Monthly Archives: September 2015

Small Boy’s Poem

As the last poem featured an elderly Chinese man, I thought as a contrast I’d post one about a small Welsh boy. This was written after a school visit a few years back when I was working for an environmental organisation in the Welsh Valleys. Well before my own small boys entered the scene, although it’s easy to imagine either of them sounding exactly like this.

Small Boy’s Poem

I am small and I am precious and I am
growing up in Merthyr Vale which is called
‘Ynysowen’ which is next to Aberfan.
Mrs Thomas is my headteacher and she is
very nice but she tells me that I have
a loud voice for someone so small because I am
just the smallest boy in my class
although Peter Ryan is
nearly as small as me.

I also like Mrs Jones who’s my class teacher
especially when it’s nearly end of term
and we all go out on the playing field
for games and we have one sack race and
one egg and spoon race before it
starts to rain and we have to go back in
but it doesn’t matter because
the teachers are all being funny
which makes me want to

run around and go ‘yaroo’
which I do and that’s when Mrs Thomas
calls me over and puts her arm around me
and tells me that
I have a loud voice
for one so small as me
and looks at me like my mum does
when she tells me
that I’m precious.


Like Bird Garden, this was one of a few poems used by Belmont Arts Centre in primary and secondary schools in Shropshire.

Bird Garden, Hong Kong

A big pastime for old men in Hong Kong is keeping songbirds. There’s a large garden on Yeung Po Street in the Kowloon district, where men go to feed birds in return for songs.

I wrote this poem when I was there in 2001; it was published in the Belmont Art Centre’s Poetry File programme for teaching in secondary schools in Shropshire.

Bird Garden, Hong Kong

In the new Bird Garden
on Yeung Po Street
very old men
gaze at caged songbirds.

One lifts a bell-shaped dome
from a branch,
holds it above his chest,
below his earth-worn face.

There.  Its sudden trill
could be the sound of hope
played backwards
bright beads falling from the string of time –

or the beauty of things forgotten.