The Moon Speaks

I, the moon,
would like it known – I
never follow people home. I
simply do not have the time. And
neither do I ever shine. For what you
often see at night is me reflecting solar
light. And I’m not cheese! No, none of
these: no mozzarellas, cheddars, bries, all
you’ll find here – if you please – are my
dusty, empty seas. And cows do not
jump over me. Now that is simply
lunacy! You used to come and
visit me. Oh do return,
I’m lonely, see.

Copyright © James Carter
From Greetings, Earthlings! Space Poems (Macmillan)

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Can You
Do With A


You can
kick it you can catch
it you can bounce it – all
around. You can grab it you can
pat it you can roll it – on the ground.
You can throw it you can head it you
can hit it – with a bat. You can biff it
you can boot it you can spin it you
can shoot it you can drop it
you can stop it – just
like that!

Copyright © James Carter
From Journey to The Centre Of My Brain (Macmillan Children's Books, Jan 2012)

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Lullaby for a
Woolly Mammoth

(to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle...)

Hear me sing.
                  ! Go to sleep you hairy thing.
                       ! You          can snooze outside my
                    ! door          just as long as you don't
               !      !                  snore. Come on Shaggy, shut
              !                      your eyes,                now it's
                                      time for                 beddy-byes!

Copyright © James Carter
From Journey to The Centre Of My Brain (Macmillan Children's Books, Jan 2012)

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The Wolf Outside

I wake.              I know.
No need                to see.
A visitor has come for me. That
wolf is at the door again. In the
dark, the pouring rain. He makes
no sound - he needs to hear my
breath, my pulse, my thoughts,
my fear. We wait together. Two
souls still. I need to live, he
needs to kill. He leaves... I
breathe. I sigh and how.
I check. The wolf
has gone,
for now.

Copyright © James Carter
From Journey to The Centre Of My Brain (Macmillan Children's Books, Jan 2012)

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A tree
is not like you and
me – it waits around quite
patiently – catching kites and
dropping leaves – reaching out to touch
the breeze...A tree all day will stand and stare
clothed in summer, winter : bare – it has no shame
or modesty...Perhaps its generosity is the greatest in
the world – it gives a home to every bird, every squirrel,
feeds them too – to every dog it is a loo...And after dark
what does it do? Catch a falling star or two? Shimmy
in the old moonlight? Or maybe have a conker fight?
A tree can give an awful lot : the wood to make a
baby’s cot – pencils, paper, tables, chairs – lolly
sticks as well as stairs ...Without a tree we
could not live – a tree, it seems just
loves to give –
but us :
what we
do in return

Copyright © James Carter
From Time–Travelling Underpants (Macmillan)

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Love You More

Do I love you
to the moon and back?
No I love you
more than that

I love you to the desert sands
the mountains, stars
the planets and

I love you to the deepest sea
and deeper still
through history

Before beyond I love you then
I love you now
I’ll love you when

The sun’s gone out
the moon’s gone home
and all the stars are fully grown

When I no longer say these words
I’ll give them to the wind, the birds
so that they will still be heard

I love you

Copyright © James Carter
From Time-Travelling Underpants (Macmillan)

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The Dark

Why are we so afraid of the dark?
It doesn’t bite and doesn’t bark
Or chase old ladies round the park
Or steal your sweeties for a lark

And though it might not let you see
It lets you have some privacy
And gives you time to go to sleep
Provides a place to hide or weep

It cannot help but be around
When beastly things make beastly sounds
When back doors slam and windows creek
When cats have fights and voices shreek

The dark is cosy, still and calm
And never does you any harm
In the loft, below the sink
It’s somewhere nice and quiet to think

Deep in cupboards, pockets too
It’s always lurking out of view
Why won’t it come out till it's night?
Perhaps the dark’s afraid of light

Copyright © James Carter
Winning poem of the Raymond Wilson Poetry Competition 2001
From Cars Stars Electric Guitars (Walker Books)
Reproduced by permission of Walker Books Ltd

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Where are doorways made of words?
That open onto other worlds?
Welcoming all boys and girls?


