Headington Poetry
Competition 2005:
Other entries by children


Headington v Africa

I live in Headington, it is an icy morning.
I go to school by car.
Other people take bikes and buses.

We always get stuck in beeping traffic queues.
I see cars coughing with thick snowy-coloured fumes coming out of them.
I see people walking, wrapped up snug in their warm coats and scarves.
In Headington there are lots of squirrels that race up trees,
And swooping birds that fly high in the sky.

My school has lots of rooms, and it is reassuringly big.
I find school fun and exciting.
After school I go on the bus to get home.

When I get home it is cosy and safe,
I get water just from turning the tap and light from the flick of a switch.
In our living room I sit down by the roaring, crackling fire,

On the same day in Africa, a girl wakes up early.
It is hot already.
She walks to the well in the village and brings water back to her mud hut.

Around her live, murky bottled-green crocodiles, deep in muddy water,
Slithering, smooth skinned snakes, sliding into the bushes,
A herd of grazing zebras painted black and white,
Hairy coconut-brown monkeys swinging from tree to tree,
A long slimy tongue from the long-necked giraffe, ripping leaves off trees.
And the lazy lions sunbathing in the sizzling sun after a kill.

She starts to walk her four miles to get school along bare hot sandy roads.
Some lucky people have bikes, and donkeys to carry them and their luggage.
She goes in to her school, which is a mud hut, it’s one large room, that is all.
She only stays there for the morning as it gets sizzling-hot at twelve noon.

In the afternoon she helps her father in the fields by chopping the wheat.
In the cool evenings the whole village gathers round a lively flaming fire
And entertain each other with music, dancing and drama.

Do you think these places are so different?

In Headington …

There is a little church
Which the tuneful birds see from their hidden perch,
In the churchyard is C.S. Lewis’s grave.
A writer, whose imagination was as deep as a mysterious cave.

From the rusty church gate, the parishioners walk
Down the weaving path to the old wooden door.
The ringing sound of bells beckoning the whole neighbourhood
Into the cool dark of the stone room.

In the church is the Narnia window
With creatures from the fantastic cupboard, all decorated in magic.
The old and the young sit under the warm glow of the window
On whose faces the spirit of the community does show.

Shopping in Headington

Walking down the pavement,
Eating fish and chips,
Swallow them in one big gulp,
And lick my salty lips.

Walk into the charity shop,
Buy a one-pound band,
Choose a cheerful colour,
And put it on my hand.

Skipping down the busy street,
Passing lots of stores,
Going around Headington,
Seeing more and more.

Stop at Café Bonjour,
Buy a chocolate bun,
I see lots of my friends there,
This is so much fun!

Passing all the buildings,
Closing and shutting down,
It is getting late now,
I need to leave town.

It is getting gloomy
I can see the moon,
Get into the warm car,
I hope to come back soon.

Shopping in Headington

S hopping in Headington is non-stop,
H appy mums in the clothes shop.
O h dear, she’s got the wrong size,
P ut it back or Dad buys more ties.
P ushing and shoving in the changing rooms.
I have had enough. I am buying prunes.
N othing fits. Horrible sister,
G rumpy old her – she has a blister.

I need to go to Boots to get some shampoo.
N o! My sister needs the loo.

H arriet, my friend, needs to go to ‘Pen to Paper’,
E ventually, I will get a brand new stapler.
A lady went into the cleaning shop,
D oubt she’s going to buy a mop.
I nside Brambles, thinking what to buy,
N eedles and wool – I can’t decide.
G oing to the Café Bonjour
T o have a cappuccino and a petit four.
O ff home on the Park and Ride,
N o, we didn’t finish our shopping but we tried.

Waiting in the hospital

From when my twin brother and I were in the SCBU (Special Care Baby Unit), John Radc1iffe Hospital, Oxford

I’m waiting in the hospital,
Waiting for ever,
Knowing that I shan’t give up,
That I’ll never.

Some babies in the world
Simply stare and cry.
Some of them are vegetables,
Some of them may die.

I’m waiting in the hospital,
In the incubator,
Knowing that my mum,
Will come and see me later.

I’m waiting in the hospital.
Like an alarm bell,
Then suddenly from the door,
A faint, familiar smell.

