I walked around with Sally’s challenge words in my head for quite a few days. They seemed to be words that go with exclamation marks and I originally thought I’d write a loud sort of poem … but my imagination had different ideas. I had a particular scene in mind by the time I wrote my first draft. 


Now if you shut your eyes
you will not hear the shouts and calls from the picnic ground.
The cars, the dogs, the children with their balls and skipping ropes
have gone.
By the billabong, a shadow stirs and stills
a soft light spills
as the moon rises full and true.
The shadow slips to the water’s edge
and sniffs at the air
before drinking.

Copyright Rebecca Newman 2014


When Rebecca gave me the latest batch of words, I had no idea what those three words would provoke. I started writing, and this is what came out – about an issue close to my heart.


I sing

of a courageous tree

which struggles on

beside the sea

in spite of wind

and waves

and sand


betwixt ocean and land.


I sing

of snail

that battles on

though winter’s rains

are so long gone

and shelters


in fragile shell.

How long

till rain

he cannot tell.


I sing

of you

embattled child

whose land

and life

have been defiled.

Who seeks new home

new hope

new place

Yet languish now

in no-man-s space.


I sing

to tell the world you’re there.

I sing

to let you know I care.

And like that tree

and like that snail

I sing in hopes

you will prevail.


I sing for you

young refugee

in hopes one day

you will be free.


Sally Murphy, 2014


A Ferocious Poem

You can see from the previous post that Sally gave me ‘ferocious, two, hole and brilliant’ to work into a poem. By the time I had muttered ‘ferocious’ to myself 203 times it started sounding a bit weird. So I went with that! (Now I’m quite fond of the word ferocious and it’s lost its ferociousness. But I’m not sure I can spell it anymore.)


One ferocious summer’s day
I took a ferocious walk,
I passed a ferocious garden gate
and stopped for ferocious talk.

I browsed at ferocious markets,
I bought a ferocious scarf,
the ferocious woman who sold it to me
laughed a ferocious laugh.

A ferocious lunch was needed to fill
the ferocious hole in my tum
I climbed aboard a ferocious bus
I hummed a ferocious hum.

I found two ferocious curries
left by ferocious Gran,
I heated them to a ferocious heat
in a ferocious frying pan.

A brilliant if somewhat ferocious sun
cast its last ferocious ray.
I pulled my ferocious pyjamas on —
What a ferocious day!


Copyright Rebecca Newman 2014

Loathsome Lizard

Gosh – I have never been so challenged by a word as I was by the word Loathsome. Rebecca only gave me three words to incorporate this time, but that one word challenged me so much. For days and days I could not for the life of me think of a way to use the word Loathsome in a poem.


Finally, I’ve come up with something. A little bit spooky, a little bit humorous, I hope. Here it is.


Loathsome Lizard

I’m the Loathsome Lizard

And I’ll haunt your dreams at night.

I’m the Loathsome Lizard

And it’s best you treat me right

Or I’ll patter cross your rooftop

When you try to get some sleep.

Yes I’ll patter cross your rooftop

Till with tiredness you weep.

Under your bed I’ll scurry

Scratching here and scratching there.

Under your bed I’ll scurry.

You won’t peek – you wouldn’t dare!

Bogeymonsters they are nothing

At all compared with me.

Bogeymonsters they are nothing –

I eat several for my tea.

I’m the Loathsome Lizard

Fearsome creature of the night.

I’m the Loathsome Lizard

And you’d better treat me right!


Sally Murphy, 2014.

Taking a Stand

Sally really set me a challenge this time. I thought ‘independent’ would be the toughest word to work into a poem but actually ‘rough’ and ‘gone’ were much harder. I had already sketched out a lot of the poem before I realised that I was scratching my head to find the right word to rhyme with ‘gone’ and I began to think that perhaps a rhyming poem wasn’t such a grand idea after all. But it was too late to turn back …

In the end, here’s what I came up with!

Taking a Stand

I got up when the clock went off,
unasked, I tied my shoes.
I did the crossword by myself
by working out the clues.
I packed my bag without complaint —
my lunchbox and my rough
copy of my book review
and all the other stuff.
I caught the bus to school at eight,
I caught it home at three.
You’d gone to fetch the grandmas so
I chopped the spuds for tea.
I didn’t need reminding
to say ‘thank you’ and ‘please,’
I’m really INDEPENDENT and —
I choose

copyright Rebecca Newman 2014