Putting poetry to use



Those of us who write poetry often do a strange thing. We put it in a folder and keep it there all unread apart from when we cast a nostalgic eye over our own work. Don’t we share our baking with family and friends, or our home-grown produce with our neighbours and fellow allotmenteers? If we are arty, don’t we make birthday cards for our nearest and dearest? But our poor poetry is left languishing in its folder.

Here's a challenge, next time you are going to a friend for a coffee, take a couple of poems as a wee gift and offer to read them. I once gave a poem to a friend. She passed it on to a colleague, who was a teacher. The teacher showed it to his gym mate, a community policeman, who phoned me to ask if I could write something that could be used in primary schools to warn children of the danger of carrying knives!


Knives


Knives are for spreading bread and jam.

Who’s for a sandwich? You are! I am!

Knives stay in the kitchen,

That’s where they belong.

It’s when we take them out of there

That things go badly wrong.


Knives are for cutting potatoes into chips

That taste so delicious you lick your lips!

Knives stay in the kitchen,

That’s where they belong.

It’s when we take them out of there

That things go badly wrong.


Knives are for chopping vegetables for soup

Even if you think that soup’s like gloop!

Knives stay in the kitchen,

That’s where they belong.

It’s when we take them out of there

That things go badly wrong.


Knives are for slicing beef to make stew.

Who wants some stew then? You! You! You!

Knives stay in the kitchen,

That’s where they belong.

It’s when we take them out of there

That things go badly wrong.


Knives are tools, they are not toys

Even for adventurous girls and boys.

Now let me tell you an ugly story –

Apologies first for it being gory.


Jenny took a knife out to play

On a lovely summer day.

She and her friend were playing at cooking

But poor Jenny wasn’t looking

When she cut some stuff to eat

And her finger landed at her feet.


Knives stay in the kitchen,

That’s where they belong.

It’s when we take them out of there

That things go badly wrong.


Tom took a knife to carve a stick,

The knife was sharp and the stick was thick.

The point of the knife slid and jammed

Right in the middle of poor Tom’s hand!


Knives stay in the kitchen,

That’s where they belong.

It’s when we take them out of there

That things go badly wrong.


Susie took a knife out in her pocket

She wore a ring and a pretty locket.

Her friend asked to see them and Susie thought,

‘She’s going to steal the things I bought.’

Susie put her hand in her pocket and drew out the knife

Her friend was scared right out of her life.

Susie didn’t mean to, but she hit her friend

Thankfully that was not the end.

Her friend was in pain, bent almost double,

And Susie herself was in BIG, BIG trouble.


Knives stay in the kitchen,

That’s where they belong.

It’s when we take them out of there

That things go badly wrong.


Lennie took a knife with him to make him feel the boss.

He knew it was silly but he didn’t care a toss.

He and his mates went down to the park

Nothing could go wrong, it was only a lark.

But Lennie and the others went to watch a fight.

They shouldn’t have gone, they knew it wasn’t right.

They dived right in there and Lennie drew his knife

And .….. the …… boy …… he …… was …… fighting …… is …… now …… fighting …... for …... his …… life

All because Lennie carried a knife.


Knives stay in the kitchen,

That’s where they belong.

It’s when we take them out of there

That things go badly, very very badly, wrong.


Written for the Scottish Fellowship of Christian Writers and used by kind permission.

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