This person smiles, jokes and talks
All the time
Watching me
Like the prey of a hawk.

She does this because,
I stopped breathing last time.
She watches over me,
Checking that I’m fine.

South Park Fair

Beyond the hustle and bustle of Headington Town
Past the shark that rules the crown.
Below the geniuses, hard at work
Behind the forest, something lurks….
On from the shops and Smarts fish and chips
Headingtonians aren’t aware
That down the hill comes South Park fair.
Whirls, whizzes, circus and lights
Children attempting to fly their kites.
Sparkles, music, laughter and cheer
The bumper cars driving, appalling to steer.
People screaming as rides buzz by
Children skipping from Headington and Rye.
The atmosphere so colourful and bright,
Headington, the place of night.


H ustle and bustle of people searching round for charity,
E ndless shops covering a cross shaped road.
A utomobiles and cars tumbling down the street.
D elayed buses passing as people get on
I n time to make it home.
N ow the sun is setting,
G arages start to close.
T eachers go home and school buses pass.
O h, the hustle and bustle of Headington has gone.
N othing, but the sound of the roaring, windy street.

Headington: A trip to the dentist’s

A warm autumn day
The leaves rich in colour dance in the breeze
The air tastes crisp and fresh
A daring bus races past
The leaves chase after it aimlessly
The trees on either side lead the way
To the dreaded dentist’s.

The shop windows shine with untouched tempting treats,
Unknown faces stare ahead as they make their way home,
A vicious shark leaps out of a building, but is caught,
The narrow stairway reveals nothing of what lies beyond.

Sitting among chairs, waiting miserably
“Beautiful teeth, just keep on brushing,” says the dentist hysterically.


There’s a hill in Headington I know well,
A lively place, a busy shell,
A village school, a row of trees.
People run round like honey bees.

Damp horse-chestnut trees scent the air,
Once a year comes Headington fair,
Lights and fireworks fill the space,
Above that Headington funny place.

Tall as giants, masts of leaves,
A collection of colour are the trees,
Conkers fall and split on the ground,
Carpeting orange all over the ground.

A flock of clouds hang in the sky,
Watching the days and weeks go by.
The roads are filled with puddles of rain,
Another year and winter again.

Heading to N

There once was a man from Sweden
Who dreamed of heading to N
On Planet N
He’d live in a den
He was a bit crazy was Len.

In two days he’d finished his rocket
But people had started to mock it
Poor little Len
And his pet hen
They told them just not to knock it.

The day of the journey came round.
To Planet N they were bound.
When they got there
They explored with care
For there was a terrible sound.

A monster had made that great roar
He had warts and wrinkles galore
He was so ugly
He scared everybody
So much that they fell to the floor.

But Len was a very brave man
His hen just got up and ran
Len roared right back at it
But he almost got hit
So much for Len’ s brilliant plan.

So now Len wasn’t so sure
Why he liked Planet N before
He sat with his hen
At his house in Sweden
They were heading to N no more.

The Old Bingo Hall

The echoing but fading sound of numbers called out.
The prizes: stacked up plastic fruit.
All that is left is the silence. Mute.
‘Two fat ladies: eighty eight,
Number Ten: Tony’s Den,
Have a cup of tea: number three,’
You hear the final caller.
Gasps are heard,
There’s the winner.

All that is left is the pigeon’s call.
The broken floorboards, mouldy and black.
What will be here next?
A supermarket or another charity shop?


Have you seen the shark in the roof?
Would you brush his teeth at night,
Afraid he would give you a bite?
When the shark has a hunger strike,
Would you go to Queen’s Bakery at night?
Would you get him a big cream bun
Specially for his big round tum?
When it’s time to go to bed,
Would you read to him with his ted?
When he says he needs a bath,
Would you take him, for a laugh?
If you think these things are fun
Then you should move to Headington.

Teachers at Rye St Antony, Headington

The schools start to open
The lights flicker on
The teachers come out of their cupboards
And sing the morning song.
I jump off the bus
Hoping to see
But wait …
There is Mrs Bucket
Drinking her tea.
I thought she lived in the paper store
Amongst the children’s books
So my friend in the boarding house
Gives her funny looks.

