Quuick, Mum. Brian's on the telly.


Brian Moses

Some poems

All About Brian Moses

The Interview

Brian Moses. The UK's most travelled poet?

Poems by Brian Moses

Shopping Trolley

The Weirdest Exhibit

A Feather From an Angel

The Ssssnake Hotel

Dragons' Wood

Shopping Trolley

Scoot down the aisles
in my shopping trolley,
I could go for miles
in my shopping trolley.

Never say excuse me,
never say please,
ram it in the back
of someone's knees.

You really won't
believe your eyes,
my shopping trolley's
been customised.

It's got bull bars,
radio controls,
engine in the back
and it purrs like a Rolls.

It's got a Volvo chassis,
a velvet seat,
and around the store
it can't be beat.

It does somersaults
and big backflips.
and wheely dips.

It does over seventy
miles per hour,
flashing past
in a burst of power.

Scoot down the aisles
in my shopping trolley,
I could go for miles
in my shopping trolley.

Never say excuse me,
never say please,
ram it in the back
of someone's knees.

The Weirdest Exhibit

The museum galleries
go on for miles,
you see furniture and furnishings,
tapestries and tiles.
You see kitchens where fire grates
are blackened with soot,
but the weirdest exhibit
is a mummified foot.

It's gruesome and gross
but you'll love it the most,
the Egyptian mummified foot.

You can see right inside
where the skin has been ripped,
then you¹ll notice the bone
and the way it's been chipped.
And beneath the bandage
you see actual flesh...
I bet it smelt cheesy
even when it was fresh!

It's gruesome and gross
but you'll love it the most,
the Egyptian mummified foot.

And what's so amazing,
what's really fantastic,
the toenails are real
and not made of plastic.
And beneath the nails
you can see grains of sand.
Are they picked at each night
by a mummified hand?

It's gruesome and gross
but you'll love it the most,
the Egyptian mummified foot.

A Feather from an Angel

Anton's box of treasures held
a silver key and a glassy stone,
a figurine made of polished bone
and a feather from an angel.

The figurine was from Borneo,
the stone from France or Italy,
the silver key was a mystery
but the feather came from an angel.

We might have believed him if he'd said
the feather fell from a bleached white crow
but he always replied, 'It's an angel's, I know,
a feather from an angel."

We might have believed him if he'd said,
An albatross let the feather fall,
But he had no doubt, no doubt at all,
his feather came from an angel.

'I thought I'd dreamt him one night,' he'd say,
'But in the morning I knew he'd been there;
he left a feather on my bedside chair,
a feather from an angel.'

And it seems that all my life I've looked
for the sort of belief that nothing could shift,
something simple, yet precious as Anton's gift,
a feather from an angel.

The Ssssnake Hotel

An Indian python will welcome you
to the Ssssnake hotel.
As he finds your keys he'll maybe enquire
if you're feeling well.
And he'll say that he hopes
you survive the night,
that you sleep without screaming
and don't die of fright
at the Ssssnake hotel.

There's an anaconda that likes to wander
the corridors at night,
and a boa that will lower itself onto guests
as they search for the light.
And if, by chance, you lie awake
and nearby something hisses,
I warn you now, you're about to be covered
with tiny vipery kisses,
at the Ssssnake hotel.

And should you hear a chorus of groans
coming from the room next door,
and the python cracking someone's bones,
please don't go out and explore.
Just ignore all the screams
and the strangled yells
when you spend a weekend
at the Ssssnake hotel.

Dragons' Wood

We didn't see dragons
in Dragons' Wood
but we saw
where the dragons had been.

We saw tracks in soft mud
that could only have been scratched
by some sharp-clawed creature.

We saw scorched earth
where fiery dragon breath
had whitened everything to ash.

We saw trees burnt to charcoal.
We saw dragon dung
rolled into boulders.

And draped from a branch
we saw sloughed off skin,
scaly, still warm...

We didn't see dragons
in Dragons' Wood,
but this was the closest
we'd ever been

to believing.

