom.
You’ll be there alone
‘til skin falls from bone
And you’re fit to be placed in a tomb.”

“An Evil Stepmother or Stepfather’s Warning”
“If you forget to wash your own plate,
I’ll smash it on top of your pate.
If your plate’s still not clean,
I will batter your bean
With the plate off of which you just ate.”

“A Sea of Yellow Sorrows”
Incontinent was little Brett.
His mother said, when quite upset,
“To your bed, I’ll tie you down.
Keep on wetting, and you’ll drown.”

“Cosmic Revenge”

[“Willie the Demon Child, pt II”]…dedicated to those–unfortunately in the majority–who believe that punishment is more desirable than reformation…

Before reading, please see Pt. I: https://paulwhitberg.wordpress.com/2014/06/12/wicked-willie-the-demon-child-pt-i/

“Demonic Dummy”
So empty was wee Willie’s head,
He’d do whatever others said.
Mom screamed, “In traffic go and play,”
And Willie did it right away.

“Rollin'”
In a tire decided Will
To go rolling down a hill.
The story’s ending can’t be told
‘cuz no one knows to where he’s rolled.

“Rubber Band”
Will thought no game to be as grand
As pulling taut a rubber band.
‘Til back at him a band did fly
And left him with a useless eye.

“The Demon and the Serpent”
Will thought he’d grabbed a slimy stick
Until he felt a painful prick.
For Will had made the big mistake
Of picking up a rattle snake.

“Will Has a Blast”
When Little Will was nearly six,
His mother gave him nitro sticks.
He thought his games to be a blast,
But fun that hot can never last.

5 “Little Willie” poems by Paul Burgess. For background info on the Little Willie form–yes, it’s a form–please see the following post: https://paulwhitberg.wordpress.com/2014/05/17/little-willie-and-brats-poems/

“Ann the Famous and John the Unknown”

imageBelow is a poetic recap of this epic tale of heroism and obscurity:
Ann the Famous, John the boy unknown—
The girl’s a perfect hero on a throne.
While John of ants and gravity has died,
The fame of Ann is trav’ling far and wide.

Paul Burgess

[The child’s handwritten story was first shared by storytimewithjohn.com:  http://storytimewithjohn.com/2014/05/31/ann-the-famous-and-john-the-unknown-part-ii/

I never expected to write anything inspired by a preteen in Korea…

“Translating Babies” and “Other Family Matters” by Paul Burgess

“Translating Babies”

A Pessimistic Translator:

When babies are born they will cry
A wail that I’d translate as “Why?”
“Oh, why am I here?
And where is a spear
To help me ensure that I die?”

An Optimistic Translator:

When babies are born they will smile
A grin that I’d translated as, “While…
“[While] my parents both toil,
I’m anointed with oil
And relaxing in comfort and style.”

“Ready for Children?”

Ready for a child?

If you think you’re prepared for a child,
Your mind has perhaps been beguiled.
In details exact,
Recall how you’d act
When driving your parents quite wild.

Ready for a kid?

You think you’re prepared for a kid,
But under your memory’s lid
Are tantrums you threw
As a terrible two
And the adolescent evil you did.

“A Husband Avoids Chores”

My reply when a man once did ask
To imbibe a few drops from my flask
Was, “There’s nothing to drink,
But the wife will now think
I’m too drunk to perform any task.

A special, thematic edition of *5 Limericks a Day [To Keep the Dr. Away]*

“The Magic Fish” a Faerie Tale

A Faerie Tale in Formal Verse [Couplets of Iambic Pentameter] by Paul Burgess

A lady came across a magic fish
that vowed to grant her anything she’d wish.
He asked, “How ’bout a young and charming prince?”
The lady’s answer caused the fish to wince:
“What’s wanted by this starving little lass
could be supplied by any normal bass.
As soon as we arrive at Mother’s hut,
you’ll be prepared to go inside my gut.
I requested that a genie give me fish–
He sent you, and to eat you now’s my wish.

“When I was a Horse,” a villanelle for children; by Paul Burgess

[Written in 2006 for a college assignment. Much of my writing then was for children. The rhyme is regular, but the meter is irregular]

I was a horse for a day
And wish I was one still,
Passing the hours munching on hay.

There was nothing I had to pay—
No tax, attention, or bill—
When I was a horse for a day.

I was free to gallop and play
And had nothing but time to kill
And hours to spend munching on hay.

My voice was a bold, boastful bray,
Confident, yet speaking no ill,
When I was a horse for a day.

I listened to blues song of the jay
That lives in a tree by the hill,
While passing the hours munching on hay.

If ever I find a way,
Have no doubt, I certainly will
Be a horse some other day,
Passing the hours munching on hay.

“Lost Cat” an Elizabethan Sonnet by Paul Burgess

While watering the plants today, I heard
The ring of metal tags then saw a cat
And wondered whether he’d pursued a bird
Too far and gotten lost. He was as fat
And clean, from furry head to furry paw,
As any loving person’s treasured pet.
A little like one running from the law—
Eluding officers’ circling, dragging net—
He’d often hide in bushes and in trees.
His eyes appeared to say, “It’s not a game.
I’m scared and want again my life of ease.”
He fled before the tags revealed his name.
I hope his face won’t soon appear on pines
In “Help-Me-Find-My-Precious-Kitty” signs.

5 Limericks a Day (To Keep the Dr. Away)–By Paul O’Burgess [Day 6]

I have decided that today’s limericks will be for people with children. Every once in a while, I will unify the five daily limericks with a theme. Some days the limericks will be best for the bar or bedroom, and other days they will be best for the nursery. Today’s are fine for the nursery;)

“The Cat as a Hat”

There was once a man with a cat
That he’d put on his head like a hat.
The kitten did hate
Being worn on his pate
And thought it was time for a chat.

“Of Birds and Boys”

A boy, who would cease not to squirm,
Resembled so closely a worm
That a robin one day
Mistook for its prey
That boy who would cease not to squirm.

“Of Birds and Men”

There was an old man I once knew
Who flapped both his arms ‘til he flew.
The last that I heard,
He had married a bird
And purchased a nest built for two.

“Swamp King”

A king who was weary of pomp
Decided to move to a swamp.
There lived he as boss
Of mosquitoes and moss
While enjoying the absence of pomp.

“Who’s Yo’ Daddy?”

There was once a boy from Baghdad
Who thought that a hare was his dad.
He’d say, “Hey there, Pop!”
But away it would hop,
And the boy would remain there so sad.