The Posh Fish of Headington

A Posh Fish that’s what I am,
Sizzling and frying in the pan.
As my friend the chip turns golden-brown
My batter slightly fizzles round.
My eager customer gladly awaits,
My dripping batter on a paper plate.

I could not be more far from sea,
But if there was any place I could be
It would be Headington
Over all the best,
To be my plaice of eternal rest.

Frog Orange

The curious people of Headington stare at my colour,
Because I am bright when I should be duller!
Inside I stun like a fair of fun,
If you put it in weight it would weigh a ton,
I don’t live on a pad,
But I am still glad,
Cause I’m different as anything,
Just like a frog should be,
I’m funny and famous,
With a shop dedicated to me!

Headington’s nature

The bitter air
Whistles through the trees
As a robin
Responds with his song

Now chestnut brown
With greenery lost
The lonesome oak
Waits for her spring dress.

An owl’s view on Headington at night

I flap my wings and hoot for joy,
As I fly past the Christmas lights strung in the sky.
Then I look towards the light of all lights,
A chair to hold the night’s teddy bear.
Looking down on the wilderness below – flying free, flying high.

The slumber of the wind hovers like a layer of lingering gas,
The whole place under its trance.
Not a rustle of leaves to wake the baby of Headington. Silence.
Looking down on the wilderness below – flying free, flying high.

Is that a person I see, walking down the silent street?
Or is it an ant scurrying to the food pile?
Nobody knows because nobody is her but me,
Just me, an owl of the snowiest white.
Looking down on the wilderness below – flying free, flying high.

I tried to spot light the children prancing and dancing,
Filled with joy like the flowers springing up in the spring,
But the schools are deserted,
No children screaming, “Mummy I is hurted.”
Looking at the wilderness below – flying free, flying high

I swoop a little lower to catch a mouse so small,
When I realised that Pullen’s Lane, usually thriving with people,
Was now desolated.
Shadowed with a blanket of leafy darkness in the form of trees,
Swaying side to side, like the pendant in an old grandfather clock.
Looking down at the wilderness below – flying free, flying high.

The dawn is breaking like dusk in the moor,
I must dash, I must fly,
For a new day is starting.

Headington: The uninspiring

The teacher asks me to write about Headington.
I sit at my desk.
How to go about it?
Headington is uninspiring as a rubbish bag.
But I’m told it isn’t and I can.
So I try.

Headington is me.
It is her and him.
It is the woman baffling her way down the street, in her puffa jacket,
swathed against the wind.
It is the old, crippled man slowly creeping down the path
at nought-point-nought-nought-one miles per hour.
It is the pompous British toff in her black BMW 4x4 attacking
and barging through the traffic.
It is the honking and peeping and beeping of horns.
It is the child running along the pavement a spring in his step, almost skipping for joy.
He doesn’t have to do PE again.
It is the salty, vinegary smell of Posh Fish,
It is the crackle of crisps at Londis,
It is the sharks in people’s roofs.
Headington is me.
Headington is him and her.
Headington is purely uninspiring.
Or so I thought.

The day the Cubs got fish and chips

Snow was falling thick and deep
The day we went to eat chips cheap!
Chaos reigned at the Scout Hut,
Even though the door was shut.
In we went to the deafening crowd,
They were indeed rather loud.
Along the road the crocodile wound,
Snowballs blocking the only sound
Girls chattered, boys mucked about,
But we all calmed down at Liz’s shout,
Waiting outside for the chips to be got,
Hurry back to the hut to eat the lot.


Flowers burst open
Like shimmering lights,
Birds in the air
Wings like kites.

Flowers burst open
All through the day,
Children play ‘it’
And all run away.

Flowers burst open,
Light April showers,
Children get drinks
And so do flowers.

Flowers burst open,
Birds fly away,
Lay their eggs
And come another day.

Flowers burst open,
Lambs jump high,
Have a great time
And then say goodbye.

I want

I want the dog, no the dog is too hairy.
I want the cat, no the cat likes mice.
I want the fish, no the fish is too slimy.
I want the tiger, no the tiger is too scary.
I want the kangaroo, no the kangaroo jumps too high.
I want the zebra, no the zebra is too stripy.
I want the tortoise, no the tortoise is to slow.
I want the lion, no the lion will eat me for his dinner.
Oh bother I don’t know which one I want.
I know I want all of them.