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All about Brian Moses

Brian was born a long time ago in Ramsgate, Kent. In the 1960s, when The Beatles and the Rolling Stones were all the rage, he decided to become a rock and roll star. Alas, he was never invited to appear on Top of the Pops. Instead, he became a teacher, and began writing and performing his poems to schools. At this he was very successful and is now one of Britain's best loved children's poets. He has had over 160 books published. His latest book is called Taking Out the Tigers. He is married to Anne and has two children, Karen and Linette.

(Teachers! To contact Brian and for more information about school and library visits please see the Teacher Zone.)

Taking Out the Tigers by Brian Moses

Taking Out the Tigers
Brian Moses
(Macmillan Children's Books)
Illustrated by Chris Garbutt

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Questions and Answers with Brian Moses

When did you start writing?
I started as a teenager. I used to play the guitar and write songs but it
all sounded pretty dreadful, so one day I put the guitar away and the songs turned into poems. Also a poet from Liverpool, Roger McGough, was a great inspiration.

Why do you write poetry?
I love words and the way that a poem is a snapshot, giving you a brief
glimpse, but a glimpse that is often so powerful that it can stay with you

What sort of books do you write?
A lot of poetry, picture books, books for teachers, and some information books. I also edit anthologies of poetry, choosing poems by other poets along with some of my own.

How long does it take to write a poem?
Anything from five minutes to a year. Some poems arrive very quickly, others demand more encouragement before they reveal themselves.

How long does it take to write a book?
When I put together a poetry book I'm collecting together poems that I've written over the past few years, so the hard work has been done at that stage. If I'm writing a picture book, this can take from an hour or two, to three or four days. A book for teachers can take a couple of months and the story book that I've just completed took me about six months.

Where do ideas come from?
Ideas come from anywhere and everywhere. An idea is like a knock on the door. Ignore the knocking and whoever it is goes away. When an idea comes knocking, I can't afford to ignore it. I grab it quickly before it can escape.

How do you write your poems?
I write on scraps of paper or record them on a Dictaphone. First drafts are written up in my poetry notebook, then transferred to the word processor where I can cut and paste and jigsaw the poem until I think it's right.

What books have you written?
My most recent book of poetry is Olympic Poems which I co-wrote with Roger Stevens(Macmillan). For younger children there's The Budgie Likes to Boogie - My collected Animal poems (Caboodle Books) There is also my 'Best of...' book Behind the Staffroom Door ((Macmillan) There are also picture books such as Trouble at the Dinosaur Cafe(Puffin) and The Snake Hotel (Macmillan), a number of poetry anthologies includingThe Secret Lives of Teachers, Aliens Stole My Underpants and The Works 2 (edited with Pie Corbett). A Poetry CD and book Walking With My Iguana featuring 40 poems by a number of poets with music (HodderWayland.) My first children's story book is published by Caboodle and called Python.

Are you writing anything at the moment?
Yes. My latest projects include Dragons' Wood - a picture book from Anova to be published in early 2013, two new collections of my own poetry, A Cat Called Elvis to be published by Macmillan in August 2012, and The Monster Sale which will be published in 2013. I'm also writing my childhood autobiography - my life up to the age of 14.

How many schools have you visited?
I've made over 2,500 school visits in the last 24years.

Wow! You must travel around a lot!
I do. I visit schools and libraries throughout the UK, everywhere from Scotland to the Channel Islands. I also visit International Schools in Europe and have recently presented my poetry and percussion show in Munich, Frankfurt, Brussels, Milan, Geneva, Zurich, Madrid, Cordoba, Paris, Belfast and Dublin.

Which is the best school that you've visited?
The school that I'm working in when I'm asked that question !

Have you got a family?
My wife, Anne, and my two daughters, Karen, who is a professional singer working on cruise ships at the moment, and Linette, who is a student at the London College of Fashion.

Have you got any pets?
A fox red labrador called Honey, a lop-eared rabbit called Miffy and five chickens - Boadicea - Warrior Chicken, Kate Moss, Marie Antoinette, Brigitte Bardot and Bertha

What soccer team do you support?
Tottenham, ever since the great days of the early Sixties when they won 3-1 in the 1961 Cup Final.

Taking Out the Tigers and Brian's other books can be found on
amazon.co.uk by

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