Enter stories wild as dreams.
Meet aliens or fairy queens.
If fun-filled facts are more your scene.


Listen, they've got everything,
to make you chuckle, giggle, grin -
be spooked or thrilled. Just come on in.


Tempted? Go on, have a look.
You never know, you might get hooked.
Your whole life changed by just one book.


Copyright © James Carter
From The World's Greatest Space Cadet (Bloomsbury)

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Babies in the bath do it
puddles on the path do it
grannies for a laugh do it


Dirty welly boots do it
dainty little shoes do it
drippy doggies too do it


Waterfalls and waves do it
giant killer whales do it
little fishes' tales do it


Buses rushing past do it
rivers flowing fast do it
raindrops fall at last do it


Swimmers in the pool do it
penguins in the zoo do it
dolphins in the blue do it


In the summer sun do it
do it as it's fun do it
come on everyone do it


Copyright © James Carter
From Hey, Little Bug (Francis Lincon Books, 2011)

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Happy Poem

Happy as a rainbow
happy as a bee
happy as a dolphin
splashing in the sea

Happy as bare feet
running on the beach
happy as a sunflower
happy as a peach

Happy as a poppy
happy as a spoon
dripping with honey
happy as June

Happy as a banjo
plucking on a tune
happy as a Sunday
lazy afternoon

Happy as a memory
shared by two
happy as me...
when I’m with you!

Copyright © James Carter
From Hey, Little Bug! (Francis Lincoln)

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Funny Faces!
Can you do a big smile?
Can you do a wink?
Can you do a little nod?
Can you do a blink?

Can you shut your left eye?
Can you shut your right?
Can you wiggle both your ears?
Can you take a bite?

Can you wrinkle up your nose?
Can you lick your chin?
Can you puff your cheeks up?
Can you do a grin?

Can you pull a funny face?
Can you roll your tongue?
Can you do these one more time -
faces are fun!

Copyright © James Carter
From I'm a Little Alien! (Francis Lincon Books, 2014)

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What to Say if You Meet a Ghost ...

!!!                   aaaaaa                   !!!
!!                    aaaaa                   !!
!!                 aaa               !!
!!        aaaaaaa      !!


Copyright © James Carter
From The World's Greatest Space Cadet (Bloomsbury)

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Well, nothing much.

          You did nothing much all day long?

Well . . . alright Mum, if you really want to know,
I had 4 lessons
and 45 minutes of playtime
in which I went around with 3 friends.
For lunch I had 22 baked beans,
2 fishfingers, a 1/4 of a bread roll
and 1 banana.
I fed Nibbles, the class hamster,
2 sunflower seeds.
I wrote 1 poem.
I got 7/10 for a spelling test.
I did 16 fairly tricky maths questions.
And.I learnt 5 very interesting things
about the Ancient Egyptians, including
how they used to remove the brains
of their dead with a hook - MUM.

          Oh sorry darling, what was that?

I said I removed my teacher's brain today!

          What? Oh well done, you!
          What would you like for tea?

Copyright © James Carter
From Journey To The Centre Of My Brain (Macmillan Children's Books)

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Viking O'Clock

@                 vvvv                 @
@      +++       vvvv       +++      @
@         W          vvvv          W         @
@                      vvvv                      @
@                      V                      @
@                                        @
@       We were   . . .     @
@                     @
Dark Agers,
land invaders, craft
traders, ocean gravers, myth-
!!  makers, longboat sailors, wave  !!
!!     riders, fierce fighters, strong     !!
!!      survivors, kenning scribers,      !!
!!        Nordic dwellers, beardy         !!
!!         fellas. At thieving bling        !!
!!         we were the best, we        !!
!!!          were THE VIKINGS!       !!!
Had you
??   ??
??     ??
??       ??
??       ??
????          ????

Copyright © James Carter
From The World's Greatest Space Cadet (Bloomsbury).

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