Smelly Belly

There once was a man who had a smelly belly
And he liked to dip it in jelly
He did that while he was watching telly
What a funny felly.

There once was a man who had a smelly belly
Who liked to stick it in his welly
And then he had a big yelly
What a funny felly.

My Dog Jazzy

My dog Jazzy
Woofs and goes quite crazy
When she hears the postman come:
You could hardly call her lazy!

She’s got bright brown eyes,
You can chase her about for hours,
When she runs she really flies
On the grass and through the flowers!

Her ears feel like silk.
But her body’s really fluffy.
When she hasn’t had a trim
She’s really really scruffy!

I love my little dog

I love my little dog
He sleeps just like a log,
He runs straight through the door,
Then collapses on the floor,
Then when it is tea time,
We see a new side of him,
And a few moments later
He rummages through the bin!

I love to ride my pony

I love to ride my pony,
When I’m with her, I’m not lonely,
I love it when we ride along,
As we are flying, I sing a song,
When the wind rushes through my hair,
I feel we could be anywhere,
Up a mountain, down a hill,
When we’re together it’s such a thrill,
Get back home, put on her rug,
We have such fun she deserves a hug!

Let it free

Let it free,
That willow tree,
Don’t cut it down,
Or I will frown,
Don’t let it die,
Or I will cry,
Sorry kid the tree is dead,
But I will repay you with a bed,
I don’t want a bed,
The tree is dead,
That tree was my life,
Repay me with a knife,
With a silver blade,
Which you will have made,
The finest one you can make,
Or I will drown you in the lake.

Ode to a Cadbury’s caramel bar

Hard on the outside, soft on the inside,
Creamy mixture all around,
In the shop only one pound.
When you bite the cream comes out,
Creamy mixture spurts about!

On the outside, dark with chocolate,
On the inside, yellow with caramel,
In little squares, sixteen times;
Are there any chocolate nursery rhymes?

People say they love it so much
They can’t get enough.
If people ask for just a square
They say it’s just too tough.

Chocolate cake

Chocolate cake, on that very pinkish plate,
Full of chocolate marzipan,
Custard cream and strawberry jam.

Chocolate cake, on that very pinkish plate,
Sticky chocolate round your lips,
Strawberry jam is full of pips.

Chocolate cake, on that very pinkish plate,
Scrape the icing off the top,
But eat too much you’ll go pop.

Chocolate cake, on that very pinkish plate,
The chocolate cake tastes rather nice,
I think I might try a slice.

Austin’s song

Look at me I’m three
Riding in a taxi.

Look at me I’m three
Watching the white horses go by.

Look at me I’m three
Bookie boarding on the waves.

Look at me I’m three
Swimming with all the fishes.

Look at me I’m three
Playing with all the dolphins.

Look at me I’m three
Fishing in the sea.

Look at me I’m three
Searching in the rock pools.

Look at me I’m three
Climbing the slippery rocks.

Look at me I’m three
Coming home from the sea.

Look at me I’m three
Isn’t it sad to leave the sea?

A Fat Pony

I have a fat pony
Who’s just a bit lonely?
Always eating his grass.

He has no friends
But always pretends
Bucking and rearing so happy.

I love him so much
He’s lovely to touch
Licking my face all over.

One, two, three,
He’s lovely to see
Four, five, six, He always licks

– And he’s the best pony ever!

On the Road Through Headington

Heading up the hill,
First stop Brookes.
Study here until
You’re fed up with books.

Turn left to the hospital,
Because you’re very ill.
Give the doctor a call
To get you a pill.

Back on London Road,
Enter Headington School.
Unpack your heavy load,
To have a swim in the pool.

Now you’re really hungry,
Make a visit to the shops,
Have a sandwich for your tea,
And buy some pork chops.

Now you’re entering the mad zone,
On the way to London.
Now you have been shown,
All the sights of Headington.


