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Imagining a TARDIS for World Poetry Day

The lovely Saime Jung at Twinkl, where teachers create and share inspiring resources for students, has compiled a list of 15 favourite poetry blogs, which includes Science Rhymes!  She also asked “Why do you think that learning poetry is so cool?”  Poetry has so many styles, forms and facets.  Some sends our imagination into different situations, feelings and places.  One person may connect with a poem in a way that makes them laugh or gasp, whereas others might find the same words deeply emotional. 

What’s your answer this question? 

We might say rhymes help us remember; poems create crazy ideas or that verses can be shared over and over again.  What do you reckon to this suggestion for World Poetry Day?

Imagining a TARDIS  by Celia Berrell
(Time And Relative Dimension In Space)

What a wonderful toy
is the TARDIS!
It’s Doctor Who’s
little blue box.

It’s bigger inside.
So much stuff it can hide,
from a skate-park to
clean pairs of socks.

a magical TARDIS,
do you think it’s a
secret we’d keep?

Or would that depend
on inviting some friends …
and whether
we’d need any sleep?

With a
stay-or-go-anywhere TARDIS,
there are infinite things
we could do.

It has so much appeal,
for a toy that’s not real …
let’s imagine instead
that it’s true!

This poem was inspired by an article called The Physics of the Doctor Who TARDIS box and was first published in Australian Children’s Poetry.


Origins of the Future

The above picture is a working drawing for a painting by Sharon Davson and it is a catalyst to some amazing things.

Sharon started the full-sized oil painting back in 1985, but stopped about half-way through.  Inspired by this drawing, I wrote the Science Rhyme Mother of Invention which is displayed on the Environmental Poetry page, here on the Science Rhymes website.

In 2013 Mother of Invention was published in the Canadian school textbook NELSON ENGLISH 10 (see image below).

Fast forward to 2021 and that planned oil painting is still very – unfinished!  But is now to be sold with a value of AUD$1.4 million.  Along with another unfinished artwork by Davson, this transaction will be setting a new precedence within the art world!

As author, I will be honoured to recite Mother of Invention at an event being held at Parliament House Brisbane on Tuesday 18th May at 10.30am to celebrate the re-emergence of this artwork and the pledge by the artist to complete the painting for its new owner.

Davson’s image for Origins of the Future was inspired by William Blake’s God-like painting The Ancient Of Days.  I imagined a Stone Age man, forging his partnership with science and technology through insatiable curiosity.  Neoteny in humans refers to our juvenile traits that endure into adulthood.  They include things such as our unstoppable curiosity, desire to play and experiment, plus our incredible adaptability.

Writing the poem Mother of Invention, inspired by Davson’s Origins of the Future, was how my Science Rhymes journey began.

Fashionable Distancing

Many cultures have known for centuries that the best way to avoid catching disease or pestilence is through distancing ourselves from such threats.  Below are two poems on this topic.  The first is about something many of us have needed to do recently.  But the second safety strategy has definitely fallen out of fashion.

The word QUARANTINE means strict isolation to stop the spread of disease.  It originated in Italy in the 1300’s.

Forty Days in Italian  by Celia Berrell

Venice, in the Middle Ages
feared infection from the boats
that visited its harboured stages,
ordering sailors to “stay afloat!”

For forty days they had to anchor.
NOT set foot on Venice land,
to make sure none were sick and rank
or had bubonic plague at hand.

Quaranta giorni (Kwa-rant-a jee-or-nee)
Quaranta giorni (Kwa-rant-a jee-or-nee)
is “Forty Days” in Italian.
That’s where the word for isolation
known as QUARANTINE began.

Some instances of social distancing made certain items of clothing trendy!  Voluminous crinoline skirts prevented suitors from getting too close; elaborate broad-brimmed hats stopped others breathing down your neck and the wearing of elegant gloves shielded hands from germs.  They have all served as kinds of fashionable personal protective equipment (PPE) in the past.

One famous outfit, associated with plague doctors in the 17th and 18th Century, included a funny-looking long-beaked mask.  The foot-long beak could hold perfumes or herbs to keep nasty smells at bay.  Looking rather macabre, this mask has been a popular item for fancy-dress events.  Can you see our recent use of masks taking a trendy turn too?

Hats and headgear have many purposes.   From keeping our heads protected to indicators of social status.  But the wearing of indoor bonnets such as the humble mob cap in schools has definitely fallen out of fashion.   However mother-of-four, Leonie McDonald, laments this because of head lice!

Bonnets and Headlice  by Leonie McDonald

Bring back bonnets I say
For children at school every day
It used to be part of our kids’ daily wear
To confine their own nits to their hair.

To get infected with a case of lice
Is as we know not very nice
The only known cure was the old kerosene
Or before that indeed a full shave it would seem.

So to counter this dreaded social plague
Bonnets became quite the fashionable rage
For to get your head shaved every time kids got nits
Would annoy any female to horrible bits.

With chemical treatments we get so blasé
To have nits abound has become quite blasé
Well enough I now shriek with my duty of four
To afford all this nit stuff is making me poor.

Not to mention of course what all of us know
Repeated toxicity can make your health low
So spare me I beg you from pecuniary divestments
In chemists rewarding financial investments.

Give me a break and check your kids’ hair
And if they have nits then you keep them there
Don’t send them to school with their hair wild and free
If you must send them in, put on bonnets for me.


Perhaps wearing a hoodie could help instead?

Ocean Animals (book review)

OCEAN ANIMALS written by Blake Chapman and illustrated by Astred Hicks

When I first opened this book, it looked like a proper scientific resource with plenty of photographs and a handy glossary at the back – and it is.  But it reads like a Talent Show!

It’s as though the best ocean acts are waiting in the wings, ready to star in this amazing book’s performance.  I was half-way through before I came up for air!

Blake is a great host as she introduces the weirdest, smartest and sneakiest sea creatures.  She’s friendly, cheeky and fun to read.  Nearly every page has two or three exclamation marks, which just shows how fantastical and fast-paced the performances are.

Each chapter has a winning “Sea-lebrity”, such as the ‘poison breath skull cap’ on page 20 and ‘natural little water pistols’ on page 79 (including search words to access rewarding video links on the internet).

Astred’s illustrations make excellent backdrops for setting each scene as we learn about ocean environments, these creatures and their extraordinary abilities.

The Ocean’s got talent alright!

I carry a cotton bag …

I carry a cotton bag in my pocket
by Sukarma Thareja & Celia Berrell

Sometimes simple is simply the best.
A light cotton bag can pass this test.

To mother-nature our plastic is toxic.
It won’t break down, so we can’t compost it.

Plastic bag use?  We need to stop it.
Instead, keep a cotton bag in that pocket!

Like Gandhi’s humble spinning wheel,
natural fabrics have homespun appeal.

A symbol of self-sufficiency
with an eco-friendly guarantee.