H appy people
E asy going
A ll ages
D ifferent cultures
I deal place
N ot too noisy
G reat schools
T errific park
O ld people smile
N umber one suburb

Headington Prep School …

H as really kind teachers,
E asy to make friends,
A nd they’re always there for you.
D ancing club, swimming and cross country,
I nteresting clubs for you,
N obody is ever left out.
G ames and new ones always played,
T o find someone to play with isn’t hard.
O n the play equipment it is fun,
N ow my story is done!

The four seasons

A river running down a mountain,
Flowing swiftly, running smoothly,
Bending, twisting, swooshing, splashing,
All the force of spring deer dashing.

I’m after spring and flowers have I,
All in bloom, but yet to die,
Trees, bushes and leaves are green,
A friend, the sun, is my queen.

Leaves on Headington Hill are red,
Yellowy-brown or gold instead,
They fall like raindrops tumbling down,
Though after a while they will turn brown.

Footsteps printed in the snow,
Leaving trails for love alone,
To make these trails you need no heat,
But twigs did break beneath his feet.

The lab at Headington Prep School

The lab is white,
The lab is clean,
The upper two’s and lower three’s are there to learn
Scientific things, that there are to learn,
The lab is sweet heaven,
And hot as hell and,
The finest lab and you can tell!


As black as Magic,
A witch’s cat.
Anything can happen at this strange hour.

The high pitched cackle of a green ghastly witch,
The small fluorescent trail of a pale-white ghost.

The piercing sound of the bells’ twelfth chime,
That is when, and only when I shall emerge.

Children dream of me with scary thoughts,
Shocked pale faces are what I bring.

The moon tries to shine light,
But I cover him with my black ink.

People think I’m an evil colour,
But I guess that is true.

My time is running out now,
But I shall return tomorrow night.

Shark attack

Sharks swim everywhere
Darting from this end to that;
One stuck in a roof
Right next to my school.
I bet you have never seen one
Except in Headington.

Indian monsoon

(inspired by my last holiday in India in the rainy season)

Monsoon, come soon,
God has given us a boon.
Raindrops pour down from cloudy skies,
Cool breeze and rainbows in sight.

Rain, Rain, Rain, water in the lanes,
Filling up the rivers, lakes and filling up the drains.
Beautiful water chains form,
But sometimes it’s rough and makes a huge storm.

When raindrops trickle off the edges of the houses,
Inside we can hear very strange noises.
With the magical touch of raindrops the trees go green,
Shimmering streams flow into the valleys, what a beautiful scene!

Monsoon brings out the colours in the trees, fields, and valleys,
People look colourful too with their fancy brollies.
Monsoon grows crops and vegetables which we eat all year,
Without rain there will be draughts, people always fear.

A shopping trip in Headington

Arrive in Headington that’s a start,
Now to find the right car park,
Now I’m parked it’s to the shops
It is time to buy a lot.
First to get wool from Brambles,
When I bought it, the lady’s knitting got tangled.
Then up the road to Pen To Paper,
My stationery set could use a new stapler.
After that it’s to Boots,
My make-up bag needs a boost.
Soon to be at Peacocks,
To buy some trendy new tops.
Tired out now so off to Café Bonjour,
The best café in Headington, I’m sure.
Into the park I wander along,
My head in the clouds and singing a song.
Back out of the park –
And to the car I love with all my heart –
Vroom vroom, screech screech,
Aah at last, home sweet home!

Zombies in Headington

The swings swing in the misty breeze
But suddenly zombies come to life.
Behind me to my horror I hear a sneeze;
I scream and scream when he draws a knife!
My mouth waters as I run into Yummy
Wait! I forgot, he is still behind me.
He grabs me! I shout, “Get off me, you dummy.”
I kick, I punch, and I say, “Let me be.”
I grab some sauce and he melts into goo,
His eye pops out and rolls around
“Oh no!” more zombies come out of the blue:
They take me to the zombie ground.

The go-cart

Racing along,
Nothing’s stopping me now,
Faster and faster,
Can you see that cow?

Racing along,
There’s not a storm in sight,
Clean blue sky,
Oh it’s so bright!

Racing along
Down a steep hill,
The brakes are all rusty,
Hey, can you see that mill?

Racing along,
There’s loads of trees,
I think I’m in a forest,
Ouch there are some bees!

Racing along,
Listen to those birds,
There’s something spoiling it,
I should have known, it’s the cow herds.

Racing along,
Now there’s lots of sheep,
Mind out the way,
beep beep beep!

Racing along,
Round go the wheels,
Oh no I forgot
To change my high heels!

Racing along,
Look at those pretty flowers,
All through the meadow,
And off go my trousers!

The Changing Room

Blue smelly
Hockey socks
The smell tingles
Up my nose.

Blue smelly
Hockey socks
The smell trembles
Up my spine.

Stuffed in boots,
Ponging and whiffing,
Still hot, still sweaty,
Inside out, hanging out.

Mud dripping everywhere.
No one dares go near.

The autumn song

Ruby red berries, sitting in the trees,
Yellow and brown leaves, falling with ease.
Blue sky, with white emerging clouds,
Grey smoke, coming proud.

Tall houses, standing strong,
Smell the sewer, doesn’t it pong.
Days shorten, curtains close,
Petals curl, poor rose.

Holly is gathered, nuts too,
Talk of Christmas excites you.
Tinsel decorations, fir trees,
Piles of presents, up to your knees.

Different lives

I live in dusty Africa.
I live in chilly Headington.
I awake to blabbering monkeys dangling in the abandoned tree.
I awake to ear-splitting cars peeping horns on the hectic road.

When I look out of the window I see golden-haired lion cubs leaping in the desiccated grass.
When I look out of the window I see dreary squirrels seeking nuts.

After school I wear brilliant kangases of every colour: amber, cherry, flesh, crimson, heather, plum and ruby,
Lots of colours to choose from in the blazing sun.
After school I wear battered jeans with a plain t-shirt white, red, green,
Not many colours to choose from on a drizzly afternoon.

Headington and Africa

I am in Headington: you are in Africa.
I see arching streetlights, slim streets, beautiful houses,
You see sweltering sun.

I hear splashing taps, booming traffic, ambulance sirens,
You hear silence.

I feel rigid pavement, clear glass windows, metal door handles,
You feel sultry sand under your bare feet.

I smell choking traffic fumes, baking food, burning toast,
You smell thirsty soil,

I taste crunchy cucumber sandwiches, warm cheeseburgers, freezing ice cream,
You taste sticky white porridge,
I am in Headington.
You are in Africa,
We  live different lives now. Will it be forever?

Black girl

Her mind scampers and her breath rasps.
Is it death for the young girl of Africa?
Will the pitch blackness swallow her heart?
She is falling, falling into the unknown~
B ut what awaits her at the bottom?
Nobody knows and nobody cares.

She waits for morning
For that radiant sun that would shine in the darkest crevice
A light that would reveal the concealed souls,
And she is waiting, waiting for the sun to glare.

She is alone in the unforgiving darkness trapped within its grasp
When does this black nightmare end,
Which way shall she turn?
She is dying, dying and nobody knows and nobody cares.

Too late the nurse comes round,
To see the young girl of Africa upon the cold moist floor
She is dead, dead.
The nurse stares into the never-ending darkness,
Tears welling in her eyes and she remembers Headington.

She sits in pouring light
Her gleaming medical instruments are nestled in boxes
The bottles of pills glint upon their shelf
And she ponders on poverty in Africa
And somebody cares.

Africa and Headington

Shadows lurching, dodging the fire,
Women in embroidered robes flicking with dance.
Men beating homemade drums,
Elderly people sit enjoying the scene,
Mothers cradling newborn babies,
Toddlers whining for attention,
Sand spraying with every footstep
Plates licked clean piled high,
Almost-empty tummies groaning with hunger,
Mouth watering meat smell, still lingers in the air.
We all turn our backs on our mud huts as we all dance round the fire.

Electric lights flicker on with one switch,
Coats draped over the banister, with no room on the hangers,
Mums pushing babies in prams,
Grandmas sitting on cushioned armchairs,
Men driving home after a busy day of work,
Concrete pavement echoing with people walking,
Half-full plates being piled in to the dishwasher,
The roar of the TV is the only entertainment here.
School bags lounge by the carpeted stairs,
Bleak trees stand pointlessly, by the polluted road, traffic charging up and down.
Drizzling rain pushing people in to their houses, litter clinging to wet pavement.

Africa And Headington

I live in Africa
I live in among enormous elephants and growling lions.
I live in Headington
I live in between cars and buses.
I live in Africa
I walk dusty miles to get water.
I live in Headington 
I turn on the tap and water splashes in the sink.

Africa vs Headington

On a cold November’s day in Headington
The children shiver to school in their hats and scarves.
Others come in cars and buses some go on bikes,
We are wrapped up and warm on a winter’s day.

Far away south in Cape Town the children
In their shorts and tee-shirts in
The shimmering sunlight
Miles to walk to school in the
Exhausting heat.


In Africa it’s grubby roads,
For Headington the rolls of shadowed tarmac took over the land.
In Headington the birds are bark-brown or concrete-grey.
In Africa their birds are midnight-blue, pear-green, and shocking red shadows dancing round the luminous fire for Africa.

Wet traffic, abandoned spray-cans that are left in the light of the city street lamps,
Smell the air rust smoke. Over their smell the sour pine or juicy peaches and plums.
Can you tell the difference? I can,
Smooth grass being dug up by man,
That other world green grass goes on forever. The glossy leaves shudder in the breeze.

Out of the window

A world outside the window;
Africa waits for me.
Young meerkats scuttle round rocks,
Multi-coloured louries spring from trees,
While you hear lovebirds sing to the calming sunset.

Then I see Headington’s gloomy, grey clouds, ready for rain.
Water droplets sprinkled on my window
As pigeons search the dusty roads for shelter.

I see fiery kingfishers diving deep for their meal.
Shaded trees leaning over laden juicy fruits.
Jembes booming, shadows chanting, whispering
Round the crackling fire.
Africa waits for me.

A different world

Beating bongos to awaken the dawn.
Scorching fires blaze to the rising moon. 
Twirling dancers chant their tribe’s call.
Shadows creep from secretive hiding places reaching towards the glowing light.
Children running to the heart of excitement.
Hyenas howl, crying to a darkened world.
Breezy plains softly whisper to the trees, “Africa”
Beating bongos awaken the dawn.

Trees in Headington give no comfort, bare and lonely.
One swing in the park gives one last rock, then halts.
Rain drips off the grey slate roofs and down thick brick chimneys.
Teacups in piles wait to be washed. Taps hypnotically drip.
The eerie feel of wailing wind curls under steadfast doors.
Trees in Headington give no comfort, bare and lonely.

It was different in Africa

I am in Headington.
I hear an ambulance’s sirens speeding past me.
I see solemn faces dressed in crisp ebony suits.
I feel the cold shadow of a tall building looming over me.
I smell polluting smoke from a people-filled bus.
It was different in Africa.

I am in Africa.
I hear the blazing fire snapping.
I see my friends dressed in bright billowing costumes.
I feel the cool shadow of a mud-hut next to me.
I smell the sweet scent of meat roasting on the fire.
It is different in Africa.

The Breeze

The breeze goes past your head.
It feels like a car going past you.
Think of all the food we eat and all the water we drink,
We don’t work for it.
We just do the washing up and the gardening, that’s all we do.
But in Headington hardly anyone lives without getting anything from the shops
We have a house; some people don’t.
They feel the breeze all the time.


In India the air smells like fresh coconuts.
Fireworks of every shade fill the black night.
A blazing crimson sunset takes over the sky.
Spring green palm trees lean down to you.
An aqua-blue ocean hurls itself at the shore.
Snakes slither silently behind you.
Temples puff thick smoke through the doors.

In Headington, buildings tower over busy roads.
Autumn leaves lay crisp in front of you.
Whistling winds scamper up your back
Twittering birds wake in the early morning.
Shadows loom around every corner
Dull clouds droop above your house.


Rock, rock, rock rocking everywhere.
The band is playing, the crowd is wild.
Listen to John on the percussion,
Hitting it so hard it almost breaks.
And Daniel on the guitar,
Plucking so hard he almost snaps the strings.
Joe on the organ with one key broken,
Playing so fast his hands almost catch fire.

Suddenly they stop …
A Monster bashes-through the building;
“Rrrrroooooaaaaa,” roars the Monster.

They quickly start to play,
And with a bang of the drum,
A pluck of the string,
A note from the organ
The Monster dances away.

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